Hindutva and Dalits: Perspectives for Understanding Communal Praxis takes a comprehensive view of the birth and growth of the Hindutva movement and its specific impact on Dalits. Part I, Theoretical Perspectives, explores the attitude of Hindutva vis-à-vis Dalits in its various manifestations. Part II, Hindutva in Operation, covers empirical evidence of its impact on Dalits. The contributors, distinguished scholar-activists, offer a provocative analysis on why both Dalits and Adivasis are drawn to Hindutva.
Despite the teachings of Babasaheb Ambedkar against Hinduism and its pernicious caste system, which he forsook to become a Buddhist, many Dalits have turned to Hindutva. The RSS under Balasaheb Deoras began to appropriate Ambedkar, engaging with Dalits and Adivasis, Hinduizing their beliefs, providing social welfare and binding them in a political alliance.
As analysed by Tanika Sarkar in her incisive Foreword to this book, Hindutva’s hegemonic agenda lets ‘subalterns develop a stake in their own subordination, … not in resignation or despair but in eager self-identification with it’. The great strength of this collection is that it asks difficult questions that need to be asked and yet have no easy answers. The book, thus, makes an invaluable contribution to the debate and takes it forward.