Transnational networks and Hindu nationalism

Arvind Rajagopal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Contemporary Hindu nationalism articulates a genteel multiculturalist presence in the United States that is at odds with militant Hindu supremacism in India. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) of America trumpets Hindu culture as both a contribution to America's multiculturalist experiment and as an example of successful multiculturalism in itself. Indian immigrants who support VHP in the United States think of the largely urban lower-class membership of the VHP in India as a reservoir of Hindu nationalist sentiment - one that legitimizes their identities. But the differences between the members of the two branches of VHP can be enormous. Indian immigrants' assertions of Indian/Hindu identity cannot be dissociated from their negotiation of the experience of racial marginalization in the United States. They may substitute religion for race, but regional and national loyalties are still salient. The politics they espouse centers on concerns that are U.S.-focused even when they look approvingly on Hindu militant activities in their homeland. Second-generation Indian immigrants may assume the political attitudes of the first generation, but they also seek a culturally congenial way of asserting their identities without reference to race. Finally, this article shows that there is a much wider spectrum of people in India, who in spite of their nationalist, anti-U.S. political beliefs, are likely to sense affirmation of their politics in the international support and financial assistance they receive from the members of VHP of America and from other Indians living abroad.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-58
Number of pages14
JournalBulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars
Volume29
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1997

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nationalism
immigrant
India
politics
class membership
multiculturalism
financial assistance
marginalization
lower class
political attitude
first generation
religion
Homelands
multicultural society
loyalty
Religion
experiment
experience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Geography, Planning and Development

Cite this

Transnational networks and Hindu nationalism. / Rajagopal, Arvind.

In: Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, Vol. 29, No. 3, 07.1997, p. 45-58.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Rajagopal, Arvind. / Transnational networks and Hindu nationalism. In: Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars. 1997 ; Vol. 29, No. 3. pp. 45-58.
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