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Hindutva's Blood

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-34
JournalSouth Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal (SAMAJ)
Issue number24-25
Early online date1 Nov 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Nov 2020


In this article we examine blood as a medium and metaphor for Hindutva’s political transactions. Specifically, we identify three ways in which blood operates in Hindutva thought and practice. First, it serves to create a spatial geographic whole – an original Hindu nation whose inhabitants share the same blood. Second, blood serves to mediate between the violent and non-violent aspects of Hindu nationalism, authorizing and reconciling present acts of violence with a supposed Hindu capacity for heroic restraint. And third, blood serves to establish a temporal continuum between a Hindutva past, present and future, writing Hindu nationalist thought and action backwards into Indian history, and forwards to threaten future bloodshed against non-adherents. In these three ways, Hindutva imaginations and extractions of blood work through each other. In present-day India, these three political manifestations of blood – as a marker of exclusion, as mediating non-violence, and as premonitory threat – have all appeared in the Citizenship Amendment Act controversy and around the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. As blood overflows through time and space, it threatens to erase difference and legitimize violence while further extending the ideology’s reach.

    Research areas

  • sacrifice, blood, Hindutva, Hindu nationalism

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