GLORY AND HUMILIATION IN THE MAKING OF V. D. SAVARKAR’S HINDU NATIONALISM
In the European tradition, political emotion in the form of individual and collective glory was usually constrained by norms of legitimate political conduct defined by public virtue. This essay describes an alternative relationship between glory and political reason by reconstructing the political thought of V. D. Savarkar, the architectof Hindu nationalism. The article argues that the relational concepts of glory and humiliation were at the heart of actualising ‘Hindu-ness’ or Hindutva as a sovereign political category. The genealogy and development of Hindu nationalism is traced from the formative space of the colonial prison during Savarkar’s incarceration from 1911 to 1937, the ideology’s subsequent refining and dissemination, to its final form after Partition in 1947. Supplementing Savarkar’s political treatises and histories, thisessay is the first to analyse his poetry as political thought. Together, these writings show how scriptural Hindu concepts like the gunas and prakriti were appropriated to justify a fraught majoritarian unity defined against endogenous shame sanctions and exogenous humiliation. In order to achieve this, political reason was yoked to a perspectivist history enabling Hindu self-overcoming, which was personified by communal heroes who embodied a passionate Hindu will to power.
Author affiliationSchool of History, Politics and International Relations, University of Leicester
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