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good governance? Any attempt to analyse the electoral salience of Hindutva requires thinking carefully through a number of thorny issues Firstand most simplyit is important to remember that we cannot equate votes for the BJP with ideological support for Hindutva Not all supporters of the BJP are supportive of Hindutvaand not all supporters of Hindutva let this preference determine their vote choice Yet there has been a widespread and persistent tendency to equate these two phenomenaleading to conventional wisdom that Hindutvas appeal can be measured by the BJPs performance at the polls: rising during the 1980speaking during the early 1990sand steadily declining since then More systematic analyses of voter surveys trouble such linear narrativesand point us in the more productive direction of analysing the degree to which these two phenomena are related in specific places and periods For examplestatistical analyses of data from Loknitis National Election Study have helped uncover considerable variation in the importance of Hindutva even within the BJPs support base in a given election Such analyses show that support for key Hindu nationalist positions (such as building a Ram temple at Ayodhya or banning religious conversions) do indeed consistently distinguish upper castes who support the BJP from those who dont Furtherthe overall prevalence of pro-Hindutva sentiments among upper-caste voters has been quite stable since the mid-1990s Thereforebroad pronouncements on the decline of Hindutvas appeal appear somewhat overblown: among the elite caste communities for whom Hindutva is important enough to affect voting decisionsno such decline is apparent At the same timethis data suggests some strong limits to the degree to which Hindutvas appeal affects the BJPs performance Even among upper castespro-Hindutva views are not the onlynor even the strongestdeterminant of BJP support Indeedsupport for economic liberalisation has remained a stronger predictor of upper caste support for the BJP than pro-Hindutva views during this period So has incomewith the BJP enjoying greater support among a creamy layer of wealthy upper caste voters than among poorer voters from these caste communities FinallyDalit and adivasi backers of the BJP are not appreciably more communal than voters from these communities who support other parties This result holds true across multiple electionsand even within states where the party has been doing increasingly well among these constituencies (such as Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh) Even the BJPs limited electoral successes outside its traditional Brahmin-Bania base cannot therefore be assumed to be either a cause or consequence of growth in Hindutvas appeal Evidence garnered from surveys can thus help us develop more nuanced conclusions about how the relationship between Hindutva and support for the BJP varies across caste communitiesstates and even electoral periods Yet such evidence comes with its own important constraints Most importantlysurveys necessarily use narrow measures of conceptsin this case defining Hindutva only through voters support for specific agenda items This limitation draws our attention to a second major issue: Hindutva carries variable meanings in different electoral contexts To ask whether Hindutvas political appeal is greater in Gujarat than in Chhattisgarhor has declined from 1992 to 2012in some sense assumes the term carries an unchanging definition across time and space Such rigidity may seem justified byand complementary withthe goal of Hindutvas early architects These founders sought to standardise the practice of Hinduismin an attempt to overcome the divisions produced by internal caste hierarchies and varied local practices that stood in the way of their majoritarian ambitions Yetin many respectsHindu nationalism as a contemporary political phenomenon departs from the visions of these early ideologues Hindutvas interaction with democratic politics has produced many ironiesbut perhaps none greater than the fragmentation of a doctrine of standardisation These differences are apparent across states: the issue of religious conversions is far more central to the Sanghs Hindutva agenda in Orissa than in Uttar Pradeshwhile the issue of Ayodhya is far less so Similar distinctions are also evident between Hindu nationalist organisations within the same state For exampleactivists with the Sanghs service wings (such as Seva Bharati and the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram) are often uncomfortable with the polarising rhetoric and mobilisationsincluding violenceemphasised by the VHP and Bajrang Dal Such disagreements are more tactical than philosophical Many seva activists worry that episodes of large-scale violence highlight the most polarising face of Hindutvaand inhibit their own attempts to ingratiate themselves among Dalit and adivasis communities wary of Hindutvas upper caste image Finallyservice activists themselves highlight different aspects of Hindutvadepending on to whom they speak In fundraising efforts among upper castesthey emphasise Hindutvas mandate to offer welfare as a political counter to similar efforts by Christian missionaries Yetwhen trying to recruit lower caste or tribal votersthese activists present themselves as politically neutral welfare providers They have also shown an increasing flexibility in their willingness to subsume local rituals into the structure of Hindu practices they advocate The purpose of pointing out such distinctions is to remind us that a voters perception of what Hindutva is can vary depending on which state they live inwhich caste community they come fromand which organisation has the dominant presence within their neighbourhood or village Such variation cannot be captured through national surveysand requires more localised surveys and ethnographic study Yet even such studies will need to be careful in determining how to assess whether these local faces of Hindutva actually help or hinder the BJPs electoral performanceand the channels through which they do so Finallylet me conclude where I beganby highlighting some implications of this discussion for the case of Gujarat When thinking about Hindu nationalismour national preoccupation with Gujarat is an understandable consequence of the BJPs exceptional success in the state Howeverit is precisely this exceptionality that should make us cautious about the degree to which lessons from Gujarat apply elsewhere Secondeven within Gujaratwe should avoid easy generalisations about Hindutvas role in facilitating the BJPs dominance Currentlythere are two such arguments: that Modis success has accrued from a post-Hindutva strategy based on development,and of the viability of Chief Minister Narendra Modi as a prime ministerial candidate. download shlf1314n Express App More Top Newsco. which was converted by Kudus Mohammed. 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