Greater India Makes Again

There is a peace in Allahabad. In fact, there is no Allahabad at all. The Prayag Raj has taken upon itself to address the concerns of dissenters. Their houses have been razed. Prayag just wants peace, not the sound of the Mullah belting out his usual number all day long. How rude of him. He has been silenced too. Efficiency is the name of the game in this new India. There are no squeaky wheels here. They are all in jail. In another part of the country, MLAs from Maharashtra have been sent on a special trip to Assam. This has been organized by the BJP at its own cost. How thoughtful of them to treat ministers from an opposition party with such courtesy. The MVA government must have been pleasantly surprised at the gesture. India is great again—the ruling party the epitome of good manners and considerate governance.

Such benevolent expansionism has even touched the faraway states in India’s Northeast. Arkotong Longkumer’s new book, The Greater India Experiment: Hindutva and the Northeast, tells this story. The question he asks is simple: How does the RSS succeed where Hindus are a minority? Arko’s ethnography is centred not around the exoticized other, but the RSS cadres who find themselves in a hostile environment. But they are determined to chip away slowly in their effort to forge a singular identity among the diverse peoples of Northeast India. This is a tale of the tenacious grip of a dangerous ideology and how it operates against all odds. A tale that shows us how their hold over the rest of the country has become so entrenched.

Jalalul Haq’s The Shudra: A Philosophical Narrative of Indian Superhumanism has finally been reviewed in The Hindu, after a long and lengthy process of revision and hair-splitting. In his review, Huzaifa Omair Siddiqi simplifies the big and heady ideas of the book for us, and makes it relevant to the contemporary philosophical landscape.

Huzaifa also did an interview with Navayana author, Aishwary Kumar, for The Wire. They discussed some new ideas Aishwary is developing: Is liberal democracy today being transformed, well beyond open violence, into a system of active, political cruelty? Watch this fascinating conversation now: