ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Post Ayodhya: Normalising the Politics of Hate and Hostility

Majoritarian notions of democracy have acquired new acceptability in recent years and notions of majority rule have been pushed to achieve a restructuring of the Indian polity and a stronger authoritarian system politically. India remains a vibrant democracy in most respects but there are strong elements of authoritarianism creeping in like narrow nationalism to deactivate opponents, and increasing measures to intimidate and control the free press and impose curbs on dissent.

The general elections in 2014 produced a sharp shift to the right catapulting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to the centre stage of Indian politics, as Narendra Modi led his party to a sensational win. Its victory was so complete that it captured all or most of the seats in some states and reduced the Indian National Congress to 44 of the 543 seats in the Lok Sabha. The steep fall of the Congress party and Modi’s arrival with an absolute majority underlined the rise to prominence of the forces of Hindu nationalism in the party system and in vast areas of culture, society and economy (Sharma 2014). In consequence, the Indian polity stands redefined with the Hindu right spearheaded by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and BJP as the pole around which national politics is organised (Yadav 2017; Palshikar 2017). The triumph in Uttar Pradesh (UP) in the 2017 assembly elections further consolidated its electoral domination.

This article delineates the main elements of the new political discourse embedded in majoritarian ideas of history, democracy and nationalism. It essentially explores the contours of politics and processes that caused a profound rupture in the political realm and maps the ways in which the discursive manoeuvres of the Hindu nationalists have been structured to establish its power and authority after the destruction of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in 1992.

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Updated On : 4th Dec, 2017
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