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Date of Award
Thesis-ISU Access Only
Master of Science (MS)
Department of Politics and Government: Political Science
In this thesis I theorize Indian revolutionary V.D. Savarkar's seminal text "Hindutva: Who is a Hindu?" (1923), comparing related themes in Carl Schmitt's Weimar writings: national myth (1923) and the friend-enemy distinction (1932). Responding to the first phase of mass-mobilization in India, and Gandhi's politics of non-violence and religious sentimentality, Savarkar promoted a political consciousness based on the revolutionary violence of a "Hindu" as India's authentically patriotic inhabitant. In the link between the mythic Hindu name, people, and territory, Savarkar put forth three qualifications of the Hindu national myth Hindutva: common fatherland, common blood or race, and exclusive attachment to Hindu civilization. He argued that Indian Muslims and Christians, because of their adoption of foreign religions, do not own Hindutva fully. I reflect on the rhetorical making of the Hindutva national myth and I probe the three qualifications of Hindutva that Savarkar sets up in the text. I ask why there is a need for different qualifications, and whether these are additive, or if they modify each other. Moreover, I seek to explore the sense of impossibility that marks the rhetoric of Hindutva. By impossibility I mean a dynamic combination of antagonism and circumspection in the rhetorical deployment of the language of the people in a given text or instance. It is this reflexivity that I seek to recover in Savarkar's Hindutva by a Schmittian reading.
Sanadhya, Varun, "V.D. Savarkar and the Impossibility of Hindutva: a Rereading of Schmitt on the National Myth" (2014). Theses and Dissertations. 133.