In the present Indian sociopolitical scenario, a large number of dalit castes have become the main players in the electoral arena and politically mobilizing them has become a compulsion of all political parties. The strong desire of these castes to assert their identity based on their sense of pastness is being profitably encashed by many political parties who are appropriating their heroes and recreating their histories to suit their political ideology and thereby politically mobilizing them. This is especially true in UP and Bihar where society is still divided on caste lines and the lower castes are still oppressed.

Fascinating Hindutva examines how, aided by other Hindutva forces like RSS and VHP, the strategies of BJP for mobilizing dalits rests on reinterpreting their Hindu past and unifying them under the metanarrative of Hindutva. It is an exploration of the fascinating tactics used by the Hindutva forces to politically mobilize individual dalit castes like the Nishads, Musahars, and Dusadhs by saffronising their heroes.

Introduction: Pastness and Politics

Introduction: Pastness and politics

While doing my fieldwork for this study, I spent a night at the house of a farmer in a village situated on the banks of the river Girwa flowing along the border of Bahraich and Nepal. After dinner, I found sleep evading me. The incessant coughing of an old man who was the head of the family broke the stillness of the night, preventing me from falling asleep. For want of something to do, I asked the old man to narrate a story. After some initial reluctance, the old man narrated the story of a magical snake, which was as follows:

There was once a farmer who had four sons. Three were human, while one was a snake. No ...

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