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.

Legend War: Mapping the Political Mobilisation of the Nishads

Legend war: Mapping the political mobilisation of the Nishads

Ab tak kya kiya

Jivan kya jiya

Zyada liya, aur diya bahut, bahut kam

Mar gaya desh

Aur jivit rah gaye tum

(What did you do till now

What life did you lead

You took a lot but gave very, very little in return

The country died

And you remained alive)

—Muktibodh, 1984

In the previous chapters we tried to show how the identities and identity symbols of various Dalit castes are being used by the BJP to mobilise these castes by reinterpreting them on the lines of Hindutva. Apart from the BJP, the other party that is using the cultural resources of various Dalit parties to politically mobilise them is the BSP, as has been mentioned earlier. Along ...

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