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.

The Politics of Cultural Resources: The Mushahars of North India

The politics of cultural resources: The Mushahars of north India

Daliton mein Ram kisi aur roop mein paida hue hain.

(Lord Rama has been born in another form among the Dalits.)
—Swami Prapannacharya, VHP leader and saint, recorded in Magh Mela, Prayag, 2003

Very often, a marginalised community, in the process of being exposed to the democratic discourse at election rallies by different political parties and also by the acquisition of reading and writing skills by at least one section of its population, acquires the capacity to aspire for a share of democratic power. In this process the leading section of the community recreates the myths, legends and heroes of its own caste in a way that suits the ...

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