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    Performing the nation in the street: sanitation, yoga and the politics of Hindutva in Mumbai

    McLaughlan, Scott James (2021) Performing the nation in the street: sanitation, yoga and the politics of Hindutva in Mumbai. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    This thesis addresses contemporary strategies of Hindutva politics in Mumbai under the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) regime of Narendra Modi after 2014. It does so by developing an account of two major policies of the Modi-era: Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (‘Clean India Mission’) and the International Day of Yoga. First, the thesis renders an account of Hindutva as benefitting from the formation of a specific ‘Hindu chain of reasoning’ (Vanaik, 2017) with deep historical roots in the late-colonial encounter under British rule. It is argued that the resonances and evocations of anti-colonial ‘cultural’ nationalism have shaped nationalist politics in Bombay, from the late-colonial period to the present. Having offered a critical analysis of Hindutva as a powerful, omnipresent current within the politics of Indian nationalism, the thesis then accounts for the historical formation of the ‘political street’. I argue that focus on the political street – as a key venue of nationalist politics – informs contemporary reflections on the effectiveness of Hindutva after 2014. Second, through close analysis of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and the International Day of Yoga, the thesis makes the case that while normalised as patriotism, duty to the nation and its development, Swachh Bharat and the International Day of Yoga pivot on a well-coordinated political strategy that aims to generate a sense of imagined political community. These strategies converge in the performance of the nation in the street. The thesis accordingly reveals the centrality of class and caste power to Hindutva politics and the logics of a ‘new’ strategy of theatrical, performative politics that is produced through apparently uncontroversial spaces and seemingly innocuous everyday practices in Mumbai. In conclusion, I place Hindutva in global context and outline a set of closing thoughts, questions and openings for further work, especially in relation to the political possibilities of counter-movements to Hindutva.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2021 15:43
    Last Modified: 01 Nov 2023 14:55


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