Saffron Wave by Thomas Blom Hansen
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Saffron Wave
By Thomas Blom Hansen

The Saffron Wave

Democracy and Hindu Nationalism in Modern India

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Format: Paperback

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Saffron Wave by Thomas Blom Hansen

Book Awards

  • Runner-up for Choice Magazine Outstanding Reference/Academic Book Award 1999.

Book Description

The rise of strong nationalist and religious movements in postcolonial and newly democratic countries alarms many Western observers. In The Saffron Wave, Thomas Hansen turns our attention to recent events in the world's largest democracy, India. Here he analyzes Indian receptivity to the right-wing Hindu nationalist party and its political wing, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which claims to create a polity based on "ancient" Hindu culture. Rather than interpreting Hindu nationalism as a mainly religious phenomenon, or a strictly political movement, Hansen places the BJP within the context of the larger transformations of democratic governance in India. Hansen demonstrates that democratic transformation has enabled such developments as political mobilization among the lower castes and civil protections for religious minorities. Against this backdrop, the Hindu nationalist movement has successfully articulated the anxieties and desires of the large and amorphous Indian middle class. A form of conservative populism, the movement has attracted not only privileged groups fearing encroachment on their dominant positions but also "plebeian" and impoverished groups seeking recognition around a majoritarian rhetoric of cultural pride, order, and national strength. Combining political theory, ethnographic material, and sensitivity to colonial and postcolonial history, The Saffron Wave offers fresh insights into Indian politics and, by focusing on the links between democracy and ethnic majoritarianism, advances our understanding of democracy in the postcolonial world.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780691006710
ISBN-10: 0691006717
Format: Paperback
(229mm x 152mm x 22mm)
Pages: 304
Imprint: Princeton University Press
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publish Date: 23-Mar-1999
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions...


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Sovereign Bodies by Thomas Blom Hansen Sovereign Bodies, Paperback (April 2005)

9/11 and its aftermath have shown that our ideas about what constitutes sovereign power lag dangerously behind the burgeoning claims to rights and recognition within and across national boundaries. This volume helps in understanding of power and sovereignty in the postcolonial world and in "the West".

Wages of Violence by Thomas Blom Hansen Wages of Violence, Paperback (October 2001)

When Bombay changed its name to Mumbai in 1995, it was the culmination of a long process that transformed India's primary symbol of modernity and cultural diversity into a site of ethnic conflict and violent nationalism. This is an account of how the city's atmosphere, dominant public languages, and power structures have changed since 1960s.

» View all books by Thomas Blom Hansen

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