Why Hindu Nationalists are cheering moves to build temple, challenging the secular tradition

by CIGA Staff

Brief:

Discussing the recent ruling by India’s Supreme Court on the Ayodhya land dispute of the Babri mosque, the author questions India’s commitment to secularism in the aftermath of this ruling. The court had conceded that the destruction of the mosque by Hindu mobs was unlawful, yet it granted the disputed site to the Hindus for building of a temple. Describing the ruling as controversial, the author said that the judgement is considered a win for Indian Prime Minister Modi. Moreover, the ruling is also associated with the rise of Hindu Nationalism in India. The article also discusses the rise of Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) from 1980’s, gaining much attraction from the Ram temple issue as it gained power. Re-incarnated from Bhartiya Jan Sangh in 1980, the BJP presented itself as an alternative to the dominant Congress Party. The Indian National Congress (INC) was known for its secularism and BJP presented itself as a Hindu majoritarian party. Since the late 1980’s, the BJP has embraced an overtly pro-Hindu ideology focused on building the Ram temple at the site of the Babri Masjid as it began to see electoral success. From two seats in 1984 to a commanding 303 seats in a parliament of 543 members, the BJP has mobilized and consolidated its Hindu vote around the temple issue. The Supreme court ruling has thus bolstered BJP’s Hindu following in its second term, but it has also created a major challenge to the values of pluralism and secularism in India.

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