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    ISAS Working Papers

    ISAS publishes a regular series of working papers which are long-term studies on trends and issues in South Asia.

    Working Papers: Shifts in Policy Paradigm in India: Re-emergence of the Hindutva Agenda

    S Narayan

    20 February, 2020

    The ideology of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has its roots in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which has put forward a notion of a nation committed to the values of Hindu practices (Sanskar). Initially conceptualised as a movement against the minority appeasement policies of the British colonial government, it emerged as a social movement to inculcate ancient Hindu morals and ethics among its members. The political arm, the Jan Sangh, which eventually became the BJP, could find little traction for the Hindutva movement in the face of the secular policies of the Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi governments. It co-opted the landed class and the merchants in its quest for political power, and initial success came from this right of center approach rather than pushing for a Hindutva agenda. It was only after the Congress governments, post 1980, veered towards a policy of focusing on minority votes that BJP emerged as an alternative. This paper argues that there have always been two strands to the BJP approach – one a pro development, market friendly approach and the other, a hardcore Hindu agenda. During the Atal Bihari Vajpayee years, as it was a coalition of parties sympathetic to market-friendly policies. While there was less focus on the Hindutva agenda, it was never given up. In the second term of the Narendra Modi government 2019, it is clear that there is an ascendance of the ideological forces within the party and that the RSS is driving national policy on the basis of its core agenda.

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    Working Papers: The CAA and the NRC: Exploring Possible Solutions

    Sanjeev Tripathi

    11 January, 2020

    India is presently embroiled in a controversy that followed the enactment of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in December 2019. Detractors of the Act have exploited the fact that Muslims are excluded from the Act and ignored that the Act is specifically aimed at giving relief to minorities from India’s three Islamic neighbours who have taken shelter in India because of persecution on religious ground. There is fear among Indian Muslims that the Act is directed at them. Widespread demonstrations against the Act are being held with many of them turning violent and resulting in arson, destruction of property and casualties among the demonstrators and the police.

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