The missing bits of Ramakrishna
- Christophe Jaffrelot, "Hindu Nationalism and the (Not So Easy) Art of Being Outraged: The Ram Setu Controversy" South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal, 2 (2008)
Hindu nationalists have become experts in the art of being outraged after the crystallization of the Hindutva ideology in the 1920s. Articulating a deep rooted inferiority complex, they have tried hard to denounce the disrespectful behaviour of the minorities they feared most – especially the Muslims – in order to mobilize new followers. Such a process was likely to trigger riots and to polarise society along communal lines – and eventually to translate into votes. However, a purely instrumentalist interpretation of the Hindu nationalist use of outrage would be too simplistic. The use of sacred symbols is not that easy, as evident from the case of the Ram Setu movement. It shows that the Sangh Parivar finds it more difficult to mobilize followers when the culprits are not Muslims. It also shows that the exploitation of the outrage is more complicated when its instigators are born Hindus. In any case, the holy character of the outraged symbol is not enough: it has to be historical; and it has to be useful too.
Pippin: "And whose side are you on?"
Treebeard: "Side? I am on nobody's side. Because nobody is on my side, little orc."