India has taken so sharp a turn in recent years that the very centre has shifted considerably. What led to this swing? Is it possible to trace the path to this point? Is there a way back to the just, secular, inclusive vision of our Constitution-makers?
This country has long been an outlier in its South Asian neighbourhood, with its inclusive Constitution and functioning democracy. The growth of Hindutva, in some sense, brings India in line with the other polities here. In Our Hindu Rashtra, writer and activist Aakar Patel peels back layer after layer of cause and effect through independent India’s history to understand how Hindutva came to gain such a hold on the country. He examines what it means for India that its laws and judiciary have been permeated by prejudice and bigotry, what the breach of fundamental rights portends in these circumstances, and what the all-round institutional collapse signifies for the future of Indians.
Most importantly, Patel asks and answers that most important of questions: what possibilities exist for a return? Thought-provoking and pulling no punches, this book is an essential read for anyone who wishes to understand the nature of politics in India and, indeed, South Asia.