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The emergence, crystallization and shattering of a right-wing alternative to Congress nationalism : the All-India Hindu Mahasabha, 1937-52

Title:

The emergence, crystallization and shattering of a right-wing alternative to Congress nationalism : the All-India Hindu Mahasabha, 1937-52

Meadowcroft, Keith (2003) The emergence, crystallization and shattering of a right-wing alternative to Congress nationalism : the All-India Hindu Mahasabha, 1937-52. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This study traces the rise and fall of the first, all-India, Hindu nationalist or supremacist political party, the Hindu Mahasabha. It seeks to situate the Hindu Mahasabha in the political and social landscape of India by documenting the Mahasabha's actions and interaction with the British colonial regime, the Indian National Congress and other political forces. By so doing, it seeks to draw out what social and political groups gravitated toward Hindu nationalism and toward what end. A key conclusion is that the Hindu Mahasabha's late 1930's transformation from an organization ostensibly dedicated to Hindu unity and uplift into a political party advocating Hindu Raj was not simply a product of increasing communal-political polarization. The Mahasabha's transformation was also bound up with fears among India's propertied classes as to the emergence of socialist currents in and around the Congress and growing worker and peasant struggles. This study documents the close collaboration between the Hindu Mahasabha and the British colonial regime during World War II and the Mahasabha's subsequent involvement in the attempts of the landlords, princes and other elite layers to oppose India's emerging bourgeois-democratic political order. It shows that in 1947-48 and again in 1950, the Hindu Mahasabha emerged, in the named of Hindu Raj and Akhand Hindusthan , as the ideologue of ethnic-cleansing. Much of this dissertation is devoted to untangling the complex relationship between the Mahasabha and the Indian National Congress. It argues against facile approaches which either deny any antagonism between the two parties or maintain that the Congress was a secular organization that resolutely and consistently resisted Hindu nationalist pressure.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > History
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Meadowcroft, Keith
Pagination:vii, 463 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (Ph.D.)
Program:History
Date:2003
Thesis Supervisor(s):Hill, John L
ID Code:2309
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:27
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:25
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