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Masculinity in the Making of Nations: Men Complicit in the Rise of Right Wing Politics in India


· Debadrita Chakraborty Cardiff University (Cardiff, United Kingdom)


07/27 | 10:00-10:20 UTC+2/CEST


The ideal of masculine Hinduism which is currently being employed within the Indian national rhetoric to sustain and build a modern Hindu Rashtra is a direct consequence of India’s tryst with British imperialism. Since it is men who, as real actors of nationalist movement defend their homeland and the honour of women, the current Indian right wing politics ensures that men continue to uphold the ideals of Hindu hegemonic masculinity defined by martial prowess, muscular strength, moral fortitude and a readiness to battle groups in order to strengthen the nation. Any man who fails to uphold the above mentioned ideals are then considered a peril to the security of the nation, labelled as powerless, inferior, passive and is reminiscent of India’s colonial oppressed and emasculated past. Masculine Hinduism is thus rooted in a rigid ‘us vs them’ view of nation that becomes implicated in violence and intolerance. However, while the hegemonic notions of Hindu masculinity are achieved by a small minority who become the public face of gender and sexual politics, the majority are those who reap benefits from such gendered arrangements by being complicit with the hegemonic project. Through my examination of the complicit male characters in select media, film and textual narratives, I wish to examine how the complicit man appealed by mythic and masculinised historical beliefs coupled with religious nationalism turns, calls upon right wing hegemonic socio-political discourses to perpetrate violence over the minority other, along with the ways in which they force themselves to reconcile with the hegemonic world perpetrating violence upon the other and by that logic upon themselves.