privacy policy

The Ludic Reification of Hindutva – The Hindu Self and Muslim Others in Play/Games


· Sushant Kishore Srmist (Chennai, India)


07/28 | 09:00-09:20 UTC+2/CEST


Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), the flagbearer of Hindutva in India has persisted through three federal bans and operated under the garb of a “cultural” organization, as opposed to a political one, and affected the transformation of real-politik in India. The Sangh has affected this through ninety years of insidious expansion into the quotidian sphere of the urban middle class and mobilizing communities of diverse backgrounds and interests against an imagined common enemy, an outsider who raided of temples, ravened cows, ravished Hindu women and reproduced rapidly – the Muslim. This imagination of the Muslims is perpetuated and practiced in routine performances of Self and the Other in the exercises, games, rituals and the informal pedagogy of the Shakha – over fifty thousand daily congregations where millions of volunteers are indoctrinated into the ideology of Hindutva. Based on ethnographic data and, the paper discusses the deployment of play, exercise and ludic activities towards the construction of a Pavlovian subjectivity tied to the commands of the Supreme Leader through the whistle of his proxies. This physical training goes hand in hand with ideological and cognitive conditioning. Focusing on the banal Shakha, and its processes of psychosomatic conditioning, the paper discusses the discourses, and discursive performativity, that reinvent, reimagine and reproduce the Muslim Other against whom the Hindu Self must be constructed.