Starting today, we begin an eight-part series on Hindutva groups within India. In Shadow Armies: Fringe Organizations and Foot Soldiers of Hindutva, acclaimed journalist Dhirendra Jha seeks answers by investigating eight organizations across India with Hindutva credentials, including a military school for children with branches in Nashik and Nagpur:
In Part I of the eight-part series, Yogi Adityanath, the new chief minister of UP, and the Hindu Yuva Vahini, the organization he founded, is under the scanner.
An excerpt from the introduction:
Whenever Hindutva bodies create a controversy, the RSS and the BJP promptly label them ‘fringe organizations’. The fact, however, is that they are active parts of the Sangh Parivar, working as buffer organizations for doing the dirty work the BJP and the RSS were once obliged to do for themselves. The brazen acts required to create polarization in our society are often carried out by these very establishments.
Some of the ‘fringe organizations’ seem to exist outside the purview of the Sangh Parivar in so far as they are not technically created and controlled by the RSS. These include the Sanatan Sanstha, the Hindu Yuva Vahini, the Sri Ram Sene and the Abhinav Bharat. Yet they are not entirely autonomous. Most of them have an umbilical cord attached to the Sangh Parivar, and all of them are ideologically on the same page…
Yet, there is little insight into the actual mechanisms that underlie the evolution of these fringe outfits. We do not have a systematic understanding of how they work and how they connect with licit politics. These shadow armies are not direct projections of their pan-Indian partner. Each of them possess a distinct identity.
The other books will feature profiles of the following organizations:
Sri Ram Sene
Hindu Aikya Vedi
Bhonsala Military School
Rashtriya Sikh Sangat
Together these will be available as Shadow Armies: Fringe Organizations and Foot Soldiers of Hindutva on Juggernaut and in bookstores in April 2017. You can preorder the book here.