What is the identity of India

English Title: The construction of a collective identity in India: Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and his Hindutva-Concept

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Abstract

The work is based on two core questions: (1) In empirical terms, it asks the question of the core and structure of Savarkar's socio-political thinking and acting. The guiding hypothesis here is that a comprehensive approach is required that includes Savarkar's entire life and work in the analysis; (2) In theoretical terms, the question is raised to what extent “Western theories and concepts” are applicable to the Indian context. The hypothesis here is that every concept has to be checked on a case-by-case basis and blanket statements regarding applicability are to be rejected. In view of the identified lack of scientific work on Savarkar and his incoherent statements, the first essential achievement is to comprehensively and systematically identify Savarkar's political, social and economic ideas for the first time and to show their causality for the creation of meaning in the context of the construction of a collective identity. Here it is shown that Hindutva is a concept for society as a whole, which does not allow individual sub-areas to be faded out. In the theoretical dimension, using Bernhard Giesen's concept of code-based collective identities, it was possible to prove that Western theories (or concepts) can be transferred to the Indian context on the one hand and that Savarkar's identitary construction systematics from Hindutva can be determined on the other. In addition, the methodical approach of Savarkar could be understood and the resulting consequences for the creation of meaning by Hindutva could be traced. Based on these achievements, a further result could be achieved, which consists in making a contribution to the theoretical exploration of the field of collective identity in India by preparing the field for further comparative studies.

Translation of abstract (English)

The work is based on two core questions: (1) from an empirical point-of-view the question about the core and the structure of Savarkar’s socio-political thought and action has to be raised. The guiding hypothesis here is that an all-encompassing approach is required which takes into account Savarkar’s entire life and oeuvre; (2) With regard to theory, the question is asked in how far Western theories and concepts ’are applicable to the Indian context. The hypothesis is that each concept has to be analyzed individually and generalizing statements as to a concept’s applicability are to be avoided. In view of the identified lack of scholarly works on Savarkar, as well as incoherent statements, the first major task is to, for the very first time, detect Savarkar's political, social and economic ideas comprehensively and systematically as well as to show their causal relationship to the meaningfulness in the framework of the construction of a collective identity. It is demonstrated here that "Hindutva" is a concept relating to society as a whole, which does not allow for a cutting out of particular sections. By applying Bernhard Giesen’s concept of code-based collective identities it could be shown in the theoretical dimension that Western theories (or concepts) are transferable to the Indian context and enable one to ascertain Savarkar’s system of identity construction of Hindutva. Furthermore, Savarkar’s methodological approach could be comprehended and the resulting consequences for the meaningfulness of Hindutva could be reproduced. Due to these achievements yet another result was achieved in the form of a contribution to the theoretical investigation of the field of collective identity in India, which prepares the grounds for further comparative studies.

Item Type: dissertation
Supervisor:Mitra, PhD / Roche Subrata K. Professor,
Date of thesis defense:28 January 2009
Date Deposited:27 May 2009 09:58
Date:2009
Faculties / Institutes:Service facilities> South Asia Institute (SAI)
Subjects:320 Political science
Controlled Keywords:India, nation building, political identity, group identity, national consciousness, cultural identity, nationalism, citizenship
Uncontrolled keywords:Hindutva, Hindunationalism, SavarkarHindutva, Hindunationalism, Savarkar