How Vajpayee Straddled Two Worlds and Made Hindutva Palatable to the Masses

They say Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the right man in the wrong party. He wasn’t. Academics and independent political analysts such as Robin Jeffrey and Vajpayee’s contemporaries in politics remember him in the 1960s as a young, firebrand leader of the Hindutva cause, someone capable of the most offensive of anti-Muslim statements. A man groomed in the … Continue reading How Vajpayee Straddled Two Worlds and Made Hindutva Palatable to the Masses

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Caste Politics: The Disillusionment Behind the Dalit Resurgence

FILMMAKER STALIN K’S AWARD-WINNING 2007 documentary on untouchability, India Untouched, features a Varanasi priest, Batuprasad Sharma Shatri, who declares animatedly before the camera that only animals use intelligence while human beings fall back on ancient textbooks for answers about life. “Therefore, I believe in caste and untouchability,” he announces with a melodramatic flourish, dismissing the … Continue reading Caste Politics: The Disillusionment Behind the Dalit Resurgence