Hanuman's army: Adivasi and Hindutva in Gujarat




Bonar, Thane

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Scholars writing on the rise of Hindutva, particularly in Gujarat state, have attributed its success to its ability to serve middle and upper caste and class interests. In recent state and Lok Sabha elections, though, Hindutva, through the Bharatiya Janata Party, has also made significant inroads outside of this elite, particularly in Adivasi (Aboriginal) communities. This electoral support has emerged alongside Adivasi participation in antiminority violence in the Dangs District in 1999 and the 2002 post-Godhra carnage. This thesis seeks to understand these developments and in doing so rejects predominant explanations which rely on a paternalistic false-consciousness approach that strips the Adivasi of independent political agency. It shows that the economic development of Adivasi communities has led to stratification and the emergence of an Adivasi elite. Bourdieu’s notion of symbolic capital is used to show that the psychological rewards that Hindutva is able to offer this elite have material consequences and thus this hegemony can serve the interests of these elements of Adivasi society.



Adivasis, India