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Prabhu, Narain Bapu (2009) Constructing Nation and History: Hindu Mahasabha in Colonial North India, 1915-1930. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This study's paramount objective is to examine the emergence of the Hindu Mahasabha as a political force and its campaign for Hindu unity and organisation in the context of the growing Hindu-Muslim conflict in colonial north India, mainly focusing on the United Provinces, in the early twentieth century. It explains that the Mahasabha articulated sangathan [Hindu consolidation] ideology as a means of constructing a distinct Hindu political identity and unity in conflict with Muslims in India. The work explores the way Arya Samaj and sanatan dharm influences, though different, were opportunistically drawn on by the Mahasabha in its sangathanist narrative. It examines the ambivalence between the Mahasabha and the Indian National Congress and at the individual level [M.M. Malaviya, etc], despite their ideological opposition. It argues that the Mahasabha with its Hindutva ideology had its focus on anti-Muslim rather than anti-colonial antagonism, adding to the difficulties over the Nehru report and the Round Table Conferences, but also showing its occasional alliances with the British, despite its fascist sympathies. It suggests that the Mahasabha had a limited class and regional base and was unable to generate much in the way of a mass movement of its own, but nonetheless developed a quasi-military wing, besides its involvement in a number of popular, more or less single-issue campaigns - shuddhi, cow protection, Nagari, etc. The work explains that the Mahasabha rejected the Congress's vision of a secular territorial nation and instead advocated a state based on Hindu religion and culture, in effect a Hindu rashtra [nation] based on a Hindu majority rule, excluding Muslims and Christians from the India nation. The thesis bridges the gap in Indian historiography by focusing entirely on the Hindu Mahasabha's politics and its sangathan ideology in the formative period in the UP.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:19

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