ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

Cross-border Hindutva and Global Islamophobia: Narratives from Pakistan


Hussain Ghulam - Bahria University, Islamabad, Humanities & Social Sciences, Islamabad, Pakistan


39 – Citizens at Risk: Caste, Violence and State Institutions in India


 Eager to seek social inclusion, political representation, self-respect and to get rid of the quotidian caste violence, Dalits (mostly Hindu) in Pakistan either maneuver into anti-Hindu or pro-Hindu directions. The former direction induces them to convert to Islam or to take a lengthier route of ashrafisation without conversion.  They internalize the culture of the dominant ashrafia castes, and claim to be Sufis yet choose to remain within the Hindu fold. The latter direction is taken under the influence of transnational and cross-border Hindutva and global Islamophobia. This paper extrapolates on these sociopolitical trajectories of Dalit assertion by exemplifying (a) the projection of Hindutva by Pakistan Hindu Council under the grab of Sufism and Sanatan Dharam.  (b) the ongoing narrative of forced conversion as it finds a template in India-based love-jehad and glosses over the issue of caste endogamy, (c) the role of religious missionaries, the suppression of Rampali (Kabir panth) by local Hindutva activists.  The paper, thus, interrogates the academic, territorial categories of ‘India’ and ‘Pakistan, the notion of the modern nation state and argues to evolve the transnational and trans-border Indic episteme to understand the problem of caste that cuts across Indo-Pak border, and that predates the making of Pakistan, the part of former British India and Hindustan where caste is presumed to be an Indian thing.