ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

Hindutva Incorporation and the Adivasi Dilemma: The Story of the Growth of BJP in Jharkhand


SHAHDEO KUNAL - Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, Humanities and Social Sciences, Mumbai, India


38 – Adivasis and Adivasi Studies


 The eastern Indian state of Jharkhand has hitherto been the hotbed of Adivasi mobilization. The history of resistance and resilience of Adivasis against exploitation and assimilation in the region has defined the political content of Adivasi subjectivity. The complex political space of Jharkhand, plurality of social movements, the presence of Maoist insurgency and the enduring history of Adivasi identity assertion provide a very tricky socio-political terrain for Hindu majoritarianism to gain support among the Adivasis. The strength of the Church and the continued popularity of regional parties pose further difficulties for the growth of majoritarian politics. Despite of these obstacles for the growth of Hindu majoritarianism, in recent times Jharkhand has witnessed unprecedented events of religious tension and violence which coincide with the increasing electoral dominance of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) in the region. This paper aims to provide a historically grounded and socially situated account of the Adivasi turn towards Hindutva in Jharkhand. The paper would try to engage with mainly two questions: what are the socio-political factors for the Adivasi support for Hindu majoritarian party like BJP? How is the Hindutva brigade trying to negotiate with Adivasi identity assertion and claim making to embed Hindutva ideology in the region?