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Vinayak & Me: Hindutva and the Politics of Naming

Title:Vinayak & Me: Hindutva and the Politics of Naming
Author:Chaturvedi V.
Publication:Social History / Routledge, part of the Taylor & Francis Group
Enumeration:vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 155-173/ May 2003
Abstract:This article examines political and intellectual influences of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar's Hindutva: Who is a Hindu? (published in 1923) on the development of nationalism in India. The article argues that contemporary political concerns about national identity raised in India have historical links that go back to Savarkar's text, especially the discourses on the politics of naming. The article considers the implications of these writings on one of Savarkar's disciples: Dr Dattatrey Parchure, an individual who had acquired notoriety for his role in Mohandas K. Gandhi's assassination in 1948. By examining Dr Parchure's life-story, the article shows how transformations in the family, the medical profession, masculinity and religion were directly intertwined with an emergent Hindu nationalism. But more specifically, the article examines Dr Parchure's decision to name children Vinayak as a way of evoking a mental image of Savarkar as an icon in everyday life and to propagate the ideals of Hindutva. The article posits that the politics of figures like Dr Parchure and Savarkar reflect a conjuncture in the development of nationalism in India during the colonial period, and their legacies continue to influence the making of today's post-colonial nationalism.

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