Cover of The Greater India Experiment by Arkotong Longkumer
The Greater India Experiment
Hindutva and the Northeast
Arkotong Longkumer

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December 2020
336 pages.
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Hardcover ISBN: 9781503613461
Paperback ISBN: 9781503614222

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It is important that even institutions often viewed as abhorrent are dispassionately understood. This assertion is what motivates Arkotong Longkumer's pathbreaking ethnography of the Sangh Parivar, a family of organizations comprising the Hindu-right. In The Greater India Experiment, Longkumer counters the urge to explain away their ideas and actions as inconsequential by demonstrating their painstaking efforts to influence local politics and culture in the "Mongolian fringe" of Northeast India. For the first time, Longkumer constructs a comprehensive understanding of Hindutva, an idea central to the establishment of a Hindu nation-state, focusing on the Sangh Parivar's engagement with indigenous peoples in a region that has long resisted the "idea of India." He describes their activities as a Hindutva experiment, and through that lens analyzes their actions and behaviors in relation to the broader Indian political and cultural landscape, ultimately painting a unique picture of the country today.

About the author

Arkotong Longkumer is Senior Lecturer in Modern Asia at the University of Edinburgh, and Senior Research Fellow at the Kohima Institute, Nagaland. He is the co-author of Indigenous Religion(s): Local Grounds, Global Networks (2020), and co-editor of Neo-Hindutva (2019).

"This vivid ethnography of Hindu nationalist militants in Northeast India brings to life an encounter of contrary convictions. It explores how enthusiasts for the idea of a singular Indic identity feel forced to adapt their tactics in a region where this identity is soundly challenged. Subtle and surprising, this extraordinary study is essential reading for anyone interested in contemporary Hindu nationalist politics."

—Willem van Schendel, University of Amsterdam