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Violence, religion, and masculinism in contemporary India: an analysis of the writings of Vivekananda, Golwalkar, and Gandhi

Chakraborty, Arpita orcid logoORCID: 0000-0002-1003-4031 (2019) Violence, religion, and masculinism in contemporary India: an analysis of the writings of Vivekananda, Golwalkar, and Gandhi. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.

This thesis enquires into the process of normalisation of violent masculinity and masculinism in India through the use of religion. Masculinism is defined as the presence of excessive masculine values, malecentred view of social relationships and symbolisation of masculine hegemony (Kriesky 2014). This thesis shows the pervasive existence of masculinism across the Indian political spectrum through analysis of the major works of three leaders from different ideological positions – Swami Vivekananda, M. S. Golwalkar, and M. K. Gandhi. These three leaders had very different visions of the future of India; however, this thesis found recurrent connections between masculinity and violence in the works of all three. This link is shown to have been bolstered in the works of all three – even in the ‘non-violent’ teachings of Gandhi – through the use of religion. Religious texts like the Bhagavad Gita, and ideas like karma, dharma, and karma yoga are used to link ideas of masculinity with structural, symbolic violence in the form of caste, class, and racial discrimination. This research found three different forms of religion-influenced masculinity in the works of Vivekananda, Golwalkar, and Gandhi – ascetic masculinity, culinary masculinity and violent masculinity. A feminist rhetorical analysis of the written works of these leaders shows how these religionsanctioned masculinities result in Bourdieusian symbolic violence against women, dalits, and other minority communities in India. All these leaders subscribed to a hegemonic idea of masculinity – virile, upper caste, and heteronormative – with its forms of violence practiced to this day. Vivekananda espoused a spiritual, ascetic form of masculinity, distinctly religious in its aspiration of Hindu conquest. Golwalkar’s political violent masculinity also aimed to re-establish Hindu supremacy in India. The ‘Othering’ of Muslims in Golwalkar’s writings was also a response to Gandhi’s alleged effeminate influence on Hindu masculinity. Ironically, this work shows how despite these allegations, masculinism in Gandhi’s writings resulted in his supporting honour killings and structural forms of violence, like the caste system. The continued relevance of the ideas of these three leaders and the allied prevalence of masculinism is underlined through an analysis of contemporary Indian politics, which shows that all these three forms of masculinities remain relevant. The beef lynchings by Gau Raksha committees, the growing political capital ascribed to celibacy, increasing violence against women and the rising nationalist othering of minority communities are evidence of religiously motivated violent masculinities gaining ground in contemporary India.
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Date of Award:March 2019
Supervisor(s):Conway, Maura
Uncontrolled Keywords:Hindu; Masculinity; Politics
Subjects:Humanities > History
Humanities > Religions
Humanities > Culture
Social Sciences > Gender
Social Sciences > Identity
DCU Faculties and Centres:DCU Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Science > School of Law and Government
Research Institutes and Centres > Institute for International Conflict Resolution and Reconstruction
Use License:This item is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. View License
ID Code:22942
Deposited On:03 Apr 2019 13:28 by Maura Conway . Last Modified 03 Apr 2019 13:28

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