Ahmad, Irfan. 2021. “Hindu Orientalism: The Sachar Committee and Over-Representation of Minorities in Jail.” In Iulia Lumina (ed.) The Politics of Muslim Identities: South and Southeast Asia. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Abstract: This chapter is divided into three parts. The first part enunciates the argument about Hindu Orientalism and identifies the strategies of its operation. In the second part, I demonstrate the argument by discussing the responses to the SCR. Here I focus on the responses from the Hindutva formations, especially the BJP and theRSS. The RSS is the ideological fountainhead of anti-Muslims ethnic Hindu nationalism, which praises the Nazi ideology. I dwell on the responses from L. K. Advani, key leader of the BJP. I then discuss the response from RSS’s English mouthpiece, Organiser, as well as one of its key contemporary ideologues – Rakesh Sinha, a teacher at the University of Delhi. I close this section with a discussion of the opposition by Narendra Modi’s Gujarat Government to the implementation of the Scholarship Scheme recommended by the SCR. Having demonstrated the Re-Orientalist opposition to the SCR and its eventual dumping by the current Union Government, in the second section I show that the victory of Re-Orientalism was not inevitable. Returning to Balram and Mohammad, I suggest there existed a possible path other than the triumph of Re-Orientalism. But the rampant notion of democracy – mediatised, ceremonial, statistical and corporate-driven – blocked this path. In the final and concluding part, I return to the key argument of the chapter to conduct a critique of the idea of Re-Orientalism to situate its theoretical relevance differently.