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‘Not Flowers, but Flames’_ the Women Behind the Hindu Nationalist Movement .pdf (584.1 kB)

‘Not Flowers, but Flames’: the Women Behind the Hindu Nationalist Movement

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posted on 2024-04-01, 17:18 authored by Amarnath Amarasingam, Shweta Desai

This paper attempts to unpack how and why women become part of the Hindutva movement, and how many of them have tried to step out of the rigid patriarchal boundaries to further their political aspirations. It traces the history of these militant women from the first organization under the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), to the evolution of women as ideologues and influencers in the digital age. Much of the research on women in the Hindutva movement tends to focus on particular organizations, like the Durga Vahini or the women’s wing of the Shiv Sena. This paper proceeds as follows: we explore previous research on female activists and influencers in right-wing movements, provide a brief history of some of the organizational aspects of female activism in the Hindutva movement, examine some historical turning points for women’s involvement, and conclude by looking at the new generation of influencers and activists in this space, both online and offline. 

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  • Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Department or Program

  • Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism

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