2: Hindu Nationalism Versus Secularism and the Social Realities of Discrimination

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This chapter opens by describing the rewriting of history in new textbooks as part of the BJP-led NDA government’s education policy, which was rolled out under the slogan ‘Indianise, nationalise, spiritualise’. It describes how the content is used to underpin Hindu pride and disparage India’s Muslim heritage, drawing battle lines between those who believe India is a secular country and those who want to redefine India on Hindu lines. The chapter goes on to look at how between 2004 and 2019 school textbooks became a political football, changing according to which party was in power across state governments (Lall, 2008), and how the new Congress-sponsored textbooks did not alter the Hindutva approach offered in many schools. The chapter turns to the effects of Hindu nationalism, including the Ghar Whapsi campaign, love jihad, and the cow slaughter ban, as the new Hinduized identity became increasingly acceptable amidst widespread anti-Muslim rhetoric across social media. The chapter then briefly reviews how specific Delhi education reforms have brought in the Happiness Curriculum and the EMC, both of which have direct links to Hindu traditions. It ends with an analysis of the NEP 2020, which also reflects some of the Hindutva discourses and approaches.

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