Hindu nationalist Conceptions of History: the Ayodhya Controversy 1989-1992.
My thesis is concerned with Hindu nationalist conceptions of history in relation to the Ayodhya controversy. Hindu nationalist scholars tried to legitimate their claims that the Muslim ruler, Babar, had destroyed a Hindu temple in the city of Ayodhya, by referring to Indian history. The references made to Indian history represent the point of entry to my study, as Hindu nationalist scholars commented on the entire Indian history during the Ayodhya controversy. I argue that their approach to history was essentialist, in the sense that they pointed to homogeneous, timeless and dichotomous groups at the centre of the historical scene. I further argue that Hindu nationalist conceptions of history were ahistorical, as they conceptualized Indian history as an eternal struggle between Hindu India, and foreign, oppressive forces, characterized as the Other . Following this ahistorical approach, I further argue that Hindu nationalist scholars were well as preoccupied with contemporary Indian politics. I try to establish that the main aim of their writing was to replace a political understanding of nationhood, which the Hindu nationalists regarded as the Other in the Indian context, with a cultural definition of nationhood, reflecting Hindu culture.