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Majoritarian StateHow Hindu Nationalism is Changing India$
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Angana P. Chatterji, Thomas Blom Hansen, and Christophe Jaffrelot

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190078171

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190078171.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 29 November 2021

Immoral Times

Immoral Times

Vigilantism in a South Indian City

(p.69) 3 Immoral Times
Majoritarian State

Ian M. Cook

Oxford University Press

Cook examines the context and function of the ongoing moral and cultural policing of young people and minorities in Mangaluru by vigilante Hindu groups with government complicity. Based on long term ethnographic fieldwork with the city’s burgeoning population of students and underemployed youth, Cook argues that the violence is fueled by the resentment against what is seen as the cultural pollution of ‘excessive’ freedom among middle class youth. Many of the vigilantes are underemployed youth, structurally shut out from gainful employment and prestigious education. Instead they assume positions as self-appointed guardians of Indian culture and putative ‘Hindu values’, as well as protectors of young women against the seductions of western immorality, and the imagined sexual predation by men from the minority community. Cook explains this as a contradiction within neo-liberalism: a tension between the ‘Western cultural values’ that are resented by the vigilantes, and their simultaneous celebration of a neo-liberal culture of economic freedom that they hope will deliver them into a life of success. Their failure in the latter seems to fuel their commitment to combat the former.

Keywords:   Immorality, Cultural Norms, Vigilante Violence, Youth, Hindu Values, Employment, Neo-Liberalism

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