IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Constructing and Contesting a Gujarati-Hindu Ethno-religious Identity Through Development Programmes in an Indian Province


  • Nikita Sud


Through a case study of Hindu nationalism in India, this paper explores how development programmes serve as the site of construction of, as well as contestation over, religious identity. The participation of low-caste Dalits and tribal Adivasis in the mass violence perpetrated against Muslims in the Indian province of Gujarat in 2002 conveyed the impression that Hindu nationalists had achieved one of their key objectives of creating “Hindu unity”. Cutting across social and status divisions in the local Hindu population, the Hindu nationalist party's constituency today includes its traditional upper-caste supporters, as well as lower castes. While “the other” in the Hindu nationalist conception of community included Dalits and Adivasis as well as Muslims and Christians until the mid-1980s, the recent “Hindu unity” agenda has seen the boundaries of “the other” closing in around Muslims and Christians only. Despite these developments, this paper argues, continuing attempts at the construction of a unified ethno-religious identity are circumscribed and complicated by processes of contestation. Through village-level research, it shows how government actors are involved in simultaneous processes of construction as well as contestation over a Gujarati-Hindu identity through development programmes.

Suggested Citation

  • Nikita Sud, 2007. "Constructing and Contesting a Gujarati-Hindu Ethno-religious Identity Through Development Programmes in an Indian Province," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(2), pages 131-148.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:oxdevs:v:35:y:2007:i:2:p:131-148
    DOI: 10.1080/13600810701321951

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:oxdevs:v:35:y:2007:i:2:p:131-148. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chris Longhurst). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.