The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Now, a new brand of Hindutva

Bangalore, April 22: A new brand of Hindutva politics is set to unravel in south India in the next three weeks.

The initiative has been taken by a clutch of political parties and social organisations like the ruling ADMK in Tamil Nadu, the Shiv Sena in Karnataka and the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam in Kerala.

This new front will formally unveil its organisational and political plans at a rally at Kottayam in Kerala on May 10. Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa, the “first ruler in the country to have passed an anti-conversion Bill”, will inaugurate the rally, organised under the banner of the Visala Hindu Sahakarana Munnani (Broad Hindu Cooperation Front).

According to Ajai Shetty, a Shiv Sena activist from Karnataka, the Front expects a massive response all over south India, both at the rally and to the new Hindutva politics it proposes to advance.

Besides the ADMK and the Shiv Sena, the initiative reportedly has the support of 26 Hindu social organisations.

Shetty says the BJP and the Sangh parivar, the original advocates of Hindutva, have diluted it so much that it has lost its distinctive flavour. “Our effort will be to bring back its original intensity and spirit,” he added.

The Yogam — a powerful social organisation of the backward-class Ezhavas in Kerala — has never openly advocated Hindutva politics, which it has traditionally criticised as “a camouflage to maintain upper-caste hegemony”. However, its general secretary, Vellappally Natesan, has in the recent past been making some statements about the need for unity among Hindus to combat what he terms “welfare minorityism that reflects in the rampant grabbing of educational and other social institutions by Christian and Muslim organisations”.

“By all indications, this is the basis for the Yogam’s participation in the new move,” Natesan said. He said the Yogam leadership has been repeatedly asking the Kerala government to pass an anti-conversion Bill but to no avail and added that the May 10 rally would press for it even more forcefully.

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