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Opinion
Chandrahas Choudhury

Hindu Nationalism, Unbound

On Monday, I woke up and was astonished to find myself -- overnight, and without any act of my own will -- a Hindu nationalist.
A little short on inclusiveness.
A little short on inclusiveness.

On Monday, I woke up and was astonished to find myself -- overnight, and against my own will -- a Hindu nationalist.

Specifically, I found myself a member of India's largest and most vociferous Hindu nationalist organization, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, which has no membership requirements other than the initiate being Hindu and male. Gone were the boxer shorts in which I'd gone to bed; in their place were the charmingly baggy, beige long shorts, or "half-pant," worn by RSS members of all ages and in all climes, the mark of a disciplined collective. Gone, too, was my status as a citizen of a multicultural nation -- a more elevated viewpoint replaced this false consciousness, and I saw that the origins of the Indian nation went back deep into time, into the source springs of Hinduism.