Date of Award

6-2002

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Comparative Religion

First Advisor

Nancy Falk

Second Advisor

Brian Wilson

Third Advisor

Susanne Mrozik

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

British rule in India during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century was marked by an increase in nationalistic activity. These nationalist groups strove for the self-rule of India and the expulsion of the British. The common ground on which the nationalists drew inspiration from was the shared religious heritage of India. The most successful of these early movements was the Hindu nationalist movement. To the outsider, the history of the Hindu nationalist movement is tangled and confusing but understanding it sheds much-needed light on the character of contemporary religious identity in India.

The thesis focuses on: a) extracting information from the historical record and creating a coherent timeline of the Hindu nationalist movement; b) presenting the key individuals and organizations; c) evaluating the social philosophy of the Hindu nationalist movement; d) offering speculative conclusions as to the future direction of religious identity in India.

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