Neoliberalizing Racial Justice: Caste, Race, and Diaspora Hindutva Democrats

Peace & Change, Volume 46, Issue 4, Page 384-402, October 2021.


Tracing the shifting historical and contemporary discourses of self-representation among upper caste American Hindu immigrants, this paper reflects upon the rise of diaspora “Hindutva Democrats” in the post-2020 American political landscape. What makes “Hindutva Democrats” a peculiar political embodiment is their manipulative use of the language of social justice for addressing racism in America while downplaying, if not outright refusing to acknowledge, glaring human rights abuses against minorities (for issues such as casteism and Islamophobia) in India and in the Indian diaspora. Together, these confounding and inconsistent political stances illuminate the problem of the neoliberalization of calls for racial justice, amplified by narratives of American exceptionalism and its favorable capitalist ties to India in the contemporary political landscape. This analysis of the Hindutva Democratic movement illuminates the ways in which performances of race, caste, and racialization are embedded in historical, institutional, and gendered ideological projects across borders. These performances create insidious impediments toward the achievement of the global human rights which are foundational to sustainable peace.

This was originally published on Wiley: Peace & Change: Table of Contents.