Decolonizing the Hindu Mind

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Decolonizing the Hindu Mind - Ideological Development of Hindu Revivalism is a book by Koenraad Elst.

Elst states in the book that it is "based on the main part of my doctoral dissertation, accepted by Katholicke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium in 1998. For reasons of space, several peripheral chapters have been left out here and will be published separately." Another part of his Ph.D. thesis was published in "Who is a Hindu" and in "The Saffron Swastika."

India went through two colonizations in the past centuries: one by Islam and one by Europe. Hindu revivalists see it as problematic that these colonizations also brought with them worldviews that are hostile to the Hindu way of life. Elst focuses on the analysis of the Hindu revivalist movements in this book. This work has 1674 footnotes and a bibliography of 29 pages.

Professor Edwin Bryant notes: "His PhD dissertation on Hindu nationalism, Decolonizing the Hindu Mind, became a best-seller in India". [1]

Elst replied to one of his critics, Ayub Khan of Communalism Combat, and said in a reply to his review on this book: The book under review, too, contains a lot of critical observations of the Sangh, as Ayub Khan ought to have noticed. In fact, even some of my observations which secularists might consider favourable to the Sangh, are properly meant as criticisms.[2]

Elst: " Decolonizing the Hindu Mind. Political Development of Hindu Revivalism (Rupa 2001): The book version of most of his Ph.D. thesis, defended in 1998. A very thorough treatment of the Hindu movement since before its official genesis in the 1920s and until the very end of the 1990s. Unlike other Westerners, he has been able to get a real inside look in the Hindu movement. Even rarer, he has been able to shed the usual bias that dooms this line of research to a very jaundiced view and to laughter among future generations. He shows how “nationalism is a misstatement of Hindu concerns”."

Elst: "In 2001, Rupa published the bulky book version of my PhD thesis, and reported to me that it became a bestseller. It is not the usual RSS self-praise but not the usual RSS-bashing of the "experts" either. "


  • Decolonizing the Hindu Mind - Ideological Development of Hindu Revivalism, Rupa & Co., Delhi (2001) ISBN 81-7167-519-0
  • This effort is shared with other Indian intellectuals, e.g. with Claude Alvares who shows how “attempts were made to destroy non-Western technologies”, and until recently if not today, “even the idea that other cultures may have had thriving technologies was calculatingly destroyed.”

External links[edit]

  1. Page vii in The Indo-Aryan Controversy: Evidence and Inference in Indian History Edwin Francis Bryant, Laurie L. Patton Edwin Francis Bryant, Laurie L. Patton RoutledgeCurzon, 2005 ISBN 0700714626, 9780700714629
  2. Koenraad Elst, The problem with Secularism, 2007, ISBN 9788185990811