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Mythopolitics in the age of Asian authoritarianism
October 22, 2021 @ 09:00 - 10:30
Panel at the 2021 Asianet conference: Authoritarianism, populism and new forms of nationalism in Asia.
The panel takes as its starting point the political mobilization and styles of political performance that are associated with neo-hindutva and its vision of the Indian nation. Underlying the authoritarian populism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a hindutva mythopolitics, a kind of politics that draws upon and reinterprets mythological narratives, cosmologies, symbols, and forms to assert and uphold the authority of the sovereign. However, religious cosmologies and myths are also crucial resources for new political formations that are in opposition to the mythopolitics of hindutva. In emerging popular movements and oppositional online spaces, myths are recast in ways that vehemently challenge and oppose the hegemonic narratives of the Hindu right. As an analytical approach, mythopolitics cuts across the divide between the populist authoritarianism of the state and various forms of resistance and “counter-politics”, and it is not geographically confined to South Asia. In the panel we ask, how is myth employed (politically, creatively, artistically) to create or challenge positions of political authority?