…Early in the last century, Aurobindo Ghose and his lieutenant, Jatindranath Banerji, began popularising the idea of a violent revolution against the British. But, with a population disarmed by law, insurgency was impossible, making targeted terrorism the only viable option. The ideological currents the revolutionary terrorists tapped were diverse: Marxism, anarchism, Irish nationalism.
For many, though, the creation of a masculine Hindu nationalism was key to this process. Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, who went on to lead the Hindu Mahasabha and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, set up Abhinav Bharat in May, 1904, to begin this project.
In one manifesto, Savarkar organisation, Abhinav Bharat’s followers promised to “shed upon the earth the life-blood of the enemies who destroy religion.” Later, the radical right journal Yugantar argued that the murder of foreigners in India was “not a sin but a yagna”.…
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