18 February 2022

Love-Jihad and the Politics of Hindu Nationalist Statecraft

A discussion with Alf Nilsen and Kennth Bo Nielsen  

What role does the Islamophobic conspiracy theory of “love jihad” play in the politics of Hindu nationalist statecraft—the legal codification of Hindu nationalist ideology—in India today? In this podcast, Kenneth Bo Nielsen and Alf Gunvald Nilsen unpack this question on the basis of a recent article published in the journal Religions. The idea of love jihad, they argue, is both a conservative ideology for the governance of gender relations, and a marker that is being used to draw a line between the Hindu majority and the Muslim minority in contemporary India. Legislation to prevent love jihad is an example of how the current BJP regime in India is engaged in a project of Hindu nationalist statecraft.

Alf Gunvald Nilsen is professor of sociology at the University of Pretoria. His research focuses on the political economy of development and democracy in the global South.

Kenneth Bo Nielsen is a social anthropologist working on social movements and the political economy of development in India. In addition to working and teaching at the University of Oslo, he also manages the Norwegian Network for Asian Studies.