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The Nehru Memorial Museum & Library


‘Political Sadhus and Hindu Sangathan: Engaging with the Gorakhpur Math’ , 21st April, 2015 .


‘Political Sadhus and Hindu Sangathan:
Engaging with the Gorakhpur Math’


Dr. Malavika Kasturi,


This paper examines the relationship between Vaishnava and Shaiva religious traditions (sampraday) with Hindu nationalist political bodies from the early twentieth century onwards. It suggests that monastic institutions (maths), and sadhus connected to monastic networks shaped Hindu nationalist discourses on sangathan and Hindutva in a variety of ways. The paper will study the intertwined histories of the Gorakhpur temple and math, belonging to the Gorakhnath sampraday and Mahant Digvijaynath with the Hindu Mahasabha to understand this ambiguous but important relationship.


Dr. Malavika Kasturi is Associate Professor of History at the University of Toronto and currently Fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi. She is the author of Embattled Identities, Rajput Lineages and the Colonial State in Colonial North India (2002) and numerous book chapters and articles on household, family and more recently monasticism. She is currently working on a book manuscript on the role of Vaishnava and Shaiva religious traditions and their associations in shaping enunciations of Hindu nationalism in twentieth century India.

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