7/30/2019

No nation for conservatives: In Indian politics and intellectual life, the conservative temperament is all but absent

"Despite sometimes being described as conservative, there’s nothing remotely Burkean about BJP. It has presided over the renaming of Allahabad to Prayagraj, and slapped Bharatiya Jana Sangh (the predecessor to BJP) leader Deendayal Upadhyaya’s name on the iconic Mughalsarai station. Race Course Road became Lok Kalyan Marg. The party seeks to change the way history is taught and remake India in its image.

Party supporters often applaud gratuitous change: university students at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur abandoning Western style academic gowns in favour of Indian outfits, or the army’s decision a couple of years back to substitute martial music inherited from the Raj with Bollywood tunes. BJP is not connected to the past in the sense of preserving a tradition you inherited from your grandmother. The past that moves its members is the idea of a golden pre-Islamic age."