'Being Hindu, Being Indian: Lala Lajpat Rai's Ideas of Nationhood' | Humanities & Social Sciences

'Being Hindu, Being Indian: Lala Lajpat Rai's Ideas of Nationhood'

HSS Occasional Seminar
Vanya Vaidehi Bhargav
Date and Time: 
Tue, 16/04/2024 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm
03:30 PM to 05:00 PM
Committee Room (MS-611) Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, 5th Floor, Main Building, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi.


Being Hindu, Being Indian undertakes a systematic intellectual study of Lala Lajpat Rai's nationalist thought through four decades of his active political life, between 1888 and 1928. It contests the dominant scholarly interpretation of Lajpat Rai's nationalist thought as the nascent stage of Savarkarite Hindutva, and highlights the internally differentiated nature of 'Hindu nationalism'. The book also argues that Lajpat Rai organised a Hindu politics in service of a secular Indian nation-state. In doing so, it both rejects assumptions of mutual exclusivity between 'Hindu communalism' and 'secular nationalism' and, importantly, argues for the need to still retain distinctions between these categories. The book also urges us to respect the nuances, complexities, fluidity, and internal tensions in the thought of politician-thinkers.

Speaker Bio

Vanya Vaidehi Bhargav is an intellectual historian of modern South Asia. She completed her DPhil in History at St Antony's College, University of Oxford. Her research has been published in leading peer-reviewed academic journals, such as the Journal of Asian Studies, Global Intellectual History, Studies in Indian Politics and Religions. She has been a Research Fellow at the M.S. Merian - R. Tagore International Centre of Advanced Studies 'Metamorphosis of the Political: Comparative Perspectives on the Long Twentieth Century' (ICAS: M.P.), New Delhi, India, and a Senior Research Fellow with Kolleg-Forschungsgruppe 'Multiple Secularities - Beyond the West, Beyond Modernities', Humanities Centre for Advanced Studies, University of Leipzig, Germany. Committed to engaging with the public, Bhargav has written for the Indian Express, The Hindu and The Wire. She tweets at @vanyavaidehi.