Love-Jihad and the Politics of Hindu Nationalist Statecraft


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.

The Nordic Asia Podcast is a collaboration sharing expertise on Asia across the Nordic region, brought to you by the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) based at the University of Copenhagen, along with our academic partners: the Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Turku, and Asianettverket at the University of Oslo.

We aim to produce timely, topical and well-edited discussions of new research and developments about Asia.

Your Host

Arve Hansen

Arve Hansen is a researcher at the Centre for Development and the Environment at the University of Oslo and lead the Norwegian Network for Asian Studies. Hansen's research focuses mainly on consumption and sustainability, particularly within the realms of food and mobility, in Southeast Asia and Norway.

View Profile