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As I read Akhil Ranjan Dutta’s Hindutva Regime in Assam: Saffron in the Rainbow, I am reminded of the glorious tradition of writing buranjis or current histories in Assam. The book effectively infuses politics with history—long lost especially in political writings. Dutta views history not in a historicist way but as a practice that also contributes to the making of history. The beauty of the book lies in its quiet elegance, in informing the text with theory without loudly foregrounding it.
By 2014, the BJP had already made headway in Assam. Its victory in 2016 marked a major shift in the state’s politics, challenging the consensus that sustained plurality of the state. Akhil Ranjan Dutta’s competent work provides detailed assessment of the BJP’s politics as the ruling party of Assam. Hindutva Regime in Assam: Saffron in the Rainbow is an important contribution because it meticulously shows how the BJP ruptured the consensus on key issues.
Akhil Ranjan Dutta’s Hindutva Regime in Assam: Saffron in the Rainbow is a meticulously researched book on politics in contemporary Assam. With the help of logical and intelligently crafted arguments, Dutta takes the reader along the different routes through which the BJP amassed power in Assam, riding on a populist strategy of appealing to an Assamese pride which overwhelmed the promised ‘rainbow’ with saffron nationalism.
“I very much enjoyed reading the book both because of its clarity and because it addresses core political science concepts. Once started, I could not put it down. I learned a lot about Assam and appreciate the insights the author provided.”