Militant Hinduism and the Reincarnation of Hanuman

Last Sunday, I was stuck in traffic on my way to Noida’s Sector 18. Craning my neck, I saw a sea of saffron ahead of me – men in saffron kurtas and turbans, on motorbikes, carrying swords, tridents and knives. They chanted ‘Jai Shri Ram’, ‘Jai Hanuman’ and ‘Hindustan Humara Hai’.

My taxi driver, a young man named Mustafa, said it was a procession by the Bajrang Dal to celebrate Hanuman Jayanti.

“But Hanuman Jayanti was yesterday?” I asked. Today was Easter.

“It doesn’t matter. They can do what they want, whenever they want. Look at those police officers,” he said. “They are standing there laughing with them. They are providing them security, not us.”

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