Endless Siege: Education and Nationalism in Vidya Bharati Schools

ISBN : 9780192865564

Krzysztof Iwanek
384 Pages
140 x216 mm
Pub date
May 2022
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This is an ethnographic study of the Vidya Bharati chain of schools in India which are run by a Hindu nationalist organization called the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The first study of its kind, this volume is an important narrative on the role and impact of textbooks in modern India. Despite having limited resources (they are run on a tight budget) and being based on a radical ideology that derives from a 'Hindu' nationalist agenda, the Vidya Bharati schools have achieved considerable success in the free market of private education and have grown to over 12,000 schools within 40 years. They are an important example of the interlinkage between ideology and nationalism in contemporary India. The author analyses school structure, curriculum, teaching quality, institutional goals, and ideology in an effort to identify reasons behind Vidya Bharati's success and to show through his field research that a combined strategy of pragmatism blended with ideology has allowed the schools to become highly sought-after. This analysis then asks broader questions about the failures of the public education system in India.


1 Twins: Hindu Nationalism and Education
2 Strong Roots, Myriad Branches. Structure and Spread of Vidya Bharati
3 Life of Schools
4 From Sages to Sieges. Textbooks in Vidya Bharati Schools
5 Many Pasts. Comparing Vidya Bharati and NCERT's Narratives on History
6 Minstrels and Kings. Connections between Vidya Bharati, RSS and BJP
CONCLUSION: Vidya Bharati and Nationalist Sanskritisation

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