Author ORCID Identifier

Degree Year


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




Emilia Bachrach

Committee Member(s)

Margaret D. Kamitsuka, Co-chair
Corey Ladd Barnes, Co-chair


Hindutva, Cultural studies, Indian environmentalism, Indian politics, BJP, Sacred geographies, Ganges River, Religious studies, Hinduism, Modi, South Asian, Area studies, India, Political ecology, Nationalism


The transposition of the cultural, religious, and sacred onto physical geographies is practiced by humans everywhere as landscapes are canvases for meaning making and integral placeholders of histories. In the Indian context, this practice is distinct for several reasons. Scholars of Hindu traditions recognize that the place-oriented disposition and centrality of land to Hindu traditions and cultures is unprecedented and integral to identity formation in modern India. As India faces increasing environmental degradation, the preservation of “sacred geographies” is especially crucial to the identity of Hindu traditions. The rise of Hindu nationalist (Hindutva) political parties (e.g., the Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP) has heavily influenced the mapping of landscape as distinctly Hindu. By analyzing contemporary environmental movements in India and delineating Hindu nationalist histories and contemporary politics, this project claims that environmental work politicizes the landscape through a Hindutva framework in ways that shape environmentalism to prioritize geographical features tied to imagined Hindu pasts and futures that further a Hindu nationalist agenda.

Included in

Religion Commons