Small acts, Big Society: sewa and Hindu (nationalist) identity in Britain

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This paper examines developing Hindu identity in a British context. It focuses on a recent initiative known as Sewa Day, an annual day dedicated to the provision of sewa, or service, as small-scale social action in local communities. Hindu nationalist organizations such as the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh have been central to promoting and taking part in Sewa Day. The paper asks what purpose is served by the drive to promote social action in this way, arguing that it represents a significant attempt to project Hindus as model citizens, contributors to what the UK government has termed the 'Big Society'. The paper explores the implications of this project in terms of its ability to re-situate the politics of Hindu nationalism in relation to dominant registers of civic virtue. © 2014 © 2014 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEthnic and racial studies
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Big Society
  • citizenship
  • diaspora
  • Hindu nationalism
  • social action


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