The politicisation of mothering in Hindu missions

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This article compares and contrasts the religious discourses of three large trans-national Hindu organisations: the Ramakrishna Mission, the Sadhu Vaswani Mission, and Guru Mata Amritanandamayi Mission. It argues that despite the centrality of a spiritual message each organisation pursues a less obvious political and gender shaped vision of the world. The study combines a review of literature with fieldwork conducted in the centres based in Pune, Maharashtra between November 2008 and October 2009.The fieldwork and analysis of the organisations' religious discourses reveals how broad, open-ended religious concepts such as love and compassion are projected through and conflated with notions of women as mothers. The gendered ideologies pursued by each organisation are politicised in that they entail rigorous pursuit of a specific vision of how India and the world should be. However, as this article shows, despite the outward pursuit of similar spiritual goals the political objectives of each organisation differ revealing three competing visions of the world.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-177
Number of pages17
JournalPolitics, Religion & Ideology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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