The Bhagwa Dhwaj flag has been used as symbol of bravery and the ideology of Hindutva, mainly by Hindu nationalists. Photo: AFP

A strain of Hindu nationalism, Hindutva, has grown in global prominence since 2014 under Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s BJP party. Now tensions are rising in the Indian community, both here and internationally, between those supporting Hindutva, and those concerned it promotes racism and Islamophobia.

At the centre of the row in New Zealand is Massey University Professor Mohan J Dutta. He has written on how Hindutva thinking is being used to create a sense of pride in the Indian diaspora, yet is also leading to prejudice. Dutta has been the subject of online abuse, and a petition has been circulating, asking that Massey University and Dutta cease such publishing.

Dutta is himself a Hindu and says supporters of Hindutva wrongly conflate it with hinduism, which is a far broader church.

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