Prashad, Vijay. Namaste Sharon: Hindutava and Sharonism Under U.S. Hegemony.

AuthorMaira, Sunaina
PositionBook Review

Prashad, Vijay. Namaste Sharon: Hindutava and Sharonism Under U.S. Hegemony. New Delhi, India: LeftWord Books, 2003. 111 pages. Paper Rs. 75.

VIJAY PRASHAD'S NAMASTE SHARON is an extremely important and timely book that needs to be taken note of by those doing research in Middle Eastern and South Asian studies, as well as in Arab American and Asian American studies. It is also a political intervention that makes clear what the stakes are in the recent alliances between Israel and India, and right-wing Indian American and pro-Zionist formations in the U.S. Prashad documents the histories and contours of these alliances, and also provides a crucial analysis of the ideological underpinnings of Hindutva (the belief in Hindu supremacy and a Hindu state) and Sharonism (right-wing Zionism) that have led to this convergence in the regions involved as well as in the diaspora.

The book is a short one, but it contains some critical information that has not been carefully documented before and that is useful for considering the implications of right-wing alliances. The argument of the book develops through four major pieces of the larger puzzle of the affair between Hindutva and Sharonism: it traces the India-Israel entente; analyzes the ideological and political convergence between Sharonism and Hindutva; situates it in the context of U.S. interests with respect to both nations and the larger regions; and examines the emerging alliance of Hindu fundamentalist and Zionist lobby groups in the U.S.

One of Prashad's main arguments is that "Hindutva-Sharonism" is a "bloc that functions as subcontractors for the messianic imperialism of the United States" (p. 7). India's engagement with Israel has emerged because of its interest in, and to, the United States, and it is significant because it reflects a major shift in India's position with respect to the now only remaining superpower. The story of the India-Israel-U.S. axis is a story of the political changes wrought by the emergence of U.S. empire. In 1949, India voted not to admit Israel into the United Nations; equally if not more important, India was the first non-Arab state to recognize the PLO as "the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people," it voted to censure Zionism as Racism in the UN in 1975, and it recognized Palestine as a state with the opening of the Palestinian embassy in New Delhi in 1988. Prashad notes that this was a period of "Indo-Arab solidarity" (p. 18), exemplified...

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