India’s tribal lands, a factory of Hindu foot soldiers

By Krittivas Mukherjee/Reuters:

JALESPETA, India: Deep inside the thickly forested hills of eastern India, where ancient tribes live in huts of grass-and-mud cut off from modernity, a stealth electoral weapon is at work for India’s Hindu nationalists.

It is a sprawling residential school founded by a Hindu proselytiser, where girls from animistic tribes learn Sanskrit prayers and Hindu philosophy in between gardening and cooking.

Across India’s remote tribal belt, a zone of Christian missionary activity for decades, such tutelage is aimed at converting tribes to Hinduism and creating foot soldiers for Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP, the political standard-bearer of India’s Hindu nationalist groups.

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