Ingrid Therwath

« Long-distance nationalism », an expression coined by Benedict Anderson, is often used in reference to transnational political activities. But the dynamics of this expatriate nationalism tend to be neglected. Mere nostalgia or even spontaneous mobilisations are evoked to explain this phenomenon. They, however, fail to explain the mechanism that lies behind « long-distance nationalism ». This paper wishes to highlight, through the example of the Hindu nationalist movements, the implication of political entrepreneurs in the country of origin and the instrumental dimension of « long-distance nationalism ». The Sangh Parivar, a network of nationalist Hindu organisations, was indeed replicated among the Hindu diaspora and its structure was litterally exported by a centralised body located in India itself. Of course, the spread of the Sangh Parivar and of its Hindutva ideology abroad was greatly facilitated by local policies like multiculturalism and by the rise of racism in the countries of emigration. A comparison of Hindu nationalist outlets in the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Canada brings to light the two main factors in instilling « long-distance nationalism » : a favorable local context for ethnic mobilisation among migrants on the one hand, and a centralised organisation in the country of origin on the other hand. Eventually, the engineering of long-distance Hindu nationalism from India questions the changing nature of nationalism in a globalised world.