Uma Bharti, a female leader of the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party, Indian People’s Party), was born in a village in the district of Tikamgarh (Madhya Pradesh), to a poor peasant family. As a child, she developed an ability to read and recite Hindu epics. She joined the VHP (Vishwa Hindu had, World Hindu Council) at the age of eight. With the support of her political mentor, Rajmata Vijayraje Scindia, she joined the BJP, and contested the 1984 Lok Sabha elections, at the age of twenty-five. She was presented as a sadhvi (a religious woman having renounced the world). Known for her outspokenness, she acquired national stature for her involvement in the Ramjanmabhoomi campaign (which was mobilizing support in favor of the Hindu claim of the Babri Masjid site and of the construction of a temple dedicated to the Hindu god Ram) during the 1990s. Her slogan; “Ram-Lala Ham Aaenge, Mandir Vahi Banaenge” (“Dear Ram, come we will, build a temple there we will”), galvanized the crowds. She was among the BJP personalities who led the kar sevaks (volunteers) during the demolition of the Babri Masjid on 6 December 1992. In 2003, the BJP’s sweeping victory in the assembly elections of Madhya Pradesh allowed her to become chief minister. She was forced to resign in 2004 when an arrest warrant was issued against her for her involvement in the Hubli agitation that had led to riots in 1994. She was expelled from the BJP for indiscipline in 2005, undertook a yatra from Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) to Ayodhya, and tried to launch her own party, the Bharatiya Janshakti Party. After six years however, she returned to the BJP.
JAFFRELOT, Christophe. 1996. The Hindu Nationalist Movement and Indian Politics: 1925 to the 1990s, Strategies of identity-building, implantation and mobilisation. London: C. Hurst.