Perhaps it is not too much of an exaggeration to claim that future historians will consider the past decade to be one of the most crucial periods in the development of contemporary Hinduism, both in its native Indian subcontinent and in other parts of the world. In India itself, the expression of the collective Hindu political consciousness has never been more articulate and the goal of making India a "Hindu Nation" never before seemed a reality within reach. Even many Hindu intellectuals who keep close watch on the tenuous relationship between religion and politics in a multifaith India were taken by surprise at the energy the concept of "Hindutva" has been able to generate, an energy that was strong enough to pull down the mosque at Ayodhya, and with it some of the reputation Hinduism has enjoyed in the West as one of the most tolerant religions in the world.

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