Vasudha Mohanka
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Ved Garbh Vihar
Hindutva’s latest neo-eugenic repronational project
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Moving away from Franklin’s original 2016 concept of ‘repronationalism’, this chapter conceptualises repronationalism as bureaucratic programmes aimed at surveilling and controlling human reproduction, especially of already marginalised bodies (namely, Muslims and Christians). After providing a brief historical overview, the chapter analyses Ved Garbh Vihar (VGV), a non-biomedical programme, based on Ayurvedic principles, thriving alongside a biomedical reproductive industry of assisted reproduction and commercial gestational surrogacy since the early 2000s in Gujarat, the Hindutva laboratory of India. VGV is a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS-right-wing, Hindu nationalist, paramilitary volunteer organisation) run biopolitical-ethno-religious-repronational project claiming to produce perfect progeny for the perfect nation. A close reading of English-language print media articles, and Twitter and Facebook pages of VGV reveals an inconsistent narrative with some articles mocking the programme and others endorsing it through detailing success stories of prodigious children born. Most tweets draw upon the mother-as-god and mother-as-nation metaphors valorising biological motherhood. The Facebook posts demonstrate a metaphorical imagination to validate Ayurveda as science, claiming the inherent eugenic ideals within Ayurveda. The chapter concludes that VGV produces not just babies, but reproduces neo-eugenic ideals creating a potential ‘Made in India babies’ industry towards the larger project of Hindutva nation building.

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