The marriage of Indian religiosity and western materialism Vivekananda tried to arrange makes him the perfect patron saint of the BJP, a political party of mostly upper caste middle class Hindus that strives to boost India's capabilities in the fields of nuclear bombs and information technology and also reveres the cow as holy. A hundred years after his death, the BJP has come closest to realising his project of westernising Hinduism into a nationalist ideology: one which has pretensions to being all-inclusive, but which demonises Muslims and seeks to pre-empt with its rhetoric of egalitarianism the long overdue political assertion of India's lower caste groups.
Vivekananda's modern-day disciples are helped considerably by the fact that the Indian bourgeoisie is no longer small and insignificant. It is growing—the current numbers are between 150-200 million. There are millions of rich Indians living outside India. In America, they constitute the richest minority. It is these affluent, upper caste Indians in India and abroad who largely bankrolled the rise to power of Hindu nationalists, and who now long for closer military and economic ties between India and western nations. The new conditions of globalisation—free trade, faster communications—help them work faster towards the alliance Vivekananda proposed between an Indian elite and the modern West. As a global class, they are no less ambitious than the one which in the Roman empire embraced Christianity and made it an effective tool of worldly power. Hinduism in their hands has never looked more like the Christianity and Islam of Popes and Mullahs, and less like the multiplicity of unselfconsciously tolerant faiths it still is for most Indians. Their growing prominence suggests that Vivekananda may yet emerge as more influential in the long run than Gandhi, Nehru or Tagore—the three great Indian leaders, whose legacy of liberal humanism middle class India already seems to have frittered away as it heads for intellectually and spiritually oppressive times.
Interesting article on the historical roots of the BJP fascist ideology.