Understanding Hindutva: An Introduction [PART 1]

Posted on May 21, 2013 in Politics

By Saif Khan:

And God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son and that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but last till eternity.’ This iconic Biblical verse mentioned in Gospel of John, Chapter 3, Verse 16 has served as the principal plank of Christian theology since centuries. It happens to be the kingpin of evangelists and Bible thumpers. Similarly, the apologists of the Hindutva brigade continue to chant the same old slogan of it being a ‘way of life of the Indian people and the Indian culture or ethos’ whenever they are pressed upon to define the same.

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This definition of the term Hindutva was accepted by the Supreme Court in the year 1995. The Hindutva brigade flaunts the Supreme Court judgement of 1995 as a vindication of the constitutionality of its ideology but what the Hindutva brigade hides from the general public is the result of a review petition filed by Muhammad Aslam in connection to the Hindutva Judgement of 1995 in which the court observed that, “its judgement had been misread and any candidate carrying this misunderstanding to the polls with a communal campaign would have to be ready for an unhappy surprise.

The three-judge bench of Justices JS Verma, MP Singh and K Venkataswami observed, “If it happens, we are here to correct it.” In fact even the 1995 Supreme Court Judgment on Hindutva exposed the unilateral and fascistic tendencies of the Sangh’s ideology by defining it apart from being a way of life as “a synonym of Indianisation, i.e., development of uniform culture by obliterating the differences between all the cultures co-existing in the country” which is the very anti-thesis of the concept of unity in diversity ie unity without uniformity and diversity without fragmentation.

The word Hindutva (ie Hindu-ness) was coined by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in his ideological document ‘Hindutva : Who is a Hindu ?’ written in the year 1923. It was in this document that Savarkar opined the concept of ‘pitrabhoomi’ and ‘punyabhoomi’ and described Hindus as those who consider India (A Hindu Rashtra) to be their fatherland as well as their holy land. As per this definition, apart from Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs were also to be considered as Hindus whereas Muslims, Christians, Jews etc were to be held as foreigners.

On the occasion of his 59th birthday in the month of May, Savarkar wrote to his followers, “Hinduise all politics and militarize Hindudom and resurrection of our Hindu Nation is bound to follow.” He further stated, “Hindus should henceforth test all national and international politics and policies through the Hindu point of view alone. Whatever policy or political event contributes to safeguard and promote Hindu interests must be backed up by the Hindus and whatever is likely to prove detrimental to Hindu interests must be condemned and opposed by the Hindus.” However, Hindutva apologists have mastered the art of evading such words of the principal ideologue of Hindutva and have maintained high standards of euphemism revolving around the same old notion of Hindutva being a ‘way of life’.

 PART 2, PART 3

References:

Articles:
How to wipe out Islamic Terror — Subramanian Swamy
The Guru of Hate — Ramachandra Guha
Conceptualizing Hindutva Fascism — Ram Puniyani
The Sangh is in my Soul — AB Vajpayee

Books:
We or Our Nationhood Defined — MS Golwalkar
Bunch of Thoughts — MS Golwalkar
Confessions of a Secular Fundamentalist — Mani Shankar Aiyar
Bible (King James Version)
Quran (Translation by Maulana Wahiuddin Khan)
Rig Veda (Translation by Ralph TH Griffith)

Interviews:
Bal Thackeray — India Today (1984)

Pamphlets:
Hindutva: Who is a Hindu? — VD Savarkar

Weblinks:
1995 Supreme Court Judgement
Savarkar’s Message on 59th Birthday
Vajpayee on the eve of Babri Masjid Demolition
Review Petition on Hindutva
Gita
Shiv Mahimna Stotaram

Others:
Technical Session (India Today Conclave) — Narendra Modi, Dgvijay Singh & Farooq Abdullah
Gujarat Gaurav Yatra (2002 – Rallies)

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