By Saif Khan:
A dubious game is being played in the nation in the name of Hindutva and Nationalism. In reality, it is pseudo-Hinduism and jingoism. A lot of people equate Hindutva with Hinduism but this understanding of Hindutva is flawed since the ancient Vedic religion stands in complete contradiction to Hindutva as Hindutva assaults its fundamental tenets of equality, peace, co-existence and tolerance. Hinduism is the oldest living religion in the world. It can be possibly ruled as the religion with the widest and most tolerant set of beliefs and teachings. Hinduism, unlike other religions,Â isn’tÂ confined to one holy scripture. Its teachings have been enunciated in an array of religious books. Hinduism breaks all ideological barriers and is the only religion of the world whose concept of God encompasses beliefs which include monotheism, polytheism, henotheism, kathenotheism, panentheism, pantheism, monism, agnosticism and even atheism. It was Hindu scholars who preached to the world the great doctrine of non duality which emphasizes on the fact that all religions are true and service to mankind is the greatest act of religiousness. Based on the teachings of this very religion, Mahatma Gandhi coined satyagraha and ahimsa.
Unfortunately, a religion which is so very liberal by its intrinsic nature is being represented by a rigid ideology of Hindutva in modern India which has traits of theocratic fascism, militant nationalism, genetic-racism, retributive colonialism and Islamophobia. The first and foremost feature of Hindutva is a theocratic state which was envisioned by Savarkar himself. He outlined his vision of a Hindu Rashtra as Akhand Bharat stretching across the entire Indian subcontinent. This theocratic state is the anti-thesis of the democratic secular polity which we cherish today and has a very hostile attitude towards religious minorities especially Muslims. MS Golwalkar, the Second Sarsanghchalak of the RSS, wrote the following in his book, We or Our Nationhood Defined, in relation to religions with foreign origins, “They have no place in national life, unless they abandon their differences, adopt the religion, culture and language of the nation and completely merge themselves in the national race. So long, however, as they maintain their racial, religious and cultural differences, they can only be foreigners. In Hindustan exists, and must exist, the ancient Hindu nation, and nothing else but the Hindu nation. All those not belonging to the national, i.e. Hindu race, religion, culture and language, naturally fall out of the pale of real national life.”
He further stated, “The foreign races in Hindustan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence the Hindu religion, must entertain no idea except the glorification of the Hindu religion and culture, i.e. of the Hindu nation, and must lose their separate existence to merge in the Hindu race, or they may stay in the country wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment – not even citizen’s rights. There is, at least should be, no other course for them to adopt. We are an old nation, let us deal as old nations ought to deal with the foreign races who have chosen to live in our country.” On Muslims, Mr Golwalkar commented, “Ever since that evil day when the Muslims first landed in Hindustan, right upto the present moment, the Hindu Nation has been fighting gallantly to take on these despoilers.” Bal Thackeray, a contemporary regional Hindutva leader (Dubbed as Hindu Hriday Samraat) stated in an interview to India Today in 1984, “They [Muslims] are spreading like a cancer and should be operated on like a cancer. The country should be saved from the Muslims and the police should support them [Hindu Maha Sangh] in their struggle just like the police in Punjab were sympathetic to the Khalistanis.”
It is this very hostile attitude towards minorities especially Muslims which has made right wing Hindu Nationalist parties a political pariah in mainstream Indian politics. Subramanian Swamy, President of the Janata Party and a Hindutvavadi recently elaborated on the concept of Hindutva in the most atrociously fascistic fashion which smelt of genetic racism. He opined that India should be declared a Hindu Rashtra where non Hindus could vote only if they would accept their Hindu ancestry. He wanted India to be renamed as Hindustan, a nation of Hindus and those whose ancestors were Hindus. Such concepts expose the congruity between theocracy and gene-based racism through Hindutva. Militant Nationalism is another key feature of Hindutva which fantasizes an uncompromising foreign policy based on non interaction, military threats and invasions. This uncompromising approach of the nationalists was born way back in 1950 when Syama Prasad Mukherjee resigned from the Interim Central Government when Jawaharlal Nehru invited Liaqat Ali Khan for the historic Delhi Pact which sought to safeguard minority rights in both the nations and establish minority commissions.
Mukherjee saw this as an act of appeasement and resigned from the Cabinet since he held East Pakistan directly responsible for the large influx of Hindu refugees in Bengal. The sole notion of patriotism for Hindutvavadis is Pakistan bashing and jingoism. Most of the times, Hindutvavadis act like a xenophobic bunch of pseudo-patriots. In the year 2002, during his Gujarat Gaurav Yatra, Narendra Modi, another Hindutva poster boy, remarked, “The day Hindu terrorism comes into being, Pakistan would be wiped off the world map.” The annihilation of theÂ neighboringÂ state of Pakistan seems to be the penultimate aim of Hindu nationalists. Other Hindutva intellectuals like Swamy have even developed an Indianized version of the Nazi Lebensraum (Living Space) as they advocate in favour of India invading Bangladesh and annexing the region from Sylhet to Khyber in order to accommodate illegal immigrants coming from Bangladesh.
Others argue in favour of militarily taking over PoK. Undoing the colonization effect has always been a dream of right wing nationalists. It was this ambition which drove Golwalkar to emphasize on the need for reversing the cultural intrusions resulting due to the invasion of colonial invaders like the Muslims and Christians. Keeping this in mind, LK Advani embarked on the Rath Yatra in the 1990s which ultimately culminated with the demolition of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya and spread riots all across the nation. This mentality further influenced people like Swamy to suggest removing the mosque at Kashi Vishwanath and 300 other mosques with temples.
Admiration of Adolf Hitler is another interesting feature of Hindutvavadis. Golwalkar wrote, “To keep up the purity of its race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by purging the country of the Semitic race – the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures having differences going to the roots, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by.” The threat of yet another Holocaust against minorities in modern India never really died since we always had people like Bal Thackeray who once said in an interview, “I am a great admirer of Hitler, and I am not ashamed to say so! I do not say that I agree with all the methods he employed, but he was a wonderful organizer and orator, and I feel that he and I have several things in common. What India really needs is a dictator who will rule benevolently, but with an iron hand.” Even LK Advani, the man who spearheaded the Rath Yatra of the 1990s was not left far behind in praising Hitler. When Sonia Gandhi called Narendra Modi a ‘merchant of death’, Advani remarked that “Narendrabhai can’t be a merchant of death but he can certainly be Hitler.”
ARTICLE UPDATED WITH REFERENCESÂ
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
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)
Bal Thackeray — India Today (1984)
Hindutva: Who is a Hindu? — VD Savarkar
Technical Session (India Today Conclave) — Narendra Modi, Dgvijay Singh & Farooq Abdullah
Gujarat Gaurav Yatra (2002 – Rallies)