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Why Modi”s “Hindu Nationalism” Cannot Accommodate Many Hindus

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By Nihal Parashar:

Because someone is born in a Hindu family, he is a Hindu Nationalist. It must mean that if someone is born into a Muslim family, he must become a Muslim nationalist. It must imply to Sikh Nationalism as well. Narendra Modi’s statement given in an interview to Reuters does not come as a surprise. It was surprising that it made a national headline. We all know what the ideology of Modi says. We must take this opportunity to deconstruct the notion of nationalism and try to understand what this kind of nationalism means.

Most of the Hindu politicians, I assume, do believe in the existence of Hindu Gods. At least Digvijay Singh does. He says that he worship Gods of the religion he belongs to. But he never claims to be a Hindu leader. Why Modi or for that matter any Hindutva politician needs to talk about nationalism of ‘Hindu’? Because it is the politics he is engaged in. But the problematic part comes when it starts looking at the other nationalism with a particular lens. Modi, when he says that he is a Hindu Nationalist, knowingly distances himself from ‘others’ in the nation.


Hindutva is not be confused with Hinduism. Savarkar himself was an atheist. The idea of Hindutva was essentially a political idea, and is not more than 100 years old. The problem with the idea is the same which the Lebensraum of Hitler had: Non-Inclusive. This idea essentially comes from the Manuvaadi thought and caters to the upper class Hindus. If this was not true then there would have been no rise of Bahujan Samajwaadi Party and Kanshi Ram. The lower caste Hindus and the tribal Hindus do not even want to associate themselves to the idea of Hindutva. At the same time there is a certain sect in RSS which wants to include this section of the society to the larger family of Hindutva. The Adivasi Sena faction in RSS is an attempt for that. Even then BJP is considered to be a party of Upper Caste Hindus.

When Modi says he is a Hindu Nationalist, it comes as a problem, because we have a very large section of society who looks up to him as an alternative to the corrupt UPA government. The fabricated facts of development have been acting as a veil for the communal ideology of NaMo and associates. Another very large segment of society sees the machismo in Modi which is problematic at various levels. The Hindu youth sees him as ultimate saviour of Hinduism.

Mohandas Gandhi was a Hindu, and a devoted Hindu. But his idea of Hindu could never be accommodated by RSS and Jan Sangh. That is why one of the RSS workers killed him in cold blood. Sadly he called it ‘Gandhi Vadh’. What I am trying to say is that Modi’s Hindu Nationalism can accommodate only a certain kind of Hindu. It cannot accommodate me, certainly not, even though technically I was born in a Hindu Brahmin family.

It amuses me to see everything which Modi says grab national attention. But it is important that we indulge in these debates and discussion so that we understand our times in a better manner. Thank you Modi for giving us reasons to understand our polity a bit better!

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  1. tarun kumar

    lovely article ……about modi hindu nationalist remark
    i m not amazed how ppl are made to think like that about an honest leader coz media groups are made to think the people in the way they want .
    a part of that conversation :
    Q. : People want to know who is the real Modi – Hindu nationalist leader or pro-business chief minister?
    Ans: I’m nationalist. I’m patriotic. Nothing is wrong. I’m a born Hindu. Nothing is wrong. So, I’m a Hindu nationalist so yes, you can say I’m a Hindu nationalist because I’m a born Hindu. I’m patriotic so nothing is wrong in it. As far as progressive, development-oriented, workaholic, whatever they say, this is what they are saying. So there’s no contradiction between the two. It’s one and the same image.

    no body talking about the question asked.

    he also says SABKA SATH SABKA VIKAS
    and more important max media groups are funded and owned by foreigners like arab,vetican etc….
    congreess maximum leaders are christians and muslims and pseudo-hindu
    congress uses muslims as vote bank in veil of secularism
    they are given fund for HAZZ travelling while hindus are taxed for amarnaath yatra, hindus temple are taxed and controlled by govt.
    while church and madrasaa are given financial helps
    and that digvijay is a converted christian ……..his ancestors used to flatter English
    kapil sibbal wife runs many BUCTHER houses and exports cows beaf to many country
    congress promote cow slaghtering …..and slaghters are given tax benefits for this business
    many dharam conversion missionary are run and supported by sonia gandhi
    corruption ……no need to tell
    misgovernance …… need to tell
    they support 100% FDI after their every american tour
    after seeing modi hindu nationalist remark …………mulayam says he mourns over the order of firing on karsevaks(only for hindu votes) and nobody files case on him but at that time he also said that even i could drop bomb also(for muslims vote )………….

  2. The Talkative Man (@iamsharmaji)

    Very Good Article..kudos to the Writer but i think he is biased and have very little knowledge about History of Hinduism. and please go through his interview once again. why do you have any problem of being nationalist.he said in his interview that he is BORN HINDU and you can call him hindu nationalist. he didn’t said that he is leader of hindu. if he was born muslim then he may called himself muslim nationalist. you are very biased in this article my friend .

  3. Rajesh

    A very good article. We have to understand the difference between Hinduism of Vivekananda, Aurobindo and Gandhi, and the hindu identity politics of Savarkar, RSS, Modi etc.

  4. manisha

    certainly it is clear that how much biased u are.. he is not ashamed of himself calling a hindu.. what is wrong in being a hindu?? or calling urself a follower of hindutva??? you are calling him communal?? do u even know that in gujarat muslims are richest from other muslims in whole india.. they have more government positions than anywhere in this whole country. what do u know about communalism?? in assam 3000 muslims were killed…no enquiries, investigations or media hype was it was a congre governed state… hindutva represents a culture based on scientific facts..where u should do good, believe in god, live peacefully n love everyone. first get ur facts clear then right articles.

    1. Ila

      I think you are contradicting yourself. The writer is not biased. He is merely stating facts!

    2. Raj

      Excuse me! hindutva is fascism, at its core. It is as scientific as Nazism.
      And the founder of hindutva Savarkar was an atheist who did not believe in god

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