Hindu dharma is implicitly at odds with monotheistic intolerance. What is happening in India is a new historical awakening... Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

In Defense of 'Hindutva'

by Desikachary Vembar
Published on 26th May 2002

'Cho' Ramaswamy is well known for his satiric humor. He was recently asked an hair-raising question in 'Thuglak' (8th May), namely, 'assuming that at some time in future the present minorities become majority and the present majority turn out to be minority, in whose favor will the 'secular' politicians speak?' to which 'Cho' replied that there won't be any politician left then and the country will be in the clutches of fundamentalists! Cho's reply is not only right. It contains an indirect warning to the pseudo-secular politicians, who now vehemently condemn BJP's 'Hindutva' to gain minority muslim votes, that they will be swept out of power by those whose cause they are championing now. This raises the million dollar question, namely, what binds all India together? A question for which the answer is often portrayed as if it is a secret wrapped in mystery.

In his famous work, 'Glimpses of World History', Jawaharlal Nehru wrote to the same effect by attributing India's integrity to some 'invisible silken bond' that from time immemorial has united the people of India from Kanyakumari to the Himalayas. There is no such thing as an invisible silken bond that unites India. Such vague reasons, especially from a self-proclaimed agnostic like Nehru, hide the real fact that the integrity of India really springs from the sole reason of India being the sacred land of tolerant Hindus who, despite the language, caste and other differences among them, take pride in being, first and foremost, devout followers of ancient Hindu religion.

It is the de facto 'Hindutva' among Indians, from north to south and east to west, which lies at the root of the Indian integrity. But for the tolerant Hindu majority, India would have disintegrated long back. It is for this realistic reason that BJP has been striving hard to put 'Hindutva' above the foreign concept of secularism that can only damage Indian integrity in the long run. 'Hindutva' embraces Indians of all faiths and excludes none. It also stands for eradication of the scourge of untouchability that is an embarrassment to Hindu religion.

All attempts in the past to break up India on the grounds of race or religion died a natural death. For instance, the formation of DK and DMK was originally intended to pursue the goal of an independent Dravida Nadu which floundered at the very start since there were no takers for the same in Andhra, Karnataka and Kerala. The so called 'Khalistan' movement engineered by Pakistan met with the same fate. The insurgency by the rebels in Nagaland and Mizoram that was fuelled by the mischievous foreign missionaries in India has had little success. In all such cases, it is the 'Hindutva' spirit that won the battle against separatist tendencies.

'Hindutva' is not anti-muslim or anti-christian. If there is one religion in the world that abhors proselytization and is based on tolerance and respect for other faiths, it is Hinduism. The term Hindu fundamentalism is therefore a misnomer and a contradiction in terms. There were no non-Hindu minorities in India prior to the muslim invasion of India from the north west and the start of British colonialism which alone are responsible for creating the muslim and christian minority in India through conversion of Hindus by force and enticement. Despite the above fact, 'Hindutva' does not consider Indian muslims as some aliens from Saudi Arabia or other muslim countries in the Middle East. It recognizes that India is as much the home of the Indian muslims as it is for the majority Hindus.

The sole concern of 'Hindutva' is that Islamic militancy and fundamentalism that is worrying the entire world should not sow seeds of separatism among Indian muslims who have shared a common cultural bondage and lived amicably with the majority Hindus for centuries. There is a real threat of militant Islam in Pakistan in the west and Bangladesh in the east posing a danger to India's integrity. Under the circumstances, the concept of 'Hindutva' championed by the BJP is timely and appropriate for safeguarding Indian integrity. BJP should be hailed and not condemned for its 'Hindutva' approach to restore the age-old national unity and integrity.


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