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.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Hindutva is the soul of our nationalism

National seminar on relevance of Hindutva
From Our Special Correspondent

Chandigarh: “Hindutava constitutes the soul of our nationalism. It is neither a religion nor a dogma but a comprehensive philosophy based on spiritual as well as material happiness of the entire humanity. It is a way of life that constitutes the culture evolved in this country from times immemorial”. That in essence was the message from four eminent jurists and thinkers who made thought provoking presentations at a national seminar on ‘Relevance of Hindutva’ organised by the Panchnad Research Institute at the Panjab University Auditorium on September 17. Speakers asserted that while Pakistan and Bangladesh that were separated from undivided India on communal lines were non-secular, India remained a secular state primarily because it was a Hindu majority country observing that theocracy was against the very grain of Hindutava.

Justice Dr M Rama Jois, former Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, who chaired the seminar, quoted a Supreme Court judgment of 1984 that made the following significant observation: “It is an interesting fact of history that India was forged into a nation neither on account of common language nor or account of continued existence as a single political regime over its territories but on account of a common culture evolved over the centuries. It is cultural unity – something more fundamental and enduring than any other bond which may unite people of a country together – which has welded this country into a nation”.

Dwelling on the concept of Hindutava, Dr Jois said dharma and Hindutva were identical concepts that had wide connotations. All the rules of righteous conduct of human beings in every sphere of human activity evolved from times immemorial in this country fell within the meaning of the dharma or Hindutva. The Hindu way of life had evolved family as an institution on a firm foundation on which our social life was constructed, observed the former Chief Justice and added that family was the only factory that could produce good citizens. Unfortunately, this noble institution was under strain because of totally materialistic life style of the West. Quoting from a recent book “Fatherless America” by David Blankenhorn, Justice Jois said 65 per cent of American children didn’t know who their father was. Insisting that growth of children without parental guidance, care and protection would prove disastrous, he cautioned the society against allowing this to happen in India. Devotion to motherland, the retired Chief Justice said, was the core of Hindutva. This concept was in the blood of every individual. That is why “Bharat mata ki jai” and singing ‘Vande Mataram’ united this country during freedom movement and continued to be one the most potent uniting factors. Those who opposed Vande Mataram were devoid of patriotism and devotion to motherland.

In his thought-provoking speech senior RSS leader and a former Editor of Tarun Bharat, Shri M.G. Vaidya said Hindutva was relevant in the past, was relevant now and would remain so in the future as it was not a dogma or a doctrine established on the strength of any physical force. Hindutva, the Sangh leader said, was the philosophy of existence that has individual, societal/national, universal and spiritual dimensions. These four fold divisions were neither separate nor interlinked but formed an integrated whole so much so that any one dimension couldn’t be grasped without reference to the other three. It was a holistic concept that may be called integral humanism. He quoted ancient rishi Kapil, to say that a person was body, mind, intellect and soul. Happiness, therefore, meant happiness of all the four aspects.

Decrying the social contract theory, Vaidya said Hindutva believed that an individual was a constituent of the society as oxygen and nitrogen were constituents of air. It placed society above individuals, as society was more than a sum total of individuals that constituted it. These concepts, he said, were eternal and relevant for all ages. He made fun of those who said a new nation was born on August 15, 1947. It was not a nation but a state that was created after Independence and adopted republican constitution and a parliamentary form of government. Unlike the state, the nation was in existence for thousands of years and was not a transitory identity that comes into being or vanishes with the passage of time.

Insisting that India was a Hindu nation, Vaidya said, people that constituted a nation must have great devotion to their motherland and a unique value system or culture. He quoted Earnest Renan from his celebrated work “What is a nation” to say, “A nation is a spiritual principle, the result of intricate working of history; A spiritual family and not a group determined by the configuration of earth”. Nation, he said, was a soul, a spiritual principle founded on common heritage and the desire to live together.

Dr B L Gupta, a founder member of the Institute and Secretary of the Shri Guruji Birth centenary Celebrations Committee, said Hindutva was nothing if not an eternal and ever evolving cultural flow. The Quantum theory, he claimed, had proved the Hindu concept that a single spirit permeates through entire universe. Underlining the global dimension of Hindutva, Dr Gupta said unlike the West that talked of a global market, Hindutva perceived it as a global family. While the western model of development, the noted economist said, aimed at welfare of the few, Hindutva sought to evolve an alternative development paradigm based on Hindu values of life to achieve “Gross Social Happiness” – happiness for all.

Prof Azhar Hashmi, a well-known social scientist, author and poet, quoted from ancient Hindu scriptures to say that Hindutva was non-denominational. Comparing Hinduism with a decorated platter of human values he said certain elements had maligned this noble concept to serve their narrow political interests. With its fundamental concept of equal respect for all religious faiths, Hindutava was relevant not only in India but also all over the world. It was not a religion but a moral code capable of holding the entire humanity together. He regaled the audience with his poetry and command over Sanskrit. He quoted from the Vedas, the Gita and other Hindu scriptures to hammer home his point about universal acceptability of Hindutava. He didn’t spare the corrupt politicians and regretted that those who should be a part of a circus were ruling the country.

In his welcome address, Chairman of the Chandigarh-based Panchnad Research Institute, Shyam Khosla spoke about the ever evolving dimensions of the Institute’s work and said it was bringing out a research journal conducting lecture series and holding seminars and symposia through its 18 study centres spread over North-Western India. Shri Khosla said the Research Institute decided to celebrate Shri Guruji’s Birth Centenary by organising a variety of programmes, including essay writing by eminent authors, declamation contests for students and seminars, as it perceived M.S. Golwalkar as one of the most outstanding personalities of the 20th century. Shri Guruji had left a lasting impact on the social and cultural life of the society and inspired and organised millions of Hindus in and outside India, he added.

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