Why Hindutva Is Antithetical To Hinduism


Sanjaya Baru has recently come up with an innovative idea of ?Developmental Hindutva?. Explaining this he argues that while Narendra Modi came to power on a ?Developmental? plank, Yogi Adityanath won on a ?Hindutva? plank, and therefore in the present scenario it is imperative that the two must be combined. As former Rajya Sabha MP, Bhalchandra Mungrekar, in his article titled, ?Mischievous wordplay? in the Indian Express dated May 9, 2017 stated, this idea is completely ?absurd? and farce.

Developmental Hindutva

The root cause of the problem lies in the very term itself, that is, Developmental Hindutva. While Baru, tries to draw an illogical link between things like Yoga, Vande Mataram and Hindutva, terming them as essential aspects of Hindutva, he clearly misses the crucial difference between Hindutva and Hinduism.

Hinduism is different from Hindutva

Also as Mungrekar argues, that Baru reduces the concept of Development and views it parochially; Development is a multi-dimensional concept, which stands not only for economic growth but also for socio-political and cultural upliftment of the entire society and not just of the majority community. Development is inclusive while Hindutva is exclusionary. Development implies creating a more just, equal, tolerant, rational and inclusive society but Hindutva on the other hand seeks for homogeneity and hierarchy.

According to VD Savarkar, who termed the coin Hindutva, and MS Golwarkar, the chief ideologue of RSS, unlike Hinduism, Hindutva is a political ideology that aims to establish a ?Hindu Rashtra?, thereby implying that other religious groups are not a part of this Hindu nation. This is because for non-Hindus, although Bharatvarsha is their Janambhoomi (place of birth) and Karmabhoomi (place of work), it is not their Pitrubhoomi (fatherland or place of origin) and Punyabhoomi (holy land). Therefore they are parakiya (outsiders).

Building on this core idea of Hindutva, Golwalkar, further extends it by asserting that all these ?outsiders? can continue to live in the Hindu Rashtra given that they accept a ?second class citizenship?, or in simpler words if they accept the domination and superiority of the pure/true Hindu race. This by all accounts makes Hindutva an exclusivist doctrine which preaches narrowness and divisiveness in society. It goes against the cherished ideals of equality and social justice as it sanctions oppression of the non-Hindus.

It is this divisive idea of India that the Sangh Parivar and its affiliates hold to, as it has become more evident recently. A classic example of this is the famous rumour that Hindu Fundamentalist organisations like VHP etc continue to propagate that, due to the prevalence of polygamy among Muslims, they will soon outnumber Hindus and will rule over Hindus. Adding to this, they have coined new terms like Love Jihad, which not only masquerades their onslaught of Muslims, but also gives legitimacy to their false cries.

Realising the differences

Thus, it becomes important that one realises the important distinction between Hinduism and Hindutva, especially now, when efforts are being made to distort the two and make them seem as concomitant with each other.

Hinduism is much more than the Hindu religion. To narrow down Hinduism to Hindu religion will be a mistake as the former does not refer only to a religious belief system as the latter does, but also to a civilisation that evolved over time. A civilisation which includes ethos of accommodation, tolerance, peaceful reconciliation of disputes. Although vices such as caste system, untouchability and the subjugation of women are also attributes of this civilisation but it alone constitutes the single major component of India’s culture for almost 5000 years.

This Indian civilisation of which Hinduism is the soul has successfully adapted to modern challenges because of its ability to churn out mutually conflicting worldviews. It has also been able to inculcate values of composite culture and democratic ideals.

It would not be wrong to assert that Hindutva is the antithesis of Hinduism as it threatens the foundations of inclusive India. The people of the country have a definite choice to make between Hindutva and Development.


-Contributed by Suryansh

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