International Institute of Tamil
Culture and Civilaisation, USA
From a theoretical perspective, the reader will find the analysis to proceed from several points of view: Hindutva ideology is shown to be a cultural and social construct; it is justified and promulgated on the strength of Vedic precepts; and it is implemented through educational, political, and even judicial tools. The anticipated goal is to re-establish and permeate throughout Indian society the supremacy of Brahmins and enslave the non-Brahmins for years to come.
The Indian public has the power and wherewithal to defeat this lobby. However, the powerful influence that the Indian emigrants and the overseas public can bring to bear upon the Hindutva lobby is no less significant. It is vital that the readers learn of their innate power, power of electoral choice for the Indian public and the power of persuasion for the Indian immigrants. Indeed, the Indian electorate provided the BJP with an unexpected defeat in 2004. The loss of power at the Centre for the BJP has neither diminished their ardent adherence to Hindutva ideology nor decreased their resolve to go forward with their agenda when political power returns to them, and in states wherein they are in the driving seat.
To the extent that Hindutva tries to bring back Vedic culture, I venture to question if Hindutva is the proper culture for all Indians. If Hindutva is unchecked, the damage to the entire Hindu community in India will be far reaching, and as an immigrant you may feel betrayed by the Hindutva forces by funding them indirectly or inadvertently. To cut the loss, now is the time to learn and act accordingly. ‘If the people of India do not challenge and confront the antinational fascists forces of Hindutva, the five founding Brahmin members of RSS (will) prove to be pall bearers of this nation’ (Shyam Chand). The Hindutva lobby will try to do to India what Taliban did to Afghanistan. Let us examine the basic elements proposed by the Hindutva advocated to claim India for the Hindus.
The Theoretical Foundation of Hindutva
In order to show that Hindutva is not a modern invention, its proponents traced the roots of the concept back to the Vedic period (2000 BCE). The term Hindutva connotes ‘Hindu Rashtra’ or Hindu Nation’, and is defined on the basis of dharma contained in the Vedas. V.D. Savarkar, a leafing author of the concept, however denied vehemently that the definition of Hindutva was based on dharma. The truth is that it is so. The concept of dharma is so nebulous that it defies any specificity. Dharma is about a person’s conduct or experiences as stipulated in the Vedas or religious practices. It covers a whole spectrum of human activities. And dharma also establishes that the Rashtra (Nation) as envisaged by the sages of the Vedas is far older and superior to modern notion of ‘state’ as opposed to ‘nation,’ V.D. Savarkar attempts to define Rashtra on the basis of five ‘unities’. We will look at them later. For now, looking at it differently, Hindutva (Indianness) suggests a unique ‘Indianness’ or traits that set apart the people of India from the rest of humanity.
Hindutva is a modern day version of extreme Hindu nationalism.It has everything to do with promoting and perpetuating the hegemony of Brahmins which is the quintessence of the Hindutva lobby.
Savarkar’s notion of Hindutva, according to Christophe Jaffrelot, rests on a cultural rather than on a racial theory and accordingly is in tune with the traditional Brahminical world view; but at the same time it represents an ethnic nationalism which borrows much from Western theories. In the book which he wrote about his period of detention in Andamans between 1911 and 1921, he refers to Bluntschli’s The Theory of the State (German original edn., 1875; English edn., 1892) as a study he became familiar with and used it to teach the inmates. Johann Kaspar Bluntschi (1808 – 1881). A Swiss German lawyer was an exponent of German ethnic nationalism, and his writings influenced many Hindu nationalists, including Golwalker
The Hindutva lobby denotes a grouping of organizations that are simply associations of communalism. Communalism springs from an unhealthy attachment to one’s religion. But the converse is not true: i.e., religiosity does not necessarily lead to communalism. Communalism (in this sense used in the Indian subcontinent) means antipathy or animosity of people belonging to one religion towards people of another religion. An organization that promotes such an attitude is called a ‘communal organization of society’. These movements are working to bring about a Hindu Rashtra (Hindu Nation) (India for Hindus only). Their definition, by extension, excludes all non-Hindus and classifies them as non-Indians; religious overtones thus subvert political rights-citizenship rights.
Another definition of Hindutva from one of its progenitors is given here to enlighten us: ‘Hindutva is not a word but a history’ (Sarvarkar, 1969, 3-4). In effect, Hindutva is a principle that defines the Hindu Nation, India as the Hindutva forces denotes communal organizations that have right-wing ideologies developed along the line of Italy’s Fascism and Germany’s Nazism of the 1920s and 1930s. To establish an ideological affinity to Hindutva, its foreign reliance has to be highlighted. Marzia Caslari documents a direct connection between Hindu nationalists and the representatives of the Fascist regime. She describes a meeting between Mussolini and Balakrishna Shivram Moonji, a Deshasthi Brahmin politician associated with the RSS youth movement, on 19 March 1931. Moonje visited the Military College, the Central Military School of Physical Education, and the Fascist Academy of the Physical Education, and the Bililla and Avanguardiisti organizations in Italy. Impressed, he realized the importance of military training for young Hindu boys to Muslims. Marzia Casolari also observed that ‘aggressive racial policy carried out by Germany must have played a fundamental role in the shift of interest from Italy to Germany.’ Others have agreed with this view. In the words of Madhu Limaye: ‘the RSS line is very clear. It is a supra-party, paramilitary organization which wants to take over the state and the nation and establish an authoritarian regime in the manner of Nazi leaders’. The writtings and pro-Nazi activism of Savitri Devi (1905 – 1982), a lifelong admirer of Hitler, provided a direct kink between extreme Aryan racism and the rise of the Hindutva network in India.
Hindutva is a modern day version of extreme Hindu nationalism. It has everything to do with promoting and perpetuating the hegemony of Brahmins which is the quintessence of the Hindutva lobby. Of course, the proponents of Hindutva will not clearly state this as a goal. It is couched in convoluted definitions, ambiguous language, and based on ancient Vedic foundations. The goal has to be defended furtively and sanctimoniously. Let us follow up the development of this concept. The advocates of this policy believe that India is a land of Hindus, people who have a unique country, race, culture, religion, and language.
Madhav Sadasiva Golwalkar expounds these five characteristics in his book We or Our Nationhood Defined and asserts that only those people who satisfy his definition of the five traits or ‘unities’ can be Hindus. He concludes that the Indian nation satisfies his brand of Hindu Rashtra. India, which he calls ‘Hindustan’, belongs to Hindus only, and others living in India are foreigners. He further describes these people (Hindus) as the ones following the dharmas prescribed in the Vedas. ‘People, characterized by Varnas and Ashrams – that is, following the Hindu framework of society, obeying the Hindu codes, in short, subscribing to the Hindu religion and culture – that is important are the right kind of people. The people in the country must be Hindus by religion and culture and consequently by language, to be really included in the concept of Rashtra idea of the ancient Hindu.