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Hindu nationalists and The Hindutva Ideology

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Kerala: What was the common thread that united Hindu nationalists Dayananda Saraswati, Sri Aurobindo, Swami Vivekananda and Vinayak Damodar Savarkar? With their thinking, discourse and writings, all four influenced new thinking among Hindus that eventually paved the way for the Hindutva as we know today.

Savarkar was no doubt the most vocal votary of Hindutva. But the other three contributed no less even as the world viewed them largely as Hindu reformers. With admirable academic research, Jyotrimaya Sharma, who is no Marxist historian, brings alive the intellectual traditions that have helped to nourish Hindutva ideology.

Dayananda (1824-83) founded Arya Samaj with a missionary’s zeal: There had to be rigid adherence to the Vedas, there could be no compromise on that. The Jains, Buddhists, Shaivites and Vaishnavites had perverted the Vedic idea. Dayananda also rejected the reincarnation theory – the very basis of Hinduism. The divine origins of the Vedas rested on the fact that they were free of error and axiomatic. All other “snares” had to be rejected including Bhagavat and Tulsi Ramayan. He did not spare Christianity and Islam either. “Dayananda’s extreme vision of a united, monochromatic and aggressive Hinduism is an inspiration to votaries of Hindutva today,” says Sharma, a professor of political science at the University of Hyderabad.

For Aurobindo (1872-1950), Swaraj was to be seen as the final fulfilment of the Vedantic ideal in politics. After once taking a stand that ‘Mother’ should not be seen as the Mother of Hindus alone, he changed gears and began to take an aggressive stand vis-a-vis Muslims. His prescription to make the Muslims ‘harmless’ was to make them lose their fanatical attachment to their religion. Placating Muslims would amount to abandoning the greatness of India’s past and her spirituality. By 1939, Aurobindo was sounding more like a Savarkar. No wonder, Sharma is clear that Aurobindo’s contribution to the rise of political Hindutva is second to none. “The maharshi turned into a pamphleteer of the Hindu rashtra concept without being conscious of it.”

Vivekanada (1863-1902) was, according to Sharma, a proponent of a strong, virile and militant ideal of the Hindu nation. He was clear that Hinduism had to be cleaned of all tantric, puranic and bhakti influences and rebuilt upon the solid foundation of Vedanta. Overcoming physical weakness was more important; religion could wait. (“You will understand Gita better with your biceps, your muscles, a little stronger.”) Hinduism knew tolerance; most other faiths were given to dogmatism, bigotry, violence and fanaticism. Vivekananda was far away from the oneness of faiths unlike Sri Ramakrishna, his guru. “India to him was always the Hindu nation.”

Savarkar (1883-1966) politicized religion and introduced religious metaphors into politics. His singular aim was to establish India as a Hindu nation. In that sense, Savarkar “remains the first, and most original, prophet of extremism in India”. His world-view was non-negotiable, strictly divided into ‘friends’ and ‘foes’, ‘us’ and ‘them’, ‘Hindus’ and ‘Muslims’. His commitment to Hindu rashtra superseded his devotion for India’s independence. Independent India, he felt, “must ensure and protect the Hindutva of the Hindus”. As he would say: “We are Indians because we are Hindus and vice versa.”


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Iran invites Pakistan to join Chabahar project with India

India, Iran and Afghanistan signed a trilateral agreement in 2016

Chabahar Port is of great international significance in terms of trade, especially for India. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port is of great international significance in terms of trade, especially for India. Wikimedia Commons
  • Iran has invited Pakistan to join Chabahar port project
  • It is a very crucial port of great importance
  • India, Iran and Afghanistan have already signed a trilateral agreement in 2016

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has invited Pakistan to participate in the Chabahar Port project that connects India to Afghanistan, Central Asia and Eastern Europe, a leading Pakistani daily reported on Tuesday.

Chabahar Port is built and operated by India. Wikimedia Commons

The move may be seen as Zarif’s bid to allay concerns here over the Indian involvement in the Iranian port, Dawn online reported. The Iranian minister also, meanwhile, extended the invitation to China.

“We offered to participate in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). We have also offered Pakistan and China to participate in Chahbahar,” Zarif, who is on a three-day visit to Pakistan, said while delivering a lecture at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) on Monday, according to the daily.

India, Iran and Afghanistan signed a trilateral agreement in 2016 to jointly develop the Chabahar port, opening a new strategic transit route between the three nations and other Central Asian nations, bypassing Pakistan. In November 2017, India delievered the first consignment of wheat to Afghanistan through the Chabahar Port.

Also Read: All You Need To Know About India’s Strategic Chabahar Port

Zarif had earlier held bilateral talks with his Pakistani counterpart Khawaja Asif and addressed a trade conference. The visiting Foreign Minister is being accompanied by a large trade delegation from Iran.

He also said that Gwadar Port and Chabahar Port needed to be linked through sea and land routes for development of deprived Eastern and South-eastern Iran and South Western Pakistan. “We are taking measures to do that and there is an open invitation to Pakistan to participate in that,” Zarif said.

Chabahar Port will make India's trade with Afghanistan easier. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port will make India’s trade with Afghanistan easier. Wikimedia Commons

He also said that the Chabahar port project was not meant to “encircle Pakistan … strangulate anybody”, adding that Iran would not allow anybody to hurt Pakistan from its territory, much like Pakistan would not allow its soil to be used against Iran.

Zarif likened Iran’s relations with India to Pakistan’s ties with Saudi Arabia. “Our relations with India, just like Pakistan’s relations with Saudi Arabia, are not against Islamabad as we understand Pakistan’s relations with Saudi Arabia are not against Iran.” IANS

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