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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.”

Credits: newskerala.com

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Report Claims, As Many As 1 Billion Indians Live in Areas of Water Scarcity

The report also highlighted that India uses the largest amount of groundwater -- 24 per cent of the global total and the country is the third largest exporter of groundwater -- 12 per cent of the global total.

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Global groundwater depletion - where the amount of water taken from aquifers exceeds the amount that is restored naturally - increased by 22 per cent between 2000 and 2010, said the report, adding that India's rate of groundwater depletion increased by 23 per cent during the same period. Pixabay

As many as one billion people in India live in areas of physical water scarcity, of which 600 million are in areas of high to extreme water stress, according to a new report.

Globally, close to four billion people live in water-scarce areas, where, for at least part of the year, demand exceeds supply, said the report by non-profit organisation WaterAid.

This number is expected to go up to five billion by 2050, said the report titled “Beneath the Surface: The State of the World’s Water 2019”, released to mark World Water Day on March 22.

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Pure water droplet. Pixabay

Physical water scarcity is getting worse, exacerbated by growing demand on water resources and and by climate and population changes.

By 2040 it is predicted that 33 countries are likely to face extremely high water stress – including 15 in the Middle East, most of Northern Africa, Pakistan, Turkey, Afghanistan and Spain. Many – including India, China, Southern Africa, USA and Australia – will face high water stress.

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Globally, close to four billion people live in water-scarce areas, where, for at least part of the year, demand exceeds supply, said the report by non-profit organisation WaterAid. Pixabay

Global groundwater depletion – where the amount of water taken from aquifers exceeds the amount that is restored naturally – increased by 22 per cent between 2000 and 2010, said the report, adding that India’s rate of groundwater depletion increased by 23 per cent during the same period.

Also Read: Beware! Sipping Hot Tea Raises Risk of Esophageal Cancer

The report also highlighted that India uses the largest amount of groundwater — 24 per cent of the global total and the country is the third largest exporter of groundwater — 12 per cent of the global total.

The WaterAid report warned that food and clothing imported by wealthy Western countries are making it harder for many poor and marginalised communities to get a daily clean water supply as high-income countries buy products with considerable “water footprints” – the amount of water used in production — from water-scarce countries. (IANS)