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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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Pentavalent vaccine: Doctors raise red flag

In spite of the data presented in this paper from a large cohort, the authors point out that the evidence is merely circumstantial and not conclusive

the new Hepatitis B vaccine for adults is called Heplisav-B.
India's PV to be reexamined because of its harmful effects. .
  • Pentavalent vaccine was introduced in India six years ago
  • It is since then have been a cause of many deaths
  • Doctors want it to be reexamined before continuing its use

Pentavalent vaccine (PV), that was introduced by India a little over six years ago, doubled the deaths of children soon after vaccination compared to the DPT (Diphtheria-Pertussis-Tetanus) vaccine, according to a new study that calls for a “rigorous review of the deaths following vaccination with PV”.

Health officials have launched a campaign targeting nearly 24 million people with a one-fifth dose of the vaccine. Wikimedia Commons
PV has been cause of many deaths in past years. Wikimedia Commons

Government records show that there were 10,612 deaths following vaccination (both PV and DPT) in the last 10 years. There was a huge increase in these numbers in 2017, which the Health Ministry has promised to study. “The present analysis could be a starting point in the quest to reduce the numbers of such deaths,” authors of the new study say.

The study by Dr Jacob Puliyel, Head of Pediatrics at St Stephens Hospital, and Dr V. Sreenivas, Professor of Biostatistics at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), both in New Delhi, is published in the peer-reviewed Medical Journal of Dr D.Y. Patil University.

PV is a combination of the DPT vaccine and two more vaccines against Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) and hepatitis B. Starting December 2011, PV was introduced into India’s immunisation programme to replace DPT vaccine in a staged manner with a view to adding protection against Hib and Hepatitis B without increasing the number of injections given to infants.

Doctors have raised concerns over these vaccines. Wikimedia Commons
Doctors have raised concerns over these vaccines. Wikimedia Commons

But sporadic reports of unexplained deaths following immunisation with PV had been a matter of concern. Puliyel, Sreenivas and their colleagues undertook the study to find out if these deaths were merely coincidental or vaccine-induced.

The authors obtained data of all deaths reported from April 2012 to May 2016 under the Right to Information Act. Data on deaths within 72 hours of administering DPT and PV from different states were used.

For their study, the authors assumed that all deaths within 72 hours of receiving DPT are natural deaths. Using this figure as the baseline, they presumed that any increase in the number of deaths above this baseline among children receiving PV must be caused by this vaccine.

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According to their analysis of the data provided by the government, there were 237 deaths within 72 hours of administering the Pentavalent vaccine — twice the death rate among infants who received DPT vaccine.

Extrapolating the data, the authors have estimated that vaccination of 26 million children each year in India would result in 122 additional deaths within 72 hours, due to the switch from DPT to PV.

“There is likely to be 7,020 to 8,190 deaths from PV each year if data from states with the better reporting, namely Manipur and Chandigarh, are projected nationwide,” their report says.

It is important to make sure that these vaccines are reexamined peroperly. VOA

The authors note that while the study looks at the short-term increase in deaths (within three days of vaccination) it does not calculate the potential benefits of PV on infant mortality, for example by protection against lethal diseases like Haemophilus influenza.

In spite of the data presented in this paper from a large cohort, the authors point out that the evidence is merely circumstantial and not conclusive. “These findings of differential death rates between DPT and PV do call for further rigorous prospective population-based investigations,” the study concludes. IANS