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Hindu nationalists and The Hindutva Ideology

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image Source: beyondheadlines.in

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

The Chabahar Port is a seaport in Chabahar, which is on the Gulf of Oman, near Iran-Pakistan border.

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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

By Ruchika Verma

  • The Chabahar Port is of great strategic importance for India
  • It is in Iran and is being built and operated by India
  • This port will increase India’s trade with Central Asia and Europe

The Chabahar Port is a seaport in Chabahar, which is on the Gulf of Oman, near Iran-Pakistan border. Chabahar is the trans-shipment and logistics hub for the Makran Coast and Baluchistan province of Iran.

Chabahar Port is built and operated by India. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port is built and operated by India. Wikimedia Commons

The tension between India and Pakistan is nothing new. There are several instances where both the countries have tried to obstruct each other’s political or economic agendas. This obstruction, along with other strategic reasons, resulted in the India and Iran’s deal on the Chabahar Port, which is crucial because of several reasons.

Here are few things about it you may not have known before :

  • Under the Trilateral Transit and Transport Agreement of 2016, the Chabahar port is the gateway to the Transport Corridor between India, Iran and Afghanistan, which allows multi-modal goods’ and passengers’ transport.

Also Read: India and Iran sign agreement to develop Chabahar Port

  • The agreement also states that India will develop and operate two berths in the first phase of the port. The contract is for 10 years and extendable. This time period excludes the first two years as they will be used for construction.
Chabahar Port will make India's trade with Afghanistan easier. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port will make India’s trade with Afghanistan easier. Wikimedia Commons
  • The Chabahar Port’s first phase, which was developed by India, and inaugurated by Iran on 4th December 2017, is of great strategic importance as it makes it easier for India to conduct trade with Central Asia and Europe.
  • Iran’s Chabahar port is also important for India’s trade because of Pakistan’s reluctance in allowing India to send goods to Iran and Afghanistan through its land territory.

Also Read: Gwadar Port: China Turning Pakistan Port Into Regional Giant 

  • The development of Chabahar Port will increase the momentum of the International North-South Transport Corridor whose signatories include India, Afghanistan and Russia. Iran is the key gateway in this project. It will improve India’s trade with Central Asia as well as Europe.
    The Chabahar Port has also reduced Afghanistan’s dependence on the transit road, which went through Karachi. Now, trade can be conducted via Chabahar Port too. Islamabad has accused India of trying to use this development as a means to destabilise Pakistan.

    The Chabar Port is the said to be the counter to the Gwadar Port. Wikimedia Commons
    The Chabar Port is the said to be the counter to the Gwadar Port. Wikimedia Commons
  • The Chabahar Port also acts as a counter to the barely 100 km away, Gwadar port in Pakistan, which is developed by China. However, Iran has defended that Chabahar is not a rival to Gwadar and Pakistan is invited to join in its development.
  • In October 2017, India sent its first shipment of wheat to through Chabahar to Afghanistan, in order to test the viability of the route.
  • India will also construct a 900-km Chabahar-Zahedan-hajigak railway line that will connect Port of Chabahar to Hajigak in Afghanistan. It will also connect Mashad in the north, providing access to Turkmenistan as well as northern Afghanistan.This project is worth $1.6 billion.

    India will supply $400 million worth of steel rails to Tehrain. Wikimedia Commons
    India will supply $400 million worth of steel rails to Tehran. Wikimedia Commons
  • It is being said that India will supply $400 million of steel rails to Tehran. There are also possibilities of setting up a fertilizer plant through a joint venture with the Iranian government.