Saturday, June 15, 2024

Hindutva vs Hinduism Debate

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Sanjay Dixit
Sanjay Dixit
Sanjay Dixit is a senior IAS of Rajasthan cadre and former secretary of the Rajasthan Cricket Association. He has written extensively on agriculture, strategic matters and social issues. Dixit did his graduation in Marine Engineering and sailed with the Merchant Navy for 4 years before joining the IAS in 1986. He is Chairman of a popular Forum The Jaipur Dialogues. Follow him on Twitter @ Sanjay_Dixit

‘Hindutva is Hinduism that resists’.

The term Hindutva was first used by Chandranath Basu, a Bengali litterateur, in his 1892 magnum opus Hindur Prakriti Itihas, meaning History of Hindu Nature. However, the term has come to be associated with Vinayak Damodar Savarkar for his work ‘Hindutva’. Etymologically, ‘ism’ is a binary that puts the particular ‘ism’ in conflict with the rest, whereas ‘tva’ is the essence of what it describes. Thus, etymologically Hindutva is the essence of Hindu Dharma, or Hindu religion if we use the western construct. Hinduism on the other hand would mean assertion of Hindu religion, in the manner of Marxism, or Islamism, or Socialism. The world, which usually runs on the basis of western points of view, distinguishes between Islam and Islamism, calls the Christian religion Christianity with no scope for Christism, or Christianism, but puts the Hindus and Jews squarely within the bracket of Hinduism and Judaism.

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The present Hinduism vs Hindutva debate is nothing but a rehashed version of the debate over Gandhi’s methods vs methods of other Hindus in the pre-independence era. It is important to note that Subhas Bose once remarked in his exasperation that Gandhi started a movement, and pulled back to help the British just as the movement was on the verge of getting a definite result. It is now widely acknowledged that it was the Indian National Army and the doubts that it created in the British mind about the loyalty of Indian troops, further reinforced by the Naval Mutiny, that the British decided to leave India. Gandhi was ever the supplicant, willing to pick up the crumbs thrown to him by the British as long as the Congress and his favourites could get the power.

It always suited the British and the West to praise Gandhi’s pacifist methods. The British had noticed the martial qualities of Indian and had taken action to disarm them through the Arms Act. The West used Gandhi after his death to lull the Indians into thinking that the world appreciated a brand of Hinduism that followed the Gandhian path of ‘ahiṃsā. That ensured that India did not rediscover its martial spirit and remained pacifist so as to enable the global forces of Left, Islam and Evangelicals to destroy it. Hindutva, on the other hand embraces the teachings of Bhagwadgita that cures the delusions of a confused Arjuna to persuade him to fight injustice. The concept of a just war taught by the Bhagwadgita is reflected in Hindutva. It essentially makes the Arjuna in a Hindu arise.

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Gandhi’s ahiṃsā is completely flawed. He forgets the very basic of Sanātana Dharma and brings ahiṃsā down to the physical level, even though the Bhagwadgita (18.17) is absolutely clear that the real ahiṃsā is in the ego, or even in the mind:

yasya nāhaṅkṛto bhāvo
buddhir yasya na lipyate
hatvāpi sa imāḻ lokān
na hanti na nibadhyate

One who is not motivated by false ego, whose intelligence is not entangled, though he kills men in this world, does not kill. Nor is he bound by his actions.

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Thus, Gandhi’s definition was actuated by a false ego. Gandhi was always plagued by this ego. This was his failing and he took his followers down with it. Resulted in the partition of India. Ironically, his policy of ahimsa brought untold misery and bloodshed for millions. His followers were the ones who got hit the most. They lost everything – a part of the country, millions of fellow Hindus, and their pride as well. To add to this stupidity, he retained exactly those people who had caused this denouement.

Savarkar traces Hindutva to development of Hindu consciousness. He calls an ‘ism’ as a theory or a spiritual or religious dogma. Hindutva, according to him, is a far broader term that includes the essentials of being a Hindu. He then goes on to trace this consciousness from the Vedic times to the present times, and specially highlights the Maratha period when this consciousness had got a resurgence after the dark period of Islamic rule in India. He says that ‘had not linguistic usage stood in our way, Hinduness would certainly have been a better term than Hinduism as a near parallel to Hindutva’.

The Hinduism vs Hindutva is, therefore, a contrived debate devised by the West. This was corroborated by the way many Western India hating groups became active in the academia and began hosting ‘Dismantling Global Hindutva’. It bore uncanny resemblance to the demonization of Hindus that was let loose in the 19th century for the purpose of national demoralization and weakening the basics of Sanātana Hindu Dharma as the Church feared its innate power of inclusive embrace. Islam had similarly tried to build a cocoon around itself as witnessed in the literature (mainly letters) of Mujaddid Alf e Sani Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi.

In 20th century, India is rising and Hindus are becoming more confident. They are also taking advantage of the internet revolution to literally dismantle the dogmas that the Marxists, Church and Islamic clergy bound Hindus hand and foot with. These chains are now being discarded faster than ever and Hindus are discovering their true identity rooted in Dharma and Karma, and also discovering the dogma filled world of Islam, Christianity and Marxism. Because Hindu philosophy is comfortable with the scientific method and empirical evidence, its rise is feared. This is the reason these forces seek to vilify the real essence of the Hindu Dharma with a pacific brand of Gandhian clap trap they call Hinduism.

Hinduism vs Hindutva is, therefore, a faux debate. Hindutva is the teachings of Bhagvadgita as propounded by Swami Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo, as opposed to cowardice exhibited by teachings of Gandhi that the West so loves only in order to keep the Hindus from the true light of wisdom that their ancient tradition offers them.

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