By C. Andrew
As per WIKIPEDIA, Hindutva is a conservative idea based on some beliefs such as the entire Indian subcontinent (which includes countries other than India) is the homeland of the Hindus. Seeing “Hindus” as those who believe India is their fatherland (pitribhumi) and holy land (punyabhumi), pointing out the history of oppression of Hindus by invaders like Muslims, Christians, and calling for the country to “reverse” the `influences that came from these intrusions.
Opposing Communism for what many think is a weakening of Hindu culture or power, calling on people to form a “Hindu Nation” (Hindu Rashtra), believing cow-killing in India should be banned, believing all students should have to learn Sanskrit and believing that most of modern scientific discoveries were known and described in the Vedas.
Hindutva is the central idea of the organisations which advocate Hindu nationalism. Many people who support Hindutva speak of violence against Muslims and Christians as a form of “self-defence” against “invaders”. As the Hindutva idea has grown more powerful over the years, many Hindutva activists have been part of riots against minority communities in India. The Hindutva idea is sometimes called fascist. Although Hindutva is associated with Hinduism, almost all Hindus today are tolerant or “secular”, and most do not support Hindutva. These tolerant Hindus describe the supporters of the Hindutva movement as “the Hindu Taliban”.
It is to reiterate that India has become a hell for religious minorities as well as lower caste Hindus, despite her high claims to be the largest democracy and a secular country since Modi government came into power. Modi Administration has not only revived the concept of Hindutva to convert the country into a Hindu state but also started persecution of religious minorities especially of Muslims besides targeting lower caste Hindus – Dalits and Sikhs.
It is to mention that the Hindutva or Hindu chauvinism is a centuries-old phenomenon in India in which Dalit and other untouchable castes had been persecuted. In the modern world, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar laid the foundations of Hindu nationalism/extremism in 1923, when his seminal work Hindutva (Who is a Hindu?) became the source of principles that shaped the ideology of Hindu nationalism/extremism. This was followed by the establishment of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in 1925, aimed at ensuring the unity of the Hindu community to form Hindu Rashtra (Hindu Nation). After independence, the RSS came up with its own political wing, the Bharatiya Jan Sangh, but failed to mobilise the Hindu community to form Hindu Rashtra.
The RSS had a rebirth in 1980 when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was launched as its political face. Since then, it has successfully socialised its narrative within Indian society, aimed at the marginalisation of religious as well as social minorities. Babri Mosque incident of 1992, anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat in 2002, attacks on Christians and persecution of Dalits reflect the gradual enhancement of extremist narrative propagated by the RSS and the BJP.
Hindu extremism in India is fostering rapidly. On the one end, minorities are subjected to an extreme form of highhandedness, whereas, on the other hand, the BJP/ Hindu nationalist are bent upon renaming Indian cities/towns having Islamic names. Recently, Uttar Pradesh cabinet announced the renaming of Allahabad as Prayagraj, whereas, last year, Mughalsarai Junction Railway station was renamed as “DeenDayalUpadhyay”. In Aug this year, Rajasthan govt approved renaming four villages having Muslim-sounding names. These include Mohammadpur as MedikhKheda, Nawabpur as Nai Sarthal, Rampura-Ajampur as Sitaramji Kheda and Mandfiya as Sanwaliyaji.
There are rumours that historical city Lucknow will also be re-named as “Lakshman” (the younger brother of Hindu deity Ram). A Hindu extremist website “haribhakt” has even identified 1200 town/cities for the name change. Some prominent names of towns/cities include Ahmadabad (Karnavati), Aurangabad (Shambhaji Nagar), Ahmad Nagar (Annad Nagar), Bhopal (Bhojpal), Hyderabad (Bhagya Nagaram), Osmanabad (Dharashiv), Patna (Patliputra) etc.
In a related development, speaking at annual Vijayadashmi gathering in Nagpur, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat also raised the ante on “Ram temple demand”. He demanded of the government to expedite the decision regarding ownership of the land, so that grand temple is built soon. Uddhav Thackeray of Shiv Sena even went farther and threatened to gather every Hindu of the country to do the job if the government remained inactive on the issue. In another development, a Hindu extremist ex-bureaucrat namely RVS Mani has published a book titled “Hindu Terror – Insider Account of Ministry of Home Affairs” in which he alleges United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government for coining “fake narrative of Hindu terror”. It is on records that with the rise of Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), comfort and freedom of action for affiliated Hindu extremists groups like Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Shiv Sena, Vishv Hindu Parsihad (VHP) etc., have also increased. VHP International President Ashok Singhal had described the Gujarat carnage as a “successful experiment” and warned that it would be repeated all over India.
In 2014, Dharm Jagran Smiti (DJS) leader Rajeshwar Singh had threatened to Hinduize India by 2021 by expelling or re-converting Muslim and Christian people. It is rightly said that Gandhi’s peaceful and tolerant India is turning into “Modi’s fascist and terrorist India”. Increasing activities of BJP/Hindu extremist elements are aimed at creating a favourable atmosphere for forthcoming General elections in India to be held in April/ May 2019. Renaming of villages/towns/cities, publishing books to negate the label of “Saffron India”, demand for expediting law for building “Ram temple” and squeezing the minorities through love jihad, Gau Rakshak related lynching, vandalizing, raping and inhuman treatment, are clear indicators that India is a Hindu extremist / terrorist country where Non-Hindus have no right to live. A Hindu extremist state in a progressing region will pose a serious threat and challenge to regional peace and security.