Hindutva, Hinduism & Politics - Today's Necessity or A Game of Divide and Rule?

hinduism vs hindutva
The term Hindutva was popularised towards the late nineteenth century Bengal, but its prevalence in the present times is attributed to Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. Savarkar wrote his most important and influential work ‘Hindutva: Who is a Hindu?’ published in 1923 which turned out to be source of principles for Hindu Nationalism in 1920s.

‘Hindutva’ can be loosely translated as ‘Hinduness’. The word, in contemporary times, is used to describe a variety of ideologies and to propagate misinformation using the ideals of monks like Swami Vivekananda. It is thus very important to figure out the similarities in the ideologies of the proclaimed Hindutva philosophers.

This article will help you understand the difference between 'actual Hinduism' and 'political Hindutva'.


Savarkar's ideology vs Vivekananda's ideology

Savarkar identifies Hinduism with ‘Rashtra’, ‘Jati’ and ‘Sanskriti’. He emphasized, in order to exclude other communities, that for a person to be a Hindu, one needs to consider the country as a Holy land and not just the Father land. Therefore, according to Savarkar, a person who is a citizen of India, inherits the blood of his Vedic ancestors, who claims Sanskrit culture as his own and recognises the nation as his/her holy land is a Hindu.
savarkar

For Swami Vivekananda, the condition which holds utmost importance for a person to be recognised as a Hindu is that he/she must subscribe to the practices and doctrines of Hinduism. He treats Hinduism as a worldview and his application of the term ‘Hindu’ appear to transcend boundaries of nationality and language.
swami vivekananda

Historian and Indologist Ainslee T. Embree notes, Vivekananda’s love for India and Hinduism was never exclusive and, “above all it was never anti-Muslim or anti-Christian.” Thus, Savarkar’s idea of Hinduism seems to be exclusive while Swami Vivekananda’s Hinduism is clearly inclusive.

Hinduism vs Hindutva

Hinduism is considered to be Dharma on the other hand Hindutva seems to be increasingly used as a political formula. Hinduism promotes open-minded, acceptance and non-violence whereas Hindutva seems to be giving importance to imposing prohibitive thoughts, biased morale and restricted ideology. 

The Congress leader Shashi Tharoor and author of the book ‘Why I Am a Hindu’ had very clearly summed up Hindutva and Hinduism at the 18th edition of India Today Conclave 2019 in New Delhi, “Hinduism is a very large, eclectic, vastly encompassing religion that has tremendous amount of choice of freedom within it, which is actually one of the greatest strengths of Hinduism. The problem with Hindutva is that it takes this vast all encompassing religion and tries to reduce it to something much narrower and specifically tie it to a political identity." the Congress leader articulated.

Historian Sumanta Banerjee notes “… in spite of the tactical differences among the BJP, VHP, RSS, Shiv Sena leaders and ranks, a general consensus has emerged within the milieu of these parties and organisations towards the definition of a Hindu ideology in the sense of a highly structured belief system involving the interpretation of the past, an analysis of the present, and a set of precepts and imperatives for future conduct.”

The right wing political outfits of the country are however not completely adhering to the ideals of their ideological forefathers. For example, during his visit in Ratnagiri, he read an article saying that “one who regards the cow as his mother” is a Hindu which compelled him to write “If the cow’s a mother to anyone at all, it’s the bullock, not the Hindus. If Hindutva is to sustain itself on a cow’s legs, it’ll come crashing down at the slightest hint of a crisis.” 

The ruling party and those associated with it are using their divisive tricks at to their full extent by running communal campaigns designed to inflame public sentiments, associating patriotic determination in a negative manner that whosoever goes against the party’s sentiments is an anti-national. The parties have successfully planted a connection between Hindutva and Patriotism in the minds of the public which has helped them enough to win most of the elections by giving support to emotion and immediacy rather than intellect and reason. 

It is therefore important to compare the ideals of the original thinkers of an ideology with those of the contemporary times and have an elaborate understanding of the issues that affect our lives.

What is your opinion on this matter? Please let us know in the comments! 
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Saher Hiba Khan is currently pursuing B.a. (hons.) English (2nd year) from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. She loves to write on social issues which are the real evils of our society. She also loves to write poetry whenever the monster living in her head wants to pen down its feelings. "I just want people to wake up from their sleeps and face the reality of our Hypocritical Society."

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The Radical - Information That Matters: Hindutva, Hinduism & Politics - Today's Necessity or A Game of Divide and Rule?
Hindutva, Hinduism & Politics - Today's Necessity or A Game of Divide and Rule?
The term Hindutva was popularised towards the late nineteenth century Bengal, but its prevalence in the present times is attributed to Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. Savarkar wrote his most important and influential work ‘Hindutva: Who is a Hindu?’ published in 1923 which turned out to be source of principles for Hindu Nationalism in 1920s. ‘Hindutva’ can be loosely translated as ‘Hinduness’. The word, in contemporary times, is used to describe a variety of ideologies and to propagate misinformation using the ideals of monks like Swami Vivekananda. It is thus very important to figure out the similarities in the ideologies of the proclaimed Hindutva philosophers.
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