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Dismantling Vs Criticizing: Dismantling Global Hindutva, Savarkar and Hinduphobia

Akshay Jog

Akshay JogSep 17, 2021, 03:24 PM IST

Dismantling Vs Criticizing: Dismantling Global Hindutva, Savarkar and Hinduphobia

 

Supporters of the “Dismantling Global Hindutva” (DGH) conference often argued that ‘Hindutva and Hinduism are distinct. Hindutva is a narrow political ideology whereas Hinduism is a broad-based religious tradition…..it is offensive to conflate the two.’ (Ref: https://www.hindutvaharassmentfieldmanual.org/defininghindutva) They also stated ‘V D Savarkar as the godfather of Hindutva ideology’ who ‘rejects diversity as a social value, instead seeking an extreme form of homogeny.’ (ibid). Let us look at what Savarkar said or wrote about Hindutva and Hinduism.

Savarkar’s Hindutva

Savarkar stated in his seminal work ‘Essentials of Hindutva’ that, ‘Hinduism is only a derivative, a fraction, a part of Hindutva’. (Samagra Savarkar Vangmay-SSV-Vol 6, Page 2) So he didn’t want to categorize the level of Hinduism and Hindutva as alleged such as ‘Hinduism was inferior in comparison to Hindutva’; (Chaturvedi, Vinayak. Reading Savarkar: Was the Hindutva icon actually Hinduphobic?, 6 September 2021, Scroll.in) Here Savarkar just points out that Hinduism is a part of a larger, broader way of life and of thinking called Hindutva.  and that also to avoid confusion, because it is absolutely necessary to have a correct grasp of the meaning, otherwise confusion or vagueness of thoughts may lead to chaos and may blur the understanding.

Savarkar said, ‘From the word 'Hindu' has been coined the word 'Hinduism' in English. It means the school or system of religions the Hindus follow. The second word 'Hindutva' is far more comprehensive and refers not only to the religious aspect of the Hindu people as the word 'Hinduism' does but comprehends even their cultural, linguistic, social, and political aspects as well. It is more of less akin to 'Hindu polity' and its nearly exact translation would be 'Hinduness'. (SSV-Vol 6, Page 350)

Savarkar writes, ‘The Hindu Sanghanists Party aims to base the future constitution of Hindusthan on the broad principle that all citizens should have equal rights and obligations irrespective of caste or creed, race or religion, provided they avow and owe an exclusive and devoted allegiance to the Hindusthani state. The fundamental rights of liberty of speech, liberty of conscience, of worship, of association, etc., will be enjoyed by all citizens alike.’ (SSV - Vol 6, Page 365-366) It means Savarkar gave all Indian citizens equal fundamental rights and never discriminated on the bases of sect, race, caste or religion. So, Hindutva is a socio-political concept, but not narrow or aggressive and it accepts diversity as a social value and not seeking an extreme form of homogeny.

While speaking to Shaukat Ali, Savarkar clearly stated, ‘if you are organizing themselves for the sake of justice or civil rights, then we will also continue with ours. We don’t have any qualms about it. Because [the] Hindu organisation believes that if others have the right to organise it, so do us [sic]. But they should not have aggressive intentions, because neither I nor the Hindu organisations have any such motive.’ (SSV- Vol 3, Page 759, 764) Savarkar espoused the just, fair and equitable rights of Hindus. Even as the President of the Hindu Mahasabha, he never sought for Hindus any rights or privileges that he was not prepared to concede to non-Hindus. Savarkar championed the Hindu cause because in the British and Congress scheme of policies, Hindus were deprived of fair treatment.

 

Savarkar abhorred violence

Savarkar never advocated Hindus to kill other Hindus, as stated by Chaturvedi. Savarkar did not approve of inhuman violence and violence among his own people. Although he was a revolutionary, he was not a proponent of arsenal, murder, violence and destruction. He writes in a letter to his younger brother, Narayanrao Savarkar, from Andaman in 1920: “But even while combating force with force we heartily abhorred and do yet abhor all violence.” Speaking on the occasion of Abhinav Bharat’s valedictory ceremony in 1952, Savarkar said, ‘Secret conspiracies, armed rebellion, fear mongering, unrest, treason are all essential for overthrowing the alien state. They are virtues. If these tools and all these instincts continue to be our part [sic] even after we establish Swarajya, it would be the greatest of sins. They should be got rid of immediately. Otherwise, they would prove to be much more dangerous and deadly than the real foreign enemy.’ (SSV- Vol 8, Page 483, 484, 486)

Are Hindus intolerant to criticism?

In Hindu religion too, reformers or social revolutionaries faced adverse situations like opposition or protest from orthodox people, but Hindu religion evolved gradually, because a famous notion-- ‘We can agree to disagree’ is acceptable in Hindutva and Hinduism. So, any critique of Hindutva or Hinduism is not a form of Hinduphobia. However, the title of conference is not “Criticism or Critique of Hindutva” but “Dismantling Global Hindutva” (DGH). Dismantle means to demolish, to destroy, to quash. Even if there is difference between Hindutva and Hinduism, they are not opposite to each other and most importantly it includes and attached to, related to Hindu people. As Savarkar himself said, “The words Hindutva and Hinduism both of them being derived from the word Hindu, must necessarily be understood to refer to the whole of the Hindu people.” (SSV-Vol 6, Page 66) Therefore, opposition to DGH is not because it is hurting sentiments of Hindus, but because it may lead to Hinduphobia.

Denial of Hindu genocide

If we try to know by searching what these so-called scholars of this DGH conference actually wants to exhibit, then we can identify that DGH has promulgated the “Hindutva Harassment Field Manual” (HHFM) as resource for the conference. HHFM claims that, ‘individual cases of discrimination, no matter how painful, do not amount to “Hinduphobia.” And “Hinduphobia” ‘rests on the false notion that Hindus have faced systematic oppression throughout history and in present times.’  (https://www.hindutvaharassmentfieldmanual.org/badfaith)

The fact which is stated by Hindu American Foundation (HAF) of US wrote to the presidents and key administrators of all universities listed as co-sponsors of the DGH event, which also pointed that ‘The event platforms activists with extensive histories of amplifying Hinduphobic discourse even while denying the existence of Hinduphobia…..support or minimize violent extremist and separatists movements and deny the resulting genocides and ethnic cleansings of Hindus.’

HHFM intentionally ignores and erases the ethnic cleansing of Hindus during the partition in East & West Pakistan, the Bengali Hindu genocide of 1971, the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Hindus, especially and most recently in 1989-1990, the ethnic cleansing of Hindus in Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, which continues today. ‘This discourse actively erases and denies the persecution of Hindus while disproportionately painting Hindus as violent.’ (https://understandinghinduphobia.org/working-definition/) so it’s not the endless repetition of Hinduphobia, on the contrary it is the endless repetition of denial of Hindu genocide and ethnic cleansing.

As Parth Parihar and Indumathi Viswanathan said, ‘the right of scholars to conduct inquiry and engage in constructive debate and disagreement without threat or intimidation; yet, this upcoming conference imperils our ability to freely do so in good faith and thus constitutes the very antithesis of this ideal.’ (Parth Parihar and Indumathi Viswanathan, Hinduphobia is a reality. Scholars at ‘Dismantling Global Hindutva’ conference must know, 7 September, 2021, ThePrint)

Rajiv Malhotra states that ‘a level playing field requires that all faiths must be treated with equal intensity. One does not find similar kinds of academic assaults against other religions.’ (Rajiv Malhotra, Dismantling Global Hindutva' and the American nexus of Hinduphobia, Firstpost, 27 August 2021) Sarva-Dharma-Sam-Tika or equal criticism of all religions is not welcomed by pseudo-seculars or intellectuals with the same enthusiasm with which they propagate Sarva-Dharma-Sam-Bhav (Equal respect for all religions). This hypocrite nature of so-called seculars or intellectuals compel Hindus to protest such conference. 

Why DGH organizers or supporters prefer Hinduism over Hindutva? Because in the past, Hindus lost their political vision, they were ignorant and not conscious about their own political capacities; but concept of Hindutva created political awareness among Hindus. So entire edifice of pseudo-seculars or intellectuals falls apart. The political consciousness of Hindus is the real cause of mourning of pseudo-secularists or intellectuals. Therefore, they want to dismantle this political consciousness of Hindus i.e Hindutva.

 

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