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Celebrating Universal Hindutva

Prafulla Ketkar

Prafulla KetkarSep 07, 2021, 03:35 PM IST

Celebrating Universal Hindutva

Unity in variety is the plan of nature, and the Hindu has recognised it. Every other religion lays down certain fixed dogmas, and tries to force society to adopt them. It places before society only one coat which must fit Jack and John and Henry, all alike. If it does not fit John or Henry, he must go without a coat to cover his body. The Hindus have discovered that the absolute can only be realised, or thought of, or stated, through the relative, and the images, crosses, and crescents are simply so many symbols-so many pegs to hang spiritual ideas on. It is not that this help is necessary for everyone, but those that do not need it have no right to say that it is wrong. Nor is it compulsory in Hinduism”.
–– Swami Vivekananda, PAPER ON HINDUISM, Read at the Parliament of Religions - Chicago, September 19, 1893


Talibanism is back with a bang. The ideology of terrorism that executed the 9/11 attack is regaining the space along with the concept of 'global Caliphate'. Communism, otherwise claims to be anti-religion, perceives the Islamists as strategic allies. The US led Western world has lost steam and strategy to deal with this deadly alliance. However, guess what? Globally, self proclaimed intellectuals are discussing Hindutva (Hinduness) as a threat, and devising strategies to dismantle the Universal thought. In Bharat, the same forces are conspiring to denegrade the civilisational legacy by mocking festivals and dividing the society on various faultlines. Why is Hinduness that stands for harmony among human beings and the entire universe at the receiving end? 

For almost a thousand years, Islamists, followed by Western capitalists and then communists, tried to eliminate the Hindu civilisation physically and intellectually. Juxtaposed to other ancient civilisations that got buried under binary rules of existence, Hindu ethos survived like the sole sanctuary of celebrating diversity.  This tenacity and perseverance of the Hindu civilisation is the biggest problem for ideological constructs that are parochial & exclusionary. Despite all their attempts to diminish Hindu thought and identity, Hinduness has been flourishing in diverse forms.  

During the barbaric aggressions, Bhakti movement kept the flame of Hinduness alive through means of devotion. Later, Kshatra Dharma - the pursuit of protecting the seekers and punishing the evildoers - was rekindled in the form of Chhatrapati Shivaji and his Hindavi Swaraj. During the struggle against European colonisation, freedom fighters revitalised the philosophy of Karma Yoga. Swami Vivekananda and his message of Universal Brotherhood found global resonance with a beautiful blend of Bhakti, Jnana and Karma Yoga. The resilient Hindutva not just reinvent and reform but also resist the monopolistic and monotheistic impositions. The Ram Janmabhoomi Movement was a similar social awakening in recent times.  

Adaptability, inclusiveness, harmony, and spiritual democracy are Hindutva's unique foundational features that make it 'Sanatan' - Eternal. It provides an alternative form of modernity and does not fit into the right-left ideological divide. The deep-seated dilemma of the Western constructs is their inability to deal with the dynamism of Hinduness. How can spirituality and prosperity, individual and collective, oneness and diversity be synthesised in one thought process; is a puzzle for them. So create confusions based on the Western paradigm is the primary strategy. Their prodigies in Bharat follow the same prism. Initially, they mocked and denied the national identity called 'Hindu'. When the same identity galvanised the entire socio-political milieu, they tried to create frictions based on smaller identities. With the limited results on that front, Hinduism is good but Hindutva should be dismantled is the next step, a clear sign of frustration. 

As the inheritors of this eternal and all-inclusive civilisation, our solemn duty is to face the situation with a new resolve. Any attempt to exploit the non-monotheistic character of Hindutva must be resisted within and outside Bharat. The tendencies of bigotry, violence, environmental degradation and dehumanisation of economic activities are on the rise. For many, the Hindu paradigm is a solution to all these problems. So, there is a contradicting trend of increasing acceptance on one hand and attempts to spread hatred for Hindutva, on the other. Amidst such a scenario, revisiting the other 9/11, the Chicago speech and message of Universal Brotherhood delivered by Swami Vivekananda is the best way forward. When Swamiji declared, "I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance", he was articulating and presenting Hinduness to the world. For the sake of entire humanity, we must celebrate this Hindutva’s message of Universal Acceptance while unitedly resisting the forces of hatred and exclusion.  

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on Sep 13 2021 07:46:40


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