Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hindutva

“A form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with Hindu decline, humiliation or victimhood at the hands of Muslim and Christian rulers/evangelists and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants [Sangh], working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites [Upper castes/royals/rich], abandons democratic liberties [like justice, minority rights] and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing in Gujarat and Kandhamal and external expansion into places like Pakistan.”

I just wrote the definition of Fascism in the Indian context. We call it as Hindutva.

5 comments:

Palahalli said...

Dear Balaji, I glanced through your articles and your Rightist agenda.

Let me tell you that your equating of Hindutva with fascism is unconvincing.

Moreover I think even you will agree that your Rightist agenda will be seen as nothing less than fascism by our secular-liberals.

So theoretically I don't know how you would be able to satisfy anti-fascists post giving up Hindutva.

You seem to have found a certain way to do that, that is by relegating Hinduism to the ranks of "religions" that the Secular State must stay away from. I'm afraid that will still not convince secular-liberals.

I have a favorite theory that one can see being practiced by every Secular state today. That is the decimation of a National society in order to accommodate Multi-Culturalism. So, unless you are willing to decimate India's National Hindu society; you cannot win respectability amongst secular-liberals.

As for our voters, I'm simply convinced that if the BJP had had enough balls post 1992, to stay the course, we would have had a Hindu government ruling not just today but we would have had it yesterday too.

I don't mean it as bombast but voters get disillusioned by hypocrites. That's what cost the BJP. Results from Mangalore and Pilibhit bear this out. You seem to have campaigned hard for the BJP..please let me know if I am making sense.

Balaji said...

hmm, I see your point. you are being practical. but the crux of my arguments are below.

1. Hindutva and Hindu are not synonymous. Even Savarkar was very clear that Hindutva is a political idiom. For me Hindu means Indian, nothing else. I do not believe Hindu denotes any religion.

2. I do not think BJP should try to impress secularists. We should be clear about our own ideology. Golwalkar ridiculed Hindu Mahasabha as practicing Reactionary Hinduism. I think a similar phenomenon is happening today.

3. I think Hindu is multi-cultural and multi-religious by definition. For example I see the same note in Advaita and Jainism which I subscribe too. Similarly I disagree with both Islam and Vaishnavism. And I find Christianity and Ram worship juvenile. But I consider the followers of all those religions Hindus. So the notion of Hindu National Society escapes me.

Palahalli said...

Dear Balaji,

1. I am aware of Savarkar's ideas on Hindutva. It was him that invented the term :) However, I would not say his Hindutva was distinct and political as opposed to other facets of Hindu life. Savarkar himself said Hindutva was much broader and larger than Hinduism. It encompassed Hinduism too and was not just one part (political) of Hindu life. That was Savarkar's idea if my reading of his work "Hindutva" is correct.

In so far as Hindu means Indian, I could have agreed with you if we were living in 1000 AD or thereabouts. Back then most adventurers and invaders saw a distinct mass of people different from themselves. I'm doubtful if these "name-givers" would have called Syrian Christians, Jews and Parsees (immigrants to India), Hindus along with the rest of us natives. In any case evidence that may corroborate this does not exist as far as I know. So, that leaves us folks. I call us people of Sanatana Dharma and it's sisters, Jaina, Boudha and Sikha amongst others.

2. On the BJP and secularists, my point is somewhat different. Right from the time Advani's fancy "Pseudo-Secularism" got a stranglehold over Hindu political discourse, I have become suspicious. I say the BJP would like to see itself as the true bearer of secularism. My point is that secularism is itself the poison that needs to be drained out of our body politic.

Frankly, Golwalkar, in my opinion, was an intellectual child. I read that portion of his "rebuke" of the Mahasabha you posted on Dasgupta's blog. Golwalkar is rebuking the HM for asking the Congress to allow it (HM) to talk to the Muslim League because that would be more in order.

Clearly this episode exposes the confusion in both Golwalkar and Savarkar. Golwalkar is wrong in castigating the League as "anti-national". Anti-national in what sense?

Savarkar's HM is wrong in calling the Congress nationalist. Nationalist in what sense? I think he (Savarkar) was merely trying to ensure some play area for the HM.

The BJP's confusion is worse confounded. Its heroes are Gandhi and Nehru!

3. I agree with you when you say Hindus are multi-dimensional. Very unique and diverse within themselves. But I cannot agree with you when you stretch superficial "likeness" to with Islam and Christianity. I also feel this is the trap the Sangh with its Mohammedi Hindu and Christi Hindu has fallen into. We must note, before we get excited over this idea, that Muslims and Christians will both resist any such "inclusion". I'm almost certain your disagreements with Islam and Christianity go deeper Balaji.

Thank you and I apologize for taking up so much space.

Balaji said...

hmm ... I'm not sure about the Sanatana Dharma etc. I don't see any meaning in "Eternal Religion". Are we the "Eternal Nation" simply bcos we exist over such a longer period of time?

but I agree with you on secularism. While a state can be expected to be secular (indifferent to religions) there is no need for the BJP to be secular. BJP and its supporters can very well be religious with whatever religion they want to follow. Such a spiritual society may even be desirable.

Palahalli said...

Sanatana Dharma vide Eternal Religion (?) vide Eternal Nation is a theoretical possibility and a current reality. After all, Dharma is duty and a quest. What can be temporary about duties and quests? Isn't this that gives our Dharma the diverseness we see all around us? And still there is a thread that runs through all of it's variants.

On Secularism, I think it is more complicated than that. Whence a State is defined as Secular then that definition is directly or indirectly underlined in it's constitution. In our case, we already have the 42nd Amendment. Not only must all parties swear by Secularism, they must also swear by Socialism!

The only way the BJP can be seen as Hindu is by being brazen about it. Just like it did in the '90's. To create a condition whereby it would be unthinkable for any opponent to press for legal sanction against it.

In my view a Hindu State is Hindu and not Secular. By saying this I am not subscribing to a theocratic arrangement. There is no basis for any Hindu "theocracy".