Deepak Dhavalikar prompted a national hullabaloo while speaking during a motion congratulating Narendra Modi on becoming prime minister. His party is the regional outfit of Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), an alliance partner of Bharatiya Janata Party. He expressed his gratitude towards Modi and said, Modi would be able to make India a Hindu State in the future if he got unstinted and full support and backing from “all of us”. Hindu nationalism has been collectively referred to as the expressions of social and political thought, based on the native spiritual and cultural traditions of historical India. Some scholars have argued that the use of the term “Hindu nationalism” to refer to Hindū rāṣṭravāda is a simplistic translation and is better described by the term “Hindu politics”. They inspired the freedom movements against the British Raj based on armed struggle, coercive politics and non-violent protests. They also influenced social reform movements and economic thinking in India.
A revolutionary movement was started by Shyamji Krishnavarma, a Sanskritist and an Arya Samajist, in London, under the name of India House in 1905. The brain behind this movement was said to be Veer D Savarkar. The movement had become well known for its activities in the Indian expatriates in London. When Gandhi visited London in 1909, he shared a platform with the revolutionaries where both the parties politely agreed to disagree, on the question of violent struggle against British and whether Ramayana justified such violence. Gandhi, while admiring the “patriotism” of the young revolutionaries, had dissented vociferously from their violent blueprints for social change. In turn the revolutionaries disliked his adherence to constitutionalism and his close contacts with moderate leaders of Indian National Congress. Moreover, they considered his method of “passive resistance” effeminate and humiliating. India House gave formative support to ideas that were later formulated by Savarkar in his book named ‘Hindutva’. Hindutva was to gain relevance in the run up to the Indian Independence and would also form the core to the political party named Hindu Mahasabha started by Savarkar.
With BJP or without BJP, India is a Hindu dominated Rashtra, and this is a fact! That’s why India is so boldly different from countries like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. It is also a fact that the term Hindu captures India’s multi-layered uniqueness and its richly vibrant expressions of human relationship with truth and reality. In broader sense, India was, is and will always be a Hindu Rashtra. India is obligated to continue to preserve its uniqueness for ensuring a better world. When the issue of cultural roots comes, no one stands at par with Indian culture, it is far older than history started to record.
Though politically, such statements from a parliamentarian signals out very unhealthy ambiences to our social strength and should be put down by all right thinking Indians. Indian society have shown to the world how two distinctly different and sometimes hostile cultures could integrate reasonably well at the social plane where people of all religious connotations provide space to others and live with camaraderie, though not in its full sense. Hindus and Muslims living here must be proud of being Indians first and assimilate the greatness in each other’s faiths into their daily lives. People like Deepak Dhavlikar profess a religious state because they feel that they can stay in power using such tactics. Boko Haram, Hafiz Saeed too chant for Muslim states. Hitler too believed in the superiority of Christians. However, all of them want to dictate over the people of their own religion.
There are many Christian and Muslim countries which have Christianity or Islam as their official religion. There is no Hindu country in the world. India is a Hindu- majority country. The majority complied with secularism keeping its broadmindedness which was also its weakness during foreign invasions and colonial rule. May be the majority of Hindus (by religion and beliefs) wanted this country to be declared as Hindu Rashtra. Naming India as a Hindu Rashtra will explode the conventional wisdom. It will provide a strong identity for all Hindus. Hindus from Kashmir to Kerala have a role to play.
I remember, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat saying, since ancient times, the idea of unity in diversity has been path of the Indian culture and Indian cultural identity is defined by Hindutva. The world thinks that for unity you need uniformity. But in India, the idea of looking for unity in diversity has been prevalent since ancient times. This has been the basis of unity in Indian culture. The common people know this culture as Hindu culture. The world recognised India as a Hindu Rashtra. So, Hindutva is India’s identity. It’s the identity of everybody staying in this country. Except the Jews and the Parsis, everybody’s ancestors in India were Hindus. We are all influenced by the Hindu culture. Hinduism is not just about people living on the other side of Indus River. That is just the name it extracted. Hinduism is a way of life. No harm in being Hindu and following Hinduism. Politics alone cannot bring about transformation in the society. You need a leader, who has the confidence of the whole society, may be this is the reason large population of Hindus in India backed Narendra Modi for the general elections; he and his party won with marvelous margin. The general election was a message and now everyone is expecting to see India as “Hindu Rashtra”. Some are keeping silent on this and some politicians are going vocal about such issues. Anyways, India is a country with so many non-Hindus such as Jains, Sikhs, Buddhism followers, some Tamilians who won’t consider themselves as Indians, if India is declared as Hindu Rasthtra. This debate is never ending, so the idea of Hindu Rashtra too will remain in discussions.