n the recent past, the entire political system and the Vote Banks have divided into Hindutva and Secularism. The word Hinduism is too much exploited even on social media. In an actual sense, the Hindu religion is the lifestyle of people. If we read about the ‘Hindutva’ upholders — Savarkar and his contemporaries in the RSS — they have well defined the connotation of the word. According to them, the Muslims and the Christians are for sure out of the purview of the given ideology. They even proposed that if these religious minorities don’t accept the verdict given by them, they should be deemed as second-class citizens. The ethnic description of the land is Bharata-Varsha and the substitute name Bharat is sanctified by the 1950 Constitution as a valid and official name for the country. Dharma is a word which encompasses the totality of the human activities in its social context. Nehru, for example, popularised the notion of being progressive, modern, and enlightened by ridiculing the beliefs, eccentricities of the conventional Brahmans, particularly, the scholars and the holy class. He was fortunate that someone like Madan Mohan Malviya or Tagore had vanished from the scene, leaving India without an awe-inspiring proponent of the Indian civilisation. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the phrase “Hindutva” did not exist before 1830. It was fashioned by the English colonialists. There is no mention of the terms “Hindu” or “Sanatana Dharma” in the Vedas, Puranas or any other religious texts prior to 1830 AD nor are they found in any imprinting or in any record of foreign travellers to India before the English rule. The term “Hindustan” was first used in the 12th century by Muhammad Ghori, who dubbed his new subjects “Hindus”.
Somewhere I read about Hindutva, explained by Dr. Prithi Paul; she says that “The patience of the Hindu is not due to an appealing temperament of the mind. It rests on a philosophical substance, on the authoritative belief that the essence of “I” is homogeneous with the essence of the ‘Thou’, as expressed in the Upanishadic Mahavakya: “Tat Tvam Asi.” Mahatma Gandhi was a fundamentalist Hindu, real and a genuine fundamentalist Hindu, who was Universalist, Compassionate, heroically Courageous, and absolutely Faithful to the Mahavakya: “Sarvam Idam Khalu Brahma”. In more than the 95 hard-cover volumes of his collected writings, one would not come across a single verb, or adjective, or noun of insult, or of any contempt for the British who ruled India, despite all their taxing, looting and famishing with the help of the military, the court of justice and a mercenary Civil Service. However, in contrast, the genuine fundamentalist Muslim was Jinnah with his Direct Action and his readiness to wage war against the other Kaum as a fundamental right for his Kaum. For Mahatma, the truth was God and Ahimsa was the right way of being political: two dharmika virtues constantly reiterated throughout the Mahabharata. On the other hand, the fundamentalist belonging to the opposite Kaum cannot relinquish the duty of exclusion and hostility to the other Kaum. One needs to keep these two attitudes, these two cultures, well in the mind to understand the crime done to Indian polity by the indoctrination of the secularist mentality.
In Europe, the secularism has had its proponents: Montaigne, La Rochefoucauld, Rousseau, Voltaire, Mazzini, John Stuart Mill, John Ruskin, Goethe, Hoffman, Rilke, and so many others. But who are salient, if any, Indian proponents of secularism. The Muslims and the Christians are not subscribing to the formula ‘Sarva Dharma Sama Bhava’ and of its content. The fact is that the Hinduism is at the antipode of the revealed religions. (In my writings, I do not use the word Hinduism; rather I use the word “Brahmanism”, i.e. the way of life based on the Absolute Reality, Brahman, which manifests itself into all forms of life, as the Ocean-Brahman manifests itself as the Jiva-Brahman-wave). That was at the root of the Mahatma’s declaration, during his last Delhi phase, asking Hindus not to retaliate while the Muslims were cutting down their fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, and he threatened to fast to death if they did retaliate. That was the Mahatma’s greatest and noblest act in the service of the humanity bequeathed by the Acharyas. Compared with the long history of Hindu tolerance, secularism, as taught by the Congress and its mercenaries and the sycophants, is as material as an oasis-mirage in the Arabian Desert. Leaders like Nitish Kumar, Mulayam and Lalu ought to see the film “Garam Hawa” (with the script written by Kaifi Azmi, the father of the actress Shabana Azmi) to have a fair understanding of the genesis of the vote bank, which comprised the former supporters of Partition and then found themselves trapped within India).
That is why, though the BJP is right in upholding its Hindutva ideology, the fact nonetheless is degrading reduction of the Dharma as it has been taught, transmitted, practiced down the millennia. It is wrong to compress the hallowed Dharma into an imitation of the Muslim vote bank. The BJP ought to revive the spirit of the ‘purusharthas’, the metaphysics, the social grammar of tolerance, the energy, which created Ajanta, Ellora, Elephanta, Konarak, Lingaraja, Rameswaram, and Chidambaram. These are the creations of spiritualities, which were also concurrently secular. No civilisation has produced more abundantly and more public beauty to dress the highest spirituality, as has India of the forest dwelling and renouncing Acharyas. It is that Hindu civilisation which ought to inspire the BJP, not the memory of a mere Rath Yatra. Throughout the India’s ancient history, the word Hindu was never meant to denote religion. It was a geographic and cultural term used by the Greeks, Persians, and Arabs, derived from the Sanskrit Sindhu, to describe the people living by and beyond the river Sindhu. The Greeks modified Sindhu to Indus, and it is said that the ancient Persian explorers because of their pronunciation rules, dropped the letter S from Sindhu, and called the people living around the Sindhu River as Hindus. The term “Hindutva” is derived from the two terms “Hindu Tattva”, which literally means “Hindu Principles”. Now the question is — what are the Hindu Principles and what comprises the “Hindutva” Outlook? To answer this question, we would have to begin with the history of the Hindus. The history of the Hindus is the history of a civilisation that has developed in its natural state, without interruption, since antiquity. Its age is dated to be between five and nine thousand years.