- I spoke once before with this force in me and I sad then this movement is not a political movement and that nationalism is not politics but a religion, a creed, a faith. I say it agan today, but I put it in another way. I say no longer that nationalism is a creed, a religion, a faith; I say that it is the Sanatan Dharma which for us is nationalism. This Hindu nation was born with the Sanatan Dharma, with it it moves and with it it grows. When the Sanatan Dharma declines, then the nation declines, and if the Sanatan Dharma were capable of perishing, with the Sanatan Dharma it would perish. The Sanatan Dharma, that is nationalism. This is the message that I have to speak to you
- That Hindus — alongside countless Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, agnostics and atheists — support me should not be newsworthy. But some media outlets have chosen to craft a false narrative of intrigue by profiling and targeting all of my donors who have names of Hindu origin and accusing them of being “Hindu nationalists.” Today it’s the profiling and targeting of Hindu Americans and ascribing to them motives without any basis. Tomorrow will it be Muslim or Jewish Americans? Japanese, Hispanic or African Americans? I too have been accused of being a “Hindu nationalist.” My meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India’s democratically elected leader, have been highlighted as “proof” of this and portrayed as somehow being out of the ordinary or somehow suspect, even though President Obama, Secretary Clinton, President Trump and many of my colleagues in Congress have met with and worked with him. India is one of America’s closest allies in Asia and is a country of growing importance in a critical region of the world.
- The notion of a single Hindu culture, incommensurable with Islamic or western epistemes and forms of organization, is the real fiction at work here, imposed by orientalism and painstakingly promulgated, organized, and reformulated by generation of Hindu nationalists and other Indian nationalists for more than a century. [...] In order to understand Hindu nationalism we need to analyze carefully the official secularism it opposed. Textbook versions of secularism as the absence of religion from the public sphere, or a more fashionable understanding of secularism as a metonym of scientific rationalism, will not suffice. We need to take a closer and more informed look at the practices and meanings of secularism in the public culture of independent India. The dominant interpretation of secularism in India did not entail the removal of religion from the political sphere, but rather the belief that religion and culture were elevated to an ostensibly apolitical level, above the profanities of the political. This institutionalized notion of culture and religion as apolitical, and the derived notion of selfless "social work" as ennobling and purifying by virtue of its elevation above politics and money, provided an unassailable moral high ground to a certain genre of "antipolitical activism," conspicuous among social and cultural organization but also often invoked in agitations and in electoral politics in India. I submit that it was from this discursive field of "antipolitics" and "religious activism" that the Hindu nationalist movement, with great ingenuity, built its campaigns and organizational networks for decades. Like other forms of cultural nationalism, the Hindu nationalist movement always entertained a complex ambivalence vis-à-vis democracy and apprehension toward the "political vocation." The evolution of the movement, its organization, and its political strategies must be understood in the context of a constant negotiation and oscillation across the deep bifurcation in modern Indian political culture between a realm of "sublime" culture and realm of "profane" competitive politics.
- Bombai also used to be considered a pearl of the Orient, with its necklace of lights along the corniche and its magnificent British Raj architecture. It was one of India's most diverse and plural cities, and its many layers of texture have been cleverly explored by Salman Rushdie—especially in The Moor's Last Sigh—and in the films of Mira Nair. It is true that there had been intercommunal fighting there, during the time in 1947-48 when the grand historic movement for Indian self-government was being ruined by Muslim demands for a separate state and by the fact that the Congress Party was led by a pious Hindu. But probably as many people took refuge in Bombay during that moment of religious bloodlust as were driven or fled from it. A form of cultural coexistence resumed, as often happens when cities are exposed to the sea and to influences from outside. Parsis—former Zoroastrians who had been persecuted in Persia—were a prominent minority, and the city was also host to a historically significant community of Jews. But this was not enough to content Mr. Bal Thackeray and his Shiv Sena Hindu nationalist movement, who in the 1990s decided that Bombay should be run by and for his coreligionists, and who loosed a tide of goons and thugs on the the streets. Just to show he could do it, he ordered the city renamed as "Mumbai," which is partly why I include it in this list under its traditional title.
- In much of the Hindu nationalist writing, Muslims are treated as the evil other against which Hindus define their own identity: to borrow from Jyortimaya Sharma (2007) "they are incomplete, uncultured and demonic" while "we are immortality's children". Such poisonous representations have had terrible consequences.
- Hindutva militants have truly sinister intentions of denigrating religious minorities.
- There could not be a more grisly method, even when it involves no violence, to cover up ghastly crimes committed by a people than to indulge in the fallacy of false equivalence. In this fallacy, two incomparable things are compared and declared to be equal because there are always two sides to the story. What is going on in the aftermath of the worst communal violence in Delhi since 1984, in which 34 Muslims and 15 Hindus have died, is precisely this fallacy. Thus, here, both Hindus and Muslims are at fault for the violence; hence the refusal to call it a pogrom or state-backed violence against Muslims despite all the evidence. Moral equivalence completely obscures the root causes of a problem. It instead focuses on the immediate and the superficial, and is employed by well-intentioned observers as well as Hindutva supporters when on the defensive. Thus, six years of relentless hate-mongering against Muslims is seen to be of no consequence in creating an absolutely inflammable social sphere. [...] These are the times when on the most watched primetime television news debates every night, it is absolutely normal for the anchors and BJP spokespersons to call Muslim panelists terrorists and anti-nationals. [...] These are the times when a Union minister can declare that Rahul Gandhi is the son of a Muslim. Of course, the insinuation is that being a Muslim is a crime – plain and simple. To focus only on the Kapil Mishras, Anurag Thakurs, and the Parvesh Vermas, as if they are some elements which have gone rogue, is to miss that they are totally in sync with the discourse authored and sanctioned by none less than the prime minister of the Indian republic. Whenever confronted with this stark reality, Hindutva supporters respond with whataboutery.
- It is not that Hindutva supporters equate vastly different phenomena with vastly different consequences, but they also willfully gloss over facts like 80%-90% of VIP (ministers, MPs, MLAs) hate speech has been perpetrated by the BJP, or that the head of the BJP’s IT Cell is the greatest disseminator of the most dangerous and fake communal propaganda. There is simply no comparison between the ruling party and other parties.
- Just as in the 1930s, [...] contemporary world capitalism too has reached a dead-end and cannot continue as before. [...] The ruling formation in India, however, is totally oblivious of the world conjuncture. The dead-end of neo-liberalism, which is visible to even bourgeois thinkers in the metropolis, is invisible to our Hindutva brigade.
- After the outbreak of Covid-19, one was hoping that the global calamity will be combated on top priority without any consideration of race, ethnicity and religion. [...] Overall, during the last couple of months, the hate-filled atmosphere has taken a sharp upturn and the popular talk is veering towards shun Muslims and boycotting their trades. This does remind some of the boycott of Jew traders before the "final solution" was put into action in Germany. Already the myths, stereotypes and biases against Muslims in particular and partly against Christians abound in the society. A hate-creation mechanism is already in place. This mechanism has become robust during last few years. The roots of this mechanism are fairly deep and it has been actively nurtured by communal elements. That a human tragedy like Covid-19 could have boosted divisive processes was unthinkable a few years ago. To create a negative image, to manufacture stereotypes and biases against the minorities, a large network of trained people, owing allegiance to Hindu nationalism have spread far and wide, deep into the vitals of society.
- In the interests of 'secularism', most Indian schools and colleges provide only limited courses for the study of ancient India, Vedic Hinduism and Sanskrit literature. So the vast majority of Indian children grow up with a sense of being Indian that is restricted to a religious identity. When this gets infused with a toxic sort of nationalism, as happens in RSS educational institutions, the result is bigotry of a lethal kind.
- In 2008, Hindutva leader B.L. Sharma 'Prem' held a secret meeting with key members of a terrorist group responsible for a nationwide bombing campaign targeting Muslims. [...] Like's Europe's mainstream right-wing parties, the BJP has condemned the terrorism of the right — but not the thought system which drives it. Its refusal to engage in serious introspection, or even to unequivocally condemn Hindutva violence, has been nothing short of disgraceful. Liberal parties, including the Congress, have been equally evasive in their critique of both Hindutva and Islamist terrorism. Besieged as India is by multiple fundamentalisms, in the throes of a social crisis that runs far deeper than in Europe, with institutions far weaker, it must reflect carefully on Mr. Brevik's story — or run real risks to its survival.