form of right-wing Hindu nationalism

Hindutva (lit. "Hindu-ness") is a political ideology encompassing the cultural justification of Hindu nationalism. The political ideology was formulated by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in 1923. It is used by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and other organisations, collectively called the Sangh Parivar.

Arranged alphabetically by author or source:
A · B · C · D · E · F · G · H · I · J · K · L · M · N · O · P · Q · R · S · T · U · V · W · X · Y · Z · See also · External links

Quotes edit

D edit

  • "Question: I believe you are acquainted with the ideology of the Sangh Parivar.
    Answer: Yes, indeed, since 30 years. Of course, I have also come across some critical views regarding these organizations. But, at the same time, I find that the Parivar is very much concerned about the preservation of India's national identity and culture. This aspect has impressed me greatly. Frankly, there are in this country people who are infatuated with the western way of life. I have always told my Indian friends that there is no point in neglecting their own rich cultural heritage. As such, any organization working for the preservation of India's traditional values and norms certainly deserves the support of all well-meaning people."
    • Dalai Lama, [Interview conducted by S. Suresh in the ABVP conference in Kanpur which appeared in Organiser, November 22, 1992.]
  • Hindutva really means, as understood by its advocates, conformity to the idea that India has primarily been a Hindu rashtra. It is not a religious philosophy or a social reform movement. It is a political philosophy based on cultural chauvinism, which insists that the non-Hindus of India accept their place as "minorities", whose safety and security will depend on their ability to earn the "goodwill of the majority". At the heart of the Hindutva ideology is the idea that the good of a majority should also be seen as the good for any minority, and that any assertion of minority rights is essentially a threat and a challenge to the political authority of the majority. Such minorities, therefore, are seen by the Hindutva advocates as anti-national and anti-social. Besides, any attempt by a minority to swell their numbers is seen by the Hindutva votaries as aggression. Hence, conversion to Christianity or a Hindu girl’s marriage to a Muslim or a Christian are seen as undesirable and provocative acts.
    • G. N. Devy, "Adivasis and Dalits: Tribal Voice and Violence", in S. Varadarajan (ed.) Gujarat: The Making of a Tragedy (2002), 262-263. New Delhi: Penguin.

E edit

  • To conclude..., it deserves mention that most original Western publications dealing with the Hindu Mahasabha, RSS, Jan Sangh or BJP, just don't seem to be aware of the notion that these could be fascist movements, or they reject the allegation explicitly after closer consideration. Objective outsiders are not struck by any traces of fascism in the Hindutva movements, let alone in the general thought current of anti-imperialist Hindu awakening. While one should always be vigilant for traces of totalitarianism in any ideology or movement, the obsession with fascism in the anti-Hindu rhetoric of the secularists is not the product of an analysis of the data, but of their own political compulsions.
    • Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (1991). Ayodhya and after: Issues before Hindu society.
  • The current tendency to accuse the Hindu movement for cultural decolonization of India of “fascism” is nothing but a replay of an old colonial tactic against the freedom movement. More generally, we can say that every propaganda trick tried against the Hindutva movement by the secularists was once tried against the freedom movement either by the colonialists or by their Muslim communalist allies... Their programme of a non-communal democracy in an independent and united India was countered with scare stories of majoritarian Hindu oppression including the ultimate calumny of "fascism".
    • Was Veer Savarkar a Nazi? by Elst, K., 1999 [1] and in Elst, K. (2010). The saffron swastika: The notion of "Hindu fascism". I.503.
  • Among academic Hindutva-watchers, it is common to write papers which are in effect polemical, invariably in a hostile sense, and yet to insist on the academic status of such works, a priori shielded from allegations of bias, and available for quoation as arguments of authority to trump objective research findings. In well over half the publications on Hindutva, the most elementary rules of scholarship are thrown to the wind: the uninformed reader may be beguilded by the wealth of footnotes, but when you actually read them, you find that very few of them refer to primary sources. Supposed experts on Hindutva generally make do with a few worn-out or misinterpreted quotations, and the rest of their expertise consists in quoting what the enemies of Hindutva say about their favourite hate object.
    • Elst K. The Saffron Swastika (2001), Volume I (Foreword)
  • If we would argue ad hominem rather than ad rem, we could make short work of the whole issue: the most vociferous advocates of the "Hindutva is fascism" thesis are openly connected with ideologies whose record in humanism and tolerance leaves much to be desired: Stalinism or Islamism.... But the profession of Hindutva-watching, like Kremlinology of yore, is mostly an exercise in discerning hidden meanings and secret motives.
    • Elst K. The Saffron Swastika (2001), Volume I
  • [The term Hindutva] was coined by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in 1923, and though some contemporary RSS middle cadres try to push it as a synonym and replacement of "Hinduism", Savarkar himself had explicitly written that the two are not synonyms; in practical terms, "Hindutva" is a synonym of "Hindu nationalism", an ideology and behind that also a national sentiment, but not a religion in any usual sense of the word. "Hindutva" was the banner of the Hindu Mahasabha and was subsequently adopted by the RSS, organizations of which the said independent authors were never members nor camp-followers. ... It is very common in secularist polemic to start from a general assumption about what they label the "Hindutva" movement, and then apply this assumption to each author whom they choose to include in that category, without bothering to check his own writings. I am rather used to this sloppy reasoning by secularists, attributing viewpoints to me which are not mine or which I have explicitly criticized, on no other grounds than that they are deemed to be "Hindutva" viewpoints. Given the secularists' unchallenged hegemony, it is unlikely that they will soon feel any need to correct this ugly habit.
    • Elst, Koenraad. Return of the Swastika: Hate and Hysteria versus Hindu Sanity (2007)
  • Not all Hindu activists would accept the label Hindutva, a coinage by V.D. Savarkar ca. 1923 embraced by the Hindu Mahasabha and later the RSS. Conversely, the insistence on labelling all Hindu activism or all Hindu discourse critical of Islam and "secularism" as Hindutva is an undisguised attempt to distort the picture by blurring the distinctions within the broad Hindu spectrum of opinion. ... Hindutva is a fairly crude ideology, borrowing heavily from European nationalisms with their emphasis on homogeneity. Under the conditions of British colonialism, it was inevitable that some such form of Hindu nationalism would arise, but I believe better alternatives have seen the light, more attuned to the genius of Hindu civilization.
    • Elst, Koenraad. The Problem with Secularism (2007)

J edit

  • The Hindutva of Savarkar was conceived primarily as an ethnic community possessing a territory and sharing the same racial and cultural characteristics, three attributes which stemmed from the mythical reconstruction of the Vedic Golden Age.
  • "Such is the grip of the misrepresentation of Hindutva in anti-Muslim terms that (even) its proponents, including some leaders of the Bhartiya Janata Party, themselves, speak of it defensively".
  • The Hindutva forces, in their bid to aggravate religious conflicts in the country, argue that Hindus were forcibly converted to Islam and Christianity in the past and therefore they have to be reconverted so as to take them back into the Hindu fold. But such an assertion has no basis in our history.

M edit

  • In India, in the 1990s, the growth of Hindu nationalism brought extraordinary attempts to eliminate parts of India’s heritage and to rewrite Indian history. In 1992, fundamentalists, supported by right-wing Hindu politicians, destroyed a sixteenth-century mosque at Ayodhya in northern India on the grounds that it was built over the birthplace of the Hindu god Rama. Encouraged, they declared that they would move on to destroy other Muslim sites, including the Taj Mahal. This was part of a larger drive to peg India’s identity as exclusively Hindu or, in the word used by the Hindu nationalists, Hindutva. India’s history inevitably became a key component of this. The standard view, based on the evidence available, had been that the fertile Indus Valley had housed the Harappan civilization between about 3000 and 1700 B.C. It was gradually absorbed or disappeared when horse-borne Aryans moved downward from the north, perhaps as peaceful migrants or possibly as warlike invaders. This did not suit the Hindu nationalists because it implied that an indigenous civilization had given way to one from outside and that their own culture might have foreign elements. As Madhav Golwalkar, the spiritual father of today’s Hindu nationalists, wrote in the 1930s, “The Hindus came into this land from nowhere, but are indigenous children of the soil always, from times immemorial.” Of course, this was an absurdly simplistic view of the ways peoples and civilizations develop and commingle. They are not flies stuck forever the same in amber but much more like rivers with many tributaries.
  • [T]he Hindutva project requires a radical, violent rupture between India’s Hindus and those of the hated “other” that it constructs, India’s Muslims and Christians.
  • 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.

N edit

  • People ask me about the forces of Hindutva in India. I got into trouble a couple of years ago when I said that with this new kind of self-awareness in India, the Hindu idea is almost a necessary early, stage. It contains the beginnings of larger, new ideas: the idea of history, the idea of the human family, of India. I hope this self-awareness doesn't stay there, and I don't think it will, but it's necessary. We are dealing with a country that has started from a very low point, a very low intellectual point, a low economic point. When people start moving, the first loyalty, the first identity, is always a rather small one. They can't immediately become other things. I think that within every kind of disorder now in India there is a larger positive movement. But the future will be fairly chaotic. Politics will have to be at the level of the people now. People like Nehru were colonial-style politicians. They were to a large extent created and protected by the colonial order. They did not begin with the people.
    • V.S. Naipaul, A Million Mutinies, V.S. Naipaul, India Today Date: August 18, 1997 [2]

P edit

  • The Mahatma was a harmonizer of communities and people. Inclusion and not separation was his way. Hindutva disagreed with Gandhi on his interpretation of Hinduism. The agendas of Hindutva though strong on the issues of self-identity and self-definition, have tended to be separatist. The Vaishnava that he was, Gandhi believed in treating "the suffering of others as his own." From such a point of view, it seems clear that the intolerance of Hindutva will not permit the people of India to build a compassionate and just social order.
  • The Hindutva movement as it has emerged is, almost in a classical sense, Fascist in its ideology, Fascist in its class support, Fascist in its method, and Fascist in its program. All the ingredients of a Fascist ideology are present in it: the attempt to unify the majority under a homogenized concept, 'the Hindus'; a sense of grievance against alleged injustices done to this homogeneous group in the past by an excluded homogeneous minority; a sense of cultural superiority vis-à-vis this minority; a reinterpretation of history exclusively in these terms; a total rejection of contrary evidence, of dispassionate analysis, of the scientific method, indeed of rational discourse; and above all an appeal to the so-called homogeneous majority in passionate, blood-curdling, and essentially male chauvinist terms to 'stand up', 'assert their manhood', 'show that it is blood and not water that flows in their veins', all of which amount to an incitement violence, and result in actual violence, against the minority group. … Its appeal is based not on the dreams of a better or more prosperous or meaningful future, but upon hatred.

S edit

  • Central to Hindutva as a mass phenomenon (or for that matter to Fascism) is the development of a powerful and extendable enemy image through appropriating stray elements from past prejudices, combining them with new ones skillfully dressed up as old verities, and broadcasting the resultant compound through the most up-to-date media techniques. The Muslim here becomes the near-exact equivalent of the Jew. … Racist attitudes, finally, are neatly encapsulated in the very recent coinage of the formula 'Babar ki aulad'. Alleged descent from Babar is sufficient to damn, no overt misdeed is really required… just as once in fanatical Christian circles all Jews stood condemned because of what their ancestors had supposedly done at the time of the crucifixion of Christ.
  • Hindutva is not a word but a history. Not only the spiritual or religious history of our people as at times it is mistaken to be by being confounded with the other cognate term Hinduism, but a history in full. Hinduism is only a derivative, a fraction, a part of Hindutva. … Hindutva embraces all the departments of thoughts and activity of the whole Being of our Hindu race.
  • In expounding the ideology of the Hindu movement, it is absolutely necessary to have a correct grasp of the meaning attached to these three terms. From the word " Hindu" has been coined the word "Hinduism " in English. It means the schools or system of Religion the Hindus follow. The second word " Hindutva " is far more comprehensive and refers not only to the religious aspects of the Hindu people as the word " Hinduism " does but comprehend even their cultural, linguistic, social and political aspects as well. It is more or less akin to " Hindu Polity " and its nearly exact translation would be " Hinduness ". The third word " Hindudom " means the Hindu people spoken of collectively. It is a collective name for the Hindu World, just as Islam denotes the Moslem World.
    • V.D. Savarkar quoted from B.R. Ambedkar, Pakistan or The Partition of India (1946)
  • A Hindu marrying a Hindu may lose his caste, but not his Hindutva.
    • VD Savarkar, Hindutva, p 90
  • In the fascist Hindutva imagination, the Indian Muslims are continuously reviled as Pakistani "fifth columnists," as "enemies of the nation" and so on, and their patriotism is said to be suspect. The Muslim as the menacing "other" occupies a central place in Hindutva discourse, and this has been used to legitimize large-scale anti-Muslim violence.
    • Yoginder Sikand (2006). Abu-Rabi', Ibrahim. ed. The Blackwell Companion to Contemporary Islamic Thought. p. 88. 
  • “the word Hindutva is being used as a term of abuse […] it is used mostly in pejorative terms […] the debate appears no longer confined to the cloistered world of priests, or even the self-serving one of politics, it has expanded into a challenge to Hindu civilisation […] the wider attack on Indian civilisation that this pejorative use of the word Hindu represents. It bothers me that I went to school and college in this country without any idea of the enormous contribution of Hindu civilisation to the history of the world. It bothers me that even today our children, whether they go to state schools or expensive private ones, come out without any knowledge of their own culture or civilisation […] You cannot be proud of a heritage you know nothing about, and in the name of secularism, we have spent 50 years in total denial of the Hindu roots of this civilisation. We have done nothing to change a colonial system of mass education founded on the principle that Indian civilisation had nothing to offer […] our contempt for our culture and civilisation […] evidence of a country that continues to be colonised to the core? Our contempt for who we are gets picked up these days by the Western press […] racism [is] equated with Hindu Nationalism. For countries that gave us slavery and apartheid that really is rich, but who can blame them when we think so badly of ourselves. As for me I would like to state clearly that I believe that the Indic religions have made much less trouble for the world than the Semitic ones and that Hindu civilisation is something I am very proud of. If that is evidence of my being ‘communal’, then, so my inner voice tells me, so be it.”
    • Tavleen Singh in : Indian Express (Sunday 13/6/2004) by Tavleen Singh, quoted in article by Talageri in Goel, S. R., & Elst, K. (2005). India's only communalist: In commemoration of Sita Ram Goel.

T edit

  • On the Indian front, [the Hindutva movement] should spearhead the revival, rejuvenation and resurgence of Hinduism, which includes not only religious, spiritual and cultural practices springing from Vedic or Sanskritic sources, but from all other Indian sources independently of these: the practices of the Andaman islanders and the (pre-Christian) Nagas are as Hindu in the territorial sense, and Sanâtana in the spiritual sense, as classical Sanskritic Hinduism. (…) A true Hindutvavadi should feel a pang of pain, and a desire to take positive action, not only when he hears that the percentage of Hindus in the Indian population is falling due to a coordination of various factors, or that Hindus are being discriminated against in almost every respect, but also when he hears that the Andamanese races and languages are becoming extinct; that vast tracts of forests, millions of years old, are being wiped out forever; that ancient and mediaeval Hindu architectural monuments are being vandalised, looted or fatally neglected; that priceless ancient documents are being destroyed or left to rot and decay; that innumerable forms of arts and handicrafts, architectural styles, plant and animal species, musical forms and musical instruments, etc. are becoming extinct; that our sacred rivers and environment are being irreversibly polluted and destroyed…
    • Talageri in S.R. Goel (ed.): Time for Stock-Taking, p.227-228.
  • Hinduism is the name for the Indian territorial form of worldwide Sanatanism (call it Paganism in English). The ideology of Hindutva should therefore be a Universal ideology:…[it] should spearhead a worldwide revival, rejuvenation and resurgence of spiritualism, and of all the religions and cultures which existed all over the world before the advent of imperialist ideologies….
    • Talageri in S.R. Goel (ed.): Time for Stock-Taking, p.227-228.
  • Pre-modern Hinduism had its warts—big and small—as do all religions, but its subtleties were richer than what is now being thrust on its believers. Hindutva is in many ways the antithesis of Hinduism, and aims to create a society that is narrow, bigoted and inward looking, in which the co-existence with those that differ, such as the minority communities of various kinds, is becoming increasingly impossible, as demonstrated by the frequency of communal riots.
    • Romila Thapar, The Past as Present : Forging Contemporary Identities Through History (2014)
  • Hindutva claims to represent indigenous Indian thought opposed to western interpretations of Indian religion, traditions and culture. The claim is that colonial scholarship used its understanding of Indian culture for political purposes to justify colonialism. Yet Hindutva is doing precisely the same by reformulating Hinduism along the lines suggested by colonial interpretations in order to facilitate its use in political mobilization. It uses colonial constructions of the Indian past such as the theories of James Mill and Max Mueller to further its programme of political control. The exploitation of history becomes a significant dimension of its attempt to appropriate the understanding of the past.
    • Romila Thapar, The Past as Present : Forging Contemporary Identities Through History (2014)

See also edit

External links edit

  Encyclopedic article on Hindutva on Wikipedia