Introduction

 

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HINDUTVA

AN ANTI-INDIAN NATIONALIST IDEOLOGY


All over the world, communal and fundamentalist thought on one hand and secular, democratic principles on the other have been long pitted against each other. In India, throughout the past century, communal forces have tried to capture the political centrestage, time and again. By various means,they have sought to disrupt the unity and integrity of the country,tried to gnaw at the very secular foundations of Indian culture and history. But everytime they have failed. Yet, the consequences of such thought have often been traumatic. One has to but mention the holocaust of 1947, assasination of Mahatma Gandhi, demolition of the Babri Mosque at Ayodhya and the riots accompanying it etc. to get a feel of the trauma.

The isolation and expose of the thought and organisation(s) behind such ghastly acts is therefore necessary and warranted. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Sangh Parivar, which is an umbrella sheltering and nurturing organisations like Bhartiya Janata Party(BJP), Vishwa Hindu Parishad(VHP), the Bajrang Dal, the Shiv Sena and others of their ilk, is such a conglomerate. The backbone of the now infamous "Saffron Brigade" i.e. the organisations following a militant Hindu Fundamentalist agenda and fascist principles, is the RSS. In fact the "family" came into being because the RSS was rejected by people after the assasination of Mahatma Gandhi and thus chose to remain in background.

Since the late eighties, there has been a resurgence in communalistic mobilisation. The basic fabric of Indian society and polity, which is heterogeneous, composite and democratic, came under attack by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh(RSS) and its various children in different guises. The most dangerous of these is the Bhartiya Janata Party, the BJP, which has risen like a three headed monster riding on the wave of communal frenzy and jingoistic nationalism. Its communal mobilisation for the Ram Temple at Ayodhya turned various hitherto peaceful cities, towns and villages of India into charnel houses and convulsed the whole nation. However, the dream of the BJP (and hence of RSS by proxy), of capturing power could not be fulfilled because the Indian society is, and shall remain secular . Thus,finding themselves into an ideological cul de sac after the 1996 elections,the BJP is now adopting various postures and using unscrupulous methods to break out. Among the new postures is a carefully spread impression that it has changed its communal agenda and has put on a new liberal mask.

That, however, is just a pose.

IT IS THIS FACE THAT WE WANT TO EXPOSE AND TO SHOW THAT THE RSS AND THE BJP REMAIN WHAT THEY ALWAYS WERE :- UNDEMOCRATIC, COMMUNAL AND FASCIST

Another aim of this page is to present Secularism as a  humane and progressive philosophy which alone is capable of giving rise to a democratic and able government. A retrograde and narrow communal viewpoint can not provide either able leadership or a stable polity.

The danger of the communalists changing the very nature of India is real and immediate. Such forces should be politically isolated and defeated to allow a modern and progressive India to breathe freely. We present some articles on the nature of these fundamentalist, fascist forces

Hindutva is a nationalist ideology, based on a modern day version of centralized intolerant Hinduism. It has nothing to do with a historical tradition of spiritual practices that we call Hinduism. Such a centralized and chauvinistic Hinduism - Hindutva - has been brought to the fore front in today by a group of political organizations called the "Sangh Parivar " (Sangh Family) - consisting of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (National Volunteers Association - the mother organization after which the label Sangh Parivar is coined), the Bharatiya Janata Party (Indian People Party - Hindutva's constitutional front that fights elections etc.), the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP - World Hindu Council - the formations activist front), the Shiv Sena (the fascist front), the VHP of America (Hindutva's overseas arm) and the Hindu Students Councils (VHP of America's student wing).

Presented below are a set of readings that follow the theme of distinction between Hinduism and Hindutva. Such a distinction is important because the latter, Hindutva, has a history of blood letting - from the murder of Mahatma Gandhi (killed by a Hindutva ideologue, Nathuram Godse) to the more than 20,000 lives claimed in communal violence in India since 1950.

 

HINDUTVA OFFENSIVE:Social Roots & Characterisation   - R.R. Puniyani

The Fascism of the Sangh Parivar - Sumit Sarkar
In the Belly of the Beast
The Hindu Supremacist RSS and BJP of India
An Insiderís story - by Partha Banerjee

Communalism : A General Perspective
[Based on a Talk by] K.N.Panikkar

Hindu Revivalism and the Hindutva Movemen -Tapio Tamminen , University of Helsinki

Rise of Hindtva - by students.haverford.edu/aperry/

The BJP's ideology  - Bipan Chandra

Jan Sangh: The BJP's Predecessor -By Bipan Chandra
RSS - The "Sangh" What is it, and what is it not?  by Partha Banerjee
Communalism and History
[Based on a Lecture by]  Romila Thapar

Criminalisation of Politics    -   Madhu Kishwar

THE SAFFRON SURGE IN INDIAN POLITICS: HINDU NATIONALISM AND THE FUTURE OF SECULARISM -Asian Affairs: An American Review  By - Wirsing, Robert G. ; Mukherjee, Debolina
More Articles
More Study Resources
 

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Last updated: January 15, 2001 .