In last one month the debate on Hindutva has come in forefront of Indian media and politics. This debate was reignited for several reasons few of them were result of some statements from ministers of union cabinet and some were due to few other incidents. A first time member of parliament and newly inducted member in union cabinet used some derogatory words in her public rally which was later taken as an abuse by some particular community and in one other instance senior member of union cabinet demanded the religious book of Hindus “ ShrimadbhagwatGita” to be declared as national book. Apart from these statements two other incidents also drew the attention of media as well as politicians across the country.
Almost one month ago In one of the tribal state Chhatisgarh ruled by BJP (popularly called as Hindu nationalist right wing party by political commentators) witnessed the uneasy calm and compromise between local Hinutva outfit and christian missionaries in which former get the edge in successfully taking on board to local missionary group in Bastar district of this tribal state to adopt few Hindu customs and rituals in their missionary schools also.
In other significant development in the western part of the most populated Hindi speaking state of Uttar Pradesh more than 60 Muslim families were reconverted into Hinduism which Hindutva gropus call as coming back to their roots and other call it conversion.
All these developments are significant because other than ruling party at centre BJP every political party connect these developments with the change of central government in may of this year when Hindu nationalist BJP took power and first time on its own enjoys the majority mark in lower house Loksabha. The political parties in opposition smell a conspiracy from Hindutva school of thought to push their agenda to convert India into a Hindu Nation which is the motive and cherished goal of the mother organisation RSS of which BJP is a political part.
In last one month these developments has thrown the issue of Hindutva into the national debate and its contradiction and dillema has come on surface again.
If we go back into history and try to read the essence of Hindutva movement it came before us in several dimensions. The politics of Hindutva started in the decade of 1980’s but it originates with the foundation of RSS in 1925 when a former member of Congress Seva Dal Dr Keshav Baliram Hedgewar founded this organisation with sole purpose of uniting the Hindus against the surge of growing Muslim influence in contemporary politics which demanded the installation of the Khilafat institution and Dr Hedgewar found the then congress leadership was succumbing to the pressure of Muslims and the very existence of Hindus was in danger which in his opinion was the nationality of India because India has been in continuity with its culture and ethos for a long time which can be defined as a Hindu.
Since RSS has been founded in 1925 it has become victim of dicothomy on several occassions. On various occasions it has been unable to define its goal and articulate it in new edioms . Since 1925 to 1948 it was under the influence of militaralistic nationalism and the Histroy of Roman empire and other Greek war heros always inspired the iconic figures of RSS and between this era the threat of Muslims domination under the leadership of Muslim leauge and accute communal polarization before independence become the reason of surge for this organisation where Hindus find them under threat and insecurity but in 1948 once this organisation was blamed for the assisation of Mahatma Gandhi and ban was also slapped on it the second chief of RSS Guru Golwalkar tried to infuse some taste of spirituality into it to make this organisation more accepatable in Indian society and he also decentralised the work force into various other organisations under the umbrella of RSS to reach out to almost every dimension of indian society from students to labour and religion to politics .
Once India was backstabed by China in 60’s and threat of Communism become real the RSS again came in debate and it become more acceptable organisation among Middle class and business gropus. Since decade of 1960’s to the decade 1980’s RSS was a balancing force in Indian society and polity to stop the influence of Communists on one hand and Indira Gandhi on the other. This was the era when Socialist and other non communists did not hesitate to take the support of RSS to reach out to masses for their political purpose.
The golden period of RSS started in late 1980’s when the assasination of Indira Gandhi created a vacumn of leadership in Indian society and polity . The late 1980’s was the same same period when Middle East was going through the upheavel the long war between Iran and Iraq was going on and the Iranian revolution has created a fear psycosis among non Islamic countries with having more Muslim population as being swept away in the wave of Islamic revolution and few other countries in persian gulf and Lybia under Kaddafi has took few steps which generated immense weath for these nations from oil and the concept of “ Petro Dollar” in international relations originated in 1980’s which gave ammunition and authority to Islamism which evolved as another threat along with communism.
In background of these international developments the internal political situation provided a sold base for RSS to reinvent it to go more closer to its cherished dream of making India as “ Hindu Rashtra”. The demand of the construction of Ram Temple at the bitrth place of lord Ram in Ayodhya become the focal point to connect the unconsious thought among Hindus of Persecution in Middle ages with a live symbol of religion and this movement polarized the opinion of country and in last two and half decade the whole politics of country is revolving around this polarization.
After 25 years of the beginning of the politics of “ Hindutva” India finds herself to be on crossroads. It is the point where it has to decide which way country goes. RSS has its own vision and interpretation for histroy and it also envisions its own world order . The dicothomy of RSS does not end here once it has a ruling party which have most of its cadres in policy making authority and they have came out with the same thought process but the real issue is “ Is country ready to embrace the RSS view and interpretation of history and definition of India as Hindu Rashtra as cultural entitiy” .
The real contradiction lies in the interpretation of Indianness as Hindu Rashtra in cultural sense and supposedly inseperable umbilical card between Hindu and Hindutva . The real contradiction arise when Hindutva is performed as Hindu religion . Most of the ideologues and propagaters of RSS and its affiliate organisations take example of a Supreme court observation in a verdict in 1990’s in which it said that Hindutva is a way of life and with help of that argument these organisations put the case before people that their push for Hindutva is in ambit of constitution as they are not trying to convert nation into theocratic nation but these organisations have not been able to disconnect Hindutva from Hindu religion. Hindutva as cultural nationalism and way of life can never be adjusted in the cherished goal of formation of “ Hindu Rashtra” because all the issues of Hindutva has religious symbols and promotes only one religion, As per example the issue of Ram Temple. If Ram is a symbol of Indian culture and every citizen of country should pave the way for the construction of temple at his birth place if we go by this logic then Hindus would have to accept that Lord Ram is not the incarnation of Vishnu and he was merely a great personality and if Hindus agreed to it all other citizens of the country from other religion and sects would not object to it even they would be more than happy to accept it because it denigrates Hindu religion to such extent that Ram even not come in the category of prophets. If Hindu organisations push for the construction of Ram Temple on the ground of Ram being lord and incarnation of Vishnu then it violates the constituional provision of secularism where state should not have its own religion.
This contradiction very much arise in the case of reconversion or “ Ghar wapsi” also . If followers of other religions come back to their roots it means they are coming back into their original casts which they belong to generations ago when they first converted into Islam or christianity . If they are embracing their casts then what is the guarantee that in future when these casts would not give them proper dignity or respect or they would not be able to establish marriage realtions into their newly accepted casts they would not convert again into their religion .
The contradiction of Hindutva and Hindu religion stand tall because Hindutva is a political strategy which born out of the imbalance in the practice of the concept of secularism in favor of minorities which also violates the constititional inherent principle that state can not deny the rights of any religion which almost amounts to promote other religion.
There is limit to stretch any political starategy into full fleged ideology to solve the century old civillizational complications.
This situation has also arised because in more than nine decades Hindu organizations thought that organization is the ultimate answer to every question and if they would have strong massbase they would be able to force the society and states to come to their terms and in this process they neglected the role of academia , structured plan to replace dogmatic anomalies in Hindu thought and traditions to reshape it in new package.
Hindu organizations have been unable to read the role of international and global coordination with those invisible forces who matters a lot without being visible.
Hindu organizations headed by RSS always played the card of victimhood among Hindus and never tried to align with powerful decision maker forces who had clout to ceate better understanding between communities and most pity part was to non negotiable assert to be supremasism which ultimately culminates in isolating the Hindus and Hindu cause.
Since enlightment era modern western world had came out from dogmatic orthodoxy of church and most of the scholars and intellectuals were more open to the teachings of Vedanta and Upanishads and if in modern India Hindutva would have been rebranded in the light of these teachings this movement would had more friends in west rather than misunderstood bunch of people.
The same case is with Christianity the Bhakti christianity and Bhakti of Hinduism could become a meeting ground to develop better understanding and more interaction between Christianity and Hindus.
Time has not rolled out of hand yet because never it too late to begin with.