In recent times there has been a lot of hue and cry over ‘Hindutva’. Macaulay’s children who inhabit editorial offices in many newspapers have, in the past, taken an instant dislike for the word, often going to the extent to comparing it with fascism. For our intellectuals, the very word ‘Hindu’ is anathema: they recoil from it. To them, to say that one is a Hindu is an admission of communalism.
Jawaharlal Nehru was one who led the great anti-Hindu brigade. He was aghast that KM Munshi should want to resurrect the Somnath Temple that had been desecrated and looted by Ghazni Mohammad not once, but several times. He was even averse to then President Dr Rajendra Prasad attending the inaugural ceremony of the renovated temple, though Nehru had no compunction in asking that his ashes be immersed in Ganga which he described in lyrical terms in his Last Will and Testament. Such was the hatred that the anti-Hindutva forces aroused that the Shiv Sena was moved to ask its followers to assert proudly that they are Hindus. Garv se kaho hum Hindu hai. At least two generations of young Hindus have been brought up in India to shun Hindutva and think of it as a destructive doctrine which it is anything but, the frequent mile-long queue of young Indians wishing to offer their prayers to Siddhi Vinayaka in Mumbai has another story to tell.
What is Hindutva? It means the “essence” of Hinduism. And what is the essence of Hinduism? It can be summed up in one word: “Tolerance”. Tolerance of what? Tolerance of contrary views, tolerance of dissent; tolerance of -and respect for -other religions. Yes, Hinduism has a thousand shortcomings which Hindus themselves have sought to correct down the centuries and continue to do so even today. For Mahatma Gandhi Hinduism was “a relentless pursuit to Truth”. “If today it has become moribund, inactive and irresponsive to growth” he wrote (and that was in Young India, April 24, 1924) it is because we are fatigued, and as soon as the fatigue is over, Hinduism will burst upon the world with a brilliance perhaps unknown before”. Our so-called secularists cannot stand that. They have to damn Hinduism in order to win the approbation and applause of the “minorities”.
What is Hinduism’s political record? When the Parsis landed in Gujarat in AD 717 they were given asylum and allowed to live their lives the way they desired. Christianity came to India almost two thousand years ago and survived. They were not hounded out. No Hindu ruler ever invaded foreign lands, determined to destroy other cultures and civilisations. Asoka did not send an Army to China or even to Sri Lanka to spread the message of the Buddha. No Hindu preacher ever went round the world to publicise Hinduism as the only gateway to salvation. No Hindu monarch levied any unjust tax-like jezia-on Muslims. No Hindu sought revenge against the past evil deeds of Muslim rulers. And what has been the record of barbarian invaders?
In his book: The Sword of the Prophet, Serge Trifkovic has noted that “the massacres perpetrated by Muslims in India are unparalleled in history, bigger in sheer numbers than the Holocaust”. When Mohammad Qasim invaded India, starting in AD 712, according to Trifkovic, he “demolished temples, shattered sculptures, plundered palaces, killed vast numbers of men-it took his men three days to slaughter the inhabitants of the port city of Debal…” That was only the beginning. It is not necessary to go into all the details of temple destruction, smashing of idols and decimation of Hindus which can only make for painful reading.
After the Battle of Chittor, even Akbar had ordered the slaying of 30,000 Rajputs on February 24, 1568. Hindus have never sought revenge, It is not in their blood. Hindutva is unique in its inclusive nature and the BJP- and every Indian-has every reason to be proud of it. It allows every individual to follow his own self-chosen path to salvation. No Hindu leader dare issue a fatwa. No Hindu religious authority can lay down what is right or wrong, whether it is birth control, divorce or whatever. The essence of Hinduism is total, utter freedom. If that is not something to be proud of, what is? Are we to be governed by people who are not proud of their own past, in the name of secularism? What a fantastically rich past do we Hindus have which we want to share with our fellow Indians? Whether it is in the realm of science, technology, astronomy, literature, philosophy and the arts, it is we, the Hindus, who have ample reason to be proud of. If that is not something to be proud of, what is? And we achieved all this without robbing other nations and people as did the British, the French and other barbarian European societies.
Hindus did not send missionaries to Portugal or Spain to burn down Churches and impose Hinduism on the people on pain of death, if they didn’t . Hindus respected tribals as is explicit in the story of Hanuman. They did not decimate them as did the Americans and Australians and Spaniards in North and South America and in Australia. Hindus excelled in mathematics, physics, chemistry, metallurgy, metereology and much else and to Hindus dharma meant upholding values, not devastating conquered lands. And what a great past do we have!
Macaulay himself, addressing the British Parliament on February 2, 1835 said: “I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such calibre that I do not think we would ever conquer this country unless we break the backbone of this nation which is her spiritual and cultural heritage” (emphasis added). Macaulay’s children today are doing just that, damning Hindutva. Hindutva is not anti-Muslim or anti-Christian or anti-Modern. Hindutva is post-modern in the freedom it gives to those Hindus such as the ones who have taken over Silicon Valley in the United States. Hindutva is a value-based and value-enriching way of life and there is nothing comparable to it in the world. To run it down is exactly what Macaulay would have appreciated and that is exactly what our secularists are upto. There is no such thing as ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ Hindutva. To own up to Hindutva is to regain our self-respect as a people and as a nation. That should be the motto of the BJP.
Establishing Hindutva is to establish a knowledge society whose motto is sarve janaha sukhino bhavantu. BJP should feel proud of Hindutva as a noble aim to be pursued and not succumb to the pseudo-Hindutvawadis who want BJP to be the B Teams of the Congress. There is nothing in the world to beat Hindutva in its sheer catholicity. Hindutva is above all religious: it is the greatest liberating force in the world of which all Indians can be truly proud of. Young India should be informed of it. They are not anti-Hindutva as many of our Macaulay’s sons want to believe and seek to impress on BJP leadership. They need to be marginalised.