The biggest joke in politics in recent times is the claim that Nitish Kumar is a ‘secularist’. What, for goodness’ sake, is being secular? In recent months it has become fashionable for Muslims to wear a white skull cap to let others know that above all, they are Muslims first and foremost. Is that being secular? Secularism does not mean condoling Muslim communalism. Narendra Modi rightly refused to accept such a skull cap when it was offered to him. He was being intensely secular. If Congress leaders think wearing a skull cap is not communal, then why don’t they all wear skull caps to prove their secularism? By determinedly wearing a skull cap to mollify Muslims, Nitish Kumar was only accepting Muslim communalism, which is a crying shame and an insult to Ram Manohar Lohia. There is an attempt to vulgarise Hinduism, and Hindutva. The attempt is deliberate. Hidutva means “the essence of Hinduism”. What is that ‘essence’? For one thing, a Hindu has the widest freedom to think for himself. He can be a dwaitist, advaitist, vishistadavaitist and even a nihilist. Hindus do not attempt to convert anybody to their all-embracing faith as Islamists do and so do Christian missionaries. How many Hindu kingdoms have ever in the past destroyed one single mosque? For that matter, how many churches have they destroyed? Contrariwise, the history of India has a record of Islamic rulers destroying temples in scores and the record of Christian missionaries in Goa is no better. The word Hindutva was first coined by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in his 1923 pamphlet advocating nationalism. ‘Aren't’ Hidus permitted to be proud of their religion which is purely of local origin? According to Veer Savarkar, Hidutva is an inclusive term of everything Indic. As he once defined it: “Hindutva is not a word but a history. Not only the spiritual or religious history of our people as at time it is mistaken to be…. But a history in full – Hindutva embraces all the departments of thought and activity….” Golwalkar held that India’s diversity in terms of customs, traditions and ways of worship was its uniqueness and that this diversity was not without the strong underlying cultural basis which was essentially native. He believed that the Hindu natives with all their diversity shared among other things “the same values” and “the same aspirations” which formed a strong cultural and civilizational basis for a nation”. In a judgement delivered in 1995, the Supreme Court of India ruled that “ordinarily Hindutva is understood as a way of life or a state of mind and is NOT to be equated with, or understood as, religious fundamentalism”. Further it said: It is a fallacy and an error of law to proceed on the assumption… that the use of words Hindutva or Hinduism per se depicts an attitude hostile to all persons practicing any religion other than the Hindu religion…. It may well be that these words…. Are used to criticise the policy of any political party as discriminatory or intolerant”. It is fashionable among Hindu pseudo-secularists to paint Hindutva in a derogatory way and then accuse the BJP – and these days Narendra Modi – of practicing it. The worst enemies of Hinduism and Hindutva are not non-Hindus but a segment of Hindus who take especial pride in damning Hinduism to win praise from non-Hindus. Today ‘secularism’ means running Hinduism and Hindutva down in all possible ways and at all available times. Vicious “secularists” compare Hindutva with fascism which makes them feel intellectually superior. In Pakistan Hindus are either treated as second class citizens or are driven out of the country. In India we treat Muslims as equals and go out of the way to give them as many benefits as possible. Does anybody know that Muslims own marginally more land than Hindus in Rajasthan and Gujarat? Contrary to common perception literacy levels of Muslims are better than that of Hindus in seven Indian states. In Kashmir in the 1990s, 3,50,000 Hindus were forced out by Muslim militants; their homes were burnt, their shops looted, their women raped. In India, if a Hindu is proud of his own religion, he is either damned as a communalist or dismissed as a fascist. One would like to know in which other country in the entire world is the Prime Minister and Army Commander-in-chief, a member of a ‘minority’ community, the Vice President and the External Affairs Minister both Muslims and even more so the head of a leading political party – the so-called High Command – a Roman Catholic of foreign origin? Has there been any protest from Hindus? In his book Hinduism and the Clash of Civilizations, an American scholar, David Frawley, writes: “A defeatist tendency exists in the psyche of modern Indians perhaps unparalleled in any other country…. The main effort of its cultural leaders appears to be to pull the country down. The elite of India suffers from a fundamental alienation from the traditions and culture of the land…. There is probably no other country in the world where it has become a national pastime among its educated class to denigrate its own culture… there is probably no other country where the majority religion, however enlightened, mystical or spiritual is ridiculed, while minority religions, howsoever fundamentalist or even militant, are doted on..” The book has to be read to be believed. Hindutva is something to be praised and intensely proud of. But what can one expect from Macaulay’s children? Frawley speaks about “the elite of India” which indulges in damning Hindutva/ it is not the “elite” but a segment of professional Hindu haters (the Hi-Ha’s) that have access to the media who are the country’s worst enemies and are the country’s intellectual scum’ – despoilers of a great and noble religion and tradition. That this has been recognized by, of all people, a Pakistani intellectual, Tarek Fatah who has been quoted as saying in Bharatiya Pragna (June 2013): “As a Muslim I found it fascinating that this (India) is the only place in the world where Muslims exert influence without fear”. Way back in 1947, the word ‘secular’ had a special meaning which everybody hooured. Today it means toadying up to so-called ‘minorities’ to capture the power-structure. Ask Nitish Kumar. Ask the Congress Party whose spokespersons indulge in vulgar abuse breaking all cultural norms. And whose High command indulge in low standards in resorting to political debate. We live in a sick country where self-denigration is a preferred standard.