This article is in response of a write-up published in The Express Tribune (Pakistan) by the executive director of Amnesty International India, Aakar Patel in which he had said that Hindutva is an ideology of hate.
Mahatma Gandhi once said – “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight with you and then you win.” Our liberals are giving this a twist. They first ignored, they laughed and then they fought with the Right. The Right won in 2014, but some ‘liberals’ want to deny them that victory. They are again trying to mock the Right with a cocktail of some real and some imaginary ‘facts’.
An article written in The Express Tribune (Pakistan) (http://tribune.com. pk/story/959822/an-ideology-of-hate/) by the executive director of Amnesty International India, Aakar Patel, oscillates between imagination and absurdity to mock Hindu Right in particular and Hindutva in general. Let’s see the arguments put forth by Aakar Patel and try to understand the truth behind them.
To start with, he refuses to accept that the word Hindu carries markers of nationality and culture. A quick Google search can tell you that Arabian traders used to refer to people beyond Sindhu as Hindus. It is definitely a marker of geography and therefore representing a nation. If Mr. Patel says that the word Hindu is not a mark of culture, I really don’t have anything to enlighten him. Isn’t the homogeneous culture of the people from different religions originated in Bharat, namely Vedic, Buddhist, Jain, Sikhs self-evident? In fact, the same culture was propagated by Buddhists far and wide. Groups like Hoons and Chinese share similar values as Hindu culture today with the spread of Buddhism.
Aakar Patel also makes some sweeping judgment on a personality in his articles. He reads one work of Savarkar and gives him a D grade! I am not sure if he has read “1857, First Svatantrya Samar” or many other works spanning to about 10,000 pages of Marathi literature written by Savarkar. One can’t stop shedding tears while reading his Poem “Sagara Pran Talmalala”. His work in Marathi literature is not just vast but has a lot of literary value. In addition to this, Savarkar’s sacrifices in Bharat’s freedom struggle make him a hero. He is not called great because of his writings on Hindutva alone. Similar judgments are passed on Vivekananda, Golwalkar of RSS and Deendayal Upadhyaya based on their collected works. Vivekananda was a spiritual guru and Golwalkar was a social activist. Hindutva does not stand on their thoughts alone. In fact, this attempt of separating Hindutva from Hinduism is a jugglery of words. Hinduism or Hindutva is what it is today after many thinkers shaped it for thousands of years.
Talking about Deendayal Upadhyaya, Patel observes that BJP has discarded his ideology because it was the “socialist” ideology. Deendayal Upadhyaya gave an alternate mode of economy called “Ekatm Manavavaad (Integral Humanism)” which had nothing to do with Hindutva. Patel will be disappointed to hear that Upadhyaya was the first to talk about facilitating private investment, and the first who opposed statist ideology. Upadhyaya talked about a sort of private-public partnership in 1950s! In his model of partnership the poorest man of the society was an equal stakeholder. He was in fact criticised by economists of his time who were completely spell-bound by the socialist economy. Upadhyaya also talked about decentralisation and development of village economy. In fact, today when Narendra Modi Government is talking about digital village and village development by MPs, it is taking a leaf from Upadhyaya’s thoughts. So the trait of revering more than reading, which Patel talks about, applies more to himself than Hindus per se. This article doesn’t look like it was written by someone who is well read or at least who has read with an open mind.
Another interesting point Patel makes is that Hindutva is based on negatives and basically has just a three point agenda – Ram Janmabhoomi, Article 370, and Uniform civil code. The interesting thing is also the interpretations of these three points which Patel has written in his article. Let’s talk about the interpretations he makes.
For Patel, Ram Janmabhoomi movement meant that ‘Muslims should not keep their Mosque’. He forgets that Bharat has the second largest number of mosques after Indonesia, about 300,000, to be precise. We still have Gyanwapi mosque in Kashi almost merged into Kashi Vishwanath temple. We still have mosque in Mathura (Krishna’s birthplace). How many of these mosques have been threatened to be razed by the Right wing? Have the BJP Governments for more than 10 years in some states affected this?
He interprets Article 370 issue as proponents of Hindutva, which says that they don’t want Muslims to keep their constitutional autonomy. What he doesn’t explain is why a religious group needs constitutional autonomy in a democracy. Any group, religious or otherwise, can’t demand constitutional autonomy under a constitution which upholds equality for all. Demand of uniform civil code means, “Muslims can’t keep their family law”, for Patel. Now, he is the best person to explain what family law means. But for me, laws should always be uniform irrespective of a person’s caste, creed or religion in a true democracy. There is no place for a separate law for any group.
Patel, in his article, completely ignores the fundamentals of Hindutva ideology. The basis of Hindutva is unity of all who are born in Bharat irrespective of caste or religion of the person. In fact, the idea of someone loving his nation unconditionally by ignoring his religion or caste frightens most of our liberals.
I wish Mr Patel would listen to his own advice of opening up of mind and seeing the things as they are, not colored by his hate for Hindutva.
(The Writer is a management consultant having special interest in philosopy and scriptures. The article was originally published on www.myind.net)