Few days ago a calculated strategy of a filmmaker to give hype to his movie through a controversial film turned out to be great success. A group that was inherently talking about the ‘caste-pride’ and opposing the release of the movie was termed as an ‘intolerant Hindutva brigade’. The same strategy was adopted when a Naxal sympathiser journalist was killed and even before the investigation started ‘Hindutva forces’ were on the radar. Though ‘Hindu’ is a fairly discussed term in the post-independence period, intellectually and politically it always had a derogatory connotation. So much so that immediately after independence people vouching for their Hindu identity were regarded as communal, parochial, regressive and therefore, anti-modern and anti-Secular. The Nehruvian ecosystem denied and degraded anything to do with Hindu, to which his natural ideological allies were Communists.
Despite all this, the term Hindu remained central to common masses of Bharat and eventually gained prominence even in the political and intellectual discourse. Since the Ramjanmabhoomi movement, it came to the centre-stage but again was reduced to the secular-communal debate.
The coinage of the term ‘saffron-terror’ by the Congress-led UPA government further spiralled the matter and branding Hindu as anti-women, anti-dalit, violent etc has become a fashion. The backlash to this strategy was such that not only Hindu term received greater acceptance, it also led to Hindu consolidation at the political level. With the reversal of tides, the party that believes in the ideal Bharat that existed since time memorial on Hindu values came to power in 2014. Despite malicious attempt to employ all kinds of divisive tactics, the Hindu narrative gained acceptance in all corners of Bharat.
Now on the one hand, there is a competition to be Hindu, at the same time denigrating the Hindutva. The terms like Hindu and Nationalism, that were taboo in an intellectual discourse and generally assumed to be used only for derogatory purpose, have suddenly taken the centre-stage. Bracketing of anything and everything as “Hindutva Brigade” and creating confusion about Hinduism, Hindutva, Hindu Nationalists etc has become a new strategy. So any fringe, violent, lynching, anti-women, anti-Dalit, anti-Muslim/Christian etc is branded as a Hindu Act while in other cases those acts have no religion. There has been a cultural onslaught on Hindu Dharma and now portraying it as anti-modern and regressive is further hampering the national ethos. Many a times some social media activists carrying the tag of ‘Right-wingers’ taking positions as a reaction to Semitic religions further adds the confusion.
On this backdrop, on the occasion of Hindu New Year, Organiser decided to churn out a special edition on ‘Being Hindu’, presenting a comprehensive view on being Hindu and Hindu perspectives on all possible dimensions of contemporary life.