The communal and fundamental forces who want to divide the nation on religious grounds and deny freedom of religion to the religious minorities have launched manifold forms of nationalism besides other clever inventions and interpretations. These are designed to question the integrity of the honest citizens of India. These nationalisms are not the result of sincere national spirit or devotion to the nation but the result of hatred towards other religious communities. The communal and fundamental nature of the patrons of these fake nationalisms is operative through the Sang Parivar. Before analyzing the intricacies of these nationalisms it is fitting first to touch upon secularism and how it is being manipulatively explicated to suit the designs of these people. The strange nationalisms can be discussed starting with Hindu nationalism, religious nationalism, motherland nationalism, caste nationalism, culture nationalism, language nationalism, territorial nationalism and commitment for real nationalism.
4.1 Secular Nationalism
Before getting into the discussions on the strange Hindu nationalisms it is essential to point out that “the ideology of secular-nationalism as the ideology of the postcolonial nation-state in India, is closely related to the figure of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of the Indian republic.” Besides, many other genuinely patriotic souls felt it to be the only viable option for India. This good will and nonpartisan spirit was cogently maintained intact in the constitution as well. This fact has been discussed at length elsewhere.
But some would argue that the secularism proper propounded by our sincere national heroes also is not free from the Majoritarian Hindu influence as it was the majority religion then in vogue. In spite of such limitation, still there are differences from the secular nation envisaged by the earnestly secular minded people and the connive nationalisms.
Aditya Nigam writes, “what we may call secular-nationalism proper, I will suggest, emerged only towards the final phases of the anticolonial struggle and managed to establish its hegemony with the transfer of power. This secular –nationalism too, was a nationalism that was Hindu in some of its essentials, even when articulated in the language of secular citizenship, born as it was within a purely Hindu universe…because its insistence on an abstract universalism produced the dominant culture as the norm by default. Yet, it was different from Hindu nationalism in certain key respects, the most important being its insistence on the idea of the nation as a ‘unity-in-diversity’, alongside the insistence on the idea of the secular unmarked, abstract citizen. While Hindu nationalism also saw citizenship as abstract and unmarked, it nevertheless insisted on a prior and explicit acceptance of Hinduness as the essence of nationhood.” The identification that the Nehru’s secularism was based upon unity-in-diversity and it accepts the citizens as secular in contrast to the Hindu Nationalism’s axis, Hinduness is essential for the maintenance of secularism in a nation, which houses many, and variety of faith-traditions.
The other vital difference between these two is “…with respect to the understanding of Indian history where secular-nationalism insisted on a syncretic reading of tradition and culture, in opposition to the blatantly communal reading of that past by Hindu nationalism.” This is another significant reminder that the communal political forces have a tendency to deny the syncretic reading of the history for the sake of communal reading.
Of course “this secular-nationalism remained, in ideological terms, a marginal discourse till the penultimate phase of the anticolonial struggle, despite the important role that its ideologues, like Nehru, individually played in this struggle.” The idea of secularism was a slow emergent in India. Nevertheless, at a time when India is facing the possibilities of communal political units gaining mileage, the relevance and importance of secularism needs to be stressed and protected. With this brief note now the Hindu Nationalisms can be considered.
4.2 Hindu Nationalism
In spite of the marked differences between the nationalisms of the secularists and the Hindu fundamentalists, the latter wanted the nation to be divided and the people to be subjugated on religious grounds. The concept of Hindu nationalism is construed upon the unscientific notion that India is a Hindu nation or Hindu Rashtra. Its proponents trumpet, “OUR supreme goal is to bring to life the all-round glory and greatness of our Hindu Rashtra.”The intrinsic purpose of this obnoxious nationalism is to make India Hindu in the primordial way.
The primal and backward thinking of its advocates are expressed in their statements like, “our definition of dharma is twofold. The first is proper rehabilitation of man’s mind; and the second is adjustment of various individuals for a harmonious corporate existence, i.e., a good social order to hold the people together.” The simple agenda is to block all intellectual developments and enslave people to their earliest form of occupation and status. Although their main aim is to manipulate the religious identity, still use the benefits of caste system to achieve their ends.
They are committed to imbibe the social and religious evils that eroded human value in this country for centuries. This they do in the name of nationalism, a deceptive way of hoodwinking people. M.S.Golwalkar writes, “it is of no use to speak of Hindu Nationhood and the eminence of Hindu way of life without a corresponding life-pattern in our practical day-to-day behaviour.” For him it is not enough to be at ideological level but Hindus alone needs to live in India. If any other religious community lives that community will have secondary role. He, in fact, was expecting such a day.
Persons opposing these evil designs are abused. The real territorial nationalism which is true nationalism and which all of us know; and the secular principles of such nationalism are unacceptable to this villainous group. They claim “the real and positive concept of Hindu Nationalism is being dubbed as communal, reactionary, narrow-minded and so on and the unscientific, reactionary, and harmful theory of territorial nationalism, upheld by our present-day leaders, is paraded as ‘secular’, ‘progressive’ and ‘broad-minded’.” This is, in fact, an instant to infer the communal nationalism that the Hindutva forces or Sang Parivar is trying hard to press into service.
The Hindu-nationalists do not stop with ridiculing the credibility of secular nationalism; they go to the length of backtracking people to false glory of the yore. It is written, “thus the path of re-establishment of dharma shown by all our great masters of the past is clearly the awakening of the Hindu People to the truth of their National Self-the glorious, effulgent Hindu Nationhood.” It is good that we honor our leaders but not to perpetuate and preserve anti-developmental ideas and principles. This is nothing but denying the values to other progressive religious thoughts and communities.
Savarkar writes, “the story of the civilization of a nation is the story of its thoughts, its actions and its achievements. Literature and art tell us of its thoughts; history and social institutions of its actions and achievements.” In the process of civilization discarding what is irrelevant and non-applicable is essential. This is done in all civilizations. Rather than looking for such cleansing paths, coloring things with religion and its ideas do not help in any way. The Hindutva definition of civilization is “at its best it is the perfect triumph of the soul of man over matter and man alike.” It is suggesting people to avoid any form of perception over what is in reality and to contemplate on things that are abstract and beyond human comprehension. Positively considering the constructive value of religious resources for empowerment is appreciable, but using them for malevolent notions is detrimental to the harmonious living of any society.
It looks that the Parivar want to eliminate the religious minorities from India and govern India with only the so-called Hindus with caste system, Sanskrit as the state language and living with Hindu nationalism. The real nationalism should in fact focus on future prospects rather than harping on minor benefits and false prestige. In the words of Swami Dharma Theertha “the national life should be purified and strengthened and consolidated for permanent existence and progress much more than for a temporary success over a present enemy.”
Contrary to the broader and futuristic outlook, the Hindu-nationalists propose that, “what was the use of a universal faith that instead of smoothening the ferociousness and brutal egoism of other nations only excited their lust by leaving India defenseless and unsuspecting? No; the only safe-guards in future were valour and strength that could only be born of a national self-consciousness. She had poured her life’s blood for sophistry that tried to prove otherwise!” They propagate a way of confrontation with the neighbors. Rather than accepting the rugged course of history accusing a special community and being vindictive to them is counterproductive.
A broader and viable way of considering our existence is “let us realize that we are only a part of a single humanity and have in all essentials to think and live alike, and be guided by the same principles in religion as in politics.” What the Hindu-nationalists claim as unique is put aside as “but now our uniqueness is no better than the uniqueness of Ravana or Hitler – it is a uniqueness in unrighteousness and untruth, in caste and priestcraft, in the contradictions of life and religion, in the suppression of the most sacred human feelings and the persecution of our fellow-beings.” What the Hindu nationalists want is continued enslavement and perpetual oppression of the numerically and economically powerless people.
It is not that they are satisfied with preserving and perpetuating caste oppression rather they like to destroy the secular and democratic framework of this great nation. It is said, “the drive for Hindu Rashtra has put into jeopardy the entire secular and democratic foundations of our Republic.” It is not only anti-secular and anti-democratic but also anti-modern. It is said “Hindu Rashtra is not a religious state; it is a ‘modern’ phenomenon to impose the pre-modern social hierarchies on all sections of society.” It is not anti-modern alone but anti-liberational to the most disadvantaged in the society. This is put as “the Hindu Rashtra which is threatening to engulf the society for the last two decades is the battle cry of the sections who again are upholder of a status quo vis-a-vis social position of women, workers, dalits and Adivasis.” Again it is stated, “the parading of these stupendous claims and exhibition of self-esteem is only a prelude to a justification of all the evils and wickedness of caste and priestcraft as the unique contributions of Hindu culture.” If the underlying principle of Hindu nationalism is continuing with age old discriminative measures it will not help this great nation in any count. It will rather create a humbling atmosphere to India in the world scenario. It is said, “an independent and powerful Hindu India clinging to its caste culture will be a menace to civilization and world peace.”
The irrelevance and counterproductive characteristic of Hindu nationalism have been identified as “to complete the list of Hindu perversions, there is rising in the country a Hindu-nationalism which is travesty of all true progress.” The danger of enduring such chauvinistic idea is condemned as “an urgent need of the day is to get rid of the notion that we are a unique people, a peculiar type of humanity distinct from the rest of mankind.” This also convincingly suggests the conservative content of Hindutva ideology.
The intriguing content and substance of the Hindu-nationalism is put, as “the emergence of Hindu nationalism is a counter to backward class consolidation in the name of Hindu nationalism, upper castes regained power as leaders of the Hindu society. Upper castes have always enjoyed power, be it as politicians before universal franchise came into being or as bureaucrats. To counter the Mandal effect, the Sang Parivar and their political representative the BJP propagated Hindu nationalism, with Ayodhya forming a symbol of Hindu reassertion.” Having highlighted the content, plan and agenda of the Hindu nationalists; and the notorious consequences of such unwarranted nationalism, it is in place to discuss religious nationalism, which is very closely connected to Hindu-nationalism.
4.3 Religious Nationalism
Hindu nationalism, against the sincere secular nationalism is the most dangerous form of nationalism. Its purpose is to eliminate other religious communities from this land in which they are born. Not satisfied with such designs the Parivar also advocate religious nationalism. While Hindu nationalism bargains for Hindu India, the religious nationalism takes recourse to certain religious elements and presenting them as inspirational to nationalism while ignoring the existential realities of life. Religious nationalism helps the Parivar elevate the religion of the majority and put down the others. To emphasis religious nationalism thy quote their ‘ancient Hindu philosophers’ and say “they delved deep into the mysteries of the human soul, well beyond the reach of material science, and discovered the Ultimate Reality which pervades all Creation, the one great common principle present in all beings, whatever the name we may give it- Soul, God, Truth, Reality or Nothingness. It is the occasional realization of this common entity that inspires us to strive for the happiness of others.” Further, “there is only one explanation. And that is, there is one common Living Reality in all of us which furnishes the common inner bond. Our philosophy calls it Ātma. We love and serve one another not because of the external relations, but because of the community of that Ātma.” The Vedantic explanation of human existence is quite profound. If this insightful spiritual aspect is in operation what is the necessity to call for divisive nationalisms.
Again “this appreciation of the inherent spark of Truth, or Divinity in every individual, has penetrated into our various components and spheres of life-religious, social, political and economic-and fashioned them for a harmonious pattern of mutual goodwill and respect. This catholicity of spirit is an altogether unique contribution of our culture to the world thought.” Still further “it is at once clear that the basis of our national existence was not political power….Saints and sages, who had risen above the mundane temptations of pelf and power and had dedicated themselves wholly for establishing a happy, virtuous and integrated state of society, were its constant torch-bearers.” Hence “Let us fashion our life on the pattern of those ancient torch-bearers, those cultural luminaries of our land.” In a way the religious nationalism helps the Parivar to shift the focus of attention from real issues to abstract and trance-mundane concepts.
This philosophical insights are highly appreciable. Every Indian should be proud of such great philosophical insights. At the same time allowing plurality of interpretations is the beauty of Indian philosophy. But unfortunately this is not put in to practice. In spite of underlining such great ideals the Hindu communal forces pride in preserving and perpetuating caste system. They also love to disregard the adherents of people belonging to other faith-traditions. Thus their religious nationalism too is a disguised ideology. Its main agenda is denying freedom of religion to others.
The Sang Parivar also envisage that this religious nationalism can pave way for world unity. M.S. Golwalkar writes, “thus it is evident that world unity and human welfare can be made real only to the extent mankind realizes this common Inner Bond which alone can subdue the passions and discords stemming from materialism, broaden the horizon of the human mind and harmonize the individual and national aspirations with the welfare of mankind.” It is true and many are aspiring to achieve peace and welfare through that channel. But the communal forces that promote religious nationalism divide people within a nation. When it is impossible to establish harmony within a nation how such an idea can bring about world unity.
Another utter false promise Parivar assure is that accepting religious nationalism in India on the basis of religious insights can pave way not only for world unity but also for human welfare. For example “it is clear, therefore, that the mission of reorganizing the Hindu people on the lines of their unique national genius which the Sangh has taken up is not only a great process of true national regeneration of Bharat but also the inevitable precondition to realize the dream of world unity and human welfare.” It is unbelievable that an ideology, which promotes caste system, religious intolerance and religious nationalism, can in any way promote world unity and human welfare.
The Parivar’s unwavering involvement in fostering a religious nationalism is explicit. If Hindu religious nationalism can bring about brotherhood what is the necessity for asking other religious communities to leave this country? What is the need for asking other religious communities to subject themselves to the whims and fancies of the majority religion? Why asking for venerating Hindu heroes?
As per the science of religion the notion that one alone holds the truth is unscientific and unacceptable. But the promoters of Hindu religious nationalism claim that the religious resource to unity is only found in Hinduism. For instance, “this knowledge is in the custody of Hindus alone.” Their claim for spiritual supremacy is evident form the statement that, “our Hindu Society, strong, self-confident and self-effulgent, acted as the fulcrum of that far-flung empire of the Spirit.” Those who think through these contemptuous ideologies and become sober and unapproved such derogative ideologies are accused as disloyal people. It is maintained, “however, today, such a glorious heritage is being condemned and brushed aside by its own children.” The point is that an enlightened society is a threat to Sang Parivar.
One praiseworthy acceptance is that the plan to execute the religious nationalism is handed over to RSS. Golwalkar writes, “the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has resolved to fulfill this age-old national mission by forging, as the first step, the present- day scattered elements of the Hindu society into an organized and invincible force both on the plane of the Spirit and on the plane of material life. Verily this is the one real practical world mission- if ever there was one.” It is vivid that the forging of unity on religious ground conceals in itself the idea of applying caste hierarchy. The opposite of caste is the freedom of people to choose a religion that helps self-respect. That is why the communal political principles always harp around religious issues to stir the people and terrorize them.
They want to make the intellectuals also to believe the notion that the key to universal happiness is only in Hinduism and hence the nation has to be organized only on religious grounds. This idea is reflected as “the mission of Hindu consolidation that the RSS has taken up is inspired by this vision of unlocking the door of supreme happiness for entire mankind. And as days go by we are confident, the so-called progressive modern societies are also bound to take refuge in this ancient yet living wisdom of this holy land.” Another utopian promise is that “let us remain true to our dream of reinstating our Bharat Mata as the Cultural Guide of the world, by making our people once again take to the path of our national genius.” Their dreadful ideology is unveiled when it is admitted that they stand for cultural and religious unity. For example “to those who speak of unity on the political and economic plane, we say that we stand not only for political and economic unity but also for cultural and religious unity.” It is good to accept political and economic unity and at the same time it is essential to admit religious and cultural diversity.
The religious and cultural unity to which the Hindutva alludes is Hindu culture and Hindu religion. Thus the only agenda is to deny religious freedom so that no awakening is allowed into the common mass. These two unities are never possible in India where diverse religions naturally grow and various cultures enrich and educate each other. Thus again the main goal of the religious nationalism is to deny any substance or content to any other religion and to deny existence and freedom to them. After analyzing the two strange- Hindu and religious nationalism it is place to another little different form of nationalism with the same motives and contents.
4.4 Motherland Nationalism
With the single motive of infiltrating Aryan elements in to this nation the fundamental forces are bent on destroying the very notion of the plural nature of Indian society. They oppose that we are unique in our plurality. What they want is a chauvinistic Aryan sway in every thing. Considering the entire nation as Hindu and all the people as Hindus, superiority is claimed as “…long before the West had learnt to eat roast meat instead of raw, we were one nation, with one motherland.” This state is restricted to the ones who are called as Hindus by the Parivar. The people who have come to live in this country assert this land as the motherland ignoring the presence of the natives who in fact have more rights for such declaration.
The settlers accuse the native people as having no patriotic spirit. It is the perpetuation of the hegemonic ideologies that create the fear in the mind of all the religious minorities that the Hindu fundamentalists would always exploit and dominate the others. To gain control over the nation the so-called Hindu fundamental forces subtly attribute much devotion to the motherland. They should know that what they term as Hindu today is the combination of the Aryan, Dravidian and other original resources and hence the real people cannot be ignored. Further, assimilating the real people’s religion and culture and denying them significance is another offense. But the fundamentals do such things to deny freedom of choice to the people, starting from religion. For example “nothing can be holier to us than this land.” Again, “for, it is the forefathers of the Hindu people that have set up standards and traditions of love and devotion for the motherland.” The ingenuity that is behind Hindutva ideology, which ignores the realities around, is hard to grasp.
The seriousness of hatching such a plot is to say that the Aryans were the original people of this land. In the words of M.S. Golwalkar “it means that only the Hindu has been living here as the child of this soil.” The syndicated Hinduism has absorbed all that was possible and suggests every thing was Hinduism. For instance, “the various castes, the various ways of worshipping God, the various languages are all expressions of the one great homogeneous solid Hindu people-the children of this motherland.” It is their supreme plan that they do not want to see any other religious tradition in India, which are, not subscribing to their whims and fancies. This is the most dangerous way of alienating people on religious grounds.
The motherland nationalism is to instigate one religious community against the other. By spiritualizing the nation Parivar create enmity with other religions. The aim of the motherland nationalism is to tell the people that the Aryans are the original people. And they alone are patriotic and all others are disloyal to the nation. Hence others should not be given freedom rather they should be removed from the nation. This motherland nationalism is loaded with hatred towards other religious communities. One fact needs underlining is that the symbol of mother without religious connotations have inspired many people during the course of independence struggle. The problem confronted here is the Hinduising’ of national symbols. A more dangerous nationalism than this is the caste nationalism.
4.5 Caste Nationalism
The whole world is fighting against all forms of discriminations. It is very sad and unfortunate that still some persists on dividing people on caste grounds. They support this evil and see abolition of this evil as danger to their survival. This is a willful and conscious effort to conceal the inhuman caste system and further divide the nation on religious ground. It is claimed, ‘the main feature that distinguished our society was the Varna-vyavastha’.The purpose of reiterating this age-old evil system is to reinstall the fading practice.
The fundamental forces do not want the under privileged people to come up in life. To preserve the statuscoistic attitude it is argued “if their duties are laid down and social expectations are crystallized in society so that everyone will know what is expected of him – his rights as well as duties – a harmonious social order will result spontaneously. The present society will throw all careers open to talent on the basis of swadharma or duty springing from one’s vocation and karma and guna, character and conduct.” The caste-ridden interpretation is a threat to developing society.
Another blatant unreal way to maintain caste is to attribute religious sanction to it. For example, “…the distinctions in that social order did not imply any discrimination such as big and small, high and low, among its constituents. On the other hand, the Gita tells us that the individual who does his assigned duties in life in a spirit of selfless service only worships God through such performance.” This is quite wrong because the Hindu scriptures themselves have assigned duties and behaviors to different caste groups.
Having exploited sections of society by caste system and enjoyed the benefits of caste system, with the intention of maintaining it intact it is treated equal to God. Those who fall in that line hold that “society was conceived of as the fourfold manifestation of the Almighty to be worshipped by all, each in his own way and according to his capacity.” Caste, to be worshipped as manifestation of god, is again sanctifying caste and promoting its ugliness. The Parivar use cast to divide the society and latently say that caste is the adhesive force. Another clever portrayal of caste is that “there is nowhere any instance of its having hampered the progress or disrupted the unity of society. It, in fact, served as a great bond of social cohesion.” Except the divisions and discriminations resulted from the practice of caste system there is no evidence to say that it helps unity.
The Parivar is not definite about what they say. They glory in the survival and existence of caste instead of decrying it. It is claimed “all these centuries of fierce struggle for survival carried on up to final victory, be it remembered, the castes did exist.” Their arrogance to continue such a divisive and in- equalitarian system is starkly clear.
An unethical false propagation is that when caste failed people conquered India. This is nothing more than targeting the Muslims in India. It also needs to be remembered that Buddhism is absorbed as part of Hinduism at times and at other times it is condemned as opposed to it. For instance, “we know as a matter of history that our north-western and north-eastern areas, where the influence of Buddhism had disrupted the caste system, fell an easy prey to the onslaughts of Muslims.” This is not true as history testifies that the Muslim influence in the south was less due to logistic reasons.
Without any reservations those who uphold caste want to restore the evil of caste even if it is vanishing. And hence it is argued, “in our philosophy, there is no distinction of high or low in one’s karma, i.e., duty. Every work is the worship of the same Almighty in the form of society. This spirit to be revived once again.” The HIndutva hidden agenda is unveiled and condemned as “no imperial power ever imposed on a weaker people a more ruthless and soul-destroying domination than the Brahmans did on the rest of their fellow citizens, and no race of superior men ever arrogated to themselves such haughty supremacy and false greatness as they have.”
The conquerors and infiltrators of alien culture are identified and their attempts are checked at various levels. These counter effects are also misinterpreted. The proponents of Hindutva hold that “in our country the word ‘Ārya’ was always a sign of culture and not the name of a race.” The unbearable agony of social discrimination on caste basis forced writers to perceive the Ramayana story as a struggle between the Aryans and the Dravidians. The fundamentals refute this perspective as “it is being made out today that the struggle between Rama and Ravana was the one between Ārya and Dravida.” Those who are enslaved to fundamentalist mode of thinking burry the reality of the struggle between the Aryans and the Dravidians.
About the Englishman who explains the real Indian situation are remarked, as “the first thing he taught was that this was one great ‘continent’ and not a country. He said that we are not one people and one nation. There were some aboriginals here staying for ages who had been driven away into the forests and hills. There were also other types of aboriginals called the Dravidas. Āryans came from the North and with their superior strength of arms conquered this land and dominated over the rest. That, we were told we had no motherland, that most of us has come from somewhere outside and therefore were equally strangers and foreigners to this country. We were also told we had no dharma, no philosophy, no morals worth the name, that all our past life was just one of unrelieved darkness, that the coming of the English here was ‘divine dispensation’ for we could learn sitting at their feet the first lessons in culture, religion and orderly social and political life.” At some places the fundamentalist themselves have accepted that they came from another land. Yet it is not understandable that they are trying to preserve the evil of caste.
The enlightened societies which warned the dehumanizing effect of caste is accused often as “even to this day, the same insidious indoctrination of young minds is carried on in the Christian convents here-that there is no real Saviour other than Jesus Christ, that the Hindu religion is only a mass of superstitions, that without taking to Christianity they would all be doomed to eternal damnation and so on.” Why does such condemnation result is not analyzed. It is the caste based dehumanizing efforts that cause such adverse remarks. In India change of religion is considered as a way of liberation from the caste tyranny. The evil of caste is used to construct a fake nationalism which is nothing but a plot against the religious minorities. To communalize the situation in India even the rotten caste system is justified.
Justifying caste and trying utmost to uphold it on the basis of purusha sukta it is said, “this means that the people who have this four fold arrangement, i.e., the Hindu People, is our God.” It is proudly asserted that four castes are four parts of Brahman. If so, why discriminations on caste basis? What is the place of the outcastes in India? The Aryan imposed caste system which force one section of the society into degradation is religionised and granted a high pedestal. It is claimed “thus, in our culture, the spirit of social service has been sublimated into worship of God.” These heinous crimes are beyond human intellect. Leaving caste is fatal to the communal forces. The only way to preserve caste is to disallow people to follow religions of enlightenment.
Further justification for caste comes like this: “it is only by an assimilation of our cultural vision that the true spirit of co-operation and consciousness of duty can be revived in our national life.” The problems the developing nation come across is connected with abandoning caste. For example “today, the utter absence of this correct cultural perspective has landed our people in an endless scourge of problems-all stemming from the common source of the low level of the average man.” The fact remains that all prudent measures are carefully taken to preserve caste. One such step is the strange interpretation that “awakening is knowledge and knowledge is the capacity to realize unity in diversity, to find harmony in place of conflict, and to worship society in the place of self.” Thus one of the basic elements of the Hindutva nationalism which is purely Aryan plot to trick and deceive the natives is to say that caste the wholly abhorred evil is the basic uniting force of our nation.
The fundamentals know well that if other religions are uninterrupted the caste will lose its basis and its control over the people. Hence to control people using caste stigma is possible only by being closed to other religions and by condemning them on false allegations that their followers are not committed to this nation. While caste nationalism tries to prevent the prevalence of other religions it is worth analyzing the damage done by cultural nationalism to the people of other faiths.
4.6 Cultural Nationalism
There is no possibility at all to propose a monoculture in India. Proposing such a culture is not acceptable to Indian life realities. But Nehru sees the possibility of an Indian culture and not a Hindu culture. His Indian culture is the amalgam of many cultures. This useful insight is brought to light by Nehru as, “a Buddhist or Jain in India is a hundred per cent product of Indian thought and culture, yet neither is a Hindu by faith. It, is, therefore, entirely misleading to refer to Indian culture as Hindu culture. In later ages this culture was greatly influenced by the impact of Islam, and yet it remained basically and distinctively Indian.” Asking for Indian culture is justified but suggesting that Hindu culture is the only Indian culture is erroneous. This is emphatically stated as “it is, therefore, incorrect and undesirable, to use ‘Hindu’ or ‘Hinduism’ for Indian culture, even with reference to the distant past, although the various aspects of thought, as embodied in ancient writings, were the dominant expression of that culture.” It is time to think the possibility of Indianness in diverse cultures. It may be more fitting to suggest that India is a multicultural nation with distinct Indianness but not Hinduness.
Contrary to our stand the “Hindutva, often synonymous with “cultural nationalism” excludes other religious beliefs and promotes religious intolerance.” There is sufficient reason for their promotion of Hindu cultural nationalism. According to I. Arul Aram “the 1990s saw the Hindu rightwing politicians promoting religion as the base for national identity. This was preceded by Hindu revivalism in social and literary spheres, an instance being the telecast of ‘Ramayana’ epic on the national television channel that helped give primacy to Lord Ram over multitudes of Hindu gods and goddesses. Hinduism came to be treated not only as a religion but also as the cultural identity of the nation. The myth of a common culture with a particular brand of Hinduism as the driving force came to be promoted as cultural nationalism. The traditional cultural motif of Lord Ram with his consort Sita on the throne promoting peace got converted into Lord Ram with a bow and arrow drawn out to vanquish the ‘other’. This was primarily a counter to a backward classes movement that grabbed power at the Centre in the late 1980s. The Hindu elite who lost their hegemony with the rise of backward classes saw in cultural nationalism a backdoor re-entry into the corridors of power. ”
The role of media in promoting Hindu cultural nationalism is large. It is remarked “the media, by and large, joined hands with the politicians of the day in promoting cultural nationalism which propagated anti-minoritism.” I. Arul Aram has rightly captured the main agenda of the Hindu cultural Nationalism as propagation of anti-minorityism. In consonance with the objective of the research it may be authentically stated that the promotion of cultural nationalism is nothing but denying freedom of religion to the citizens of this nation on the pretext people leave their ancient religion and choose an alien faith tradition. Having the liberty to choose a religion of one’s choice is the order of the day.
The political motive and the other deceptive currents of cultural nationalism are identified as, “the modern concept of the nation as such is based on the belief that nations will not benefit from acting independently rather than collectively, emphasizing international goals within the nationalistic principles. That is the reason why the spirit of cultural nationalism harps on ethnic, racial, linguistic and religious factors as being jeopardized in the event of entering a dependent orientation in international affairs of politics, trade and commerce. Though cultural nationalism appeals to many as engendering unity, solidarity, identity and so on of a nation it does so on the basis of exploiting or undermining certain issues on the community. But the concept of cultural nationalism puts a minority section of citizens in a state at a disadvantage based on its religion and/or culture.” It is important to note that every proposal of the Sang Parivar is against the minorities.
Like the very core of the Hindu fundamentalist and communal agenda, cultural nationalism is also against the civilizing and progressive nation. This is pointed out as “giving up religion as a basis for a nation is an evolution in governance. Post-World War II Jewish solution too went back to religious nationalism. But it is strange in a country like India, which is known for religious tolerance, the concept of cultural nationalism based on religion has gained ground.” This is against growth and it is unbelievable that such an idea has evolved in a country like India, which in essence is plural in all dimensions, especially religious.
Promoting cultural nationalism directly denies justice to other sections of the people. This fact is often denied by suggesting that even in cultural nationalism justice will be done to all. This is impracticable. Yet the proponents project it as a possibility. It is obvious in the statement of L.K. Advani to a question as to what the party should do to change its image, he (Mr. Advani) said: “Nothing except to be true to our concept of cultural nationalism. We don’t have to fight shy of being proud Hindus and to its [party’s] commitment to one billion people of the country, and the guarantee is there shall be justice for all and appeasement of none.”” It shows that the Hindutva forces will use this as a political weapon to grab power and to create communal unrest in India.
Such fanatic minds even accuse Gandhi for not inculcating such dangerous ideas in his political thinking. M.A. Venkata Rao writes, “but unfortunately as the political motif was dominant in the Gandhian movement, the cultural forces it invoked and mobilized were not grasped in their genuine purity and power and were not related naturally and organically to the ideals of politics, economics, social order and values and the many dharmas of the living past.”
Having understood the folly, following Gandhi, Nehru also avoided emphasizing the majoritarian culture or avoided to build his national agenda around one majoritarian culture. Such benevolent wisdom has been criticized as “the Nehru Mind is made mostly abroad and in spite of his Discovery of India, Sri Nehru never succeeded in catching the spirit of Indian culture at its best.” We all know that it was Nehru who put the nation on the right track.
Although such cultural nationalism is aimed at sweeping into power, its proponents pride themselves in promoting such inconceivable difficulties to the nation. Golwalkar writes, “OUR concept of Hindu Nation is not a mere bundle of political and economic rights. It is essentially cultural. Our ancient and sublime cultural values of life form its life-breath. And it is only an intense rejuvenation of the spirit of our culture that can give us the true vision of our national life, and a fruitful direction to all our efforts in solving the innumerable problems confronting our nation today.” Earlier, finding unity in upholding caste was the solution to the problems of India. Now the solution is in the Hindu culture.
The opposition to build things around Hindu culture is not pleasing to the Parivar. They argue “but these days, rejuvenation of culture is often dubbed as ‘revivalism’ and ‘reactionary’.” To justify their stand the Hindutva forces are busy in interpreting erroneous ideas as real and feasible. For example “by the term “rejuvenation of our culture” we mean the reanimating in our lives of those eternal life-ideals that have nourished and immortalized our national life all these millennia.” They internationalize their ideology so that ordinary mass can be confused. They also instigate the younger generation to fall pry to their trappings. In the words of M.S. Golwalkar “our cultural vision which furnishes the true basis for love and harmony between man and man and embodies a complete philosophy of life needs to be effectively presented to the present-day war-torn world. If we have to succeed in this great world mission, we have to first set our own standards. We should shake ourselves free from the mental shackles of foreign ‘isms’ and foreign ways and fleeting fashion of modern life. There can be no greater national humiliation than to be a mere carbon copy of others. Let us remember that blind imitation is not progress. It only leads us to spiritual subjection.” In simple language the cultural nationalism is against the freedom of religion and it is anti-progressive.
Those who have used their reason to judiciously detach themselves form this backtracking ideology are portrayed as bringing humiliation to the nation. It is untrue. One such a false statement is “how humiliating, it is, that our so-called educated young men of this land do not have the least scent of the fundamentals of our own philosophy – let alone their realizing them in full!” The truth is it is because of such earnest souls India is India today.
The modern states are for political and economic unity, but our Hindutva friends are for cultural and religious unity. They say, “to those who speak of unity on the political and economic plane, we say that we stand not only for political and economic unity but also for cultural and religious unity.” This is not true. They do not want cultural and religious unity. What they want is cultural and religious domination of others. They want to subjugate the numerically weak and socially underprivileged. They need to remember that cultural and religious unity should contribute to political and economic unity. Cultural and religious unity cannot expect political and economic disunity.
Had the Hindutva forces enjoyed full majority in the parliament India would have experienced many unexpected incidents. Fortunately, the comeback of the congress in 2004 checked the fanciful ideology of the Hindutva. It is stated, “with the return to power of the Congress in 2004, communal politics and cultural (Hindu) nationalism have taken a back seat.” It is crucial that all the political parties, religious affiliations and all the reasoning resources in India have to be vigilant about this dreadful ideology. There is a need to deeply involve in educating people so as to see that the communal comrades do not continue their communal gains always. Because “Hindu cultural nationalism is a sign of not only a decaying civilization, but also a larger crisis and a movement towards the disintegration of India.” The above alarm is crucial for people of this nation to be watchful against the Parivar.
Leave alone the dangerous cultural nationalism proposed in the context of multicultural background. There is also dangerous language nationalism in the context of a multilingual nation. An analysis of language nationalism also will unveil the anti-progressive, anti-civilizing and communal nature of this group in denying freedom of religion to people of different faith traditions.
4.7 Language Nationalism
The awakening of people against the Aryan domination, particularly through forcing Sanskrit as the language of India, was vehement among the Dravidian states. This move was scandalously interpreted as “the formation of linguistic states has given one more handle to politicians to work up linguistic chauvinism in the minds of people.” Such sensible and legitimate protests are also commented as “the poisonous theory of linguistic states has aggravated the claims for ‘right of self-determination’ and ‘right of secession’.” This may not be true. Effort to strengthen one’s own language cannot be blamed.
The Aryan supremacy is not to accept anything that is superior to their claims. About language it is said “these days we are hearing much about Tamil. Some protagonists of Tamil claim that it is a distinct language altogether with a separate culture of its own. They disclaim faith in the Vedas, saying that Tirukkural is their distinct scripture.” This is nothing but ignorance of the effects and realities of such theories in a country where the government has accepted many languages as official.
Parivar do not want to credit to Tirukural an independent Tamil status, although the whole world has accepted it as a Tamil work. Even they want to say that the content is not original but taken from Hinduism. It is beyond doubt that the Thirukural was in vogue much earlier than the advancement of purusarthas. But it is denied as “what is the theme propounded therein, after all? The same old Hindu concept of catuvidha-purushartha is put forth as the ideal.” It is further manipulatively asserted, “it is thus purely a Hindu text propounding grand Hindu thoughts in a chaste Hindu language.” This theory of the invaders has no support so far. It is sad that to dilute the minds of the people they go any length to make false theories. The same formula is applied to other languages as well and conscious attempt is made to elevate only Sanskrit.
The Aryans who want to subjugate people always claimed a special and superior place for Sanskrit. The reason for such a bargain is stated, as “the source of inspiration for all these has been that queen of languages, the language of gods-Sanskrit.” It is a form of confessional language used by all the adherents of different religions. The Hindutva forces need not take it as a privilege. Yet they say, “Sanskrit is to this day one of the greatest cementing factors of our national life.” Without knowing that many Indians have not heard the word Sanskrit even once they try to say that it is a cementing force.
Another inconceivable expectation is that “as a solution to the problem of ‘lingua franca’, till the time Sanskrit takes that place we shall have to give priority to Hindi on the score of convenience.” The Aryans are always with an agenda. They want Sanskrit to become the state language. They also want to promote Hindi. These are opposed in the south. Such opposition is seen negatively. It is a fact that India has many languages. Hindi and Sanskrit are not the only two languages.
It is unacceptable that the invaders insist that their language should be the be all and end all. They ruthlessly deny the language of the sons and daughters of this land. Their insensitivity is implicit in the following statements as “verily it is our mother-tongue- the tongue in which the mothers of our race spoke and which has given birth to all our present tongues. Our gods spoke in Sanskrit, our sages thought in Sanskrit, our poets wrote in Sanskrit. All that is best in us- the best thoughts, the best ideas, the best lines- seeks instinctively to clothe itself in Sanskrit.”
It was already discussed that for the Hindutva forces emphasizing Sanskrit as the language of India might give the necessary cohesive. It is in their Hindutva agenda. To come to that point they glorify Sanskrit. Besides this language nationalism there is another nationalism called territorial nationalism, which is neutral and conducive to the plural structure of India. The Hindutva forces do not like this because under territorial nationalism people will enjoy the chance to choose religion of their own choice and the parochial interest of the communal elements will lose ground.
4.8 Territorial Nationalism
The stark denial of real patriotism to the sons and daughters of this nation is found here. Their nationalist spirit is caricatured as “the theories of territorial nationalism and of common danger, which formed the basis of our concept of a nation, had deprived us of the positive and inspiring content of our real Hindu Nationhood and made many of the ‘freedom movements’ virtually anti-British movements. Anti-Britishism was equated with patriotism and nationalism.” This is a motivated interpretation of things to maintain India in the primitive style. The Parivar want the religious communities to be at war always. Although it is understandable that the Hindutva forces are bent on communalizing the national movement, it is unintelligible why the truth has to be denied at the cost of a false ideology and propaganda.
India has achieved what is needed for the pluralistic fabric of this nation. But Hindutva forces wanted to win what is not applicable to the nation. The essential is ridiculed for the vicious agenda as “the concept of territorial nationalism has verily emasculated our nation and what more can we expect of a body deprived of its vital energy?” This is against the fundamental secular principle of the Indian constitution. By gaining independence on secular grounds our nation is on the right track. But this right direction is misrepresented as if it is reducing the nation. The point is that the territorial nationalism downplays communal chances.
The Hindutva forces would have been happy if India had gained independence on religious grounds particularly Hindu, and all other religious communities had been eliminated from this land. It cannot be denied that what we see as a civilizing and developing process in India today are because of the secular frame work of the nation to which we are committed through the constitution. Had it been the other way around we cannot imagine what would have been our destiny now. This appropriate step is criticized as “and so it is that we see today the germs of corruption, disintegration and dissipation eating into the vitals of our nation for having given up the natural living nationalism in the pursuit of an unnatural, unscientific and lifeless hybrid-concept of territorial nationalism.” This is the utmost form of fundamentalist and communal thinking one can envisage.
In contrast to the acceptable and useful method, the Hindutva advocates are not in a position to accept the unacceptable nature of their ideology. It is fortunate our great patriots of this nation has taught us territorial nationalism and achieved independence on this ground and have placed the wheels of the nation on territorial and secular framework. It is our unflinching duty to preserve this and prevent the erroneous and communal ideologies gaining ground. We need to have commitment for real and united and territorial nationalism.
4.9 Commitment for Real and United Nationalism
It is the duty of every citizen to go any length to defend our nation, if things warrant. It is our duty to be loyal to the nation. We should not support in any way those who live and enjoy the benefits of India and wants to listen to the leaders of neighboring countries and implement their agendas. More dangerous than this is the people and ideologies, which attempt to divide India into various small nations and ultimately to join with other nations. The inducing elements from across the borders have to have no influence on the people of this nation. A genuine citizen would not become traitor nor would encourage such acts.
If Hidutva forces are committed for these ends they deserve admiration and support. Unfortunately they are trying to divide the people on the basis of religion. They deny all form of plurality, which is the hallmark of India. They want only people to be united on the above said nationalisms. To that extent they belittle the constitution also. In the words of Golwalkar “let the Constitution be re-examined and re-drafted, so as to establish this Unitary form of Government and thus effectively disprove the mischievous propaganda indulged in by the British and so unwittingly imbibed by the present leaders, about our being just a juxtaposition of so many distinct ‘ethnic groups’ or ‘nationalities’ happening to live side by side and grouped together by the accident of geographical contiguity and one uniform supreme foreign domination.” This is another flat denial of plurality.
Swami Dharma Theertha suggested the followings to hold the integrity and the unity of the nation; “the only way to unite the different communities of India into a united nation is to hold up before them a glorious social ideal worthy of their highest dedication and willing sacrifice.” This ideal is lacking in the Hindutva network.
His second suggestion is freedom to choose in all realms of life particularly in religion, as this is becoming the key factor in manipulative political ideologies. He writes “the meaning and content of political independence has to be supplied in the form of social liberty, equality of opportunities, economic justice, freedom of faith and other rights, equities and values of daily life which will make national unity a proud asset of every individual and will create in him the consciousness of a common destiny.” The Hindutva forces are not for unity on these grounds.
From the above discussions it is clear that our nation is for territorial nationalism based upon the principle of secularism or for the sake of secular nationalism. All the other forms of nationalisms are divisive. The Parivar have the monolithic agenda of denying plurality to the home of plurality. Very specially the strange nationalisms of the Sangh Parivar are only to deny freedom of religion to the people. Connected to this is denying freedom of language, culture, etc.
This fact is explicitly brought out in one of the recent in-depth analysis of the advocates of strange nationalisms. J. Kuruvachira writes, “the Hindu nationalists we have examined have displayed blatant opposition to secularism and the pluralistic ethos of India. The ideological framework with which they operated was that India is a Hindu rashtra. Thus, they challenged the concept of India as culturally, religiously and ethnically plural. Some of them went to the extent of invoking fascist and militant models of operation in order to realize their dream of building a Hindu rashtra in India. Hence, they isolated and waged war against the enemies of their Hindu rashtra, namely, the Indian Muslims, Christians, communists and all Secularists.” The crux of the mater is that there is no spirit of true nationalism in the plans of Hindutva.
The unflinching communal and religious hatred of the Parivar is again identified as “they maintained that non-Hindus are not part of the Hindu nation and that they are either descendants of migrants or converts from Hinduism…But Nehru, who was an uncompromising secularist, was one of the few who perceived the danger involved in the Hindu nationalists mixing religion and politics.” The nationalism of the Parivar is discriminative and communal.
Some more useful finding of the above-mentioned stupendous work is as follow. The Hindu nationalists were wedded to a negative concept of nationalism and patriotism. For them, punishing the Indian Muslims and Christians was more important than freeing India from the British colonial rule. A number of them were responsible for arousing in many Hindus the primal instincts and animosity by openly promoting militancy, extremism and terrorism in the name of Hindu religion and Hindu nation. The Sang Parivar’s nationalisms are not productive because have nothing to offer to build a nation which is culturally, ethnically and religiously plural, secular and democratic. To equate Indian culture with Hinduism is preposterous. Hence, we should go beyond a nationalism founded on Hindu religion and Hindu culture.
While concluding the discussions on the strange nationalisms it is appropriate to conclude with the note that “we need a civilisational approach to the whole concept of India as a nation where the contribution of such cultures as the Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Islamic, Sikh, Jain, Jewish and even materialistic and atheistic are considered important and significant. Recognition of such a plurality requires a vision of nationalism which transcends all religions. This calls for a clear distinction between religion and nation. Hence, nationalism based on religion has to be dismissed as a relic of the past and as one which represents a backward looking and outdated worldview.”
The simple fact is that all the nationalisms proposed by the Sangh Parivar are not based on real patriotism. They are based upon fundamental and communal understanding of Hinduism. Hence their nationalism is of no relevance to India. Further their nationalisms are aimed at dividing people on innumerable grounds as it appeared in this chapter.
 Aditya Nigam, The Insurrection Of Little Selves: The Crisis Of Secular-Nationalism In India (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2006), 69.
 Ibid., 68.
 Ibid., 69.
 M.S. Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts, 3rd ed., Reprint (Bangalore: Sahitya Sindhu Prakashan, 2000), 43.
 Ibid., 44.
 Ibid., 60.
 Ibid., 151.
 Ibid., 157.
 Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Hindutva: Who is a Hindu?, 6th ed. (New Delhi: Bharti Sahitya Sadan, 1989), 92.
 Swami Dharma Theertha, History of Hindu Imperialism, 5th ed. (Madras: Dalit Educational Literature Centre, 1992),256.
 Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Hindutva: Who is a Hindu?, 25.
Swami Dharma Theertha, History of Hindu Imperialism, 274.
 Ram Puniyani, Fascism of the Sangh Parivar (Delhi: Media House, 2000), 65.
 Ibid., 77.
 Ibid., 78.
 Swami Dharma Theertha, History of Hindu Imperialism, 261.
 Ibid., 274.
 Ibid., 261.
 Ibid., 273.
 I. Arul Aram, “Media and the Rise of Cultural Nationalism in India,” Religion and Society 51/4 (December, 2006):9.
 M.S. Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts, 4.
 Ibid., 39.
 Ibid., 69.
 Ibid., 78.
 Ibid., 5.
 Ibid., 6.
 Ibid., 7.
 Ibid., 8.
 Ibid., 9.
 Ibid., 17.
 Ibid., 78.
 Ibid., 129.
 Ibid., 83.
 Ibid., 88.
 Ibid., 122.
 Ibid., 108.
 M.A. Venkata Rao, “Introduction”, in M.S. Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts, 3rd ed., Reprint (Bangalore: Sahitya Sindhu Prakashan, 2000), xvii.
 M.S. Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts, 108.
 Ibid., 108.
 Ibid., 109.
 Ibid., 198.
 Swami Dharma Theertha, History of Hindu Imperialism, 163-164.
 M.S. Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts, 115.
 Ibid., 134.
 Ibid., 136.
 Ibid., 36.
 Ibid., 37.
 Ibid., 38.
 Ibid., 40.
 Jawaharlal Nehru, The Discovery of India, Centenary Edition (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1989), 75.
 Ibid., 75.
 I. Arul Aram, “Media and the Rise of Cultural Nationalism in India,” Religion and Society, 10.
 Ibid., 2.
 Ibid., 3.
 Ibid., 5.
 “I would like the Party’s Image to Change: Advani,” The Hindu (Vijayawada), 3 April 2006,(no page number).
 M.A. Venkata Rao, “Introduction”, in M.S. Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts, xi.
 Ibid., xi.
 M.S. Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts, 34.
 Ibid., 42.
 Ibid., 62.
 Ibid., 129.
 I. Arul Aram, “Media and the Rise of Cultural Nationalism in India,” Religion and Society, 10.
 J. Kuruvachira, Hindu Nationalists of Modern India: A critical study of the Intellectual
Genealogy of Hindutva. (Jaipur: Rawat Publications, 2006), p.235.
 M.S. Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts, 114.
 Ibid., 220.
 Ibid., 112.
 Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Hindutva: Who is a Hindu?, 95.
 M.S. Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts, 138.
 Ibid., 149.
 Ibid., 227.
 Swami Dharma Theertha, History of Hindu Imperialism, 205.
 Ibid., 206.
 J. Kuruvachira, Hindu Nationalists of Modern India: A critical study of the Intellectual
Genealogy of Hindutva, 229.
 Ibid., 231.
 Ibid., 233.