Category Archives: Hindutva

Somnath to Ayodhya : Journey of an Awakened Civilisation

It is not a time for chest-thumping or triumphalism. But isn’t it time to rejoice?

What the Ayodhya movement overcame was not just the opposition of certain Muslim groups, but countless hurdles put up by the courts as well as overzealous secular shenanigans. Not a small thing, given the fact that Hagia Sofia cathedral in Istanbul, in contrast, has been turned once again into a mosque, and Jerusalem is still struggling to decide which history to accept.

Somnath to Ayodhya is journey of an awakened civilisation. It was a struggle of five centuries. Hindus never accepted Babur’s commander Mir Baqi’s vandalism of the temple at the sacred site in Ayodhya, considered the birthplace of Bhagwan Ram. As happened in parts of Europe during the crusades, the site kept changing from temple to mosque to temple. The last time was in 1949 when idols of Ram durbar appeared under the domes of the dysfunctional mosque. Since then it once again became a functioning temple. Another seven decades of wait has finally resulted in the dream of millions of Hindus coming true. The abode of Shri Ram is again springing to life with majesty and magnificence.

It is not a time for chest-thumping or triumphalism. But isn’t it time to rejoice? What the Ayodhya movement overcame was not just the opposition of certain Muslim groups, but countless hurdles put up by the courts as well as overzealous secular shenanigans. Not a small thing, given the fact that Hagia Sofia cathedral in Istanbul, in contrast, has been turned once again into a mosque, and Jerusalem is still struggling to decide which history to accept.

Certainly, the construction of the Ram Janmaboomi temple is a glorious epitome of a civilisational reassertion. “So, new people come up and they begin to look at their world and from being great acceptors, they have become questioners. And I think we should simply try to understand this passion. It is not an ignoble passion at all. It is men trying to understand themselves. Do not dismiss them. Treat them seriously”, warned Sir Vidia Naipaul, the Nobel laureate talking about this reassertion in the mid-1990s.

Renowned British historian Arnold Toynbee had taunted the Hindus four decades before Naipaul commended them. “Aurangzeb’s purpose in building those three mosques (Ayodhya, Kashi and Mathura) was the same intentionally offensive political purpose that moved the Russians to build their Orthodox cathedral in the city centre at Warsaw. Those mosques were intended to signify that an Islamic government was reigning supreme, even over Hinduism’s holiest of holy places. Perhaps the Poles were really kinder in destroying the Russians’ self-discrediting monument in Warsaw than you have been in sparing Aurangzeb’s mosques”, said Toynbee in a speech at Delhi.

The Orthodox cathedral that Toynbee referred to was Alexander Nevsky Cathedral built by the Russians in the Polish capital Warsaw. When Poland unshackled itself from Czarist Russia after the First World War, the cathedral was demolished by the Polish authorities in the mid-1920s. It took 18 years to complete the cathedral for the Russians – built between 1894 and 1912, but it didn’t survive even 15 years. Intense debate preceded the demolition. Poles saw it not as a religious monument but as a symbol of Russian domination. Like the pseudo-secularists in India, there were a few voices opposing the demolition, mostly from the Orthodox community. They were contemptuously dismissed as ‘Cathedralists’. Not that the Poles were against Orthodox Christianity. There were several other Orthodox churches in Poland. Many remnants of the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral were later shifted to the Mary Magdalene Orthodox Cathedral in the Warsaw suburb.

Poles took less than 10 years after their freedom to remove the Orthodox cathedral. Indians had to wait much longer in the case of Ayodhya. There was a precedent though. The Somnath temple in Gujarat, that was looted and destroyed by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1024, had been restored in 1951 immediately after India’s independence. Its restoration had Gandhi’s blessings and the initiative came from Sardar Patel and K M Munshi. Gandhi’s only suggestion to Patel was that the reconstruction of the temple should happen with the funds collected from the people, not from the public exchequer.

Unfortunately, by the time the consecration happened, both Gandhi and Patel were no more. Prime Minister Nehru was opposed to the idea of the reconstruction of the Somnath temple. He first tried to dissuade Munshi. Munshi refused to heed. Nehru then tried to discourage President Rajendra Prasad from attending the consecration ceremony. “I believe in my religion and cannot cut myself away from it”, Rajendra Prasad bluntly told Nehru. Nehru then wrote to all the Chief Ministers stating that his government had nothing to do with the Somnath reconstruction and they too shouldn’t have anything to do with it.

The Somnath temple returned to its past glory on May 11, 1951, when it was inaugurated in a grand function. Dr Rajendra Prasad was present in person to witness the making of history. “The Somnath temple signifies that the power of reconstruction is always greater than the power of destruction”, he told in his address, adding “By rising from its ashes again, this temple of Somnath will proclaim to the world that no man and no power in the world can destroy that for which people have boundless faith and love in their hearts…

Seventy years after Somnath, the same spirit is bringing Ayodhya to life. Sardar Patel was the prime mover of Somnath reconstruction. But he was not there when it finally happened. Ayodhya owes a lot to Ashok Singhal, but it will miss him on this historic occasion.

When Prime Minister Modi stands at Ayodhya, laying the first brick for the temple, it would be a symbolic reiteration of what Dr Rajendra Prasad had said at Somnath some 69 years ago: “Today, our attempt is not to rectify history. Our only aim is to proclaim anew our attachment to the faith, convictions and to the values on which our religion has rested since immemorial ages.

Courtesy: Shri Ram Madhav
(The article was originally published in Chintan – India Foundation blogs on August 5, 2020. Views expressed are personal.)

Ayodhya Ram Mandir Bhoomipuja: Leadership the Bharatiya Way

यत्र योगेश्वरः कृष्णो यत्र पार्थो धनुर्धरः। तत्र श्रीर्विजयो भूतिर्ध्रुवा नीतिर्मतिर्मम।।

Maa. Dr. Mohan ji Bhagwat & Sri Narendra ji Modi – Two leaders who have demonstrated the Bharatiya way of how huge missions are lead . They represent a great tradition that Bharat stood for.

” Bharat’s tradition of leadership. One shows how to awaken society without any recognition & other takes the reins & puts the vision into action. #RamMandir4Bharat #Telangana4RamMandir

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August 5th is a milestone : Ram Mandir and more

  • Dr. Ratan Sharda

Rebuilding of Ram Temple has re-ignited our memories buried deep under the embers of forgotten history.

August 5, 2020, is a historic day for many reasons, not just a day on which the rebuilding of Ram Mandir will begin. August 15, 1947, was supposed to be a day when we broke away from colonialism and rebuild Bharat on the lines on which it had gained prominence in the comity of nations for centuries before foreign invaders slowly choked out its spirit in different ways.

Unfortunately, it did not happen. We were told that India was never a nation but British had made it into a nation and Nehru ji was trying to create a new idea of India, so we can stay united. With this single argument, we were trained to forget our entire knowledge-based heritage that has at least 8,000 years of documented history.

August 5 will be a milestone in post-independent India which will be remembered for —

• Rebuilding of the Ram Temple at the very site where it was destroyed

• Restoring our pride in our ancient perennial history and civilisation

• Snatching back the right to interpret our history from colonial historians and their

fellow travellers – the Marxist historians

• Decolonising our minds

Visit Mathura and your heart bleeds when you see the real janmsthan (birth place) of Krishna embedded in the peripheral wall of the giant mosque Aurangzeb built by destroying the Krishna Janmasthan temple. You visit Kashi Vishwanath temple. Before you bow to the sacred Jyotirlinga in a temple rebuilt by Ahilyabai Holkar, your heart sinks looking at the original sacred Nandi bull staring vacantly in the direction where the original Shivling was consecrated eons back – converted to mosque by Aurangzeb.

Hindus waged a sustained battle to restore Ram Temple to them for 492 years in the very location where it existed before it was destroyed by Mughals. Apart from a legal fight, we saw a mass movement like none, including the freedom struggle, when millions of people came on the roads in a peaceful manner starting in 1986 and culminating in 2020. A movement sustained in different phases for 30 years before it reached the final stages in courts of law. It was a first in Hindu society that the society rose as one irrespective of caste or creed – whether poor or rich, from north to south and from west to east – to get back the land where original temple existed. And, finally emerged victorious.

Our freedom struggle was an outcome of many factors. When all the factors came together, we were free. But it was a victory that came at a huge loss – loss of one third of our land and millions of lives. It was a parting kick from our erstwhile colonial masters. We are still bleeding. But refusal to go by colonial justice and lectures by their leftovers about Ram being everywhere, Hindus kept the battle on and finally won it against the entire system seeped in colonial thoughts arrayed against them. Hindus refused to be shamed by Left-Secular groups and settle for something demeaning like Mathura or Kashi that would bleed our hearts and drain our emotions when we visited these temples.

The colonial historians and their lackeys had created a narrative that Hindu society had nothing to offer, that Bharat was a naturally endowed land populated by orthodox, casteist, ignorant lethargic people who knew nothing beyond caste and superstition. They had no history to call their own and they had no knowledge to call their own. The entire idea was to strip Indians of their self-respect, their pride and their knowledge systems.

The enormous knowledge base Bharat had in every possible branch of philosophy, art and science was stolen or stripped off its Bharatiya roots. Muslim invaders destroyed universities, temples and knowledge system structured around them and our sense of self-esteem by destroying our centres of faith, our murtis. The official records tell us that even after burning the Nalanda University and destroying Taxila and Vikramshila, burning libraries of temples and priests; Bharat, even today, is left with 3 million manuscripts in Sanskrit, Pali and Prakrit!

The bleeding of our economy that began under Muslim invaders was fine-tuned by British. We were impoverished while colonial masters prospered in every sense. By the time British were challenged by us, they had created a huge West educated populace seeped in western world view that saw India only as a land of widow burners, casteist and orthodox backward looking society, with no intellect of its own. We were told that Kalidasa was Shakespeare of India though Kalidasa was born centuries before Shakespeare. We were told Chanakya was India’s Machiavelli though he mastered the statecraft thousands of years earlier. And we accepted it. Only calling card that Bharatiya people were left with was caste system.

Rebuilding of Ram Temple has re-ignited our memories buried deep under the embers of forgotten history. In a way, the people-driven struggle prolonged by Marxist historians gave us time to dig up our true history, the cruel history of Muslim invaders’ atrocities and loss of our national identity that any Indian would be proud of.

Suddenly, temples and their histories have become centres of attraction and wonder for our youth. Taj Mahal is not the only wonder, but we have 1000s of such wonders. Indians have discovered how their temples were pillaged, populace looted, raped and converted. It was the history that our Left –Secular historians wished us to forget. The struggle for Ram Temple turned out to be a struggle to rediscover our self-identity.

This struggle for restoration of pride was not against anybody, it was for restoration of our rights over our land, our history. Thus, the long litigation instigated by left historians forced us to re-discover the truth behind Mughals and Tipu Sultans, the truth behind poor cap stitching devout Aurangzeb. Historians who had been banished from the university shelves, the selfless researchers and public intellectuals like Dharampal were brought back. Young Indians rose to fill in the gaps in our history with meticulous research and rebuilding of our true history, highlight our heritage and challenge the narrative set by British and their copy cats, the Marxist historians. The first Indian to call out the fakery of Aryan Invasion Theory, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, was rediscovered.

This renaissance we see in Indian intellectual scene is the result of Ram Mandir movement. And, this is the reason why the entire Left and so-called liberal class was opposed to Ram Temple tooth and nail. They understood the repercussions of this movement. This is the reason why RSS became the prime hate symbol for the Left-Liberal all over again. RSS not just created this environment but went onto inspire an entire generation to snatch back the initiative from these groups to restore history and heritage in proper perspective.

This churn in the sphere of knowledge has finally led to decolonising our minds. There had been attempts by our leaders beginning from Swami Vivekananda to decolonise our minds. It has been a continuous exercise since then. But ideological adversaries had major advantages – head start since the time of British, absorbing the tricks of the trade taught by the British, inferiority complex of the ruling class represented by Pandit Nehru and his readiness to outsource the intellectual battle ground to the Left and providing them huge resources vis-a-vis a weak Bharat rooted intellectual class that was kept out of the powerful elite and never allowed to use any resources.

Thankfully, there were organisations like RSS, great indigenous, rooted leaders like Madan Mohan Malaviya, Dr. Ambedkar, KM Munshi, Rajagopalachari and many others who kept the flame glowing for the right moment. Veteran RSS thinker Ranga Hari says your view point depends on your stand point. It took years to change that stand point from western land of Greenwich time to Ujjain based Indian timelines of Mahakaal. As the stand point changed, the view point changed too. Now the view point will be defined by Ram Mandir. This is the historic time when real decolonising of Indian mind has begun. Bharat will no more be apologetic about its past, nor about the path it chooses to regain its glory.

  • Dr. Ratan Sharda is an ERP consultant, an author & a free lance columnist.

For a comprehensive site on Ayodhya Ram Mandir, visit rammandir.getfacts.in

For a detailed video on the Ayodhya Ram Janmabhumi movement , check out these videos :

Swadeshi and Decentralisation – Pt Deendayal Upadhyay

The concept of “Swadeshi” is ridiculed as old-fashioned and reactionary. We proudly use foreign aid in everything, from thinking, management, capital, methods of production, technology, etc. to even the standards and forms of consumption. This is not the road to progress and development. We shall forget our individuality and become virtual slaves once again. The positive content of “Swadeshi” should be used as the cornerstone Of reconstruction of our economy.

With the focus once again now on #Swadeshi & #Atmanirbharata, it is a good time to read what Pt. Deendayal Upadhyay wrote on this subject. Here is an excerpt from his  “Aspects of Economics”.

SWADESHI AND DECENTRALISATION

“SWADESHI” and “Decentralisation” are the two words which can briefly summarize the economic policy suitable for the present circumstances. Centralization and monopolization have been the order of the day for all these years, knowingly or unknowingly. The planners have become prisoners of a belief that only large-scale centralized industry is economic and hence without worrying about its ill-effects, or knowingly but helplessly they have continued in that direction. The same has been the case with “Swadeshi” The concept of “Swadeshi” is ridiculed as old-fashioned and reactionary. We proudly use foreign aid in everything, from thinking, management, capital, methods of production, technology, etc. to even the standards and forms of consumption. This is not the road to progress and development. We shall forget our individuality and become virtual slaves once again. The positive content of “Swadeshi” should be used as the cornerstone Of reconstruction of our economy.

DEPENDENCE ON WESTERN ECONOMICS

NOT only because of different ideals of life but also because of different conditions in terms of time and place the way of our economic development will have to be different from that of the West. But we are tied to Marshall and Marx. We believe that the economic principles they have discussed are eternal. Even those Who realise that they are dependent upon certain systems are not able to step out of their orbits. The economic prosperity of the West has created a blind belief in us about the Western system of production. Western economists have produced so much critical literature that we easily feel overwhelmed by it. We cannot rise above it. It is possible that this science of economics may have some principles that do not depend upon time, place or system and can prove useful to all, but very few have the capacity to assess this quality. Our education cannot create people with such a capacity. Our economists may be experts in Western economics, but they have not been able to make any solid contribution to it because the Indian economy can neither provide them the necessary thought nor the necessary field for experimentation.

NO RIGHT ETERNAL

NO fundamental rights, whether related to property or other things, are eternal. They are all dependent upon the interest of society. In fact these rights are given to the individual in order that he may perform his social duties. A soldier is given weapons because his duty is to protect society. If he does not do his duty he loses the right to bear weapons. Similarly the right to property is given to an individual so that he could do his duty by society. For this purpose it becomes necessary to define and modify these rights from time to time. No right to property is absolute of society.

RIGHT OF OWNERSHIP

THE right of ownership is actually the right to use a particular thing within definite limits and for a definite purpose. These rights keep changing with the times. Hence as a matter of principle we may not get entangled in the quarrel between the individual’s rights and the right of society. For us the State is not the only form of society. We believe that the individual, the family, the community, the State are all different forms in which society expresses and fulfils itself. The joint family is the practical unit in this country in which we seek to preserve the social sense in the individual, in which every individual has the right to earn, but the right of ownership vests in the family. Wealth is used for the benefit of the family. It is this Indian principle of Trusteeship that has been propounded by Gandhiji, Guruji and other thinkers.

OWNERSHIP RIGHT FOR WORKERS

IT is a matter of surprise that today a share-holder in joint stock companies, who has no other connection with the company except a share in its profit, should be able to exercise ownership rights while the worker who works in an industry, sets its machines into motion and depends upon it for his livelihood should experience a feeling of being a stranger to it. This feeling is not proper. It is therefore necessary that along with the share-holder the worker should be given ownership rights and a share in its management and profit.

RIGHT TO FOOD

THE slogan commonly heard now-a-days is “one must earn his bread”. Normally communists use this slogan, but even the capitalists are not fundamentally in disagreement with it. If there is any diflerence between them, it is only as regards who earns and how much. The capitalists consider capital and enterprise as important factors of production and if they take a major share of profit, it is because they think it is their due. On the other hand, communists believe only labour to be the main factor in production. Therefore they concede a major share of production to the labourers. Neither of these ideas is correct. Strictly speaking, our slogan should be that he who earns will feed and every person will have enough to eat. The right to food is a birthright. The ability to earn is a result of education and training. In a society even those who do not earn must have food. The children and the old, the diseased and the invalids, all must be cared for by society. Every society generally fulfils this responsibility. The social and cultural pro- guess of mankind lies in the readiness to fulfil this responsibility.

FOOD VERSUS FREEDOM

WHILE imports may help us tide over our present difficulties, the real solution to the problem lies in maximising agricultural production in the country. That we have not done sufficiently in this direction needs no saying. The present agreement is an eloquent testimony to the Government’s failure on this front. With the passage of time we have become increasingly dependent on foreign sources. We fear that due to availability of food in plenty at present the Government may become complacent in their efforts to raise production locally. The US Ambassador feels that America is following this policy only to let the struggling people of the democratic world realise that “there can be both freedom and food”. But what we want is our freedom and our food. That is possible only if we revive our old slogan of “Freedom from foreign food”. Dependence on foreign sources will impoverish and entangle us.

ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY

IF a vote for everyone is the touch-stone of political democracy, work for everyone is a measure of economic democracy. This right to work does not mean slave labour as in communist countries. Work should not only give a means of livelihood to a person but it should be of the choice of that person. If for doing that work the worker does not get a proper share in the national income, he would, be considered unemployed. From this point of view a minimum wage, a just system of distribution and some sort of social security are necessary.

  • Excerpts from Sri Deendayal Upadhyay on Aspects of Economics

 

Hinduness and Hinduism X-rayed

Hinduism, as it is termed, is not Hinduness (Hindutva). Hinduness is the identity of the land and the people whereas Hinduism is the spiritual belief-system of the individual. Hinduness is always collective whereas Hinduism is ultimately personal…’ Former Akhil Bharatiya Boudhik Pramukh of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Shri Ranga Hari writes on the Hindutva Vs Hinduism dichotomy

Hindutva, a word that draws very much attention these days, can rightly be termed as Hinduness. Hinduism is a word that has come down to us since the advent of the British. Both these words are twins as it were, yet they distinctly differ from each other. Each one has its own different connotation and is conceptually different. Still, due to lack of understanding inherent or created, confusion at thought level does prevail. Here is a humble attempt to clear it.
Hinduness connotes the identity of a people residing in Hindoostan as it was known till the period of Clive and Warren Hastings. Since the collective life of the people in this part of the globe was millenniums old and the land stretching southwards was well-walled by The Himalayas in the north, an identity unique and abiding got evolved all along. Vedas, the first recorded thoughts of humankind moulded the life, vision and perception of the inhabitants. Their men of wisdom, Rishis as they were called, spelled out to them their revelations which were basically humanistic and universal. In due course, that became the legacy of the populace as a whole and passed on from generation to generation. That came down to them as their Dharma which in essence included the entire gamut of all the human pursuits, mundane as well as ultramundane. Resultantly that gave them a solid Value System beyond the limits of climes and times.
To cite a few of such values:-
  • Readiness to accept noble thoughts from any quarter.
  • Truth is one but termed differently by the different as per their inner light.
  • The pursuits of the wise are as infinite as the tracks of birds flying in the skies and fishes swimming in the seas.
  • The earth belongs to all whom it bears and rears.
  • The entire creation has within the self same energy though in varying degrees.
  • To visualise unity in multiplicity is true knowledge.
  • Man can make or mar himself as he alone is his final master.
All such dicta were called Mantras. Mark them they never warranted any special type of worship. There was nothing dogmatic about them.
It is this value system that resulted in the evolution of a distinct culture, civilisation and social life in Hindoostan. It was quite natural that it got manifested in all the endeavours of the people. When it reached the realities of the relationship between man and his maker it took the shape of religious belief. All these things put together gave to this huge chunk of humanity its own identity, its own Selfhood – National Persona. Verily that is termed as Hinduness. Actually, it is not a product of human effort. Rather it is an unconscious organic consummation. It operates more at the psychic level than physical. Subtly but surely it influences all the pursuits of the people of Hindoostan, be it philosophy, religion, literature, art, politics, economics, even sports. Directly connected with the ever flowing life of generations, it is never static. It can never be. It has to be ever blossoming and so ever renewing.
History stands testimony to the fact that Hinduness is a movement and a growing tradition truly reflecting the uninterrupted life of this nation. It is the raison-deter of Bharat. In short, Hinduness is the selfhood of Hindoostan evolved and developed through centuries. It is the vital force that keeps the nation going and doing. It belongs to all the children of soil without any discrimination. It enters one”s inner being as a legacy and not as a choice. It creates in every child born in this land a sense of belonging to the nation. In other words, an individual develops into a national by inheriting Hinduness. The singular becomes the collective.
Hinduism, on the other hand, is a part of Hinduness in the field of religious belief. The spiritual craving of man is also an innate quality. In that direction when Hinduness guides and goads Hinduism comes up. In fact, Vedas of Hindus do not advocate any fixed form of external worship. The king among Mantras, the Gayatri is a prayer to the life-giving Supreme Energy to develop the human intellect to a sublime stage of enlightenment. Here no particular deity is invoked. Anybody belonging to any religion, even an agnostic need have no objection to such a prayer. It should be notified that there are hundreds of such Mantras in the Vedas. But as years rolled on Brahmanas, the procedural manuals were composed and Hinduness applied to religious impulses gave rise to very many forms of beliefs, rituals, functions and festivals. Eventually, Hinduism, as we see today, got stratified.
When the western colonialists landed on the shores of Hindoostan it is this Hinduism that they saw. For them virtually it was a forest of creeds with no elements of religion according to their yardstick that identified and defined Semitic religions. It was almost impossible for them to name it. So prudently they pushed these incomprehensible faiths and creeds under one single umbrella ‘Hindu,’ the name of the people and the land, and straitjacketed it as ‘Hinduism,’ all the while maintaining that it was no true religion at all. In fact, none in India said he was a Hindu when questioned about his religion. He always replied he was a Vaishnava, Saiva, Sakteya or the like. Truly, Hinduism is a misnomer. If at all one is insistent about the word Hindu, he may call it Hindu Religions, ever plural as in the case of some constellations like Saptarshis. That would be more sound and true. To be scientifically precise it should be called ‘Dharmic tradition.’ Anyway, right or wrong, Hinduism has come to stay well anchored in European Dictionaries.
Hinduism, as it is termed, is not Hinduness. Hinduness is the identity of the land and the people whereas Hinduism is the spiritual belief-system of the individual. Hinduness is always collective whereas Hinduism is ultimately personal. Hinduness is a legacy, a tradition whereas Hinduism is a matter of choice or as of today a patrimony. The mould of Hinduness is nature, history and tradition; the mould of Hinduism is individual family and society. Hinduness has been always inclusive right from Vedic times. But to say so of Hinduism can only be partially true. In the sense that Hinduism accommodates all the newborn religions or modes of worships it is inclusive. But when we think of it entering its worship rooms, it is as exclusive as the Semitic faiths even though not that intolerant. To dilate, in the Vaishnava Sanctum no Saiva is welcome and in a Tantric ritual, no Vedantist is admitted. Each one of the Hindu religions fastidiously keeps up its purity to the exclusion of the rest. Yet they all religiously hold on to the eternal values embedded in Hinduness.
Any individual belonging to any nation has the right to choose his religion. So anyone can become a Hindu from any corner of the world by choosing Hinduism. But his Hinduism as time passes by will be influenced to a certain extent by the National Identity of the chooser. In that sense, American Hinduism or Indonesian Hinduism need not be cent per cent identical with Bharatheeya Hinduism. It shall develop its own special features in tune with its national identity. Similarly, Christianity and Islam that have entered India from the land of their origin are bound to be different to the extent influenced by Hinduness. In fact, it is already so. Islam in India has to a certain extent accepted worshipping symbols and monuments as seen in the dargah worship all over. In Kerala, Islam has regular religious festivals exactly on the lines of Hindu temples. They have their own special names like Urus and Chandanakkudam. Caparisoned elephants are an inevitable item of those functions. The mosque on the way to the famous Sabarimala pilgrimage distributes Bhasmam (sanctified ashes) as prasadam to the devotees. As far as Christianity is concerned, one is liable to mistake it for a new sect within Hinduism. The flag masts of the church, the music, the gallantry, even the theological vocabulary so closely resemble Hinduism. Both the Semitic religions are influenced by the Hindoostan’s Hinduness. Without any fear of contradiction, one can say Indian Christianity and Indian Islam have upon them the indelible impress of Hinduness. This is not to say that they have changed their fundamentals regarding their philosophy and theology.
In short, Hinduness and Hinduism are not mathematically identical with each other. At best, you may say they are twins. Exactly because of that, a casual observer gets confused but not a keen one. And a true seeker is not expected to be simply casual.
– Sri Ranga Hari 
(The writer is former Akhil Bharatiya Boudhik Pramukh of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh)
The article was published in Organiser in 2018