Category Archives: Hindutva

Mohanji Bhagwat of RSS calls for ordnance for Ram Mandir at Ayodhya

” The Supreme Court has said that dealing with the Ram Mandir issue at Ayodhya is not their priority, (inspite of crores of Hindus having stake in it) . Therefore, we have no other option but to build a people’s movement by which people will put pressure on the government to pass a law. It is for the government to see what needs to be done to build the temple.

Those who want the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya must ensure that this the last leg of this long movement for the temple. We will need to go in batches to construct the temple and hence we must not rest till that dream is fulfilled. ” translated from RSS Sarsanghchalak’s speech at VHP Hunkar Rally in Nagpur on 25th November 2018.

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Has the RSS Sidelined Guruji Golwalkar’s Bunch of Thoughts?

After Sarsanghachalak’s three-day lecture series, there was a lot of discussions and muttering on whether RSS has sidelined Guruji’s thoughts. However, a patient and in-depth reading of scenario nullifies the claims. 

The three-day lecture series of Dr Mohanji Bhagwat was an unqualified success, and as expected conversations triggered by this first of a kind interaction continue. Amongst those who attended many were yet to hear the Sangh’s views first hand and had often been misled by propaganda, hence there was also some disbelief, since the Sarsanghachalak’s speech was contrary to what had been said and reported about the organisation.
Opponents of the RSS were numbed into silence, trying to pick apart the speech but failing to come up with an incriminating utterance that confirmed their often repeated falsehoods. However, their efforts (out of habit and hubris), saw a desultory revival, mostly centred on discredited repetitions of the past. So while critics closed to new thoughts and engagement continued to rehash old accusations, the new dialogue that the Sarsanghchalak’s outreach has triggered, overwhelms past prejudice.
Surprisingly it is seen that in the process of countering Communist propaganda, some supporters of the RSS and even swayamsevaks, started parroting the same line, issuing argument as apologia when none was merited.
Bunch of Thoughts must be seen in the context of its times – also it must be emphasised that the period it is associated with is from 1940 to 1965 (not his entire tenure as Sarsanghachalak), a specific time in pre and post independent history which had its unique circumstances
  
Contextualising Bunch of Thoughts
There seems to be some delight or surprise about the clarification; the Sarsanghachalak has given about the publication – Bunch of Thoughts, a collection of speeches and thoughts of Shri Guruji (the second Sarsanghchalak). This analysis takes a further leap and goes so far as to assume that Dr Bhagwat has distanced the Sangh from Guruji! It couldn’t be further from the truth. The entire lecture of the Sarsanghachalak on day two about Hindu and Hindutva was based on the intellectual articulation provided by Shri Guruji to the Sangh movement.
Bunch of Thoughts must be seen in the context of its times – also it must be emphasised that the period it is associated with is from 1940 to 1965(not his entire tenure as Sarsanghachalak), a specific time in pre and post independent history which had its unique circumstances, leading to wide debate and discourse on nationhood, identity and belonging. Hence, it is essential to view the opinions of that time as a subset of the larger dialogue around these issues and the creation of a new country – Pakistan, based entirely on religion.
When Shri Guruji took over as Sarsanghachalak, he was a mere 34 years old, and destiny had led to the mantle of responsibility being placed on his shoulders. It was a daunting task for the young man to expand and guide this organisation, which had no other parallel to emulate, and would need to forge its destiny. At the time of his taking over as Sarsanghachalak, the call for Pakistan had taken on a pervasive note and echoed across the country. The Quit India Movement had also gained force, and many swayamsevaks had been incarcerated and some condemned to death as well. It was a tumultuous time, in 1946 there was an election held with the demand for Pakistan. In Muslim majority areas, Hindus were subjected to violence and persecution. As a result of Direct Action, Hindus in Bengal faced widespread violence. India gained Independence, but it was also amputated. The largest movement of humanity took place, Hindus sought refuge in India, often after facing unspeakable violence and losing everything. The swayamsevaks were the only group who stood by this population, protecting them and playing witness to their trauma. The psychological impact of those years was profound and lasting on Hindu society and the nation.
On Gandhiji’s assassination, the RSS was targeted with falsehoods, and a ban was imposed, even though the Government was unable to prove the allegations.  It was the beginning of the dirty politics of hate by the Congress party in independent Bharat.
The Government was not ready to prosecute and prove the charges. No door was left open for conversation, and Shri Guruji was incarcerated based on these false charges, swayamsevaks organised an unprecedented peaceful satyagraha against this injustice, and eventually, the unfair ban was removed.
Correspondingly communist ideology was expanding, and divisive thought that undermined national identity was systematically mainstreamed. This impunity was so stark that in 1962 when communist China attacked India and there was widespread despondency in the country, the communists openly praised the Chinese, clearly articulating their loyalty to their ideology over the nation. At the same time conversions by Christians gained ground. The Justice Niyogi Commission’s Report led the Congress-ruled states of Orissa and Madhya Pradesh to enact an anti-conversion law, leading to widespread protests amongst the Christian community.
During this time of upheaval, Shri Guruji continued to travel through the length and breadth of the country and addressed issues that plagued the national conscience, these contemplations and responses to the prevalent circumstances up to 1965 have been included in Bunch of Thoughts. However, Shri Guruji continued to be engaged in public discourse for eighteen more years beyond the time span of the book. Hence on his birth centenary in 2006, a 12 volume edition, an authoritative compilation of his entire thoughts (Shri Guruji Samagra Darshan) during his time as Sarsanghachalak was published. This compilation is worth reading for those who wish to understand Shri Guruji and the evolution of his ideas better, which were in many instances a response to the concerns of the day. No opponent of the Sangh has displayed the requisite intellectual rigour to study Guruji and his ideas entirely in depth before lifting the pen to write on him.
In Bunch of Thoughts, the concerns raised by Shri Guruji are the same that the world today is vexed with and are specific to an ideology (within the faith) that propagates fundamentalism and the jihadist mindset that leads to horrors and oppression 
Witnessing Guruji in Entirety
If twelve volumes are too expansive, then his ideas have been distilled into a book called – Shri Guruji: His Vision and Mission (Drishti and Darshan) a book which provides a deep insight as well and is shorter. Dr Bhagwat appealed to everyone to read this book, so where does the question of distancing from the second Sarsanghachalak’s thoughts come in?
The answer given by Dr Bhagwat to the query on the selectively quoted sections in Bunch of Thoughts is not any different from what Shri Guruji has himself said. There was an interview that he did with Dr Jilani in the seventies, in which he answered these direct questions. It is an interview that is rarely quoted either because critics develop selective amnesia or it doesn’t suit their motivated campaign.
Dr Jilani asked Guruji, ‘Much has been said about ‘Indianisation’, and a lot of confusion has arisen over it. Could you please tell me how to remove the confusion?’ Shri Guruji replied, ‘Indianisation’ was, of course, the slogan given by Jana Sangh. Why should there be such confusion? ‘Indianisation’ does not mean converting all people to Hinduism. Let us all realise that we are all the children of this soil and we must have our allegiance to this land. We belong to the same society and that our ancestors are common. That our aspirations are also common.
Understanding this is Indianisation in the real sense. Indianisation does not mean that one should be asked to quit his religious system. We neither said this, nor we are going to say so. Rather, we believe that a single religious system for the entire human society is not suitable.’
On Guruji’s elaboration, Dr Jilani stated, ‘You said it right. It’s hundred per cent right. Therefore I am thankful to you for this clarification. You have clarified it from your side quite well. Any thinking person and gentleman wouldn’t disagree with you. Don’t you think it is high time that a meeting took place between you and such Muslim Indian leaders who would cooperate with you in finding ways and means to remove this communal discord once for all? Would you like to meet such leaders?’ Shri Guruji affirmed, ‘I would not only like it, but I would also welcome it.’
Well known journalist, Khushwant Singh also interviewed Shri Guruji in 1972. If one were to read that interview, then the protracted effort to malign and misrepresent Shri Guruji by the Communists who exercised control on most of the media and academic disciplines will become clear.
In the beginning, he writes, “There are some people against whom you build up malice without knowing them. Guru Golwalkar had long been at the top of my hate list. However, as a journalist, I could not resist the chance of meeting him.” In the end, he writes—“Was I impressed? I admit I was. He did not try to persuade me to his point of view. He made me feel that he was open to persuasion.”
Both the interviews are worth reading in their entirety. However communists have made it an art form to discuss and defame Guruji without going through the vast literature on him, it is a style of propaganda that they have “excelled” across the world.
In Bunch of Thoughts, the concerns raised by Shri Guruji are the same that the world today is vexed with and are specific to an ideology (within the faith) that propagates fundamentalism and the jihadist mindset that leads to horrors and oppression. Even in Bharat, the existence of such elements cannot be denied. Also forced and illegal conversion in violation of the law by missionary bodies, urban Maoism as well as the international support to such activities have once again in the recent past been highlighted through some incidents but have a long history of spreading disquiet and violence in society. Though it is necessary to take the Muslims and Christians of Bharat along in the nation-building process, it is also important to be cautious about the extremists, Jihadi and divisive elements active in the name of so-called minorities. In this sense, Shri Guruji’s cautions about the threats to the nation are relevant even today.
As Hindu way of life manifests itself with the changing times, same is true with the nature of Sangh work. There have been many ups and downs in the 92-year journey of the Sangh. Many efforts of opposition, suppression and venomous propaganda have taken place. Despite all this, the Sangh thought, and work has been growing with all inclusive and all-pervasive approach. Perhaps the inherent qualities of the fundamental Hindu philosophy characterised by ‘flexible rigidity’ and transformation as per times is the real strength behind this.
– Dr. Manmohan Vaidya
(The writer is Sah Sarkaryavah of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh)

Is Hindutva the same as Hinduism?

Is Hindutva the same as Hinduism?

  • Skanda Veera

“I am not anti-Hindu but anti-Hindutva”, “Hindutva is not the same as Hinduism” and several flavors of such distinction are heard, while prominently from the sec-lib camp, also among a fraction of confused Hindus.

While the words are not exactly synonymous, the difference is not really what it is made out to be in public discourse. Here is a brief inquiry into these terms and the phenomena represented by these.

Semantics and Reference – Hindutva

The semantics are simple. Hindutva literally means Hinduness. It doesn’t denote people or organizations but to a phenomenon. Hindutva is known in popular perception to be a movement. While Savarkar is known to have coined the word, it “refers” to several movements and organizations including RSS and VHP not just HMS of yore. However if we look through the self-references with this word, none of these indicate that this word is used to represent movements or organizations but to represent Hindu self-assertion. Importantly, it is a self-referential term and not an attribution. The word Hindutva therefore, applies to any Hindu who thinks of and stands for being Hindu, whether or not one uses that word for oneself. In fact it is not applied to individuals in any case.

Associated words like “Hindutva-vadi” are not self-referential and attributions to individuals by those who have a problem with Hindu self-assertion and hence Hindutva. This is like calling individuals “Manu-vAdi”. Calling someone “jAti-vadi” has some inaccuracy and mischief, because “jAti-vad” in its negative connotation refers to casteism and caste bigotry, not really the phenomenon of jAti. This is camouflaged to attack the phenomenon instead of perversion. But in case of Hindutva, the phenomenon is itself made to mean negative not because of any negative with the phenomenon but because of the inherent hatred for Hindu self-assertion. Thus comes about the word Hindutva-vAdi. The problem with it is the same as with using an “ism” – it attributes an argument in favor of something while there is none. There is no argument, and no need for an argument in favor of Hindu self-assertion, it is merely the survival instinct of a people. It can hardly be called an ideology for the same reason. Yes, it is definitely a visible phenomenon. There is a Hindutva. There is hardly, however, a Hindutva-vAda and there is no Hindutva-vAdi. If there is any, any Hindu owning a Hindu identity is a Hindutva-vAdi. Obviously this is not the sense in which the term is used by those that attribute the word to individuals.

Semantics and Reference – Hinduism

Hinduism is known to be a “religion”. Hinduism is an abrahamic coinage that is mistakenly attributed. For all its “broader application to all Hindus not just fundamentalist Hindutva brigade“, Hinduism is an external attribution and not self-referential. The inherent mischief behind the word is quite apparent while not paid attention to. If Hinduism were a religion, how is the word coined? If the religion of Christ is Christianity, why is the religion of “Hindus” called Hinduism, putting it on par with some ideology (as in Marxism) or an organized system (as in feudalism) and why is it not given a word that indicates its “religious” nature? If “ism” is indeed applicable to religion, why is there no “ism” with Christianity? Of course, this mischief isn’t limited to Hinduism, the occident played this mischief with entire orient – Shintoism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Sikhism are all referred to as “ism”. Being a closer sibling, Islam overcame this easily and became that instead of Mohamedeanism.

That aside, is Hinduism really a religion? It is a religion as a religion (Christianity) saw it. Hindus really haven’t identified themselves as a religion in the sense that religions of the world identify themselves. That also doesn’t make it a non-religion either. It is a comprehensive eco-system with various kinds of traditions spiritual or otherwise, social & cultural units thrive in harmony. This system has seen full life cycles (inception, rise, fall, dissolution) of several traditions, philosophies, groupings. It is therefore a dharmic system, often wrongly used as an alternative to the word religion. It would however be wrong to say there are dharma-s just as there are religions, for dharma is singular for ecosystem and plural for category. For instance, there is just dharma, there is nothing like Hindu dharma or Sikh dharma. In that sense, it is singular. But when it comes to the roles individual plays in life, there is a rAja dharma, vyakti dharma etc, In this sense it is plural. It is accurate however, to say nigamAgama, jaina, bauddha etc are all dhArmic traditions, more like a forest where trees grow and branches (child-traditions) grow out of them.

Several of traditions in this ecosystem are knowledge traditions, several have been martial too. Any attempt to disassociate the “deep philosophy of Hinduism” from its martial element is to be seen as mischief, intended (in most cases) or otherwise. There are out-facing elements that defend the ecosystem just as there are in-facing elements that enrich it.

It is not as if Hindutva brought with it any intolerant or violent element which did not already exist in “Hinduism”. The amount of blood Hindus have shed for the defense of dharma, and the amount of gore Hindus withstood is unparalleled in human history. As a matter of fact Hindutva doesn’t even rank as a genuine martial uprising, an overwhelming majority of Hindutva activity is defensive and service oriented. It is the very fact that it represents a defense and assertion of Hinduness that makes the enemies of dharma hate it.

Who has problem with Hindutva

Simply put, one who is saying he has problem with Hindutva but not Hinduism, is saying that he has a problem not with Hindus but has problem with those who stand for being Hindu and those who stand for Hindu causes.

Valentine Chirol’s hate for Tilak, missionary hate for traditional Hindus are not very different from sec-lib hate for Hindutva. All these have made their best attempts to isolate their hate targets from the Hindu ecosystem. They only make it look like their hate target is a separable entity from the ecosystem.

Camouflage and calumny can be overcome by clarity and awareness. So it comes back to Hindus being self-aware, being aware of their own ecosystem, collective identity and collective craving, that holds key to overcoming these problems.