©2013. Secular African Society. All Rights Reserved
“Truth is One, Sages Call it by Many Names, and The Whole Universe is one Family” ~ Hindutva ethos.
If one called Hindutva a Third World’s cry to emancipate itself from the preying snares of foreign invaders, foreign rule, and charity industrialism; that analysis would be anything but sophist. Moreso, that analysis would be correct. If Secularism is the antidote to religious cultural imperialism and inequality, Hindutva is India’s antidote to the fading dream of self-pride, a Uniform Code for All and self-reliance.
Hindutva is a much welcome and progressive nationalist ideology for India. One which Naipaul lauds in the face of critics, as a ‘corrective to the past’ and a ‘broader civilisational resurgence’. Prior to the early 20th century, Hindutva was non-existent. Its birth was the doing of systematic aggression. Its announcement to the world was purely in resistance to unfettered abuse and oppression.
“There was in India now what didn’t exist 200 years before: a central will, a central intellect, a national idea” ~ V. S. Naipaul on Hindutva.
What does Hindutva mean and why has it suddenly sprung up?
To answer both questions, it is needful to trace Hindutva’s ancestral lineage. Hindutva is an ideology rooted in Hindu teachings. Unlike Monotheistic faiths, Hinduism by its inherent Polytheist nature is by default, accommodating. Hinduism professes not a monopoly over a single window that grants access to the knowledgeable things of life. At the core of the Hindu psyche is that one has many gods to go to, to seek information and wisdom regarding all matters that affect personal and public life. These gods, although vessels of spirituality, are also intellectual schools of thought. Therefore, not one god is the true fountain of knowledge. As a result, these gods have no choice but to co-exist. It was out of this coexistence clime known to Hindu peoples for millennia and which housed other religions such as Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, that Hindutva was born.
Hindutva, ideologically, is the cellular framework of a pluralist society. Hindu kingdoms for manifold millennia lived in accordance with these principles. They pursued personal morality and community ethics, invented the mathematical concept of zero, and laid the foundational groundwork for inventing algebra. In all the glory of its vibrance, Hindusthan was home to not just those who were Hindus by faith, but Buddhists, Zoroastrians, Sikhs and many others. When early Muslims during Prophet Muhammad’s lifetime, migrated from Arabia to India, they settled, built their places of worship and conducted their businesses freely among the people. Jews fleeing persecution from Romans, took shelter with Hindus. The Zoroastrians who successfully escaped the Islamic sword in Persia, were taken in by Hindus and continue to exist, protected by Hindus, as a proud unhindered Parsi community in India, till this very day. Great Hindusthan was one of the world’s top civilisations with significant achievements in Science, Mathematics, Literature, Philosophy, Medicine, Astronomy, Architecture. Scholars have described medieval India as “history’s most richly imaginative culture and one of the five most advanced civilisations of all times“. Its architecture and artistry, the “most awe-inspiring, ornate and spell-binding found anywhere in the world” much so that “no artist of any historical civilization has ever revealed the same genius as ancient Hindustan’s artists and artisans”. Even when India’s rulers engaged in warfare – which was relatively infrequent – the highest moral code of conduct was duly observed, in comparison to any other known civilisation in mankind’s history.
In the course of over two-thirds of a millennium however, Hindusthan fell prey to a barbaric marauding onslaught not known to any society anywhere till this very day. It was firstly invaded by Muslim armies, then by British mercenaries. According to some calculations, Hindusthan population decreased by 80 million between 1000 (conquest of Afghanistan) and 1525 (end of Delhi Sultanate). When Afghanistan was conquered in 1000, the Hindu population was duly annihilated. The region till this day is still called the Hindu Kush, i.e. Hindu slaughter. Hindus were the victims of chattel slavery in countless merciless numbers, for the period of 800 years of Muslim rule. The Bahmani sultans (1347-1480) in central India also made it a rule to kill 100,000 polytheist captives each year, and once killed 100,000 captives in a single day. There were many other Islamic conquests in India, whose coverage is beyond the scope of this current discussion. Needless to say, Islam as a political force announced itself to India not as a friend, brother or equal, but as a conquest master. Islam came to India as ‘the enemy of the But‘.
Of all the massacres, widespread systematic rape, theft of resources and oppression that Islamic invaders inflicted upon Hindusthan, the most insulting is perhaps Muslim demand for the Hindusthani motherland (Bharat) to be partitioned a second time, not for Afghanistan this time around but for Pakistan. For the benefit of a secessionist Islamic homeland on Native Hindu soil. Not even the Buddhists who were a populous and significant community in Hindusthan and who created and ran the highly advanced Nalanda University, ever sought to partition Hindusthani motherland for another’s hegemony. For the benefit of expanding Khilafa’s hegemony, the Muslim minority voted for a separate state from India a nation that “had had a common history and culture for countless millennia“. For the benefit of Islamic suzerainty, Hindus were being forced to subdivide their own homeland land.
It was in wake of this unrelenting blatant abuse of Hindu tolerance, that Hindutva came to find ground among masses in India. Following the monumental Mopla violence (1921), there were a series of Partition-related riots, which were all the culmination of Muslims’ unyielding demand for an independent homeland. There was widespread unleashing of mindless violence, by Muslim separatists, in order to achieve this ‘independence’, especially against those they felt were denying them their God-given religious right of including India into a pan-Islamic Caliphate. For the first time in Hindusthani history, “some Hindus as a religious entity rose up as a militant religio-nationalistic force, primarily to confront the instigatory Muslim fundamentalists from dividing their country“. M.A. Khan further writes that:
“As the movement for India’s independence started building up following the founding of the Indian National Congress Party in 1885, a Hindu-Muslim tension also started building up over the political control of independent India. The founding of the All India Muslim League Party later in 1906 further boosted the tension. It took a violent turn in the 1920s and more dangerously, in the 1940s—leading to the eventual Partition of the subcontinent in 1947 into two states: India and Pakistan. The Partition-related riots caused as many as two million deaths…”
As far back as nearly two decades before the Partition-related riots, the Muslim league Party which was a popular voice with and for India’s Muslims,
“presented a firm and clear blueprint of Pakistan as a separate homeland for Muslims in [Allama Muhammad Iqbal’s] Presidential Address in the All-India Muslim League Meet in Allahabad on 29 December 1930.”
Iqbal further denounced democracy as a system of governance, in which, “heads are counted, not weighed“, and that “the construction of a polity on national lines, if it means a displacement of the Islamic principle of solidarity [first and foremost with other Muslims], is simply unthinkable to a Muslim”. In the events leading up to the Partition, the Muslim League distributed pamphlets among Muslims, vehemently renouncing ahimsa by saying “One Muslim should get the right of five Hindus, i.e., each Muslim is equal to five Hindus”.
Muslim fundamentalists were demanding a division of Hindusthan, for the benefit of the Ummah, and were threatening mindless violence in order to achieve this secessionist agenda. Taking into account the timeline of oppression and massacres Hindus had suffered already at the hands of Muslim nationalists, the mass rapes, intolerance, bigotry, chattel slavery, destruction of temples, humiliation; the perfect grounds for Hindutva’s emergence was thus created. In 1925, the very first Hindutva organization, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), was founded on Hindu and Hindusthani nationalism. A sizeable number of Hindus leaned towards the RSS’s nationalist ideals. As rapport between Muslims and non-Muslims continued to disintegrate and separatism-incited hostility and in fact violence against Hindus increased, Hindus began to retaliate. Admittedly, some Hindus fought back against Islamist fascism by retaliating violence with violence, murder with murder, rape with rape and monumental barbarity with the same. Newspaper headlines were fraught with countless reports of these atrocities. All violence is wrong but the fact is Hindutva proponents were not the instigators of the pre-Partition massacre. They were merely a natural reaction to a very long period of injustices and abuses. When civil wars occur, we study them to understand why they occurred and learn how to prevent a reoccurrence. The genesis of Hindutva is an important study for Humanity Sciences. Its emergence was predictable. The fact anything of its kind didn’t happen centuries earlier, testifies to Hindu tolerance. India’s Partition-related Hindutva ‘rebellion’ is not an isolated historical event. Many rebellions against abuses and alien rule have taken place repeatedly on virtually every continent. The British colonial era in India was very much exploitative and Hindutva is very much as critical and resistant of European colonialism as any other agent of conquest. The RSS for one, staunchly opposes the theory of Indo-Aryan migration to India. The intolerance of India’s Islamic conquests however, are unmatched. While the European overlords have moved out of India and resettled themselves back in Europe, Hindus continue to lose lands to the Ummah. The most recent unfathomable occupation of Hindu land is that of Azad Kashmir, which the seceded Pakistan invaded, uninvited, on Oct 22 1947. Pakistan has since then, refused to withdraw. There has also not been any outcry by Muslim Human Rights Activists against this ‘occupation’ (now termed “administration”), even though the general consensus in mainstream society is that it is wrong for Palestine to be occupied outside of the pre-June 1967 border lines.
One has to understand the psyche of Islamic fundamentalism and more importantly understand where the convert’s loyalties lie, to understand why he thinks, breathes and acts the way he does, against his fellow native. Allama Muhammad Iqbal, the staunch Islamic nationalist who promoted materials that called for ‘each Muslim to claim four Hindu heads’, was a Hindu convert. Regarding this characteristic self-hate, Naipaul writes:
“… Islam is an Arab religion. Everyone not an Arab who is a Muslim is a convert (sic). Islam is not simply a matter of conscience or private belief. It makes imperial demands. A convert’s worldview alters. His holy places are in Arab lands; his sacred language is Arabic. His idea of history alters. He rejects his own; he becomes, whether he likes it or not, a part of the Arab story. The convert has to turn away from everything that is his…” ~ V.S. Naipaul.
Other Hindutva organisations have been formed since RSS, with India’s Bharatity Jhanata Party now being the most popular. BJP rightly describes Hindutva as being guided by a philosophy of Integral Humanism. “Rightly”, because one would have to be of unsound mind to fault either pluralism or any people’s resistance to foreign subjugation. BJP also defends Hindutva by arguing that without national identity, there is no meaning of independence. Therefore the country that has now gained independence may as well be an outright colony, as national identity is central to independence becoming an instrument of progress and happiness. To be unaware of one’s national identity is to never be able to recognise and develop one’s full potentials. Even more crucially, to have no national identity as a people, is to remain under alien rule!
To the globalist, one country’s humanistic progress paves the way for the entire world’s progress! Hindutva is proto-secularist. If India gets it right with Hindutva, then India will be in a position to promote values that the rest of the world can benefit from.
If one called Hindutva a Third World’s cry to emancipate itself from the preying snares of foreign invaders, foreign rule, and charity industrialism; that analysis would be very much accurate.
©2013. Secular African Society. All Rights Reserved