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Hindutva, which means "Hinduness", is a kind of nationalism in India. The word was made popular by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in 1923.[1] Groups that believe in Hindutva include the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP),[2][3] and the Sangh Parivar. Hindutva considers Hinduism better than other religions and cultures.[4] Because of this, some people describe Hindutva as almost fascist,[4] while others say that Hindutva is conservative.[5]

Comments by scholars[change | change source]

According to Christophe Jaffrelot, a political scientist specializing in South Asia, the Hindutva ideology has roots in an era where the fiction in ancient Indian mythology and the Vedics was thought to be valid. This fiction was used to "give sustenance to Hindu ethnic consciousness". Its strategy emulated the Muslim identity politics of the Khilafat movement after World War I, and borrowed political concepts from the West – mainly Germany.[6]

According to Anthony Parel, a historian and political scientist, V. D. Savarkar's Hindutva, Who is a Hindu? (1923) is a fundamental text of Hindutva ideology. He comments on Savarkar's summary of Hindu culture "as a self-sufficient culture, not needing any input from other cultures" by saying that this is "an unhistorical, narcissistic and false account of India's past".[7]

Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad, a Fellow of the British Academy and a scholar of Politics and Philosophy of Religion, says that Hindutva is a form of nationalism that is seen differently by its opponents and its supporters. The Hindutva ideology according to Savarkar, states Ram-Prasad, is based on "geography, race, and culture".[8]

References[change | change source]

  1. Pavan Kulkarni (28 May 2019). "How Did Savarkar, a Staunch Supporter of British Colonialism, Come to Be Known as 'Veer'?". The Wire.
  2. The Hindutva Road, Frontline, 4 December 2004
  3. Krishna 2011, p. 324.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Prabhat Patnaik (1993). "Fascism of our times". Social Scientist. 21 (3/4): 69–77. doi:10.2307/3517631. JSTOR 3517631.
  5. Chetan Bhatt; Parita Mukta (May 2000). "Hindutva in the West: Mapping the Antinomies of Diaspora Nationalism". Ethnic and Racial Studies. 23 (3): 407–441. doi:10.1080/014198700328935. S2CID 143287533.
  6. Jaffrelot, Christophe 2009. Hindu Nationalism: a reader. Princeton University Press. pp. 14–15, 86–93. ISBN 1-4008-2803-1
  7. Anthony J. Parel (2006). Gandhi's Philosophy and the Quest for Harmony. Cambridge University Press. pp. 42–43. ISBN 978-0-521-86715-3.
  8. Ram‐Prasad, C. (1993). "Hindutva ideology: Extracting the fundamentals". Contemporary South Asia. 2 (3): 285–309.