Tuesday, May 26, 2009

India: The Hindu Nation

There has been a sincere effort from my side to keep this blog apolitical and hence, before you read any further, you would be well advised to take the following paragraphs as a comment on the social philosophies prevalent in our times and not link them to any political ideologies.... Thanks in anticipation

This weekend really began well for me with a good, albeit long, walk around the fairytale landscape of South Bombay. While my romance with the place might form part of some other post, I was at loss when I quizzed myself on one of the people, after whom a landmark was named in the area. Then interesting enough I encountered the same name in an article I read today. It was then settled that I had to find out more about Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee, and subsequently, Veer Sawarkar.
It was intriguing for me read about these people, who had sown the seeds of Hindu nationalism and in the context of the article I had read, I could understand why these people appear to be, or are made out to be, hardline fundamentalists. Of course, these leaders form convenient ideological benchmarks to classify people in to secular and communal citizens of India but viewed without the lens of political manipulations and hippocracy, they also represent a truth that we are unwilling to accept.
To say that India is a secular country, will be a gross contortion of ground realities. For a country that is the cradle of 2 major international religions and has a huge following of 2 others, which were brought to it by the rulers of the times, we can not be serious when we say that India doesn't identify itself with any religion or we, as Indians, are ambivalent to all religions. Given the fact that so much of religion is intertwined with our social fabric, it is impossible to keep religion out of daily life, the way we eat, the way we greet each other, the way we celebrate birth, enjoy weddings, mourn deaths or almost anything we think. This obviously goes on to affect our interactions with other members of our society, depending on whether their habits are same or different, or if their actions are guided by the same principles as ours. This eventually gives birth to affiliations to some groups while giving rise to discomfort about certain others.

Now that the whole "secularism" rhetoric is out of the picture, let me talk about the Hindu nation. Mind you, a Hindu nation is not a country of Hindus or one practicing Hinduism alone, it'll be completely unethical, and most importantly unHindu, to deny other sects a rightful place to prosper and rightfully propagate but what it also must, and does, emphasise is that India consists of 80.5% people following Hinduism as a religion and a recognition for this fact is long overdue. As promised at the beginning at the post, this is a completely unpolitical post but the social scenarios that have resulted because of the political hubris, has left many Hindus bruised and disaffected with the whole concept of Hindustan.
The concept of a Hindu nation doesn't mean painting the whole country saffron, as has been routinely promoted, nor is it acceptable. A Hindu nation just reinforces the belief of the majority of people of the country that they haven't been converted into eternal sacrificial lambs at the altar of socio-political appeasement in the country. Too long have we been hearing our "secular" social beacons talking of the rise of Hindu nationalism, much in the same vein as the rise of an epidemic and have been warned of religious genocides, that will ensue should the nationalism take hold.
I wish to ask these great luminaries, what good has been their pessimistic acknowledgement of Hindu nationalism? If nothing, it has deepened the gulf between the majority and the minorities and the resultant chasm has been taken up by pea-brained "idealogues", willing to exploit every situation for their petty gains. The Hindu nationalism plank has till now only been used to paint a bleak picture for the minorities and present a "you are atleast better off now than in a Hindu state" excuse to cover up the spineless administrative shortcomings. Any possible constructive implications of a Hindu state have never been examined neither advocated and when such voices do rise, they are invariably branded as marauding fascists, whose sole aim is to create another holocaust and "cleanse" the land.
My closing statement, if at all there is one to this debate, dwells on the "how" and not on "whether". It has been oft said that Hindutva is a way of life. Thats as good as teaching my mom to operate the Hubble telescope. Its time that the advocates of Hindutva operationalise it, put down every inch of its components in tangible form and freely express the intangible ones. Only by practicing it, can we propagate it and remove apprehensions regarding it, among other members of the society. Lets keep in mind that no model or philosophy of life can sustain itself, if its intolerant and rigid in the face of change and amalgamation, thus Hindutva will evolve, should evolve and accomodate other parallel philosophies.
The success of any great nation always hinges on its people... and people means ALL people, not majorities neither minorities alone!!!

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