Earlier this month, a faceless organization announced a global conference, synonymous with its agenda, ‘Dismantling Global Hindutva’. When I read what they’re all about & what this conference intends to do I wasn’t shocked, to say the least. Their exact words will make you giggle, if not laugh:
“This rise of militant Hindu groups in India and the corresponding escalation of violence against religious minorities and other marginalized communities are well documented, including by global media”.
The interesting part is breaking this dense narrative down.
Rise of militant Hindu groups – If at all one exists? Some politically & ideologically charged non-right groups often label India’s one of the oldest nationalist organizations, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as a militant group, the fact being, it is not. There are innumerable instances where RSS has contributed to humanitarian aid etc. The non-right groups furthermore have taken to describing assertive Hindus as Bhakts/Sanghis.
Escalation of violence against religious minorities –
Or religious majority? Starting with
- Kashmir Pandits’ genocide in 1990,
- Godhra train blast,
- Several Hindu girls being murdered, raped when they refuse to convert to Islam
- Mob lynching of two Hindu sadhus in Maharashtra,
- A deadly attack on another Hindu monk Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh
- Atrocities against minority Hindus in a Muslim majority Mewat district of Haryana,
- Destruction of nine temples in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore and other places.
I wonder if the so-called scholars, activists, and journalists have even a slight idea that the entire conference agenda reeks of Hinduphobia, or more apt a term would be – Hindumisia (Greek: misia – hatred). This is nothing less than an imbecile attempt of a smear campaign against one of the oldest civilizations of the world. By using terms like Brahmanical patriarchy, Hindu extremism, Saffron terror, and Savarnas, etc, these shallow-minded panelists prove themselves foolish time & again.
Brahmanism is a term coined by European Indologists in the 19th and early 20th centuries to characterize and define Hinduism as a religion founded by the Brahmin priestly class. While many religious scholars considered it to be a type of neo-colonialism by the mid-1980s, some people still use the word and its variations. Several academics persistently use the phrase without scrutiny, supporting a racist, anti-Semitic, Eurocentric construction of Hinduism and Hindus while denigrating Hindu understandings of their history, philosophy, and customs.
If one inspects then Hinduism is Hindutva. The only difference is, the former is in English, while the latter is in Sanskrit. The suffix ‘tva’ in the latter refers to essence, meaning essence of being a Hindu.
Another widely used concept by the left & liberals of India & abroad is the Model Minority. In a 1966 article titled “Success Story: Japanese-American Style”, sociologist William Petersen coined this term and frequently used it in reference to Asians.
In this context, practicing Hindus in India & abroad must have faced the brunt of it in various social, political, educational circles but couldn’t identify this concept. In many ways, the concept “model minority” can be Hinduphobic and divisive, emphasizing incorporation into the mainstream culture while dumping down significant distinctions well within the community. It is frequently applied to minimize the hardships that the Hindu minority population experiences by stressing its overall achievements. Numerous Hindus are negatively affected by the model minority stereotype, as they are under obligation to live up to high, often unrealistic, stereotypes associated with the phrase. In the same light, rather than other variables like aptitude, competence, or perseverance, it proposes a causal explanation for their successes. It also divides and hurts minorities by pitting them against one another.
The conference also claims to:
“There has also been some useful scholarship, journalism, and community-based activism on the links between Hindutva and racism and caste-ism.”
Activism is something when mentioned, always brings ‘Tukde Tukde Gang’ & ‘Azadi’ sloganeers to the forefront, & not Hindutvadis, mind you. Racism and Casteism remind one, of how these so-called intellectuals use ‘Savarna’ as a casteist slur against Hindus. Savarna is originally a term used for someone from the same group, i.e. one of the four varnas mentioned in Hindu dharma. Even so, these Hindumisia propagators will ascribe all bigotry, racial inequality, and academic, economic, and political negatives faced by members of minority populations to a blatant misrepresentation of Hinduism, which pretends that Hindu philosophies have influenced and religiously authorized bias based on a totalitarian, rigid pan-Indian power pyramid. Xenophobic, anti-Semitic, and Eurocentric assumptions about Hinduism and Hindus are at the basis of this peculiar use of the epithet.
One can feel free to draw parallels between India’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and the Western Universities supporting Hindumisia in their campuses through this conference. Abhinav Prakash, Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) Youth Wing National President’s 2017 interview will prove pivotal in this milieu. Abhinav, himself a Dalit & an ex-JNU student recalled his campus experiences:
“…But being at the heart of the citadel of the left-wing in JNU, I was also a witness to the decadence of left-wing politics, its shallowness and sheer intellectual bankruptcy, which revolved around caste and regional hegemony under the grab of ‘progressivism’. Their anarchist view of the society, hostility towards India and almost genocidal hatred towards Hinduism left me with no choice but to search for an alternative political force in the campus and ABVP is the only right-wing party, in fact the only true opposition in the campus…”
Here’s an excerpt from when Abhinav was asked about how his caste identity shaped his thoughts and politics,
“…The Dalit discourse was and continues to be heavily dominated by non-Dalits who define the popular perception of our collective aspirations. So it’s the ivory tower left-wing academia, or demagogues like Kancha Ilaiah or the likes of Arundhati Roy who have a defining word on what it means to be a Dalit or what do Dalits want! The reason it is so, is not because Dalits cannot represent themselves but about those who controls the institutions and public sphere….”
- Coming back to the title, how can one counter this hatred filled narrative? There’s only one answer to it. By embracing Hindutva; and by that I mean, an assertive Hindu, a modern Hindu. A Hindu who wouldn’t tolerate misinformation being spread about his/her faith. As a Hindu, one should at least be aware of what our sacred texts preach, so that these activists cannot and dare not spread hate, deception about Hindu dharma. Because, ‘Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitaha’ i.e. save your dharma & it’ll save you!
Im a M.A student at the Department of Geopolitics and International Relations at Manipal Academy of Higher Education. Her research interest lies in Islamist Terrorism, India’s Internal Security, and Civilizational Perspectives to IR.