In the past decade, Hindutva and Hindutvadis have come under a lot of fire. This write-up is an attempt to clear some of the fog on why it happens, and some remedial measures against it.
To begin with, in an Indian Supreme Court judgment delivered in 1995, it was ruled that “Ordinarily, Hindutva is understood as a way of life or a state of mind and is not to be equated with or understood as religious Hindu fundamentalism… it is a FALLACY AND ERROR OF LAW to proceed on the assumption… that the use of words Hindutva or Hinduism per se depicts an attitude hostile to all persons practicing any religion other than the Hindu religion…”
With this background, I want to make a few points clear:
1) It is well established that Hindutva is simply the Hindu-ness of a person, based on their cultural and traditional pathos of the subcontinent. Just as wet-ness cannot be separated from something that is wet, Hindutva cannot be separated from someone who is a Hindu.
2) ‘Hindutva’ has unfortunately been given a negative connotation, given the a) Malicious motivations of the detractors of the Hindu way of living from certain proselytizing faiths (we know who they are), the media, and the ruling political party, to undermine the Vedic tradition and associated Hindu culture, and b) The stupidity of a few angry men who CLAIM to represent our tradition, when they themselves know nothing about it. To the few uncouth individuals who believe they represent ‘Hindutva’; clean up your act. The biased media will take your immature actions as a catalyst, magnify it a 1000 times over, and broad-stroke every Hindutvadi (including myself) with the same inferior connotation they have attached to the term, in order to fulfill their vitriolic agenda.
3) If this has not been made clear already, I am 100% a Hindutvadi, and wear the label with dignity and honor. No, I do not use dirty language, I do not use cheap parlor tricks to get my point across. We need to actively tackle social issues and deal with them maturely, intelligently, and most of all, responsibly, as a Hindu ideally should.
4) Many carriers of news-media need to apologize for the unmitigated damage they have caused to the social psyche by feeding them rubbish about Hindutva, and for defaming the term. This apology must not come from coercion, but from an understanding of the fallacy that is being commited For violent protesters they may use any other term they wish, but equating saffron- the color and symbol of a venerable sanyAsi- with terrorism, and hindutva with fundamentalism is unforgivable and must be dealt with strict legal repercussions. I propose a strict law that prohibits the usage of these incorrect expressions, with consequences under the purview of libel and slander laws, in accordance to the aforementioned Supreme Court Judgment.
5) We must also be realistic. Such a law isn’t simply going to manifest into being by our mere wishing. Laws, ideally, are a reflection of public opinion. In order to begin the process for it to come to fruition, we first require to shun the improper usage of these words. Also, just as people became more vocal in time about not smoking in public places, and in time, these social apprehensions turned into laws prohibiting smoking in certain areas, or how words such as ‘retard’, ‘negro’ etc are reclaimed by those discriminated against, and cannot (as easily as before) be used as a form of insult without facing social/legal repercussions , in the same vein, I suggest the Hindutvadis (reminder: anyone who is a Hindu) to reclaim the ‘Hindutva’ title and make it their own, and vocally discourage others from mutilating it. For this, I behoove EVERY Hindu to step forward. if you come across someone who equates Hindutva/Saffron etc with terror, discourage it. Over time these ideas will germinate, take root, and we will have a very intelligent, informed, and self-correcting society that no longer tolerates these inaccurate notions. This is the need of the day; we may as well start now and create a positive impact in this regard.
By Prashant Parikh, a student of traditional Vedanta from the Arsha VidyA Gurukulam.
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