Rise of Modern Hindutva


More than seventy years have passed when the God-gifted state namely Pakistan had come into being. This country is, undoubtedly, a divine blessing for the Muslims of South Asia. To view this state as a heavenly gift does not mean that this Islamic state came into existence without the sacrifices of the Muslim masses living in the region. No, it is not the case. Rather we have achieved this country after the huge sacrifices of our forefathers. But at the same time we should realize that the unprecedented success in the face of Pakistanthat our elders have achieved was many times greater than the efforts made for it. In this sense we call Pakistan a God-gifted state.

On the occasion of National day of Pakistan, we, the ones who call themselves Pakistanis should be thankful to the Almighty Allah and the founding fathers that there is a place in the world which we can call home. There is a destination where we can always return. While we celebrate the modern political  genesis of the two nation theory, we should remember the backdrop which lead its foundation. In order to do so, jumping back in time.

From the ancient period, even before arrival of the Muslim conquistadors, India was never a single entity it was home to many sects, different cultural, racial and ethnic groups. Therefore after partition It was imagined that only “democracy ” with “secularism” could preserve this texture of such a society, or so it was thought.  Three salient features articulated in the Indian Constitution are—religious freedom, celebratory neutrality and reformative justice. As the Constitution is influenced by European antecedents, the conceptualization of “secularism” focuses on the relationship between state and religion (Panikkar 1999). Sadly it was not the case of actuality. The rise of Hindutava nationalism has left many minorities of India vulnerable to the majority’s mood swings.

Roots of Hindutava are deeper than one actually think, In midst of end  of the colonial rule across the world generally and specifically in south Asia, The political situation was in favorable to Hindu nationalists as in India, Hindus formed a majority, and violence had erupted at the time of partition which gave the Hindu nationalists an opportunity to blame Muslims. Albeit the circumstances were far from being congenial for democracy, India accepted “democracy”. With the acceptance of “secularism”  by the Indian State, adherents of Hindu nationalism were marginalized

After partition, the Indian state’s official commitment to “secularism” was seen as the “guarantor” of communal amity and national unity, themselves considered the prerequisites for pursuing the goals of democracy, prosperity, social justice and cohesion of successful modernization (Vanaik 1997). This choice of “secularism”  and “democracy” as guiding principles was influenced by the manner in which Indian society was historically supposed to be constituted. Despite all the fuss the darker side of hindu nationalism continues to wrap its web around the Indian society far quciker than any one could’ve imagined.

The ideology of modern Hindu nationalism was codified in the 1920s, with the most powerful consolidation attained with the establishment of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). By then the stereotypes of communal anxieties were so sediment that RSS could easily get-away with the reform (Sarkar 2001). RSS has been the most significant organizer and bearer of the Hindu Right, offshoot of which is  BJP.

The RSS was founded as an alternative to the anti-colonial struggle. From the beginning, it functioned on an anti-Muslim propaganda (Basu et al, 1993). Subsequently, the women’s wing, Rashtra Sevika Samiti, was established in 1936. Along with this, the qualitative leap to Hindu nationalism was provided by Savarkar, the former head of a terrorist group and the future President of the Hindu Mahasabha.

The mechanisms of Hindu nationalist identity-building was through the stigmatization and use of the concept of the ‘threatening others’. According to Savarkar, Hindutva rests on three pillars—geographical unity, racial features and a common culture (Savarkar 1969). He minimizes the role of the religious criteria. It can also be seen as an attempt to deal with the extreme differentiation within Hinduism.

Fast forward to present, we are witnessing a global phenomenon of the rise of right‐wing leaders who combine nationalist rhetoric with a claim to challenge the pernicious effects of neoliberalism. But, upon achieving power, they do not oppose the business elite, instead, while paying lip service to the victims of economic processes, they direct the blame for those structural problems upon the minorities and “Others” within the rightwing nationalist imagination. In the Indian context, this is typified by the rise of Narendra Modi.

The Modi‐led BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) and its coming to power in 2014 has similarities with Trump, and is also different from the earlier incarnations of the BJP. In the first part of this article, I explain the innovative nature of the specific Modi‐mix of Hindutva and Development, and outline the toxic impact his right‐wing populist government has had on a broad spectrum of global society and polity. However, in spite of the visible increase in real and symbolic violence across the world, people like Trump and Modi continue to remain popular and wield great influence. 

Hindutava in India is alive, well and progressing, existence of Pakistan is an Oasis for the Muslim minority of pre partition India who suffered by the hand of it the most. today on the occasion of 23rd March, One should grateful, appreciative and proud to call himself a Pakistani, the ultimate survivors of the wave of modern hindutava.

Ahsan Malik is an IT professional with a passionate & candid version of his own on national and international issues relating to Pakistan, he tweets @MohdAhsanMalik and can be reached at m.ahson.malik@gmail.com

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