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Hindu Rashtra-What It Means

Hindu Rashtra-What It Means

Sadhu Prof. V. Rangarajan
Founder Trustee, Bharatamata Gurukula Ashram & Yogi Ramsuratkumar
Indological Research Centre,
Sister Nivedita Academy, "Sri Bharati Mandir", Srinivasanagar,
Krishnarajapuram, Bangalore 560 036
(Phone: 091-80-5610935, 5613716; e-mail: sadhurangarajan@vsnl.com )

Ludwig Wittgenstein, the renowned Cambridge philosopher and exponent of Logical Positivism, has said that language is a game with words as tools like the pieces of chess and there are not any fixed, atomic and simple elements of reality corresponding to words. Perhaps this great European philosopher who lived in the first half of the last century had a deep foresight that in the twenty first century, the politicians in India will play their political games with words like 'Hindu Rashtra' and therefore there will be need for linguistic analysis to find the meaning. Recently, when the Deputy Prime Minister of India, Sri L.K. Advani, made a statement that India can never be a Hindu Rashtra, it shook all those who, in their youth, used to play the game of Kabadi with him in the RSS Shaka where through the songs, lectures and prayer they all nourished and nurtured in their hearts the ideal of Hindu Rashtra, calling themselves 'Hindu raashtraanga bhootaa'-the limbs of the great Hindu Nation. Ashok Singhal, the International Working President of VHP rightly remarked that Advani's statement smacked of pseudo-secularism and minority appeasement.

Immediately after the spectacular victory of the Hindutwa forces in the recent Gujarat elections, when Sri Pravin Togadia, the Secretary General of VHP, has expressed his hope that India could turn into a Hindu Rashtra in the next two years, the spokesperson of the BJP, Sri V.K. Malhotra, who has also been in his youth a Swayamsevak of RSS wearing khaki shorts and white shirt and singing the prayer addressed to Hindu Rashtra, has remarked that "We are not for a theocratic state and are not for any state religion".

It is time now for honest, sincere and devout Swayamsevaks of the Sangh Parivar either to throw out of the BJP, the party that they have built up with their sweat and blood, the pseudo-secularists who blacken the term 'Hindu Rashtra' attributing a distorted meaning to it like the Congressmen and other so called secularists in order to appease the so called minorities, or dump the very party into dustbin and build a new Hindurashtravadi political party like the erstwhile Jan Sangh to fulfil the rising aspirations of the awakened people of this nation.

The victory of Narendra Modi and his followers in the Gujarat elections is neither due to the secular credentials of the BJP and its leadership nor due to any significant achievements of the BJP Government in power. The inhuman atrocities committed against the innocent Hindus in the Godhra and Akshardham, the rising trend of Islamic fundamentalism in Kashmir and other parts of India, the challenge posed by Christian conversion activities in different states and the appeasement of minorities by the so called secular politicians and parties at the cost of the poor and downtrodden Hindu population who form the majority in the country have awakened not only the ordinary masses in Gujarat, but also the whole nation. The bastard English newspapers of India who have inherited the genes of the pre-Independence European colonialist newspapers tried to present a completely negative and distorted image of the Hindutwa forces in Gujarat and in other parts of the country, but the people of Gujarat have spat at their faces and given them a fitting reply by voting to power the Hindutwa forces.

While the common man in this country has understood what is Hindutwa and what is Hindu Rashtra, the Cambridge or Oxford returned elite journalists wielding whisky bottle in one hand and pen in the other and the so called secularist and minority appeasing politicians are still to understand what is meant by these terms. Some effort is to be made to make them understand, though their brains are made of hard shells to let in wisdom and truth.

First and foremost proposition that we make is that Hinduism or Hindutwa is not a religion like Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, Vaishravism, Shaivism and Shaktism. It is a dharma or way of life evolved by the great sages and seers of this glorious nation that is known as Hindustan or Bharatavarsha for the entire mankind for all times and it embraces politics, economics, culture, religion and every aspect of life. The Sanskrit word, Rashtra, is not a cultural term, but a political one meaning 'nation' or 'state'. The Barhaspatya Samhita says, "Himalayaad aarabhya yaavad indu sarovaraparyantam tam deva nirmitam desham hindusthaanam prachakshate"-that land created by God and stretching from the Himalayas up to the Indian Ocean is. It is also known as Bharatavarsha. The Vishnupurana says, "Uttaram yat samudrascha himaadreschaiva dakshinam, varsham tad bhaaratam naama bhaaratee yatra santatih"-that land which is to the north of the ocean and south of the Himalayas is Bharata and the people of the land are Bharatiyas. Chanakya, who was instrumental in the building up of the mighty Maurya Empire by Chandragupta Maurya, declared:"Prithivyaa samudra paryanataayaa eka raat"­-the entire land stretching up to the seas is one nation. The above statements do not refer to any cultural empire, but to one homogenous political entity called the Hindu Rashtra which has seen in ancient period emperors as the central figure of the nation and many kings and queens ruling various states or rajyas under the suzerainty of one emperor or other. So Bharatavarsha or which is also now known as India has been one nation or political entity right from the remote past when most of the people outside this land had not known what civilization was. Though, because of external aggressions by the Muslims and later by Europeans, the political unity of this country was disturbed in the mediaeval period, the Hindu Rashtra never became extinct. It does not require the recognition of Gandhi-Nehru-Jinnah type of polticians, not even that of the constitution of India or parliament of the modern times. This is Hindu Rashtra whether they accept it or not and the people of India want it to be so. The religions that have sprung up in this Hindu nation have come to be collectively known as Hindu religion, because they sprang up in this land and reflect the ethos of this glorious nation.

We need no fool to sermonize to us that India or Hinduthan or Hindu Rashtra can never be a 'theocratic state' like a 'Christian State' or an 'Islamic State'. We know well that India can never become a 'Bauddha State' or 'Vaishnava State' or 'Shaiva State', but it will remain Hindu Rashtra-the nation of the Hindus, the term Hindu meaning-"Aasindhu sindhu paryeta yasya bhaarata bhoomikaa, pitru bhoo punya bhooschaiva sa vai hinduriti smritah"-All those who adore and revere this Bharat as their holy land, as the land of their forefathers. When Pravin Todgadia remarked that 'Jehadis' in this land who are undermining the sovereignty and  integrity of this nation should be sentenced to death, the secularist politicians and newspapers distorted that statement and accused him of saying that 'those who do not accept Hindutwa must be sentenced to death'. Well, we would like to ask, for arguments sake, what is wrong even if he had spoken like that if what is meant by the word Hindutwa is loyalty to Motherland, unsullied patriotism and love towards this land as ones holy land and land of the forefathers. Should those who are not prepared to accept this and look to Pakistan, Arabastan, Italy and Rome as their holy land and land of adoration be given a permanent lease to occupy this country because once the Muslims and Europeans ruled over this nation? Those who cannot accept the truth that the blood that flows in their veins is that of their Hindu forefathers and that they are all Hindus whose first and foremost loyalty should be to this nation and not to the alien religions that they have embraced by force of circumstances, must leave this nation and go and stay in those lands where eternal life is assured to them. No one ever questions their right to believe in any god they like and to worship Him in any name and form because Hinduism allows it, but if they do not see divinity in this Motherland of ours and are not loyal to this nation, they have no right to stay on here and betray this nation to aliens. He is a Hindu for whom Mother and Motherland are sacred than Heaven-"Jananee janmabhoomischa swargaadapi gareeyasi". Those who enjoy the citizenship of this land and betray it to the enemies of this nation must be sentenced to death.

Now, to those who decry day in and day out that the ideal of Hindu Rashtra as a 'theocratic state', we want to point out what it means in the very words of those great leaders of the modern period who stood for the Hindu Nation. About Indian Nationalism, Sister Nivedita, the illustrious disciple of Swami Vivekananda and one who came from the distant land of Ireland and dedicated her all to Mother India, says: "I believe that the strength which spoke in the Vedas and Upanishads, in the making of religion and empires, in the learning of scholars and meditation of saints is born once more amongst us and its name today is Nationality". Swami Vivekananda himself proclaimed: "Each nation has its own part to play, and naturally, each nation has its own peculiarity and individuality with which it is born. Each represents, as it were, one peculiar note in the harmony of nations, and this is its very life, its vitality. In it is the backbone, the foundation, and the bedrock of the national life, and here in this blessed land (India) the foundation, the backbone, the life-centre is religion and religion alone." Sri Viswanath Prasad Verma, in his Modern Indian Political Thought says: "It will be a gross exaggeration to interpret Indian Nationalism and freedom movement as entirely being moulded and fashioned after western models and techniques. It will be unhistorical to minimize the role of the fire of patriotic sentiments released by Ramdas, Shivaji, Mahadaji Sindihia, Ranjit Singh and the leaders of the movement of 1857." Eulogizing Bankim Chandra as "one among the Rishis of the later age"-the seer of the mantra, 'Vande Mataram', which is creating a new India, Mahayogi Sri Aurobindo says: "It is not till the Motherland reveals herself to the eye of the mind as something more than a stretch of earth or a mass of individuals, it is not till she takes shape as a great Divine and Maternal Power in a form of beauty that can dominate the mind and seize the heart that these petty fears and hopes vanish in the all-embracing passion for the Mother and her service, and the patriotism that works miracles and saves a doomed nation is born. To some men it is given to have that vision and reveal it to others." Sri Aurobindo emphatically proclaimed the message that he received from Krishna Vasudeva when he was incarcerated in the Alipore Jail: "When you go forth, speak to your nation always this word, that it is for the Sanatan Dharma that they arise, it is for the world and not for themselves that they arise. I am giving them freedom for the service of the world. When therefore it is said that India shall rise, it is Sanatan Dharma that shall rise. When it is said that India shall be great, it is the Sanatan Dharma that shall be great. When it is said that India shall expand and extend herself, it is the Sanatan Dharma that shall expand and extend itself over the world. It is for the Dharma and by the Dharma that India exists." And unambiguously Sri Aurobindo states what he means by Sanatan: "It is Hindu religion only because the Hindu nation has kept it, because in this Peninsula it grew up in the seclusion of the sea and the Himalayas, because in this sacred and ancient land it was given as a charge to the Aryan race to preserve through ages."

Annie Besant, who came from the West and identified herself with Mother India, accepted the identity of Indian nationalism with the Sanatana Dharma. She says, "During the early life of a Nation, religion is an essential for the binding together of the individuals who make the nation. India was born, as it were, in the womb of Hinduism, and her body was for long shaped by that religion. Religion is a binding force, and India has had a longer binding together by religion than any other Nation in the world, as she is the oldest of the living Nations." The great poet-patriot of Tamilnadu, Mahakavi C.Subramania Bharati, presented a clear picture of Indian Nationalism: "is the land of the Hindus. This is the name of our homeland and her people. This vast concourse of people is also known as the 'Bharata Race'."

The most powerful proponent of the Hindutwa ideal in the modern period was undoubtedly Veer Vinayak Damodar Savarkar who also headed the Hindu Mahasabha which was considered as a staunch opponent not only by the Muslim League that caused the vivisection of the land, but also by the secular Congress which went out of the way to appease the minorities for political gains. In his presidential address given to the Hindu Mahasabha session at Ahmedabad in 1937, Savarkar declared: "To the Hindus independence of can only be worth having if that ensures their Hindutva-their religious, racial and cultural identity. We are not out to fight and die for a 'swarajya' which could only be had at the cost of our 'swatva' our Hindutva itself!" In the same address, Savarkar made it very clear that he did not mean by Swarajya a Hindu nation where only those who belong to the Hindu religion will be in power and those Indians who have faith in non-Hindu religions will have no rights. He said, "In spite of their overwhelming majority in India, in spite of the consciousness that it is they who have borne the brunt of the fight, struggled single-handed down to this day while the other non-Hindu sections and especially the Mohammedans who are nowhere to be found while the national struggle goes on and are everywhere to be found in the forefront at the time of reaping the fruits of the struggle-in spite of all this the Hindus are willing to form a common united Indian Nation and do not advance any special claims, privileges or rights reserved only for themselves over and above the non-Hindu section of ." He further stated emphatically: "Let the Indian state be purely Indian. Let it not recognize any invidious distinction whatsoever as regards franchise, public services, offices, taxation on the grounds of religion and race. Let no cognizance be taken whatsoever of man's being Hindu or Mohammedan, Christian or Jew. Let all citizens of that Indian state be treated according to their individual worth irrespective of their religious or racial percentage in general population." This exposition of Hindutwa by the great visionary of Hindu Rashtra is not anything like the hypocritical 'secularism' preached by the power-hungry politicians to appease the minorities and swallow their vote banks in elections.

Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, the Seer of the Hindu Nation and founder of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, deliberately avoided naming his organization Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh because in Bharatavarsha, Hinduism is not merely a religious concept, but is also the backbone of Bharatiya Nationalism. Therefore he wanted to emphasize that organizing the Hindus meant organizing the nation. Dr. Hedgewar was in the forefront of Indian Revolutionary Movement for the Motherland's emancipation. However, when he realized that a nation could not be built by a violent armed struggle in which a few precious patriotic men and women will sacrifice their precious lives while the majority of the people remain steeped in self-forgetfulness which cost them their freedom, he decided to organize and awaken the masses and with that end in view joined the Congress Movement. As the General Secretary of the Congress Movement in the Central Province, when he took a leading role in the national movement, he had a shocking experience-the Hindus joined the freedom struggle to liberate the Motherland from the British rule, whereas the Muslims joined the Congress to fight against the British because the latter were against the Caliph of Turkey who was considered to be the Head of Muslims all over the world. While the Hindus in the Congress wore the white Khadi cap as symbol of Indian nationalism, the Muslims wore only the Turkey cap manifesting their loyalty to the deposed Caliph. Dr. Hedgewar, with his deep foresight, realized that this lack of spirit of patriotism among the Muslims and their extra-territorial loyalty will definitely manifest in the form of a demand for the vivisection of the Motherland when the country attains independence. It was precisely for this reason that he decided to organize the Hindus who alone had their loyalty and intense love to the Motherland and for that purpose founded the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh to rouse the spirit of patriotism and national ideals among the Hindus.

That the RSS movement never wanted to crush the religious beliefs of the non-Hindus or deprive them of their due share in the nation building is crystal clear from the words of Sri Guruji Golwalkar, who succeeded Dr. Hedgewar as the Sarsanghchalak of RSS. He says, "We must revive once again the parakrama-vad. For that we should make it clear that the non-Hindu who lives here has a rashtra dharma (national responsibility), a samaja dharma (duty to society), a kula dharma (duty to ancestors), and only in his vyakti dharma (personal faith), he can choose any path which satisfies his spiritual urge. If, even after fulfilling all those various duties in social life, anybody says that he has studied Quran Sherif or the Bible and that the way of worship strikes a sympathetic chord in his heart, that he can pray better through that path of devotion, we have absolutely no objection. Thus he has his choice in a portion of his individual life. For the rest, he must be one with the national current. That is real assimilation."

The bandh organized by the Muslims in the Muslim majority state of Jammu and Kashmir condemning the death sentence awarded to the dreaded terrorists who, as agents of the ISI of Pakistan, attacked the Indian Parliament and tried to assassinate the top leaders of this nation is a clear indication as to how far the Muslims in our country have assimilated into our national mainstream and where their loyalty is. There are exceptions. Even in the BJP there are Muslim leaders who are loyal to the Motherland. However, exceptions do not make the rule. Unless the non-Hindu minorities see the writing on the wall and change their ways, their survival in this land is well neigh impossible. However, we do find some silver lining in the post-Godhra thinking of some of the enlightened Muslims like the renowned Muslim scholar, Dr. Rafiq Zakaria. He gives in his latest book, Communal Rage in Secular India, in the last chapter titled 'What should Muslims do?', some gems of well-meaning advice to the Muslim masses in India:

'Muslims must try and become an integral part of the mainstream... they must whole-heartedly co-operate in enriching composite nationalism which continues to be our pride... they must get out of their ghetto mentality, break the barriers of alienation and generate a harmonious environment.'

'Muslims continue to live in a make-believe world of their own. Their leaders waste their energies in playing games, whipping up emotions, and bringing more trouble to the ordinary Muslims.'

'Their self-serving leaders, with utter disregard to the aftermath of Partition, remained oblivious to their miserable decline and continued to behave with incredible arrogance, exhibiting a sense of false bravado by their loud utterances; they take out protest marches at the slightest pretext, hold demonstrations, shout slogans, demand justice and fair play but all this never gives any relief to the community... They fail to understand that by voicing meaningless grievances, asking for unrealistic rights, wailing, fretting and fuming, the leaders may gain some publicity but the community loses a great deal.'

'Instead of coming out openly against Pakistan and taking a strong stand  against the jihadis, these so-called guardians of Indian Muslims spend most of their time in running their own political shops to buttress their communal leadership.'

'Indian Muslims must now see the light of day and move in a different direction which will take them forward and not backward. They must discard their worn-out prejudices and outmoded habits and adjust themselves to the requirements of the changing times.'

'There must be a real awareness among Indian Muslims that they have to gird up their loins and prepare for reconciliation with Hindus on the basis that each respects the religious and cultural conventions, traditions and sentiments of the other.'

Let the so called minorities in the country hearken to the call given by this wise Muslim thinker and sincerely endeavour to merge in the mainstream of Indian Nationalism.

Vande Mataram! Bharat Mata ki Jai!

(Most of the quotations used in this article have been reproduced from a dissertation on Hindu Rashtra titled "Ideals of the Vedic Nation in the Modern Indian Awakening" by the author, submitted by him to the Madras University in 1979 in part fulfillment of M.A. Degree Examination in Philosophy in which he got a University First Rank. The dissertation is under print in the form of a book, "Hindu Rashtra-Vedic Ideals in Modern Awakening".)

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