:"For Veer Savarkar's book, see Hindutva (book)."Hindutva (Devanagari: हिन्दुत्व, "Hinduness", a word coined by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in his 1923 pamphlet entitled ' ) is the term used to describe movements advocating Hindu nationalism"'.

In India, an umbrella organization called the Sangh Parivar champions the concept of Hindutva. The sangh comprises organizations such as the RSS, Bharatiya Janata Party, Bajrang Dal, and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.

This ideology has existed since the early 20th century, forged by Veer Savarkar, but came to prominence in Indian politics in the late 1980s, when two events attracted a large number of mainstream Hindus to the movement. The first of these events was the Rajiv Gandhi government's use of its large Parliamentary Majority to overturn a Supreme Court verdict granting alimony to an old woman that had angered many Muslims (see the Shah Bano case). The second was the dispute over the 16th century Mughal Babri Mosque in Ayodhya — built by Babur after his first major victory in India. The Supreme Court of India refused to take up the case in the early 1990s, leading to a huge outcry. Tempers soon flared, and a huge number of nationalist Hindus from all parts of India razed the mosque in late 1992, causing nationwide communal riots. The razing of the mosque and subsequent conflict arguably lifted the BJP and Hindutva to international prominence.


According to Savarkar, Hindutva is meant to denote the Hindu characteristic, or Hinduness. In a judgment the Supreme Court of India ruled that "no precise meaning can be ascribed to the terms 'Hindu', 'Hindutva' and 'Hinduism'; and no meaning in the abstract can confine it to the narrow limits of religion alone, excluding the content of Indian culture and heritage." The Court also 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. A Hindu may embrace a non-Hindu religion without ceasing to be a Hindu and since the Hindu is disposed to think synthetically and to regard other forms of worship, strange gods and divergent doctrines as inadequate rather than wrong or objectionable, he tends to believe that the highest divine powers complement each other for the well-being of the world and mankind." [ [http://www.letindiadevelop.org/IndiaTribuneMarch72003.html Let India develop] FOI report supports IDRF activities; questions Sabrang/FOIL]

Hindutva is commonly identified with the guiding ideology of the Sangh Parivar, a family of Hindu Nationalist organizations, and of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in particular.In general, "Hindutvavaadis" (followers of Hindutva) believe that they represent the well-being of Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Ayyavazhi, Jainism and all other religions prominent in India.


Most nationalists are organized into political, cultural and social organizations. The first Hindutva organisation formed was the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, founded in 1925. A prominent Indian political party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is closely associated with a group of organisations that advocate Hindutva. They collectively refer to themselves as the "Sangh Parivar" or family of associations, and include the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Bajrang Dal and the Vishva Hindu Parishad. Other organisations include:
* Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh - Overseas branch of the RSS
* Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh - Worker's Union
* Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad - A Student's Union
* Bharatiya Kisan Sangh - A Farmers' organisation

The major political wing is the BJP which was in power in India's Central Government for six years from 1998 to 2004 and is now the main opposition party. It is also in power in the states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, and Uttaranchal. It is an alliance partner in the states of Orissa, Punjab, and Bihar.

Political parties pertaining to the Hindutva ideology are not limited to the Sangh Parivar.Examples of political parties independent from the Sangh's influence include Praful Goradia's Akhil Bharatiya Jana Sangh [ [http://in.news.yahoo.com/041021/43/2hfvw.html Jana Sangh promises to make India Hindu nation] ] and Uma Bharti's Bharatiya Janshakti Party. [ [http://www.rediff.com/news/2006/apr/30uma.htm Uma launches new party] ] The influence of these groups is relatively limited.

The controversial Maharashtrian political party, the Shiv Sena, converted its ideology to the Hindutva one in recent times. It has been very influential in the Indian state of Maharashtra. The party is not part of the Sangh Parivar but is associated with the Bharatiya Janata Party. Similar is the Shiromani Akali Dal, which is a Sikh religious party but maintains ties with Hindutva organizations, as they also represent Sikhism. [ [http://www.indianexpress.com/res/web/pIe/ie/daily/19990119/01951725.html SAD-BJP Alliance helped bridge Hindu Sikh gap] Indian Express]

Central concepts

* The Indian subcontinent (which includes the area south of the Himalaya and the Hindu Kush or Akhand Bharat ("undivided India", अखण्ड भारत) is the homeland of the Hindus.
* "Hindus" are those who consider India ("Bharat", भारत) to be their fatherland ("pitrubhumi", पितृभूमि) as well as their holyland ("punyabhumi", पुण्यभूमि) (definition as proposed by Savarkar).
* emphasizing historical oppression of Hindus by invading forces like the Muslims (see Muslim conquest of the Indian subcontinent) and the Christians (see Goa Inquisition) and the call to "reverse" the influence resulting from these intrusions.
* denunciation of British colonialism and Communism alike for a perceived weakening of Hindus.
* The irredentist call for the establishment of a "Hindu Rashtra" ("Hindu Nation", हिन्दू राष्ट्र) to "protect Hindus and revive Hindu culture"
* denunciation of the Indian government as too passive with regard to the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Hindus [See refs in Kashmiri Pandit] [see refs in Wandhama massacre] by Kashmiri Muslim separatists and advocates of Hindutva wish a harder stance in Jammu and Kashmir. [ [www.bbk.ac.uk/polsoc/staff/academic/rob-jenkins/wsj-india-main-article-jenkins Indian Summer looks set to become a long autumn] by Robert Jenkins]
* A ban on cow slaughter in India.


Hindu nationalists have the stated aim of uniting the Hindu society which is plagued by casteism, regionalism, and passive religion. They have a positive outlook towards the Dalit community, which they aim to bring to leadership positions in their organizations. [ [http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1797864.cms Organize under Dalit leadership: RSS] ] They believe that the way Muslims and Hindus have treated each other in the past is a "one-way compromise" and they intend on making society more balanced and fair towards the majority Hindu population. [ [www.bjp.org BJP Official Website] See philosophy] The BJP has also invited Muslims to be a part of this new society and work with the Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs for a better India. [ [http://www.bjp.org/philo.htm Bharatiya Janata Party Official Website] "Hindutva: The Great Nationalistic Ideology" ] Even more militant parties such as the Shiv Sena have invited Muslims to join and the party leader declared after the Babri Mosque incident,

"We must look after the Muslims and treat them as part of us. [http://www.rediff.com/news/1998/jan/21nandy.htm The Rediff Election Interview/Bal Thackeray] ,"Rediff.com"] "

Muslims and Christians who insist on conversion and deplore other practices are seen by some as foreign elements in the subcontinent, which is believed to "rightly belong" to Hindus who, nevertheless, "firmly support accepting" diverse practicesFact|date=March 2008.

Ruthven (2007:108) sees an element of religious fundamentalism in Swami Dayananda's "elevation of the Vedas to the sum of human knowledge, along with his myth of the Aryavartic kings", but identifies its consequences as nationalistic, since "Hindutva" secularizes Hinduism by sacralizing the nation". Mezentseva (1994), however, rejects any necessary connection being made between Dayananda and Hindu nationalism, demonstrating that his interpretation of 'Aryavarta' is not to be identified with the concept of the Indian nation as utilized by Hinduvta groups. [ [http://www.auditorium.ru/books/4228/summ.pdf "A World of Vedic Truths: The Life and Teaching of Swami Dayananda" O.V. Mezentseva, Soviet Institute of Philosophy (1994)] ]

Views on other faiths

The advocates of Hindutva often use the term pseudo-secularism to refer to laws which they believe are very favourable towards the Muslims and Christians. They point to the different standards for Hindus, Muslims and Christians. They oppose what they see as a 'separate-but-equal' system; some supporters of Hindutva see it as the Indian National Congress party's effort to woo the sizable minority vote bank at the expense of true equality. The subject of a Uniform Civil Code, which would remove special religion-based provisions for different religions (Hindus, Muslims, Christians, etc) from the Indian Constitution, is thus one of the main political planks of Hindutva. The Uniform Civil Code is opposed by Muslims, Christians and parties like the Indian National Congress and The Communist Party of India (Marxist).

Hindutva followers question differential laws towards Muslim and Christian institutions; and oppose partiality for marriages and divorces asking why in a secular democracy Muslim men are allowed to keep more than one wife, but Hindus or Christians are prosecuted for doing the same.

Christians are also given separate laws for divorce, which is more difficult for them than for Muslims. The passing of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 by Rajiv Gandhi government to dilute the secular judgment of Supreme Court under pressure from the conservative Muslims incensed some Hindus who became Hindutva supporters. The new act, in tune with the Shariat, denied even utterly destitute Muslim divorcees the right to alimony from their former husbands. [ [http://www.hinduonnet.com/2003/08/10/stories/2003081000221500.htm Shah Bano Case] ]

Followers feel that Hindutva speaks for freedom to practice diverse beliefs and customs. They also often feel that secular democracy implies equal laws for all religions, and want a Uniform Civil Code passed for the same reason.

One must also differentiate between the word "secularism" as used in the Western and Indian contexts. Secularism in the West implies "separation of church & state" whereas secularism in India means "equal respect for all religions".

Among the goals of the Hindutva organisations in modern India includes winning the struggles to reclaim Hindu architectures. The struggles have started since usurpation of their structures during the invasions by conquerors. These include demands to recover temples [ [http://hinduunity.org/aboutus.html About Hindu Unity] ] that have become disputed historical monuments.

The usurpation of Hindu architecture is still being continued by both the Muslims and Christians and encouraged by their leaders Fact|date=June 2008. When Pope John Paul II came to India, he called for an entire conversion of Asia in the lines of that carried out in Europe and Africa in the earlier millennia. [ [http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1058/is_32_116/ai_57893313 Pope stirs up India - Pope John Paul II calls for evangelization of Asia] ] . The destruction of the Mylapore Kapalishwar temple in Chennai and Vedhapurishvarar Temple in the city of Puducherry are some of the temples usurped by the then Christian rulers Fact|date=June 2008.

Hindutva groups are overwhelmingly supportive of the Jewish State of Israel, including Savarkar himself, who supported Israel during its formation. [ [http://web.archive.org/web/20060423090103/http://www.nhsf.org.uk/images/stories/HinduDharma/Interfaith/hinduzion.pdf Hindu-Zion] ] . The RSS is politically pro-Israel and actively praised the efforts of Ariel Sharon when he visited India. [ [http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl1722/17220140.htm The Hindu] ] [ [http://us.rediff.com/news/2003/sep/10sharon11.htm Rediff] ] R.S.S spokesperson Ram Madhav recently expressed support for Israel. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/3090570.stm Press spotlight on Sharon's India visit] ,"BBC"]

Views on Indian History

The ideological beginning of this line of political thought in modern India is the RSS. Its aim, according to its stated objectives is to instill national pride in every Indian. Its motto is 'Sangathit Hindu, Samartha Bharat' i.e. 'United Hindus, capable India'. The RSS is the largest voluntary organisation in the worldFact|date=April 2008. All of its gatherings are held on open grounds, where men, women and children of all ages gather in daily meetings. There are about 50000 such daily gatherings (called "shakha", i.e. branch) across the length and breadth of the country. It has widespread support among Indian Hindus. The "Vishwa Hindu Parishad" (VHP) was established to network with Hindus outside India. The Bajrang Dal [http://hinduunity.org/index.html] is the youth wing of the VHP.

The RSS are opposed to the theory of Indo-Aryan migration to India, a number believing in the alternative Out of India theory. While largely uncontroversial in academia, the "Aryan Invasion theory" debate in India, involving e.g. Sita Ram Goel, Romila Thapar, Irfan Habib and Arun Shourie, is also a matter of politics.

ymbolism of Historic Hindu figures

Because there were many fighters who stood up to outside aggression, Hindu nationalists use these fighters such as Ahilyabai Holkar, Prithviraj, and especially Shivaji Maharaj as defenders of India and Hinduism and further advocate that every Hindu should try to be like them. Some organizations such as the Shiv Sena have been named themselves after and been modeled after the ideology of these kings.

Criticism & allegations of fascism

The opponents of Hinduvta philosophy consider Hindutva ideology as a euphemistic effort to conceal communal beliefs and practices.

Many Indian Marxist sociologues have described the Hindutva movement as fascist in classical sense, in its ideology and class support specially targeting the concept of homogenised majority and cultural hegemony. [Fascism of our times [http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0970-0293%28199303%2F04%2921%3A3%2F4%3C69%3ATFOOT%3E2.0.CO%3B2-Y&size=LARGE&origin=JSTOR-enlargePage Prabhat Patnaik] ] The Hindutva movement on the other hand terms such description as coming from the far left. [eg. [http://www.proxsa.org/resources/ghadar/v1n2/priya.html Partha Banergee] ] [- Rajesh Tembarai Krishnamachari, South Asia Analysis Group] More moderate critics of Hindutva do not base their criticism on allegations of "fascism", but raise issues with regards to their sometimes-vacillating attitudes towards non-Hindus and secularism. The epithet of "fascism" is also used to evoke double standards against Hindus in political and academic discourse. The academia and polity have been accused of engaging in a form of anti-Hindu McCarthyism against Hindu political expression by leveling the accusation of "fascism" against anyone who expresses sympathy for Hindus. [ [http://www.infinityfoundation.com/mandala/s_es/s_es_rosse_puzzle.htm Puzzling Dimensions and Theoretical Knots in my Graduate School Research] , "Yvette Rosser"]

Marxist critics, [eg. [http://www.proxsa.org/resources/ghadar/v1n2/priya.html Partha Banergee] , Romila Thapar, Himani Bannerji, Prabhat Patnaik] have used the political epithets of "Indian fascism" and "Hindu fascism" to describe the ideology of the Sangh Parivar. For example, Marxist social scientist Prabhat Patnaik has written that the Hindutva movement as it has emerged is "classically fascist in class support, methods and programme" ["The Fascism of Our Times" "Social Scientist" VOl 21 No.3-4, 1993, p.69 [http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0970-0293(199303%2F04)21%3A3%2F4%3C69%3ATFOOT%3E2.0.CO%3B2-Y] ] Patniak bases this argument on the following "ingredients" of classical fascism present in Hindutva: the attempt to create a unified homogenous majority under the concept of 'the Hindus'; a sense of grievance against past injustice; a sense of cultural superiority; an interpretation of history according to this grievance and superiority; a rejection of rational arguments against this interpretation; and an appeal to the majority based on race and masculinity.

Views on Hindutva and fascism include those of the Christian convert to the RSS viewpoint, Anthony Elenjimittan, who based his views on RSS's symbolism of the Bhagva (the banner of lord Shiva), Dharma Chakra [the Wheel of Faith] and Satyameva Jayate [Truth alone triumphs] (one must note that these symbols are normative in Hinduism and bear no relation to Hindutva and the latter is the national motto of a secular democratic India).

The description of Hindutva as fascist has been condemned by pro-Hindutva authors such as Koenraad Elst who claim that the ideology of Hindutva meets none of the characteristics of fascist ideologies. Claims that Hindutva social service organisations such as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh are "fascist" have been disputed by academics such as Vincent Kundukulam. [ [http://world.christianpost.com/article/20031219/1016.htm Christian Post] ] [ [] ]

Academics Chetan Bhatt and Parita Mukta reject the identification of Hindutva with fascism, because of Hindutva's embrace of cultural rather than racial nationalism, because of its "distinctively Indian" character, and because of "the RSS’s disavowalof the seizure of state power in preference for long-term cultural labour in civil society". They instead describe Hindutva as a form of "revolutionary conservatism" or "ethnic absolutism". ["Ethnic and Racial Studies" Volume 23 Number 3 May 2000 pp. 407–441 ISSN 0141–9870 print/ISSN 1466–4356 online] .

Nobel Laureate V.S. Naipaul also rejects these allegations and views the rise of Hindutva as a welcome, broader civilizational resurgence of India. [Naipaul V.S. India, a million Mutinies now, Penguin 1992]


Further reading

* Andersen, Walter K., ‘Bharatiya Janata Party: Searching for the Hindu Nationalist Face’, In The New Politics of the Right: Neo–Populist Parties and Movements in Established Democracies, ed. Hans–Georg Betz and Stefan Immerfall (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998), pp. 219–232. (ISBN 0-312-21134-1 or ISBN 0-312-21338-7)
*Banerjee, Partha, In the Belly of the Beast: The Hindu Supremacist RSS and BJP of India (Delhi: Ajanta, 1998). (ISBN 81-202-0504-2) (ISBN not available)
*Bhatt Chetan, "Hindu Nationalism: Origins, Ideologies and Modern Myths", Berg Publishers (2001), ISBN 1859733484.
*Elst, Koenraad: "The Saffron Swastika. The Notion of "Hindu Fascism"." New Delhi: Voice of India, 2001, 2 Vols., ISBN 81-85990-69-7 [http://www.indiastar.com/rameshrao.html] , [http://www.asianetglobal.com:8080/asianet/2004/news/detailedstory.jsp?catId=10&newsId=2]
*Elst, Koenraad: "Decolonizing the Hindu Mind. Ideological Development of Hindu Revivalism." Rupa, Delhi 2001.
*Embree, Ainslie T. , ‘The Function of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh: To Define the Hindu Nation’, in Accounting for Fundamentalisms, The Fundamentalism Project 4, ed. Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1994), pp. 617–652. (ISBN 0-226-50885-4)
*Goel, Sita Ram: "Perversion of India's Political Parlance." Voice of India, Delhi 1984. [http://www.voi.org/books/pipp/index.html]
*Goel, Sita Ram (editor): "Time for Stock Taking. Whither Sangh Parivar?" 1996.
*Gold, Daniel, 'Organized Hinduisms: From Vedic Truths to Hindu Nation' in: "Fundamentalisms Observed" The Fundamentalism Project vol. 4, eds. M. E. Marty, R. S. Appleby, University Of Chicago Press (1994), ISBN 978-0226508788, pp. 531-593.
*Ruthven, Malise, "Fundamentalism: A Very Short Introduction", Oxford University Press, USA (2007), ISBN 978-0199212705.
*Savarkar, Vinayak Damodar: "Hindutva" Bharati Sahitya Sadan, Delhi 1989 (1923).
*Sharma, Jyotirmay, "Hindutva: Exploring the Idea of Hindu Nationalism", Penguin Global (2004), ISBN 0670049905.
*Shourie, Arun: "A Secular Agenda." HarperCollins ISBN 81-7223-258-6
*Smith, David James, Hinduism and Modernity, Blackwell Publishing ISBN 0-631-20862-3

ee also

*Uniform civil code
*Veer Savarkar
*Indian nationalism
*Hindu nationalism
*Hindu nationalist parties

External links

* [http://www.hinduunity.org/ Hindu Unity]
* [http://www.rss.org Official Site for Rashtriya Swamamsevak Sangh]
* [http://www.bjp.org Official Site for BJP]
* [http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/books/ayodhya/ch14.htm Article by Koenraad Elst on allegations of "Hindu fascism"] , [http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/articles/fascism.html More articles on "Hindu fascism"]
* [http://arunshourie.voiceofdharma.com/hindutva.htm Arun Shourie on Hindutva]
* [http://www.hindutva.org/ Current Global Politics and History from a Hindutva viewpoint]
* [http://sarvadharma.org/Museum/HinduHolocaustMuseum.htm Hindu Holocaust Museum]
* [http://www.bharatvani.org Bharatvani Institute]
* [http://www.hvk.org/Publications/veer.html Veer Savarkar vindicated]
* [http://www.hvk.org/Publications/hindutva.html Article on Hindutva by Ashok Chowgule]
* [http://www.hindurashtra.org Hindu Rashtra]
* [http://www.hindusarise.com read "Hindutva" by VD Savarkar at Hindus Arise.com]
* [http://hrw.org/reports/2002/india/India0402-06.htm#P903_172055 Report of Human Rights Watch, referring to the role of Hindutva organisations in the Gujarat Riots 2002]
* [http://www.vedanet.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=48&Itemid=2 The Myth of the Hindu Right]


* [http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=842219646390515565&q=kashmir+pandit Film on the plight of Kashmiri Pandits.]

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