July 08, 2007

Two questions

[Since this post seems to be generating some response, I'm moving it up on this page]

What is Hindutva? Why should it appeal to me?

These are serious, sincere questions.

If you're willing to answer them in that same spirit, please leave a comment. In your own words, explained as you understand it and you'd like others to understand it: simply, clearly. No links, no pointers to what someone else has said or written.

Any responses like that will be appreciated. (And will, in turn, get responses from me in the same spirit).

Abuse, if any, will be ignored.

Thank you.

39 comments:

FUTURAL said...

Nice to know somebody has guts to ask such a question in India.I appreciate your courage.Liked your blog very much,but i stumbled through it by luck.Why dont you list your blog on some good blog listing site like buzzerhut.com and i hope u will get millions of eyeballs. Keep Blogging.

Anonymous said...

Seeing as no one is even attempting this, let me have a go. I have a few friends who are sort of softHindutva types. From my discussions with them,

1. What is Hindutva?

Appears to be a based on a belief that all Indians are some kind of Hindu, probably because at some point of time their ancestors were Hindu?

Seems to imply that ppl who are still Hindus have a primary or superior claim to India "Bharat Varsha, etc." and Hinduism would have primacy over other belief systems.

Those that are no longer Hindu are "strayed from their true path" and some softHindutvans seem to be sincerely hurt when they criticize Hinduism or anything Hindu, this being their "mother belief" in some way.

2. Why should it appeal to Dilip D'Souza?

Especially at the harder end of this, and like most such ideologies of identity IMHO, the appeal of Hindutva to its followers maybe that it does not appeal to, probably even offends Dilip D'Souza. Even better if it offends a Karim Khan.

3. Does any part of hindutva appeal to me, Jai_choorakkot?

In its most benign form, as long as its not baiting minorities, it may have some utility as a "unifying force" among Hindus to the extent it may dilute caste identities.

If contained to this form, I would probably like it to be around as a pressure group that never comes to power.

It is frightening though to look at the track record: these 'unity shows' resulted so far in that barbaric Babri destruction Masjid and similar riots. Gujarat may be an extended riot in slow-mo.

If those are the costs, it is essential that Hindus dont unite.

regards,
Jai

K Rah said...

I am surprised that futural says that courage is required for answering the question. I think we need more of patience to answer this.
Frankly have none to answer a broad question of this nature.
I think you will get some response if you pasted the answer to the first one as given in wiki, the readers may respond to add or subtract to that.
There is no reason that it "should appeal to you, if you feel that way and if you think it is right, you can tread this line of thought.
As for myself it appeals to me, again it is my thinking, hard to justify like that.

Pareshaan said...

I am surprised that 3 comments are all that your questions elicited.
As I understand it Hindutva today stands for all that is divisive and parochial in the Hindu community. In the hands of demagogues it has in the past turned dangerous and retains that potential.
Today for any sane person it's a "bad" word - and "civilized" society would be most comfortable sweeping it away and not thinking or talking about it.
Yet that would be a mistake. There are reasons for the rise of Hindutva, and for it's largely unacknowledged appeal.
These reasons are well founded in feelings of insufficiency in the Hindu community.
The reason why it should appeal to anybody is because, though it may seem absolutely ridiculous right now, it does have the potential to spark a Hindu renaissance.
It may just lead to the formation of a well-educated Hindu community if it manages to get off the radical track and get on the rational one. The hope that Hindutva will become something more than rabble-rousing is the key to it's appeal.

Dilip D'Souza said...

k rah, thank you for your comment. But I'm genuinely puzzled by your suggestion that I post the wiki page here. I don't want links, nor encyclopedia entries. I'd just like to hear about it from someone to whom it means something. Like you. Would you please attempt an explanation of its appeal to you?

Thank you, Pareshaan and Jai, for attempting some answers. Pareshaan, it is precisely because I don't want to -- and I don't want my country to -- make that mistake you allude to that I put up this post.

Palahalli said...

Dilip,

I have read your columns earlier and I know that you are an opponent of those that profess Hindutva.

I think you have an opinion about it already.

It is possible...and in my opinion, it is certainly true...that there exists confusion about what constitutes or is, Hindutva, in the minds of its professed votaries themselves.

It is indeed difficult to reconcile Savarkar with the RSS.

Broadly, I feel that a truthful acceptance and evaluation of our troubled history and an appreciation of this nation's purpose and place in the world..will get you communicating with a Hindutva votary.

That is the most important reason why the idea must appeal to you. Together...you might discover what Hindutva actually means and what place will ALL of this country's people have in such a polity.

Today, that dialogue exists in parts. Otherwise...it is outright abuse on both sides. BLACK AND WHITE is the name of the game.

Regards,

Dilip D'Souza said...

Palahalli, thank you for your comment. Of course I have an opinion about it. But I am genuinely curious about what Hindutva means to people who believe in it. I would like to hear about it from them. I promise to listen and understand to the best of my ability.

I am simply weary of what you call the "outright abuse" and the "black and white" from both sides. Instead, I'm trying to understand. Just as you suggest, I'm also searching for "a truthful acceptance and evaluation of our troubled history".

thank you again.

Palahalli said...

Thank you Dilip, for your response.

If my understanding about Hindutva and its votaries are/is correct, you will mostly get diverse opinion but centering on "historical view" and "Nationalism". On the rest, ideas will get dispersed and varied.

I linked to you blog via Sandeep's blog. The general thinking there is that your intention on the queries are not sincere. That you carry baggage. I do not share that view.

I believe that both Sandeep and you, Sir, are popular bloggers and lots of people read and respond to your thoughts. Is there scope to invite participation so that self confessed Hindutva votaries might contribute and make the discussion initiated by you, more fruitful?

I myself may not be that useful because my views on Hindutva/votaries are known.

Is there a possibility that such a dialogue might ensue?

Regards,

Dilip D'Souza said...

Palahalli, this post is the invitation you are speaking of. I want discussion, I want it to be fruitful. With some others here in Bom, I've been trying this face-to-face too: to that end we've met and have had reasonable dialogues with several BJP/RSS people.

Once more, I really would like to hear from people who believe in it just what Hindutva means to them. Simple, clear language, and not telling me to read somebody else.

If this is the same Sandeep, I don't read that blog, unfortunately! But thanks for visiting and if you have any more thoughts, I'd like to hear them as always.

Palahalli said...

Dilip,

I was referring to this blog. http://www.sandeepweb.com/2007/07/02/two-questions-answered/#comment-184332

In case you haven�t or do not visit it...may I request you to do the same? Your perspective is required and important.

I think I have decided to move your dialogue forward. Please allow me to carry your link to Sandeep and his blog as an invitation to this discussion.

I am hopeful that it will bear fruit....or at least be a decent beginning.

Warm Regards,

Dilip D'Souza said...

Palahalli, the invitation in this post is directed at anyone who would care to answer. You're welcome to link to this blog anywhere you like, and invite anyone you want to this discussion. (You don't at all need to say "please allow me"!) I appreciate your efforts to take this forward.

Anonymous said...

1. "...a truthful acceptance and evaluation of our troubled history ..."

2."india's place in the world"

These points resonated with me, since they recurred in my discussions with my friends.

I have found (1) to be a code phrase for violence by Muslim rulers / Muslim invaders on Hindu populations, forcible conversions etc.

I myself have been occasionally perturbed by the way some "ultra-seculars" would rather cover / ignore this, but I think:

a. Its better that way looking at the ease with which riots can be manufactured.

b. Why does this stop with M. on H. violence, what abt all the wars waged btwn H. kings, and oppression by H. rulers or groups?

c. It seems illogical to me that forced conversions can hold- their desire for their original faith would strengthen and unless the converted were watched over night and day, they would reconvert first chance they get.... IMO.

Point (2) in my discussions seems to be based on the idea that we ( = India, there being no distinction in Hindutva btwn Hindu and India) are owed some exalted place in the world based on some ancient glory of our culture/ society/teachings etc.

It runs parallel to what I found abt Chinese culture in Taiwan and I dare say a strain of this exists in most places. Local versions of this supremacy drive run in most states of India based on the language /culture.

regards,
Jai

Anonymous said...

ok, dd, i'll bite. allow me to remain anonymous for now, but know that i am one of your regular commenters as well as on sandeepweb.

to me, hindutva is a relatively recent political construct. it appeals to me because it is an end to the hypocrisy of socialism/congress. it also appeals to me because i see in it a hope for justice (for ALL) and living in this country without feeling second-rate. i have nothing against muslims and christians, and i mean justice for them too, just as for me.

i don't feel that other political philosophies we have had have been able to give us this, and this is why hindutva appeals to me.

(where i have had a problem with its political exponents is in the destruction of the mosque, and the roits in mumbai and gujarat post godhra. these to me gave a bad name to all that i expect from hindutva; in fact, none of it is hindutva).

at its best, and i believe there will be a time when that best will emerge, hindutva will be a way to live for all indians, founded on justice and true equality. i wait for that time.

that's all for now. i hope this generates some discussion, if so i will be back.

Gaurav said...

Since Hinduism doesnt follow tenets of one central book as absolute, there is no reference point for it. Each one has a different interpretation. If you believe in Savarkar's Hindutva, the cow is just an animal. Yet BJP governments fall over themselves banning cow slaughter. If you believe in Golwalkar's Hindutva, then caste system has to be respected and upheld. But the BJP and even the RSS say they are opposed to the caste system. Similarly take up the ideas of Keshav Hedgewar, Aurobindo, Deendayal Upadhyay, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee et al, and observe the contradictions between themselves, and furthermore contradictions with the current purveyors of Hindutva.

The truth is, there is no central, datum level definition of Hindutva. Each one has his one. For some, the "saraswati civilization theory" has to be propounded and aryan invasion theory has to be opposed. Others couldn't care less. Some believe Hinduism should be the "official religion" of India, that we should be declared a hindu rashtra. Others just want a uniform civil code, and want the minority-pandering stopped. Some are obsessed with the idea "mandir wahi banayenge". Others are sick of Ayodhya.

I have grown up a Maharashtrian Brahmin, surrounded by Maharashtrian Brahmins in Pune and have come across all sorts of Hindutva. One common thread I see is a negative emotion towards Musims and Christians which ranges from mild distrust to deep hatred.

By the way, I find it hilarious whenever some right-wing bloggers use "atheist" as a slur. They would be well advised to read up on the religious beliefs of the man who coined the word "hindutva". Read up about the intense rivalry in 30s, 40s and 50s between the RSS and Hindu Mahasabha on this very issue.

Anonymous said...

Hope you are still reading this... for I have tried...

Hinduism is the oldest relegion and culture of my land(the land of Baharat). It is also the form in which I realize god and experience my spiritual self.Hindutva is the expression of all the good that has come from my ancient culture. On a personal level it is also how my god speaks through me. It is my pursuit to better understand the wisdom of ancestors and bring order and beauty to present life.

It is to me a very individual concept and not to be sought in collectives. Especially not in the perverse orgies of some self proclaimed hindu collectives. Hindutva is expressed today by simple actions of many a nameless, selfless individuals.. be it a wife who brings peace and happiness to her home, the teacher who enlightens the spark of possibility in his pupil, or the administrator who takes several transfers as he fights his way through babudom and curruption for the accomplishing the simple goal of completing his job

Why should it appeal to you?

Why shouldnt it? You and I love this same piece of land and share the same history. We both share a vision where our land is prosperous honest and civil. You will find yourself less alone, if you found in me your brother/sister a kindred spirit.

-RU

Dilip D'Souza said...

Thank you Anon 203, RU and Gaurav. Because of the rain I have only limited access to the web, but I'm putting together a reply and will post it soon, or at least when I can upload it from my computer!

Dilip D'Souza said...

Anonymous 203, thank you for your succinct statement. You too, RU.

Actually I would agree with a lot of what you both say -- the need to find an end to hypocrisy, justice for all, expression of all the good, etc. To me, what you describe sounds a lot like the lives that so many Hindus I know lead: thoughtful, wise, strong, genuinely caring about others; keenly aware of the injustices and cruelties of the past, but don't believe that those need to be set right by tearing down a mosque or harbouring prejudices; and finally, firmly Hindu in every respect.

RU, I especially empathize with "simple actions of many a nameless, selfless individuals.. be it a wife who brings peace and happiness to her home, the teacher who enlightens the spark of possibility in his pupil, or the administrator who takes several transfers as he fights his way through babudom and curruption for the accomplishing the simple goal of completing his job". And in that respect, I certainly find in you a kindred spirit.

If that's Hindutva, and to me it seems like it's what you believe Hindutva is and will turn out to be, I welcome it. Openly.

But ... there has to be a but. That's the kinds of things Gaurav write about: the people who only give us the "mandir vahin banayenge" stuff, the mistrust towards other religions, the rioting with no justice ... for so many years, this is what is peddled as Hindutva. Makes little sense to me. It is so refreshing, and encouraging, to read what you guys have said here instead.

Struggling to get this out before I lose this temporary connection ... more later.

barbarindian said...

Let me respond to the several exhortations of a "dialog".

As someone else pointed out, the conditions you impose make it almost impossible to answer these questions. No linking - I can understand but our worldview is based on earlier references to what someone else has said or written, unless of course you are implying that there should be some divine or spiritual communication, like some of our leaders experience. Even then it would be the words of a ghost.

Anyway.

Hindutva as I understand it, is a quasi-religious political movement. I would like this movement to go away when the time comes. In the current political backdrop, this is a necessary movement which can help achieve two objectives:

(a) Build trust between religious leaders and the state. The pandering of special interest groups can only stop when all groups realize that there are no more gains to be made.

(b) Fight the leftist and communist forces which I think are the greatest evils our country faces today.

I do not want to sound presumptuous but it appears that you:
(a) have great knowledge about Hindutva
(b) you actually believe that there is at least one strain of Hindutva that can be beneficial.

I will not answer your second question because there can be only two reasons to answer it:
1. I am in a proselityzing mode, i.e. I want to convince others that they should get appealed by Hindutva.
2. I t believe in making choices for others, which I most decidedly don't.

Hope that helps.

Anonymous said...

Dilip,

Though your past leaves me highly skeptical about your claimed sincerity I will still try. Certainly I consider myself a votary of Hindutva. This is so because you are trying what I have asked myself very often, which is- why do the socialists/secularists who always pay lip-service to understanding the root cause fail to advise or suggest the same about Hindutva-vadis?

In most cases I do believe that Hindutvavadi is deployed as a pejorative for a believing Hindu(may or may not be practicing, but believing nonetheless).

e.g.
1. Have you ever interacted with a muslim/christian?(replace it with Hindu)

2. Let's not stereotype M/C
(Hinduvadi out to riot, mandir wahi banayenge, spread hatred of communities etc.)

3. They are just like us(including the pakis but never said with regard to a Hindutvavadi/Parivari etc).

So, whatever your intentions I will try, so far as I feel that you're staying sincere in word and spirit. I would also like to know if your side asks similar questions about Hindutva-vadis when talking among like-minded groups, which you certainly have access to.

Anyway, to your questions.

1. Hindutva?

Well, Hindutva, to me, is the essential construct that identifies with the traditional, yet evolving, cultural and social ethos of my country and strives to further it through the only way it can i.e. pursuit of progress and well-being of those who inherit it.

Hindutva provides the basis to evolve any working framework towards successful and continual achievement of this purpose by addressing the infirmities(casteism is a major one), existant and the future ones.


2. Why should it matter to D?

It should matter to anyone who wishes progress and prosperity for India because you cannot wish away Hindutva, since you cannot wish away the identity of Hinduness among Indians. Besides, it makes sense to try to work with such a large group of committed people rather than hating them or dehumanize them. Which is possible only if you understand them.

----------
About riots above: I believe they will happen irrespective of Hindutvavadis e.g. in Parisian suburbs there probably are none of them. It is localized balance of power politics mostly. Public distrust in the ability of state to guarantee security will inevitably lead to the backlash as witnessed post-Godhra.

Anonymous said...

1. I would like to thank the other commenters here for their views on Hindutva but I couldnt distinguish some, even many facets from Hinduism or even humanity.

2. Re."... keenly aware of the injustices and cruelties of the past, but don't \SNIP\ harbouring prejudices ..."

This could be a difficult do. Dilip, I got swayed a little myself some of the friends had lots of data points about many obscure temples/ otherwise unknown incidents.

Eg. I was livid when one guy told me that a Shivling at XYZ in N century was cut and placed into the steps of a mosque so that everybody would tromp on it as they entered.

They even had some stuff that could amount to evidence. I didnt probe it since it looked like I would 'lose' and get offset further. It seemed unlikely that all such incidents are made up.

I only re-balanced by thinking abt what they were trying to achieve by this, and thinking of similar stories of oppression /violence that must be doing the rounds in M. circles.

No offence to anybody, but I believe that a keen sense of past injustice will necessarily contribute to some present prejudice, or one of the two has to be insincere in some degree.

regards,
Jai

Anonymous said...

Dcubed: all I can say is, we Hindutva guys have no use for your types. You are a crude and vulgar type who is only interested in tarnishing the name of Hinduism. You and your Mussalman brethren - ha ha - should leave this country and go where you yearn to be, Paki-land or somewhere else! And take with you these "i have nothing against Muslims and Christians" and "justice and equality" guys. We've had enough of them and their code-words for anti-Hinduness. The real Hindutva of Savarkar will deposit these weaklings on a rubbish-heap.

Palahalli said...

Anonymous (above) - What is this "real" Hindutva of Savarkar? Does that mean the Hindutva of Hedgewar or even Golwalkar was false?

May I request you to define Hindutva?

Regards,

Dilip D'Souza said...

the conditions you impose make it almost impossible to answer these questions. No linking ... [etc]

What conditions are those? All I'd like is for any respondents here to tell me in their own words what the term means to them. Why is that "almost impossible"? After all, if someone asks me what being agnostic means to me, I can try (and have tried) explaining in my own words.

Nevertheless, thank you for your explanation. It still leaves me somewhat in the dark though: you have told me it is a "quasi-religious political movement", and you offer two objectives of Hindutva. But what does it mean every day?

Fight the leftist and communist forces which I think are the greatest evils our country faces today.

Fair enough. We all have to fight the evils we see.

Anonymous 859: your past leaves me highly skeptical about your claimed sincerity.

I can't change that, but allow me to say this much: this is not the first time I've made some kind of effort to understand Hindutva. I've tried in various ways for at least ten years. In the past I've had reactions ranging from condescension (which is really the reason I said "no links") to hostility to lies to abuse. Ideology based on those features is no ideology that interests me.

This is, however, the first time that I've had responses such as the ones on this page from people who believe in it (i.e. RU, Anonymous 203, Barbarindian and you). Meaning calm, firm, polite and genuine. That's why I used the word "refreshing" above.

why do the socialists/secularists who always pay lip-service to understanding the root cause fail to advise or suggest the same about Hindutva-vadis?

I have no intention of speaking for "socialists/secularists", whoever they are, but I can speak for myself: I have always wanted to and tried to understand root causes. No lip-service, but truly meant. This is one more effort to simply understand.

I would also like to know if your side asks similar questions about Hindutva-vadis when talking among like-minded groups.

I'm not sure what you mean by "my side". But in groups I meet with, the answer is yes. This is what I alluded to when I said above: we've met and have had reasonable dialogues with several BJP/RSS people.

Your answer to my first question, again, makes perfect sense to me. Phrased that way, I have no argument -- as I did not with RU and Anon 203 above. I want an understanding of our social and cultural ethos too, a recognition of what you call "infirmities", and a pursuit of progress and well-being that is based in all that. (The only thing I might explicitly add is that we need never hesitate to absorb good ideas from other ethoses too).

It's true, I cannot wish away Hindutva, but surely that alone is no reason for it to appeal to me. After all, I have not been able to wish away religion, or the communism they practiced in the Soviet Union, or the Nazis in Germany, or terrorism: yet none of those things appeal to me. I'm looking for someone like you to offer me a positive reason that Hindutva will seem attractive to me. In truth, you have (as have RU etc above), by your answers to question #1. If that's Hindutva, long may it bloom.

The people I have no time for -- call it dehumanizing if you like -- are those who kill innocents and who justify or rationalize such killing. Whatever their religion or ideology or political persuasion.

Finally: Public distrust in the ability of state to guarantee security will inevitably lead to the backlash as witnessed post-Godhra.

Maybe. But let's be clear: that cannot excuse riots, just as other explanations cannot excuse terrorist bomb (or whatever) attacks. Riots must be stopped and punished, exactly as severely as other crimes (like bomb blasts) are. A state that cannot do that fails us all.

Jai: a keen sense of past injustice will necessarily contribute to some present prejudice, or one of the two has to be insincere in some degree.

Not at all. For one thing, I said the people I know "don't believe that [the injustice of the past] need to be set right by ... harbouring prejudices." I think that we all have prejudices, many irrational. Yet when we think that's how we redress some crime from the distant past, that's when I'm lost. Because that tends to justify great crimes.

For another, plenty of people are able to dissociate injustices of the past from the situation today. The Catholic church did horrible things in the past; Germans and Russians did horrible things in the past ... etc. Yet what should that taint modern Catholics, Germans or Russians?

Palahalli said...

Dilip,

If I may relay a Hindutva concern with regards to historical "events", it would be that Muslims do not really see...say, Aurangzeb, as an evil tyrant. (If true)They see him more as a hero of Islam. In fact, the recent "book" controversy in Karnataka wrt "Aavarana" by S.L. Bhyrappa, revolves around the same theme. - "How do we or rather Muslims, perceive events that have affected "Hindus" badly?"

When it comes to these, I feel we can afford to be sensitive to fellow feeling.

What do you think?

Regards,

Anonymous said...

Dilip,

I would agree with you if the keen sense of injustice is bottled within the boundaries specified by you but I think its humanly unlikely.

It would more likely lead to:
- feeling of victimhood
- prejudiced behaviour against community M. of today
- separation (living in communal lines, non-communication, non-socialization)
- propagation of this keen sense of injustice among others of 'your kind' and to your offspring
- expectation of apology/ redressal from today's M. community
- 'retribution' when some M. interests are hurt in some way, not even necessarily rioting.

They'd be the mass at the bottom of an iceberg the tip of which consists of the Bajrang/ VHP goons. We only see the top 10% of the iceberg, the rest of it is there though.

And I think similar iceberg explanations can be offered for community M. also.

A dialogue between two sections of ppl who are both at ~20-30% onto their resp. icebergs (most middle class Indians are about here I think) can be MORE harmful, strengthening their inbuilt prejudices.

Sorry for the gloomy view. Hope I am wrong. Bye for this thread.

regards,
Jai

barbarindian said...

But what does it mean every day?

You have to set some rules around this game pal. You can't keep changing the question.

Anonymous said...

Re. the shivling example

This thread prodded me to google it and this is not so obscure at all its abt Ghazni and Somnath. The actual step-cutting is unclear looks very illogical and probably exaggerated.

Reading the wiki page on Ghazni was interesting, it clearly stated that Ghazni was attacked first by Jayapala abt 3 times, the last by a large confederation of Rajput kings. Ghazni's expeditions to India were probably revenge- at least initially and then on as a looter.

However, one of the first few thoughts that came to me, from this discussion and wiki reading on Ghazni/ Gandhara was very contemporary:

- Jaswant Singh flying to Kandahar in abject surrender, releasing convicted militants all of whom returned the favour by renewing their terrorist activity.

This kind of century-spanning hyperlinks may come easily to many of us and the hindutva narrative will provide ready 'context'.

I think Catholic church /Germany dont have ongoing violent conflicts of this kind right now. Russia has the Chechnya issue and the links to previous massacres under Stalin ARE being drawn.

Really final comment :-) and sorry for the Ghazni detour.

regards,
Jai
PS- good thread. made me realize i am probably at ~20% on the hindutva iceberg myself- at least sometimes.

Anonymous said...

Dilip,

"In the past I've had reactions ranging from condescension (which is really the reason I said "no links") to hostility to lies to abuse."

This seems to be a shared experience. I have faced similar reaction, in person and online. The rush to silence dissenting voices is quite pervasive in general Indian discourse. The process is amplified if one is caught up with a hostile group. It is understandable if it were so only online or in personal exchanges, but even the mainstream media quite liberally resorts to such diatribes and absolute lies.

"I have no intention of speaking for "socialists/secularists", whoever they are, but I can speak for myself:"

I expect nothing more- it was my reading from your posts that your stances are usually, broadly identified as, socialist and secularist, and don't imply that you belong to that club or group as such. I also assume that I am considered speaking for myself, as an ordinary Hindutva supporter.


"Maybe. But let's be clear: that cannot excuse riots, just as other explanations cannot excuse terrorist bomb (or whatever) attacks. Riots must be stopped and punished, exactly as severely as other crimes (like bomb blasts) are. A state that cannot do that fails us all."

I consider riots as inevitabile. Its a symptom of state's failure and the inability of public intellectuals to honestly articulate people's problems. Punishing rioters is difficult and so is providing justice to those who are victims, which is why riots happen, as I understand. The impatience displayed in conceiving peace by ignoring unsavory facts is the root cause of the intolerance that ultimately leads to riots.

Shuvro Aikath said...

>>You have to set some rules around this game pal. You can't keep changing the question.

Translation: "I have no answer."

Dilip D'Souza said...

Palahalli: of course we should be sensitive to fellow feeling. In particular reference to Aurangzeb, I once was astounded to find some sanity about him in ... Pakistan. Here are three paras from an article I wrote at that time:

---

"Is it or is it not true that Aurangzeb Alamgir destroyed Hindu temples, enforced a harsh version of the Islamic law of one particular school (the Hanafi), dispossessed and incarcerated his father, murdered his brothers...? In what possible way was he tolerant, large-hearted and accommodating?"

Words from someone in the Sangh Parivar, perhaps?

No, this quote is from a book I bought in Lahore by Professor Khursheed Kamal Aziz, a reputed Pakistani historian. The book, "The Murder of
History", is a detailed critique of 66 history textbooks used in Pakistan. It corrects factual mistakes by the score; more important, it also corrects distortions of history.

In the case above, Aziz refers to a passage in another book I bought there, "History of Pakistan", by a Professor Rafiullah Shehab. Shehab writes: "... writers have tried to paint [Aurangzeb] as a religious zealot, which he was not ... Even his enemies admit that he was tolerant, large hearted and accommodating."

Besides this whitewash job on Aurangzeb, Shehab's book is full of innumerable other distortions, half-truths and lies, besides spelling errors and wildly wrong dates. All of which make you wonder what it is that qualifies Shehab as a Professor, and of history at that.

---

I'm on an unreliable slow dialup, so I will end this here just to get it up before I am disconnected. More soon.

Ot said...

DD, or as I should probably say, you are Palahalli and Aikath (As Is Known etc) rolled in one:

Let me repeat my question: Is it your congenital disposition to be attracted by the hate that communism spreads?

We hindutvawadis don't have to answer your questions, OK? For far too long Indian English Print media has been too willing to criticize and throw muck at Hindu traditions, while failing to address many shortcomings in islam and christianity and respective communities. Now we are hitting back at you by throwing muck too. It's what you deserve. That's Hindutva, OK? Don't like it, then leave.

And I agree with the anonymous above, please take with you the guys who talk about "equality" and "nothing against Muslims and Christians", or even "revival of the rich spiritual tradition of India sans numerous evils". You guys have raped my country, we've had enuf.

daze said...

Man.
I had to think about this one for a while. I havent read all the comments posted in the interim so maybe I'm repeating something already expressed. And I'm probably commenting past the use-by date of this post anyway... but regardless...

What is Hindutva?
Hindutva is a specific quality of (wo)man. A quality that enables him/her to accept diverse means (and paths) toward ultimate realization or salvation.
I guess also, that this means that the Hindu (someone who exhibits Hindutva) understands and is able to accept that different people may hold differring and dynamic "truths", and all be right at the same time.

Why should it appeal to you?
If you possess or develop Hindutva, you can accept differing and apparently conflicting ideologies, without it tearing you into many parts from within. If that's not a way to internal peace, what is?

Anonymous said...

Hindutva means different things to differnt people, just like "being a Hindu" means so many different things. To me, the defining image of Hindutva is a poster I saw in early 90s which said "garv se kaho hum hindu hain"(translation "be proud to be called a hindu"). The fact that this particular statement, merely exhorting people to be proud of their religious and cultural heritage, was subsequently quoted many a times in the "mainstream press" as an evidence of militant hinduism (and hence dangerous) has further cemented my belief that hindus need to be vocal and put their viewpoint in a firm manner.

That some people have crossed the line and caused much hardship to the society is unfortunate and deplorable. I strongly believe however that there is still ample space to make the voices heard in a peaceful manner.

Whether this should matter to Dilip or not is a choice he has to make after he thinks he has understood what it means/represents.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Anon 241am: I also assume that I am considered speaking for myself, as an ordinary Hindutva supporter.

Certainly. I hope you will grant I have considered you that way.

Punishing rioters is difficult and so is providing justice to those who are victims, which is why riots happen, as I understand. The impatience displayed in conceiving peace by ignoring unsavory facts is the root cause of the intolerance that ultimately leads to riots.

I don't believe it is that difficult. A firm law-and-order machinery can stop riots, and I personally know of examples where this has happened. There are mechanisms we have set up to identify the guilty; all that's lacking is the political will to punish those guilty. Admittedly a big lacuna, but it's there to be done if we truly want to do it.

I don't believe in concealing "unsavoury facts", but I also don't believe we do any good by allowing the guilty to remain unpunished. Let's tackle both these issues head on.

daze, thank you. Like with some others here, put the way you do I have no argument. About myself, I do honestly feel I recognize that others have different "truths" and ideologies -- some of which don't interest me, but I recognize nevertheless that those others have them. And I have my own ways of finding internal peace.

Is that Hindutva, then?

Anon 1159pm: another thoughtful response, thank you. Again, I see nothing wrong (and everything right) with people wanting to put forward their POVs firmly and clearly. It's what I hope to get in this space, for example. As I said in passing somewhere above, this is the first time I've had responses to such questions in the vein of you and some others here, instead of condescension and hostility. And that only reiterates for me what you yourself say: there is still ample space to make the voices heard in a peaceful manner.

Let's listen.

daze said...

Its as Hindutva as it gets, my friend.

And now to get everybody to align on that definition....

Anonymous said...

You wretched Hindutva Heathen liberate your souls http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhNEYcrz-ZE&mode=related&search=
http://www.kgpaul.com

Anonymous said...

Corrupt Hindutva affects Gas Prices
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlId-r3h_7o

Brahmanyan said...

A good question indeed. But very difficult to find a convincing answer, since "Hindu" the root of the word for Hindutva cannot be defined correctly. It is said that this word originate from the Persian word Hindu for the river Sindhu (Indus) in Sanskrit. Thus it seems the word "Hindu" itself is not from Sanskrit or other native languages of the sub-continent! The people and the Countries around and beyond river Sindhu were called as Hindus and Hindustan. Even today the Arabs call India as Al Hind. The other invaders like Greeks, Mogals, Turks etc. who passed through Persia called the place as Indos or Hind. In his book Discovery of India Jawaharlal Nehru mentions that the word Hindu can be traced first time in India to a Tantrik text of eighth century. But he continues that the word itself is very ancient one since it is found in Avesta in Persian Text and the travel writings of Chinese Pilgrim I-tsing, denoting Geographical location.

The word "Hindus" as a religious community must be of later origin. If you trace the History we find people of this Country followed different systems of Philosophy and Social standards. For instance we have Advatha, Visishtadvaitha Dwaitha, Saiva, Sakta, Jaina, Boutha etc. etc but no Hindu. Some say the Hinduism is the collective name given by the Britishers for the followers of different faith in India. Others of the view that the European Travellers created this name in 16th Century.

Interestingly it is said that there is no mention of the word "Hindu" meaning religion in any of our Vedic or Religious texts. Neither it is mentioned in our great epics.

Now let us see what is meant by "Hindutva". Many people have given many interpretations. Without entering the controversy let us see what our Supreme Court says. In their unanimous verdict a Three Judge Bench of Supreme Court on December 11, 1995 came to the conclusion that "Hindutva or Hinduism" indicates the culture of India as a whole, irrespective of whether they are Hindus, Muslims, Christans, Jews etc. (this is not a detailed judgement, but a gist of it).

This is a vast subject, which needs more authentic comments supported by authorities in the subject, than mine

Brahmanyan said...

Further to my earlier comment I wish to add that I have not adheared to your conditions strictly. The reason is simple. That I am not fully qualified to give an independent opinion on this vast subject,without seeking outside help due to my limitations in arriving at the clear understanding of the subject.