35 Facts About Hindutva


Hindutva movement has been described as a variant of right-wing extremism and as "almost fascist in the classical sense", adhering to a concept of homogenised majority and cultural hegemony.

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Some analysts dispute the identification of Hindutva with fascism, and suggest Hindutva is an extreme form of conservatism or "ethnic absolutism".

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Some Indians insist that Hindutva is primarily a cultural term to refer to the traditional and indigenous heritage of the Indian nation-state, and they compare the relationship between Hindutva and India to that of Zionism and Israel.

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Hindutva included those who had converted to Christianity or Islam but accepted and cherished the shared Indic culture, considering them as those who can be re-integrated.

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The contemporary meaning and usage of Hindutva largely derives from Savarkar's ideas, states Chetan Bhatt, as does the post-1980s nationalism and mass political activity in India.

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Since Savarkar's time, the "Hindu identity" and the associated Hindutva ideology has been built upon the perceived vulnerability of Indian religions, culture and heritage from those who through "orientalist construction" have vilified them as inferior to a non-Indian religion, culture and heritage.

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Savarkar and his Hindutva colleagues adopted the social Darwinism theories prevalent by the 1930s.

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In general, the Hindutva thought among many Indians has "tried to align itself with the culture and nation" axes.

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Decades before he wrote his treatise on Hindutva, Savarkar was already famous in colonial India for his version of 1857 "Mutiny" history.

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Hindutva was a part of the underground home rule and liberation movement of Indians, before getting arrested for anti-British activities.

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Savarkar's Hindutva ideology reached Keshav Baliram Hedgewar in Nagpur in 1925, and he found Savarkar's Hindutva inspirational.

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Hindutva visited Savarkar in Ratnagiri shortly after and discussed with him methods for organising the 'Hindu nation'.

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Hindutva asked for the membership of Hindu Mahasabha to be thrown open to all communities.

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Hindutva understood Hinduism as a nationality rather than a community but, realising that this is not the common understanding of the term Hindu, he chose "Bharatiya" instead of "Hindu" to name the new party, which came to be called the Bharatiya Jana Sangh.

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The Hindutva-inspired RSS continued its grassroots operations between 1947 and early 1970s, and its volunteers provided humanitarian assistance to Hindu and Sikh refugees from the partition of British India, victims of war and violence, and helped disaster victims to resettle economically.

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Hindutva became the first prime minister to visit Ram Janmabhoomi and Hanuman Garhi.

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Hindutva advocates call this "love jihad", and it is widely considered to be an Islamophobic conspiracy theory.

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BJP claims that Hindutva represents "cultural nationalism" and its conception of "Indian nationhood", but not a religious or theocratic concept.

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Hindutva leaders have sought a Uniform Civil Code for all the citizens of India, where the same law applies to all its citizens irrespective of the individual's religion.

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Followers of Hindutva are known for their criticism of the Indian government as too passive with regard to the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Hindus by Kashmiri Muslim separatists and the 1998 Wandhama massacre, and advocates of Hindutva wish a harder stance in Jammu and Kashmir.

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Supporters of Hindutva sought to protect the native Hindu culture and traditions especially those that symbolised the Hindu culture.

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Hindutva is the guiding ideology of the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and its affiliated family of organisations, the Sangh Parivar.

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Political parties that are independent from the Sangh Parivar's influence but that espouse the Hindutva ideology include the Hindu Mahasabha, Prafull Goradia's Akhil Bharatiya Jana Sangh, Subramanian Swamy's Janata Party and the Marathi nationalist Shiv Sena.

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Many scholars have pointed out that early Hindutva ideologues were inspired by fascist movements in early 20th-century Italy and Germany.

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Third, while Nazism emphasised primacy of the race, the Hindutva ideology emphasised primacy of the society over race.

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Hindutva further claims "The Hindutva project is a lifeboat for the upper castes in so far as it promises to restore the Brahminical social order" and the potential enemies of this ideology is anybody whose acts or might hinder the process of restoring the Brahminic social order.

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Dreze further claims that although Hindutva is known as a majoritarian movement, it can be best expressed as an oppressive minority movement.

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Hindutva organizations have been criticized for their belief in statements or practices that they claim to be both scientific and factual but are incompatible with the scientific method.

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Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad, a Fellow of the British Academy and a scholar of Politics and Philosophy of Religion, states that Hindutva is a form of nationalism that is expounded differently by its opponents and its proponents.

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The opponents of Hindutva either consider it as a fundamentalist ideology that "aims to regulate the working of civil society with the imperatives of Hindu religious doctrine", or alternatively, as another form of fundamentalism while accepting that Hinduism is a diverse collection of doctrines, is complex and is different than other religions.

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The Hindutva ideology according to Savarkar, states Ram-Prasad, is a "geography, race, and culture" based concept.

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So, "the ultimate category for Hindutva is culture", and this culture is "not strictly speaking religious, if by religion is meant a commitment to certain doctrines of transcendence", he states.

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The proponents state that in the Hindutva thought, there is a kernel of coherent and justifiable thesis about the Indian culture and history.

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Hindutva ideology has been linked to threats to academics and students, both in India and the United States.

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The Association for Asian Studies noted that Hindutva, described as a "majoritarian ideological doctrine" different from Hinduism, resorted to "increasing attacks on numerous scholars, artists and journalists who critically analyze its politics".

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