The Political Philosophy of Hindutva


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Slides shared at the Ilford Hindu Centre, London w/ Dr Koenraad Else, 8th Jan '12

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  • And Hindutva would be the political philosophy that nurtures this nationality? http:// =2575
  • Dr S Radhakrishna’s quote from
  • THIS IS NOT SAVARKAR’S HINDUTVA; IT SI NOT BJP’S HINDTUVA; IT IS NOT ANYBODY’S HINDUTVA; THIS IS THE HINDUTVA FOR OUR TIMES *** IN ALL CAPS *** THEREFORE HINDUTVA IS INDIAN-NESS, HINDUTVA IS BHARATIYATA HINDUTVA IS LIBERALISM, HINDUTVA IS THE ETHOS AND CULTURE OF THIS ANCIENT LAND HINDUTVA IS NOT HINDUISM; IT IS NOT FUNDAMENTALISM; IT IS NOT RELIGION ; IT IS NOT DICTATORSHIP OF THE RELIGIOUS FANATICS; IT IS NOT ANTI-FAITH; HINDUTVA IS A POITICAL CONSCIOUSNESS THAT RESPECTS FAITH AS A MATTER OF PERSONAL CHOICE FOR THE PRIVATE REALM – NOT SOMETHING FOR THE STATE TO INTERVENE IN THIS IS NOT SAVARKAR’S HINDUTVA; IT SI NOT BJP’S HINDTUVA; IT IS NOT ANYBODY’S HINDUTVA; THIS IS THE HINDUTVA FOR OUR TIMES ARTICLE 370 IS NOT ABOUT HINUTUVA – IT IS ABPUT INTEGRATION OF THE STATE OF J&K AND RELATIONS BETWEEN STATES Ram Janmbahoomi s not Hindutva – It is about a disputed site and historical grievances Uniform civil Code is not Hindutva – UCC Is about removing the misleading nomenclature of minoroties and majorities So what is Hindutva: HINDUTVA IS X, Y and Z (from the following slides) IN OFFSTUMPED’S WORDS (COMMENT ON KANCHAN’S BLOG: You have rightly pointed out why UCC, 370 are federal, national, secular liberal issues and nothing to do with Hindutva. ) From another comment on Kanchan’s Blog: ii) Ideological Coherence (nationalism, commitment to provide primacy to native Indian beliefs, fostering unity among its adherence) /Big ideas (local governance, harmonious local community relations to expand economic pie, urban renewal, superior enforcement of rule of law).
  • A nationalist, not a religious or theocratic concept – replaced by “A Philosophical, not a religious or theocratic concept” not something for the state to intervene in * Open to discussion…
  • Minimum government, Maximum governance // It is also about Local autonomy and Urban renewal Used “Economic Freedoms” in place of “ economic liberalisation”
  • Note that Raj-Dharma is NOT Hindutva/ Raj-Dharma is more to do with “Executive” arm of the state; not legislative or judicial / Concepts and ideas heavily borrowed from Offstumped’s post on “Flat World Hindutva” Nitin: NOTE: There is a subtle nuance here. Primacy of National Interest does *not* mean Primacy of State (which runs counter to Classical Liberalism); It is the individual who should have primacy in making economic and other choices (incl. cultural and strategic)// The state is necessary for the practical enjoyment of individual rights and freedoms. The survival and security of the state—often termed “the national interest”—is directly connected to the ability of citizens to enjoy their freedom. Put in another way, …a king’s duties are more than that of a citizen’s. If a situation calls for the partition of a nation, then call for war, but never partition the nation Can you five brothers cut your mother into five and distribute amongst yourselves? If not, then how can you divide the motherland? – Bhishma Pitamah, MahaBharat
  • From Ayodhya Kaanda (Chapter 1, verses 26-28) Ramayana source: Vivekananda quote:
  • Concepts and ideas heavily borrowed from Offstumped’s post on “Flat World Hindutva”// EXCEPTION – NEED TO CLARIFY FURTHER: Exception would be when fighting “Adharma” when the rule of law enforced by the State is not “desireless” and is motivated by an all-encompassing “Adharma” as was the case with the British rule and the freedom struggle *** Vasishta on Commerce, Private Property and the Rule of Law – All of Chapter 67 Ayodhya Kaanda Verse 22. araajake= in a ruler less; janapade= land; vaNijaH= traders; duura gaaminaH= who go to distant places; bahuvaNya samaachitaa= along with several merchandises; na gachchhanti= can not travel; kshhemam=safely; adhvaanam= on the path.” “ In a rulerless land, traders who go to distant places, carrying with them several merchandises, cannot travel safely in their voyages.” Verse 31 – araajake= in a rulerless; janapade= land; na bhavati= there is no; svakam= one’s own property; kasyachit= for any one; naraaH= persons ; nityam= always; bhakshhyanti= eat away; parasparam= each other; matsyaah iva= like eating fishes . “ In a rulerless land, there is no one’s own property for any one. Like fishes, persons always eat away each other.”
  • traditional Hindu policies of minimum government and complete social autonomy. Therefore, society will be governed by Personal Law. Jatis and janajatis will be allowed to evolve and have recognized personal laws unique to themselves and their situations. The same will be true of minorities. http:// =2390 Musunuri
  • See Purushartha is “aim of human existence” Artha : "(material and/or financial) prosperity as well as pursuit of meaning"
  • The Political Philosophy of Hindutva

    1. 1. The Political Philosophy of Hindutva B Shantanu
    2. 2. Preface <ul><li>While Centre-Right ideology* is well-understood and articulated, a parallel effort is needed to articulate Hindutva ( हिंदुत्व ) </li></ul><ul><li>Not a defensive attempt to silence the critics but.. </li></ul><ul><li>..a deliberate effort to help construct a solid basis for national identity and consciousness </li></ul><ul><li>… and to find common ground </li></ul>* Centre-Right in this context includes the ideology of classical liberalism
    3. 3. <ul><li>The next few slides are an attempt at providing context and backdrop for debate & discussion </li></ul><ul><li>The expectation is a more refined articulation can emerge through arguments & counter-arguments </li></ul><ul><li>Many steps in this thought-process are incomplete and still missing </li></ul><ul><li>Please contribute and enrich the discussion </li></ul>Preface
    4. 4. Hindutva’s First Principles.. <ul><li>Hindutva is a manifestation of Dharma ( धर्मं ) </li></ul><ul><li>Hindutva is nationalism rooted in the essence of Hindu traditions and culture </li></ul><ul><ul><li>..of pluralism and tolerance </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Hindutva is Indian-ness or “Bharatiyata” ( भारतीयता ) </li></ul>
    5. 5. <ul><li>About freedom </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It draws its core from the essential “Hindu” belief in free thought </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hinduism is freedom, especially the freedom in thinking about God – Dr S Radhakrishnan </li></ul></ul><ul><li>It is neither a faith nor a belief system </li></ul>Hindutva is…
    6. 6. Hindutva is… <ul><li>Not dictatorship of the fanatics </li></ul><ul><li>Not a religion </li></ul><ul><li>Not anti-faith </li></ul>
    7. 7. <ul><li>A political consciousness/ philosophy that respects faith as a matter of personal choice </li></ul><ul><ul><li>..and for the private realm; not something for the state to intervene in – or influence </li></ul></ul><ul><li>About reconciliation and harmonious coexistence - even of conflicting ideologies* </li></ul><ul><ul><li> long as they respect each other’s right to exist </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Not specific to religion but culture and civilisation specific </li></ul><ul><li>A philosophical, not a religious or theocratic concept </li></ul>Hindutva is… * Open to discussion
    8. 8. Hindutva is about… <ul><li>Primacy of National Interest </li></ul><ul><li>Individual Liberty </li></ul><ul><li>Rule of Law </li></ul><ul><li>Minimum Government </li></ul><ul><li>Prosperity and Economic Freedoms </li></ul>
    9. 9. <ul><li>Hindutva stands for primacy of national interest ( राष्ट्र सर्व - प्रथम )   </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The State exists to ensure security and prosperity for its citizens </li></ul></ul><ul><li>National Interest lies in maintaining the well-being of citizens and guarding their freedoms </li></ul><ul><li>All decisions of the state must be guided by national interest, above everything else ( राज - धर्मं ) </li></ul>Hindutva & National Interest Source:
    10. 10. <ul><li>Hindutva is about freedom of thought </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This life is a tremendous assertion of freedom.. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Our Vedanta is the assertion of freedom – Swami Vivekananda </li></ul></ul><ul><li>… and individual liberty </li></ul><ul><li>This liberal ethos owes its character to the traditions within Sanatan Dharma ( सनातन   धर्मं ) and it ought to be defended vigorously </li></ul>Hindutva & Liberty
    11. 11. Hindutva & Rule of Law <ul><li>Hindutva stands for rule of law; Hindutva is “Kshatra-Dharma” ( क्षत्र धर्मं ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>i.e. the duty of the state is to protect the rights of its citizens </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Rule of Law is the ultimate “Dharma” </li></ul><ul><li>… kings who perform RajDharma selflessly, following the prescribed code of crime and punishment, and who treat their subjects even-handedly…get the highest position that may be available to a true sanyasin - MahaBharat (66/4-5) </li></ul>* Courtesy, Palahalli; Also
    12. 12. Hindutva & Government <ul><li>Hindutva stands for minimum government and maximum social autonomy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Including freedom for communities to have their own personal laws* </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A Government influenced by Hindutva will primarily focus on </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Law and Order </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Security </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Justice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Infrastructure </li></ul></ul>* Open to discussion
    13. 13. Hindutva & Artha <ul><li>Hindutva is about prosperity and celebrating wealth </li></ul><ul><ul><li>As long as it is earned or acquired through honest means </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Artha ( अर्थ ) is one of the four Purusharthas ( पुरुषार्थ ) </li></ul><ul><li>Hinduism does not glorify poverty; Wealth is not an impediment to self-realization* </li></ul><ul><li>Hindutva is in harmony with economic freedoms that are a pre-requisite for prosperity in society </li></ul>* Although attachment to wealth is.
    14. 14. <ul><li>Several steps in this thought-process are incomplete and still missing </li></ul><ul><li>To arrive at a more robust articulation of Hindutva, I need your help and support </li></ul><ul><li>Such an articulation can emerge through debate and discussions in the highest traditions of Shastrartha ( शास्त्रार्थ ) </li></ul><ul><li>Please contribute and share widely to get insights from scholars and experts </li></ul>The Next Step…
    15. 15. Acknowledgments <ul><li>This effort is dedicated to Bharat and Dharma </li></ul><ul><li>These thoughts have been inspired & prompted by commentators on my blog, “Internet Hindus” and several bloggers including (but not limited to) Varnam , Acorn , Sandeep , Sanjeev Sabhlok , Musunuri and Offstumped … </li></ul><ul><li>I am grateful to all of you for helping me develop my own understanding, knowledge and awareness about Hinduism, Bharat and the world around us </li></ul><ul><li>Jai Hind, Jai Bharat! </li></ul>Additional References: Understanding Raj-Dharma , Understanding Raj-Dharma, Part 2
    16. 16. Questions? Comments? Jai Hind, Jai Bharat! Shantanu @
    17. 17. Thank You.. Reclaiming India – One Step at a Time