Hindutva seeks to instil in all the inhabitants of India, cutting across faiths, a sense of national pride and belonging to a common, beloved, progressive culture.
Balkanization can be the last thing any nation or society would ever want. Home to adherents of all major religions of the world, India is a great nation. The country is one of the most diverse, tolerant, and adaptable to changing socio-economic and political landscapes is a part of virtually every commentary on India.
Before we talk about this diversity and hail it as the single most dominant aspect of the Indian democracy, let us also bring in this discussion a related term, unity. ‘Unity in diversity’ is a popular phrase, which in one sense pits unity against diversity, and vice versa. Looking for unity in diversity may appear as a convincing argument, but it holds little value. Imagine any garden that is home to a variety of flowers. These flowers can add diversity, but one cannot expect all of them to have similar attributes regarding appearance and fragrance. Imagine a jungle with a variety of animals, but expecting all these diverse animals would unify to abide by common law is wishful thinking.
Diversity is multi-dimensional. One dimension of it is that it cannot be eradicated. That’s how the natural forces have made this world. People across the globe would continue to have distinct appearances and colour, which is why calling for the supremacy of people of any one colour is a political gimmick, an unjustifiable and prejudiced demand. The other dimension of diversity is it has to be overcome to a valid extent to safeguard the interest of all.
Humans are not animals inhabiting a jungle. Humans are undeniably the most intelligent beings, from being hunter-gatherers with no permanent settlement to becoming the inventors of airplanes and computers. In a sense, humans shaped the earth by polluting it with plastic and greenhouse gases and enriching it with inventions like wind and solar energy.
Had humans remained diverse (read conflicting) regarding their socio-political thoughts, we could have never made it to permanent settlements. It was essential to have a common code of conduct and its enforcement in letter and spirit to sustain the co-habitation of diverse thoughts and desires.
Consider this. Can you name one country that can boast of no crime ever committed? From evading taxes to homicides, crime is an unwanted part and parcel of any society. In a sense, one may even group a set of criminals with diverse opinions regarding how society shall function. Maybe someone can even give a compelling argument why physically assaulting a man with lesser resources is justifiable. But can we let such ‘diverse’, but at the same time morally wrong, opinions thrive and disturb peaceful and progressive co-habitation?
This is exactly what is at the heart of Hindutva.
A few politicians may disrespect it as a divisive and majority-supremacy seeking political thought, but in essence, Hindutva is a socio-cultural ideology. Hindutva is more than Hindus; it is about the country that we know by the name of Hindustan.
When Vinayak Damodar Savarkar propounded his views on the subject matter, he was not establishing a case for the supremacy of any particular faith. He and many other philosophers and commentators always advocated that the diversity of India, which essentially must be preserved, must not make it a jungle. They believed this was the key to preventing the nation from invasion by foreign powers, a repeat of Mughal and British era atrocities on Indians.
Hindutva, in that sense, improvises on the phrase ‘unity in diversity’. The ideology seeks to instil in all the inhabitants of India, cutting across faiths, a sense of national pride and belonging to a common, beloved, progressive culture. Is it ever possible to make a great nation without all its inhabitants accepting the common constitution and national flag? Hindutva was and is about that one flag, and it’s about oneness.
Decades after its independence from foreign rule, India is ruled by political parties that use India’s diversity to its disadvantage and its own advantage. The clarion call for ‘unity in diversity’ was nothing but rhetorical. In one country, members of a particular faith were treated as mere vote-banks. The rise of regional political parties, which some liberal commentators may call the beauty of Indian federalism, was the outcome of (mis)using India’s diversity regarding faith and caste for own vested interests.
Diversity’s one aspect gifted to humans by nature cannot and shouldn’t be violated. The human race will continue to have people with different appearances and colours, and the equality of all men must always remain at the heart of all development.
The second aspect of diversity, which is about some people’s immoral and unjustifiable wants, has to be defeated at all costs. Consider this. A section of men uses unlawful, violent means to topple the elected government, but can the desire of these insurgents be defended as ‘diversity’? One cannot be so diverse in a country ruled by law that it defeats the law itself. For many decades, India reeled from a few secessionists wanting to establish their own independent nations, from radical left-wing outfits to Islamist terrorists.
Balkanization is nothing but the fragmentation of a region into smaller independent nations. Does India want that? And more importantly, can India afford that to happen?
Hindutva is a call that corrects the flaws in the phrase ‘unity in diversity’. It seeks to pave the way for oneness, cutting across all faiths, castes or any other element that creates a separate identity of people inhabiting Hindustan. Clearly, Hindutva is neither about any religion’s supremacy nor it is a political gimmick. Hindutva is ‘oneness’, Hindutva is ‘true unity’ of Indians by correcting a few diversity flaws.
(The article “Hindutva is ‘oneness’, Hindutva is inclusive development” published in ‘Organiser’)