Hindutva ( Hindi हिन्दुत्व hindutva ) describes a political concept that aims to align India with Hindu rules. In English, the term is often Hindu nationalism or shortly Hindu nationalism used. The ideological roots of this "politicized Hinduism" lie in the neo-Hindu movement of the Indian struggle for independence.
History and goals
One of its leading ideologues is Vinayak Damodar Savarkar , who wrote Hindutva: Who is a Hindu ? , published in Nagpur in 1923 . first formulated the idea of a Hindu nation, the "Hindu Rashtra". His remarks are based on three ideological principles - rashtra , jati and sanskriti (common holy ground, common ancestry and culture) - which all Hindus can refer to and which should form the basis of a common nation. So he wrote in this work:
“After all, there is only one race in the world as far as humans are concerned, the human race. [...] Even the natives of the Andaman Islands are not without so-called Aryan blood in their veins and vice versa. All that can be said is that the individual has the blood of all humanity in his veins. The fundamental unity of humans from the north to the south pole is true, everything else is only relative. "
The aim of the Hindutva movement is the (re) creation of a single Hindu nation. Savarkar made use of a “constructed” common past of all Hindus, although it is debatable whether such a past ever existed in this form. At the same time, Savarkar suggested turning away from elements of contemporary Hinduism that were assessed as undesirable developments, especially from the caste system .
Hindutva is thus a counter-movement to the secular state model , which Mahatma Gandhi saw as a solution to the religious conflicts, mainly between Muslims and Hindus, and which is now anchored in the constitution. Many Hindus, like non-Hindus (e.g. Muslims, Christians , indigenous peoples ) are therefore critical of the Hindutva movement.
On this basis various organizations arose that tried to enforce the Hindutva on different levels and with different means. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), founded in 1925, initially saw itself as a cultural organization, but today fulfills the function of training managers who do their work in the other branches of Hindutva. After the RSS initially rejected party political involvement in democracy, the training of politicians is now one of its main tasks.
In 1964, the RSS gave the impetus to found the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP, "World Council of Hindus"). It is a cultural and religious political organization that serves as a common platform for religious representatives of various Hindu movements. It is intended to compensate for the lack of a self-contained “church” or comparable organization in Hinduism and thus facilitate the representation of interests vis-à-vis the state or other religious communities.
Today's so-called Hindutva parties, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP, formerly Bharatiya Jana Sangh ) and Shiv Sena , founded in 1980, only played a marginal role in Indian politics until the late 1980s. From 1998 to 2004, however, the BJP provided the government with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee . During this time there were clashes within the movement, with the VHP trying to impose radical Hindu nationalist demands, while the governmental BJP took moderate positions.
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