Why Hindutva is important for India
The rise of BJP / RSS signifies that Hindutva is becoming an acceptable formula for the people of this Country – which is a good sign. Many confuse Hindutva with Hinduism. Saying that Hindutva has nothing to do with Hinduism may not be true, but equating Hindutva with Hindu Dharma is wrong. To understand Hindutva it is necessary to decode the psyche of an average Hindu. Hindutva is not limited to Hindus – it encompasses everyone who feel that they are Indians first. I will now declassify the thought process of an average Hindu to explain Hindutva better.
1. Proud of India’s Ancient Heritage
An average Hindu believes that ancient India was full of glory and that India had been a true superpower which radiated knowledge to the rest of the World. There are archaeological evidences including the documents related to Indus Valley Civilization that attest such a belief. When the whole world was hunting animals for food using stone weapons, ancient Indian sages were talking about astronomy and aviation. Ancient Indians established universities at Takshashila and subsequently Nalanda – which attracted students from Greece, Egypt, Arabia and China. There are several literature available in Greece and China that points to the fact that ancient Chinese and ancient Greeks owe a lot to India. Long before Bible was written or long before Mohammed was born, our great ancestors were teaching advanced science, cosmology, astronomy and surgery. A Hindu would be proud of this heritage and would yearn to earn back the lost glory.
2. Belief in the scientific nature of Ancient Indian scriptures
There is little doubt that ancient scriptures of India had a significant amount of science hidden between verses. Majority of Hindus believe that our sages were visionaries who were scientifically and spiritually inclined. The extent of science in scriptures are debatable. However every Hindu subscribes to the thought that ancient India was quite scientific and as a result Hinduism contains greater correlation to present day science than any other religion – though the perspective of the quantum of such correlation may differ according to their personal belief. Only with the advent of Islam and Christianity, “Hinduism” became classified as a religion. Before that the concept of religion did not exist. There were just different belief systems all existing within the same roof.
3. Live and Let live – True secularism
Hindus believe that the whole of earth is one family. Hindus believe there are many planets that host life forms in this universe – not just our planet Earth. We believe in “Vasudaeva Kutumbakam” (The whole world is a one family) and “Athithi Devo Bhava” (Treat your guest as God). Additionally most of the scriptures mention that you can worship God in any form or any name. So an average Hindu would be highly tolerant. This is the tolerance that was exploited by Mughal and British rule for their own gains. A Hindu does not believe in Proselytizing others. Even if he does, it is more likely a reaction to a previous event.
4. Realizes the importance of Sanskrit and classical languages like Tamil
Most of our ancient literature is documented in Sanskrit – the language of Gods. Hindus believe that Sanskrit is of divine origin and the language is quite scientific in the context of formal language grammars. Hindu rightly believes that all other language on this planet derives / borrows from Sanskrit in one way or other. We also believe Tamil is an equally important language and may have had a parallel origin to Sanskrit. There are a large volume of ancient literature – especially Shivite – in Tamil and Sanskrit. Recently the nationalist BJP government honored Tamil Hindu Saint Tiruvalluvar and his ancient work – Tirukkural. Similarly languages like Kannada and Telugu have a historic significance.
5. Respect the contribution of many other great freedom fighters and Respect Army
A Hindu believes and respects the freedom struggle of many leaders such as Vallabhai Patel, Bhagat Singh, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Chandrasekhar Azad and many others in addition to Gandhi. Nationalist Hindus believe that freedom is not due to the effort of one single person, but it is a collective effort of lot of people who sacrificed their lives for the sake of this Country. Hindus do have a great regard on Indian Army.
6. Adherence to the traditions of India
This is not about adherence to religious customs. But it is about adherence to a culture that India follows. Respecting elders and prostrating before them is one such custom. Taking care of elderly parents is another. Many such customs are unique to India. In marriages – especially arranged marriages – an elaborate custom is followed. I believe it is only in India a Marriage can be a celebration extending 3-5 days. Many such customs have no specific religious connection, but still forms the basis for the famed Indian Culture.
7. Willingness to correct flaws when debated against
An average Hindu loves to debate – especially on religious topics or on politics. Most likely they are willing to take sides rather than stay in the middle. A Hindu will never get infuriated if a flaw is pointed out in a right way. The right way is a debate which arrives at a conclusion. This is an important aspect unique to Hindus – they self-correct. This behavior has ensured that the culture of Indians is quite progressive and easily adaptable to the changing trends of the society.
8. Recognize the importance of women and their role in strengthening the society
Ever since vedic times, women were given prime importance in the Indian society. Indians worship Goddesses and ancient vedic scholars such as Gargi and Maitreyi were women of substance. It was after the invasion of Mughals, India became influenced by the cult of Islam which restricted the freedom of women. Practices such as Sati were “invented” during this period to save the honor of a young widow from mughal barbarism. The systematic destruction of Hindu values began after the invasion by mughals.
9. Believe in Karma
Hindus have a simple formula that everyone adheres to. They believe in the law of Karma – “what you sow, you will reap”. This simple formula holds good for just about anybody. It is for the fear of consequences of their own actions, Hindus will not indulge in any anti-national activities such as terrorism. Hindus also believe everyone – even Gods – are bound by Karma. Karma literally means “activity” or “action”.
10. Chant “Vande Mataram” loud and proud
An average Indian would not hesitate – not even a moment – to sing the national song of India. It is heart breaking that in a country like India, few are refusing to sing or chant “Vande Mataram”. This is a dangerous trend because such a behavior would automatically mean that the person in question has a strong adherence to a belief system that is not compatible with the rest of India. People refusing to sing “Vande Mataram” – whatever may be the reason – is a source of major embarrassment for the rest of Indians. There is nothing religious about “Vande Mataram”. It just means “I salute my mother(land)”. When a section of society refuse to sing it, how can they claim to be Indians? Why should India and Indians even care about them?
To an average Hindu, India means a lot more than just a country. We do not view this country merely as a piece of land – it is a lot more than that. It defines our culture and our identity. That culture and identity is what is known as Hindutva. Take out the word “Hindu” from the above post and replace it with an image of yourself. If you are an Indian who places the country above your personal beliefs – you would believe in all the ten points above.
Hindutva is an extension of Nationality. It is an extension of patriotism. Only patriotic people can help India prosper. China grew rapidly because Chinese were inherently nationalistic. They have an overdose of patriotism. An average Chinese would not work for money but would work towards development of his Country – which has made China what it is now. If India has to develop in every way, Hindutva is the way forward. A person with non adherence to the culture of the country is as good as the undigested waste that comes out of the body.
India is known to the world primarily – not as a technology superpower, not as an economical superpower but as a Cultural Superpower. That cultural strength of India has its roots in Hinduism. Hindutva makes sure that the roots of this Country are strengthened so that the country could branch out in every direction successfully.