Hinduism and Hindutva

Recently we have seen how the honorable Supreme Court of India, has taken a commendable role as a true guardian of Indian Constitution. It has rejected outright the instant triple talaq, upheld the right to privacy and asked the states about their roles in reining in cow vigilantes. It would be interesting here to note what it had to say in its judgment in the matter of Ramakrishna Mission’s petition to be declared a Non Hindu, Minority religion, under the Indian Constitution in 1995 . It observed : ‘ when we think of the Hindu religion, we find it difficult, if not impossible, to define Hindu religion or even adequately describe it. Unlike other religions in the world, the Hindu religion does not claim any one prophet, it does not worship any one God; it does not subscribe to any one dogma; it does not believe in any one philosophic concept, it does not follow any one set of religious rites or performances; in fact it does not appear to satisfy the narrow traditional features of any religion . It may be broadly described as a way of life and nothing more’. The Supreme Court sums up its observation by quoting the definition of Hindu given by Bal Gangadhar Tilak, which it calls a working formula : ‘Acceptance of the Vedas with reverance, recognition of the fact that the means or ways to salvation are diverse; and the realisation of the truth that theo number of Gods to be worshipped is large, that indeed is distinguishing feature of Hindu Religion.’ Now if we compare and contrast that definition with what Ram Chandra Guha , the noted historian had to say about Hindu conservatism we will probably find the difference . Ram Chandra Guha, in his ‘Democrats and Dissenters’ observed : ‘ Hindu conservatism tends to be revivalist, harking back to a pure part uncontaminated by foreign influences or alien faiths. Meanwhile Hindu Nationalism tends to be triumphalist ‘ There lies the difference between the Hindutva and Hinduism. If Hinduism is what defined by The Honourable Supreme Court, Hindutva is what Ram Chandra Guha is refering to. If tolerance and harmony is what Hinduism promotes , including acceptance of alien faiths and ideas , without being driven by the thirst of bigotry, Hindutva is what completely throwing away true Hinduism. In fact no religion promotes violence. No religious text advocates violence and hegemony. But do we really care?

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