The coeval rise in cultural nationalism, commonly known as Hindutva, recognizes this profound void, and seeks to give the Hindus a respectable place in their own nation. The most appreciable fact is that the Hindus, notwithstanding such injustices, have never demanded a separate homeland. As said, the Hindutva movement so agitates as to accord the Hindu culture with the dignity it deserves. The maleficence of a minor faction must not impede a just and equable odyssey. It is fallacious to equate Hindutva with Islamism. Hindutva entails the recognition of this nation’s incipiently Hindu ethos, and seeks to eradicate the desultory public discourse that is covered with the pious cloth of secularism.
In India, the ideology of ‘Hindutva’ has been associated with Veer Savarkar. Different types of facts and arguments have been fabricated by all the political parties and intellectuals of the country in the name of Savarkar. In 1915, 6 years after the establishment of the Muslim League in pre-independence India, Veer Savarkar founded a nationalist organization by the name of Hindu Mahasabha. Veer Savarkar is called the father of the ideology of Hindutva. But, on peeping into the pages related to the history of the country, the picture is completely changed. In the pages of history, the roots of Hindutva ideology are seen to be linked to Bengal. A closer look at these roots reveals that even before Savarkar regained consciousness, Bengal had taken a vow to preserve the legacy of Hindutva. Words like Hindutva, Bharat Mata, Vande Mataram were given concrete shape on the soil of West Bengal itself.
By the way, if someone claims in the whole world that he has complete knowledge of history, then perhaps his claim would be wrong. Actually, history is such a complex subject that it can never be finished. Because, history is not only of one country, one group, one class, one caste, one religion or other such things. Even a single word about history hides a whole history in itself. It would not be wrong to say that seeing the complexity of history, very few people choose to choose it as their career. Well, coming back to Hindutva from the discussion on the word history.
Beginning with the Indian Renaissance
In a word, the churning of the ocean that began in the first half of the 18th century for the social reform of the Hindus, later in the year, gave birth to Hindutva. The story begins with the intellectual class of Bengal coming in contact with western education and culture. And begins the great campaign to remove the evils prevalent in the Hindu society. To whom history also gives the name of Indian renaissance or Hindu renaissance. Raja Ram Mohan Roy, the forerunner of this campaign and called the father of modern India, establishes the Brahmo Samaj in 1828. Strong objections start on superstition, casteism and practices like Sati Pratha. Advocacy for women’s education and widow remarriage begins. But, along with this, opposition to idol worship, religious texts and incarnations also starts. Till now the Hindu society which was following various beliefs and customs, An attempt was made to divert it towards a stream. In this period, Debendranath Tagore (father of Rabindranath Tagore) of the famous Tagore family of Bengal also joined the Brahmo Samaj in 1942. After joining the Brahmo Samaj, its branches were spread in many states.
Nationalism started with ‘Bharat Mata’, then Hindu nationalism
The increasing influence of western culture and education started filling the Hindus of Bengal with inferiority complex. Constantly arising questions on Hindu civilization and rituals, the ideology of protecting ‘Hindutva’ started with nationalism. First of all India got the noun of a ‘mother’. In 1860, India was established as a mother for the first time in a Bengali book named Nineteenth Purana. Devendranath Tagore organized the Hindu Mela in 1867. The inauguration program of this fair started with the song of Bharat Mata. At the same time, in the 1870s, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee strengthened the feeling of patriotism among the people by writing the song ‘Vande Mataram’. His novel became famous due to anti-Muslim views in Anand Math. In 1882, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee had refused to accept the history of Muslim rulers keeping the spirit of national religion above.In my opinion, the correct history of Bengal has not been written in any book in English. There are things here and there in these books, in which there is nothing except the birth, death of Muslim rulers and their family discord. The mention of these Muslim rulers with meaningless titles like ‘Badshah of Bengal’ or ‘Subedar of Bengal’ cannot be considered as the history of Bengal. They have nothing to do with the history of Bengal. The Bengali who accepts this as the history of Bengal, I do not consider him a Bengali. I do not consider the so-called intellectuals who hate Hindus to be Bengalis, who adopt this description of Muslim rulers as they are without question.
In the same article, Bankim Chandra called upon Bengalis to find the past of Bengal in the stories told from generation to generation. Which should be considered reliable. Here by Bengali, Bankim Chandra meant Bengali Hindus.
Hindu Nationalism, Hindutva and the Partition
In 1892, Chandranath Basu’s book – ‘Hindutva’, was published. The possible first popular use of the word Hindutva happened in this book. This book was written with the aim of awakening the Hindus. The campaign of Hindu awakening was started due to the increasing influence of foreign education and culture, but gradually it took the form of Hindu nationalism against the British rule. His basic feeling was that Hindus are not inferior, and they cannot be suppressed. And thus began the process of polarization of Hindus in Bengal. In which the British government explored the possibility of Muslim polarization. And later in 1905, Bengal was divided on the basis of Hindu-Muslim population. In Bengal, the number of people gathering people in the name of Hindutva had increased a lot. There was a ban on the entry of Muslims in the organizations formed during this period. During June 1909 a whole series of letters ‘Hindu: A Dying Race’ written by Indian Medical Service officer UN Mukherjee appeared in a newspaper. It was told in these letters how the occupation of the countries by the Muslim rulers increased the danger to the citizens there. In his letters, Mukherjee warned Hindus of this danger and asked them to take effective steps to avoid it.
And then Savarkar came later…
So now let us turn to Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. In the current political discourse, who is called the father of ‘Hindutva’. It should be remembered that when Chandranath Basu’s book Hindutva was published in 1892, Savarkar was nine years old. And might have been playing sports somewhere in Nashik. It is believed that the term Hindutva was coined by Veer Savarkar through a book. Whereas in 1909, Savarkar wrote a book on the first freedom struggle of 1857 by gathering evidence in many British libraries. The publication of which was banned by the British. Till now the 1857 struggle was expressed only in the form of military protest, while Savarkar wrote it from the Indian point of view. In the book, there was mention of the bravery and enthusiasm of the freedom fighters, as well as the betrayal they got. If seen from the point of view of faith, Savarkar was an atheist. But, communally, he was in favor of the unity of Hindus. Which is beyond casteism. His activities and organizational campaigns first begin with the opposition to the British Raj, which later become focused against Islamic fundamentalism. His ideas have got a lot of recognition within the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. This is the reason why today the opposition parties oppose the ruling party BJP by associating Hindutva with Savarkar.
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