Ravi Speaks:


We have been living nowadays in an atmosphere where the people don’t have the clarity as to what is Hindu, Hinduism, and Hindutva? More so if someone says that being an Indian means somehow the same as the word -Hindutva-still many would not agree with him as far as the clarity of the meaning of these two words is concerned.

Emotions brew up even more when it comes to someone’s nationality being questioned or even a mere mention of that happens. We all being sensible and educated may not raise the issues like this more deeply or for that matter more emphatically but unfortunately certain situations are happening where we all as the true Indians should use our cool and at the same time feel proud to be an Indian-whether we may belong to any caste creed or culture.

No doubt we as Indians constitute 17.5% of the total global population and represent a strong federal republic of India which is the highest populated democracy in the world. Since we have diversity in our varying cultures and this unity of diversity defines the strength of our great country. We are the best example of various religions living together here as proud Indians. This understanding has become essential especially nowadays since we all would love to shun violence and live amicably in love and harmony with a focus to strive for the betterment and development of our nation collectively.

Although varying thoughts are there with the varying personalities for the understanding of Hinduism and Hindutva let us understand in simpler terms as to what is Hindu, Hinduism, and Hindutva?

Who is a true Hindu?

The term Hindu, in contemporary parlance, includes people who accept themselves as culturally or ethnically Hindu rather than with a fixed set of religious beliefs within Hinduism. One need not be religious in the minimal sense, states ‘Julius Lipner’, to be accepted as Hindu by Hindus, or to describe oneself as Hindu.

A Hindu is a person who believes in a religion called Hinduism. Many Hindus live in India. The word Hindu is used to refer to anyone from India, from the Persian word for "India-Hind”. The ultimate root is the Sanskrit word Sindhu, or "river."

What is the real meaning of Hinduism?

The main religion of India includes the worship of many gods and the belief that after you die you return to life in a different form. The definition of Hinduism is the oldest and most widely practiced religion and cultural tradition in India. An example of Hinduism is the belief in karma and reincarnation.

Hindus believe in the doctrines of samsara (the continuous cycle of life, death, and reincarnation) and karma (the universal law of cause and effect). One of the key thoughts of Hinduism is “atman,” or the belief in a soul. Hinduism is closely related to other Indian religions, including Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism.

After trying to understand the two terms like Hindu and Hinduism-let us throw some light on Hindutva.

In summarised form, it is-“Indian cultural, national, and religious identity”.

According to Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of World Religions, Hindutva is a concept of "Indian cultural, national, and religious identity". The term "conflates a geographically based religious, cultural, and national identity: a true 'Indian' is one who partakes of this 'Hindu-ness'.

Hindutva. "Hinduness" is expressed through Hindu nationalism, Hindu heritage, and/or Hindu patriotism. -seeks to remake India as a society dominated by Hindu principles prevail. Hindutva (Hinduness) is the predominant form of Hindu nationalism in India. As a political ideology, the term Hindutva was articulated by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in 1923.

What's the difference between Hindu and Indian?

The difference between Indian and Hindu is that Indian means any individual who is a resident of India and minor-an an offspring of such people whereas a Hindu is an individual who follows Hinduism and should have a name prevailed by a Hindu title. Indians are the nationals and citizens of India, the second-most populous nation in the world.

Justice Verma of the Apex Court had dismissed the idea of equating the abstract terms “Hindutva or Hinduism” with the “narrow fundamentalist Hindu religious bigotry”.

According to Ram Jethmalani, an Indian lawyer and a former president of its Supreme Court Bar Association, the Supreme Court of India in 1995 ruled that "Ordinarily, Hindutva is understood as a way of life or a state of mind and is not to be equated with or understood as religious Hindu fundamentalism

Jethmalani’s statement is elaborately explained here in the following Apex Court observation:- The then Chief Justice Gajendragadkar said that “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 anyone prophet, it does not worship anyone god, it does not subscribe to any one dogma, it does not believe in any one philosophic concept, it does not follow anyone set of religious rites or performances it does not appear to satisfy the narrow traditional features of any religion or creed. It may broadly be described as a way of life and nothing more.”

The Supreme Court also concluded that “It is a fallacy and an error of law to proceed on the assumption that any reference to Hindutva or Hinduism in a speech makes it automatically a speech based on the Hindu religion as opposed to other religions or that the use of words ‘Hindutva’ or ‘Hinduism’ per se depicts an attitude hostile to all persons practicing any religion other than the Hindu religion.”

From the above pronouncements, it is clear that Hinduism referred to a way of life. The Self-appointed guardians of Hinduism must note this fact and act accordingly in their speeches. Hinduism cannot be what a particular section of Hindutva wants to promote.

Therefore, the misuse of these expressions to promote communalism cannot alter the true meaning of these terms. The mischief resulting from the misuse of the terms by anyone in his speech has to be checked and not permitted at any cost.

Finally, we as responsible Indians have got to understand the intricacies and adversities associated with the inflammatory expressions based on misuse of religion. Let us imbibe the above-mentioned Apex Court’s vital understanding of certain expressions associated with our religion and we as proud Indians should spread love and happiness amongst all our brothers and sisters and contribute to the maximum possible for maintaining an atmosphere of harmony and developmental progress with a focus to become a superpower in the global arena at the earliest.




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