Since the time of inception Indian religions – Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism, they are all based on the concepts of Dharma and Karma.
Ahimsa is the gateway to non – violence and an important aspect for native Indian faiths and followed by most of the great Indian Leaders including Mahatma Gandhi – who used civil disobedience to unite India during the Indian Independence Movement.
Our prime minister Mr. Narendra Modi while addressing on the “20th terror attack anniversary” (9/11 Terror attack in United States )recalls that “On the same day 9-11 1893, 128 years ago, Swami Vivekananda’s brought Indian philosophy and religion before the world at the Chicago World Conference of Religion which had solutions for incidents like 9/11 terror attacks.
Swami Vivekananda’s answer was to those who were against religion (Anti- religion),
Who doubted the abilities of a Hindu Monk,
Who doubted his Religion,
Who doubted his Country.
He showed that Indian culture is based on Justice, Empathy and cooperation.
9/11 terror attack has been a threat to Human nature and now the World has realized that these teachings will give the permanent solutions for any such tragedies.
Indian Religion and Philosophy.
India is one of the most religiously and ethnically diverse nations in the world, with some of the most deeply religious societies and cultures. Religion plays a central and definitive role in the life of many of its people. India is a secular Hindu-majority country.
“Satyamev Jayate” (by Pandit Mohan Malaviya) – truth alone triumphs
“Atithi Devo bhava”( from Taittiriya Upanishad) – every guest in our country is treated as a God and is always welcomed by bowing down and joining hands, which is appreciated all throughout the world.
The above said slogans are not just a slogan but followed by the fellow members of this country.
The 42nd Amendment of the Constitution of India enacted in1976, the Preamble to the Constitution asserted that India is a secular nation. India is a secular state because it does not have any state religion and people are free to practice any religion of their choice.
Secularism is a belief system that rejects religion, or the belief that religion should not be part of the affairs of the state or part of public education.
Hindutva is an ultraconservative part of Hinduism that is largely driven by RSS and its affiliate organizations in India today even if they don’t tend to take part in it directly. Their methods of imposing the strictness of Hindu cultures / rituals has more often than not affected the minorities in our country and to a large extent caused damage to the secular fabric of our nation.
The beliefs and idea of Hindutva states that India is truly a Hindu country following the norms and traditions of Hindu culture.
Hindutva (translate. 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. It is an Ideology or movement seeking to establish the hegemony( leadership) of Hindus and Hinduism in India.
Hindus are the real and bonafide residents of India and other religious minorities – Christians and Muslims are outsiders who are allowed to live in the country by the wish and desire of the majority of Hindus.
Its guiding principle is to transform India from a secular democracy to a religious state where Muslims, Christians, and other religious minorities are relegated to second class citizenship.
It is the ideology of various political parties known Hindu Nationalist volunteer organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh(RSS), the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), the Bharatiya Janata Party( BJP), and other organisations collectively called Sangh Parivar.
Ever since the rise of the BJP in the Indian political front from 1990 to its consecutive successes in national elections in India in 2014 and 2019 Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi is credited to have introduced some most awaited reforms in the country.
Over a period of time BJP has worked hard and re- shaped country, so know with the strength, support and power of BJP India will proudly be a Hindu State and grant second class citizenship to the minorities sector.
In the name of Hindutva ideology, the current government of India has instituted discriminatory policies including beef bans, restrictions on religious conversion and interfaith weddings, and the introduction of religious discrimination into India’s citizenship.
We firmly reject these misleading attempts to conflate Hindutva and Hinduism. Hindutva is NOT a religion, nor is it a synonym for Hindu cultural identity, or “Hindu-ness.” Hindutva is an authoritarian political ideology that historically drew inspiration from Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s Italy.
What is the “Dismantling of Global Hindutva Conference”?
India has been home to most of the Hindus since ancient time. The Online Summit tagged “Dismantling Global Hindutva Conference’’ was held between 10th -12th September 2021 endorsed by 50 plus universities – is an online conference which aims to look into issues relating to the Hindu supremacist ideology by bringing the philosophers specialized in caste, religion, economics, and health care to try to understand the complexities faced by “Hindutva”
To counter this thought process, there are some groups who have started this conference at a global level to attack the pro – Hindutva imposition and thus being viewed as a Pro Hindu sentiment.
List of Few universities participated in “Dismantling of Global Hindutva Conference” held between September 10th -12th 2021.
(i) New York University
(ii) Stanford University
(iii) Princeton University
(iv) Cornell University
(v) Northwestern University
The designers of this event state that the subject matter of this conference is awfully misinterpreted as an attack on Hinduism and have been receiving threats of violence and death but the aim of this conference is to study Hindutva as a right – wing political movement.
Instead of protecting the rights and interests of the Hindu community it’s becoming a threat to the “wellbeing of the Hindu community “and “the academic freedom itself”.
Many Individuals and organizations in India and abroad are opposing it and have started online protests against it. Few of them are naming it as “Hindu phobic” or “Anti- Hindu Sentiment”.
1) Why has the “ Global Hindutva conference been condemned?
Hindutva as a philosophy has seldom been understood in its entirety. While Hinduism is a way of Life Hindutva is the philosophy behind it. The concepts are deep and need a discerning mind to be able to navigate through it. People in India itself find it difficult to grasp the ideology and it is not strange for people in other countries to be ignorant.
2) Why are the protestors terming this to be “Hinduphobia”?
The protestors who are terming this to be “Hinudphobia ” are largely treating both the Hindutva and Hinduism as the same. Although, the clear definition of Hindutva is following or implementing the ultra conservative approach of Hinduism beliefs, it’s often spoken in the same breath by a large group of people majorly belonging to the right wing ideology. And the intent of the conference is to create a subtle narrative against such methods, thus indicating to the protestors that the conference is against the ethos of being a Hindu. Therefore, it is termed as “Hinduphobia” – a term that indicates the fear of the growth of Hindu culture or Hindu beliefs in people today. The protestors are clearly indicating that the global conference is portraying a negative picture of Hindu beliefs/culture and thus is popularizing Hinduphobia.
There is nothing to protest about really. All religions speak about peace and harmony when understood properly.
Who doesn’t want peace and harmony?
Once again, it is the lack of understanding of shrewd politicians who misuse religious philosophy and ignorant people who blindly follow, that are to blame.
Hinduphobia is very much like xenophobia where we forget we are all the same and begin to fear the differences.
A conference that aims to explain should be welcomed and participated in. Unless we dive into it one will not see the similarities.
3) Hindutva Versus Hinduism?
(i) Hinduism is one of the earliest and enduring religions of South Asia.
Hindutva is the belief and ideas of of Hindus freedom represented by the political party Bhartiya Janata Party.( BJP)
(ii) Hindutva, is an ultraconservative section of Hinduism that has similar interpretation of religion as fundamentalists have in both Islam and Christianity
(iii) Hinduism is a way of Life. Hindutva is the philosophy behind it.
4) Why is it considered as a threat to the academic freedom?
There is a feeling that the conference aims to re- write history, hence academicians may feel threatened that what they believed till now may be replaced with new thought. But without a debate and participation, their worst fears may come true. Protest must give way to participation and debate.