Recently had a chance to read a three series article published in ‘The Wire’ authored by an eminent journalist Sh. Prem Shankar Jha on Hindutva written elaborately, analyzing the various strands connected with the word Hindutva, it’s relationship with Dharma and Hinduism. The author claims that Hindutva is in antagonism to Dharma, my take here is that Hinduism is a word coined by the west as all their theories are defined by one or the other isms, thus irrelevant to our understanding of our ethos, whereas Hindutva is a value system that is based on our Sanatan culture and ideas and so in accordance to our Dharmic way of life. Therefore, it is very much in synchronization to our ancient civilization which has its underpinnings on the Dharmic principles and ethics.
The author further states that Hindu Rashtra or Hindutva is just 90 years old thus completely obliterating the fact that Shivaji propounded the idea of Hindavi Swaraj/Hindu Padshahi even in the 17th century itself i.e. almost three hundred fifty years back. Shivaji was the contemprory of Mughal ruler Aurangzeb and had faced the onslaughts of his tyrannical rule, and his despotism on the cultural and religious front coerced Shivaji to espouse the cause of Hindavi Swarajya. This vision of Shivaji was too based on the Dharmic values and principles of Sanatani culture which aimed at providing direction to the rudderless battle against the then rulers who promoted their rule utterly on the basis of staunch religion.
Further, the author ironically justifies the Khilafat Movement a stimulus for Savarkar’s idea of Hindutva, which might be his notion, had nothing wrong because in that scenario of tumult, the unifying force that could perform a work of strong glue was none other than Hindutva. Hindutva, according to him was all about taking pride in common identity and heritage and deriving the political overtones from the spirituality of Sanatan Dharma based on equitable nationalism. It is implausible on Jha’s part to accept on the one hand Savarkar’s idea of inclusivity but on the same time rejecting his notion of those only being the part of Hindutva fold, who shows allegiance to Hindu Rashtra, thereby accepting it as their Punyabhoomi and Pitrabhoomi.
In his article Jha shamelessly defends the indisputable, undeliable Islamic onslaught on infidels beginning with the Arab invasion of Sindh in the early 8th century A.D uptill the tyrant regime of Aurangzeb in the 17th century A.D, the longest ever ethnic genocide in the human history. It is the paramount insensitivity of the author, that he chooses to rub salt into the wounds of Hindu psyche perpetrated by the Islamic jihadi rulers by trying to hide the unprecedented slaughter of the local population under the carpet of “cultural interaction”. It is absolutely disdainful on the part of the author, that he felicitates the advancement of art and literature during medieval period by suppressing the widely acknowledged fact of temple desecration being done by the so called patrons of art and literature.
In his effort of assuagement, the author goes to the extent of quoting a completely unauthentic fact of the Arabs helping the Hindus in defending Somnath Temple, at the time of Mahmud of Gazni’s invasion because it was a Hindu temple among whom they lived, highly ridiculous fact emphasizing the unwarranted generosity of the Arabs. Besides the author totally denies the fact of forceful conversions during the reign of Islamic rulers under the pretext of attacking the caste system and Brahminical Patriarchy, the reason behind the religious conversions and so completely diluting the intensity of the atrocious conversion practices executed on the populace. The author leaves no stone unturned in manipulating his thesis of blaming the Brahminical dominance and ritualism, the sole reason of enmasse conversions giving clean chit to the heinous acts of the then rulers. Blatant shamelessness on his part to metamorphose each and every act of the Muslim invaders as being a display of magnanimity.
In this context it is pertinent to write that Shri. Jha masquerading as liberal, not only completely sidelines the gory Hindu persecution that took place in the medieval period but juxtapose it with the semblance it with the manipulated paradigm of a ungrudging Muslim rule. He overlooks the temple desecration at huge level by the then rulers in fact tries to justifies it.
The ruins of Qutub complex in Delhi themselves speak their heinous history of desecration of temples and then overhauling them with Islamic architecture. Ironical, how come these pseudo liberals easily digest this injustice. Is it not unworthy on our part to fall prey to the brazen lies that have been propagated in the name of narrative.With regard to the description of Dharma that has been given by the author, he miserably fails in comprehending it’s true connotations as per Sanatan tradition. His over emphasis on the Buddhist overtones of Dharma neglects the Vedic concept of Dharma as being propounded by Lord Krishna in the Mahabharata War.
“Yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati bharata
tadatmanam srjamy aham”
Ch 4.7 Krishna says that, “I have come because there is a decline in religion, a decline in Dharma, there is a confusion about what Dharma is and whenever there is a decline in Dharmic understanding and principles, I come to re-establish what Dharma is and in order to establish what Dharma is.
Lord’s advice to Arjuna is: “Engage in battle with equanimity and without getting overwhelmed by the extremes of joy and sorrow, gain and loss, and thus you won’t incur sin.”A just war (“dharma-yudh” = war-as-duty) should not be for revenge but to restrict any further adharma. sreyan sva-dharmo vigunah para-dharmat svanusthitatsva-dharme nidhanam sreyah para-dharmo bhayavahah [BG – 3.35]It is better to do one’s own duty imperfectly than to do someone else’s duty perfectly. Even dying while performing one’s own duty is superior; but the consequence of following someone else’s duty is dangerous.
Dharma is not taken in our culture merely as some set of dos for the mundane or earthly affairs but contrarily it is a paradigm for the personal righteousness towards the ultimate goal of the spiritual ascendency. It teaches it’s followers to restrain from pacifism and resort to rightful aggression if needed. This false interpretation of Hindu Dharma is somewhat responsible for the feckless attitude that is being attributed to the Hindus. Therefore, such pseudo seculars who on the basis of their partial knowledge try to erect distorted narrative must be restricted and true narrative should get into the mainstream ecosystem.
- Dr. Nidhi Mishran