One of the major canards spread by Left-leaning commentariat and phoney liberals about Hindutva is that it is an anti-secular, exclusivist ideology, inspired by Nazism. Also, another allegation is that RSS’s second Sarsanghchalak Guruji Golwalkar admired Adolf Hitler and built the organisation on the lines of the Nazis party. This is far removed from reality. This is what Guruji had to say about Hitler: “Doubtless Christ was a great saint. But later, what went on in the name of Christ had nothing to do with him. It was not Christianity but only ‘Churchianity’. The saying ‘There was but one true Christian and he died on the Cross’ is true to the letter. The Christians committed all sorts of atrocities on the Jews by giving them the label ‘Pillars of Christ’. Hitler is not an exception but culmination of the 2000-year long oppression of the Jews by the Christians.” (Bunch of Thoughts)
In another context, he criticised the moral bankruptcy of a section of people who admired Hitler, ‘for he was winning’. Guruji’s conception about Hindu Dharma was not exclusivist. In Bunch of Thoughts, he states: “As far as the national tradition of this land is concerned, it never considers that with a change in the method of worship, an individual ceases to be the son of the soil and should be treated as an alien. Here, in this land, there can be no objection to God being called by any name whatever. Ingrained in this soil is love and respect for all faiths and religious beliefs. He cannot be a son of this soil at all who is intolerant of other faiths.” This is the true definition of secularism and, in this sense, Hindutva is truly secular.
However, we disapprove of what is being promoted as the Nehruvian version of secularism, which has done more harm to the polity than good. It has pitted one caste against another and one community against the other and prevented the so-called minority communities from integrating into the national mainstream. Explaining the genesis of the Nehruvian secularism, senior journalist Madhav Nalapat, “So spooked does Nehru appear to have been about the catastrophe of Partition that he apparently decided that the way to prevent a second 1947-style vivisection of India, on the basis of religion, was to separate what got termed the “minorities” (or, in other words, non-Hindus) from the “majority” i.e. Hindus. Nehru further saw to it that the “minority” were given rights denied to the “majority”, in the form of exceptions to issues such as ‘personal law’.” So, the Nehruvian secularism was born out of insecurity, dishonesty and weakness. It aims to foster a false sense of unity devoid of any sincerity and is being employed to ‘discourage independence in thought and progressiveness in action’. Sri Aurobindo cautions us against the pitfalls of fostering false unity when he states: “The prevalence of a dead and lifeless unity is the true index of national degradation, quite as much as the prevalence of a living unity is the index of national greatness.”
Interestingly, the most pertinent and crushing critique of Nehruvian secularism was made by none other than the first Prime Minister’s Cabinet colleague KM Munshi. He writes: “In its (secularism) name, anti-religious forces, sponsored by secular humanism or Communism, condemns religious piety, particularly in the majority community…. In its name, again, politicians in power adopt a strange attitude which, while it condones the susceptibilities, religious and social, of the minority communities, is too ready to brand similar susceptibilities in the majority community as communalistic and reactionary. How secularism sometimes becomes allergic to Hinduism will be apparent from certain episodes relating to the reconstruction of Somnath temple…. These unfortunate postures have been creating a sense of frustration in the majority community…. If however the misuse of this word ‘secularism’ continues…if every time there is an inter-communal conflict, the majority is blamed regardless of the merits of the questions; if our holy places of pilgrimage like Banaras, Mathura and Rishikesh continue to be converted into industrial slums… the springs of traditional tolerance will dry up.”
The fears expressed by KM Munshi on the Nehruvian secularism are valid even today. We saw how the advocates of the Nehruvian secularism resorting to falsehood and forgery in the Ram Janmabhumi case and on the implementation of the verdict on entry of young women to the Sabarimala shrine.
(This is excerpted from J Nandakumar’s Hindutva for the Changing Times)