Hinduism vs Hindutva: the contradiction in Congress

Rahul Gandhi’s critical intervention in Indian political discourse to differentiate between Hindutva and Hinduism has divided both observers and congressional leaders, as many believe the strategy is fraught with risk and difficult to understand. maintain long term.

The party itself is divided probably because Rahul went public without any structured consultation within the organization and no follow-up action was taken to move the rhetoric forward.

Majority of leaders see merit in Rahul’s argument, conceding that people need to be told how the RSS-BJP abused Hinduism for political gain, but others believe Congress should have first do your homework before embarking on this adventure.

Even the communications department has not had a serious discussion on the matter, and spokespersons are relying on Rahul’s speech at a public meeting in Jaipur earlier in December as their only resource.

Some leaders insist that there should be a well-researched document that will help party workers express their position without any major blunder. Others believe that it is better not to carry the fight on the ground of the RSS-BJP and that maximum energy should be expended to expose the failures of governance of Narendra Modi.

Although spokespersons have defended Rahul’s argument by focusing on the obvious flaws of Project Hindutva, no top leader except Salman Khurshid has spoken about them so far. This lack of planning in Congress has prompted many inside and outside the party to question whether Rahul will be able to muster the intellectual and political support required to sustain the dialogue.

Khurshid himself spoke of the confusion and doubts within the party while insisting that the risk was worth taking. He wrote in an article: “Hindutva could continue to resonate with the common person without careful analysis of its misuse. Hinduism is under attack, they shout, when Hindutva is questioned. We must tell them, as well as the ordinary Hindu, that neither Hinduism nor Hindutva is attacked. What is and must be attacked is the improper and indecent use of the term Hindutva to serve dishonorable political purposes. “

Rajya Sabha member Kumar Ketkar said The telegraph: “Rahul has effectively neutralized the BJP’s vicious campaign that Congress is anti-Hindu. He pushed the BJP on the defensive by explaining the difference between Hindutva and Hinduism. It is high time that we convey this message to every citizen that Hindu is civilizational in nature while Hindutva is political like Nazism. Hindutva has nothing in common with liberal Hindu philosophy.

When asked if this difference could be explained to the masses, Ketkar replied, “Intellectuals already know that. It should be explained to the masses only. This is what Rahul does

People are also familiar with Hindu philosophy and the Congress. But they were wronged by the BJP’s bogus campaign. The RSS-BJP will now have to explain why Nathuram Godse killed a devout Hindu. Congress should aggressively explain that secularism and the idea of ​​India were not compromised in this analysis. “

Political scientist Zoya Hasan, however, believes Congress is taking avoidable risks. She said, “Hindutva and Hinduism are of course different. Hindutva is a political ideology, while Hinduism is a religion. But political mobilization through this strategy can be difficult. This difference is meaningful to people who are knowledgeable and understand Hindutva politics. It is true that the RSS-BJP takes advantage of this confusion but confronting them on this issue will not be easy. The academic debate is different.

Hasan continued, “The competition should not be between Hinduism and Hindutva. Instead of drifting into this territory, the opposition should question the Modi government on economic and social rights, democracy and justice. The political attack must be simple. Instead of constructing a Hindutva counter-narrative, Congress should focus on the SSR exclusionary policy which is contrary to constitutional principles.

Sudheendra Kulkarni, who worked as an advisor to both Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani and is now opposed to Modi’s regime, sees Rahul’s intervention as significant.

“What Rahul said is absolutely correct and there should be a serious national debate on the matter because the brazen exploitation of religion has posed a serious threat to democracy. While Hinduism emphasizes human unity and freedom, the Hindutva not only violates constitutional principles, but also launches open calls for genocide. His intolerance has no place even for Mahatma Gandhi, ”Kulkarni said.

He added: “Some countries have exploited Islam and used it for coercion against other religions. It is a national tragedy that the same is being done by the forces of the Hindutva in the Modi-Shah regime. It is the duty of all patriots to support Rahul Gandhi in this task of distinguishing Hinduism from Hindutva, both within Congress and outside. “

“The intelligentsia and activists should also strengthen the hands of Rahul and all right-thinking citizens should join hands in isolating and cornering the forces that threaten the constitutional culture in our country.”

Kulkarni insisted that a clear message should be that Hinduism cannot be the monopoly of any political party. Congressional leaders support this view, but there are dilemmas and confusion over how to articulate this concern.

Some leaders have suggested an internal brainstorming session to create a document that will formally present to the nation what Congress’ point of view on Hindutva is and how this tactical positioning does not harm the cause of secularism.

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