Eclipse of the Hindu Nation
by Radha Rajan on 29 Jun 2009 9 Comments

Historically, the sense of nation and nationhood among Hindus has been cultural and civilisational. The culture and its unique value system, founded in an extraordinary concept of dharma, touched every aspect of individual and collective life. Politics, a means to protect and preserve dharma, was subordinate to dharma.


Historically, until Hindus faced successive Islamic and Christian conquests, they had no sense of civilisational, adversarial political-cultural purposes. However, confronted with the hostility of Islam and Christianity, a heightened Hindu nationalism manifested itself over the last 1200 years as organized resistance and as individual acts of extreme courage to protect Hindus and the Hindu way of life. Rana Pratap Singh, Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi, Chhatrapati Shivaji, Guru Gobind Singh, the Gosamrakshana Samitis, Sri Aurobindo, Veer Savarkar, Madanlal Dhingra and the host of revolutionaries who followed each other into the twentieth century, are but a few examples of this continuing resistance. These individual and group resistance movements ignited the fire of Hindu nationalism and gave to this nation of Hindus a political consciousness which sought to bring Indian polity in line with the Hindu ethos, to wean it away from the acutely inimical anti-Hindu path it is even now traversing.

 
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi [1] and later Jawaharlal Nehru successfully stifled the march of Hindu nationalism. Nehru viewed a politically vibrant Hindu nationalism as a threat to his preeminence and invoked the might of state patronage to promote an academic discourse and an ‘authorized’ history that relegated Hindu civilization to the margins of national consciousness [2]
 

Writers of modified history [3] perpetuated the colonial fiction that India was always pluralist, never Hindu, the implication being that Hindus cannot claim this land as their special janmabhumi, and cannot legitimately undertake steps to protect their territory, their way of life, or their cultural sensibilities. Public expression of support for the Hindu way of life was termed backward, superstitious, majoritarian communalism and retrogressive vis-à-vis superior virtues like ‘scientific temper’, secularism and pluralism, which India unquestioningly adopted via Gandhi and Nehru from their White-Christian-British masters.


Hindus were insidiously conditioned to equate Hindu political intentions with jihad. So intolerant was Indian political discourse to Hindu nationalism that even eminent Hindu political leaders took to mouthing inanities, like ‘Hindu nationalism is only cultural nationalism.’ That this misconceived articulation amounted to a denial of territorial content and political intent in Hindu nationalism was either overlooked or ignored or simply not understood at all. 
 

The present work is an attempt to balance India’s distorted public discourse by outlining the contours and content of Hindu nationalism. This is a responsibility and an imperative that can no longer be evaded. The anti-Hindu polity today constitutes the greatest threat to Hindus and the Hindu nation. This work seeks to delineate the parameters of Hindu nationalism and fire it with strategic intent. In the process the book critically examines the freedom movement between the years 1890-1947, particularly the events that launched Gandhi to the commanding heights of the movement. Gandhi did not rise naturally to demonstrated leadership potential; rather, this exalted position was reserved for him and he simply walked to the pinnacle immediately after his return to India from South Africa.
 

Gandhi’s leadership of the Indian National Congress and the freedom movement sounded the death-knell for Hindu nationalism, as we hope to demonstrate; and after Gandhi and Nehru (who inherited Gandhi’s political mantle) hand-picked all Congress members to the Constituent Assembly, the Hindus of the nation were presented with a Constitution that did not reflect the nation’s timeless civilisational ethos or heritage nor represent the interests of the nation’s majority Hindu populace.


The beginning of the post-independence era in the nation’s history was the beginning of an active anti-Hindu polity that continues to hold sway till the present. This book seeks to correct the anti-Hindu political discourse which owes its existence to Gandhi and Nehru; this book signals the beginning of the collective effort of political-minded Hindus to set down the coffins of Gandhi and Nehru from the unwilling shoulders of the Hindu nation.   


Notes
1] As standard academic practice, we are using names without suffixes such as Mahatma or Gandhiji.
2] The dubious motives behind international awards for those that propagate a non-Hindu India is exemplified by the American Kluge prize awarded jointly to Romila Thapar. “Ms. Thapar created a new and more pluralistic view of Indian civilization, which had seemed more unitary and unchanging by scrutinising its evolution over two millennia and searching out its historical consciousness”, the Library of Congress said. (Deccan Chronicle, Chennai ed., p. 8, 5 December 2008)
3] Historians such as R.S. Sharma, D.N. Jha and Romila Thapar exemplify this school of writing.


[Excerpted from
Eclipse of the Hindu Nation: Gandhi and HIS Freedom Struggle
Radha Rajan

New Age Publishers Pvt Ltd, Delhi, 2009
Price: Rs 495/-
To order, call Rima Kar Ghosh at 011- 26493326/27/28 or e-mail Rima at
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