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Guru Prakash Paswan | Indian Express | Patna | May 12, 2022:: The unfortunate incident at Sharda University over the setting of a question paper is problematic at multiple levels. Linking Hindutva to Fascism has been one of the tried, tested and failed textbook methods of the left-leaning intellectual establishment of our country. Justice MC Chagla in his autobiography, Roses in December, described himself as a Muslim by birth, Christian by education and Hindu by culture. Hindutva is essentially Hindu-ness and it is the ideological manifestation of a cultural idea that is rooted in our ethos and civilisational consciousness. Sarve bhavantu sukinah, sarve santu niramaya, that is, “Let all be healthy and happy” is the elementary definition of Hindutva.
However, there is a profound existential crisis being faced today by those who are at the fringes of Indian politics. These forces are vehemently against those who do not subscribe to their “idea of India”. There is not one “idea of India”; there are multiple ideas of India. Adi Shankaracharya in Shankar Bhashya said, “Even if the Vedas suggest that fire is inherently cold and it does not emit light, then I will vehemently disagree with it”. This is Hindutva, where one text is not considered the fountainhead. Every individual is not only allowed but is encouraged to aptly use his or her mental faculties and apply the test of rationality, instead of having blind faith in any particular idea.
Therefore any effort to put Hindutva and Fascism in the same bracket is nothing but a design intended to insult the civilisational wisdom of our nation. From Swami Vivekananda to Mahatma Gandhi, every saint and social reformer has taken inspiration from Hindutva to bring generational reforms to society. Fascism is a concept alien to our land.
The fact that the Bharatiya Janata Party is able to receive the people’s mandate repeatedly in elections is itself an assertion of the faith of the Indian public in the idea of Hindutva. Hindutva alone is capable of being comprehensive and inclusive at the same time. It was only the prevailing atmosphere of Hindutva that made it possible for a non-upper caste person to become one of the most popular prime ministers of the country.
Diana L Eck, scholar and professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies at Harvard University has, on multiple occasions, observed that secularism is endemic to Indian culture. There are many practices in Islam today that are inspired by Hindu customs. For example, in Darbhanga, a district in north Bihar, some Muslim communities follow the 13-day death rituals.
Against this background, the setting of the controversial question paper raises an old but disturbing point. When the political expression of Hindutva is increasingly becoming globally acceptable, there are forces within and outside that are inimical to the unity and integrity of our country. What would have happened if this question paper had surfaced in any other country, targeting the faith that the majority community professes in that country? The liberty to even think and articulate to such an extent is also only possible in a nation that believes in Hindutva. The University Grants Commission has rightly initiated action in this regard. In the world where we live today, various forces are envious of India’s growing stature as a rising global power. We must not be complacent and let those forces create fissures and instability in our society.
The writer is assistant professor, Patna University and national spokesperson, BJP.
Courtesy: Indian Express.