Saffron terror targets not only the Muslim community in India but also other minorities. Atrocities and crimes against Scheduled Castes increased by 1.2% in 2021 (50900 cases) over 2020 (50,291 incidents), including 2585 rapes against Dalit women.
Hindutva nationalism is a Hindu nationalist ideology that aims to establish India as a Hindu Rashtra or Hindu country in which Hindu culture, religion, and identity are paramount. This ideology holds that Hinduism is India's original religion and that India should be governed according to Hindu cultural and religious ideals.
Hindutva nationalism is becoming a more powerful movement in India, undermining religious tolerance and causing divisiveness. This worldview encourages exclusionary practices and marginalizes minority populations, resulting in increasing religious violence and discrimination.
The Rise of Hindutva Nationalism in India:
Hindutva nationalism has its origins in the Hindu nationalist movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. This movement arose primarily in reaction to the challenges that Hinduism experienced as a result of colonialism and Westernization. Hindu nationalist leader Vinayak Damodar Savarkar coined the term "Hindutva" in his book "Essentials of Hindutva" in 1923.
Hindutva nationalism has grown in prominence in India in recent years, notably with the advent of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). The BJP is the most closely connected political party with Hindutva nationalism, and it has been in power in India since 2014. The philosophy has been greatly impacted by the party's leaders, who have been vociferous in pushing it.
In India, the BJP has been at the forefront of promoting Hindutva nationalism. The party has enacted laws and activities aimed at establishing India into a Hindu Rashtra. For example, the party has sought to revise history texts to reflect a Hindu-centric narrative, and it has been involved in conflicts including mosque destruction and Muslim and Christian conversion to Hinduism. The party has also been chastised for neglecting to act against Hindu nationalist organizations engaging in violence against minority populations.
The Threat to Religious Tolerance in India
Hindutva nationalism advocates the belief that India is a Hindu nation and that non-Hindu populations are second-class citizens. This exclusionary mindset leads to the marginalization of minority populations and fosters a climate conducive to religious violence and discrimination.
Minority populations, notably Muslims and Christians, are feeling increasingly sidelined in India as Hindutva nationalism gains traction. For example, the Gujarat riots in 2002 killed over 1,000 individuals, the majority of whom were Muslims. Because of the ideology's exclusive nature, there has been a surge in religious violence and discrimination against these minorities, which are viewed as a danger to the Hindu country.
In the Delhi Janter Manter region, a Hindu priest publicly urged a Hindu mob to slaughter Muslims and Christians under the guise of removing them from Indian land. He also urged Hindus to forego modest handcrafted fruit-cutting blades in favor of large weapons capable of mass murdering Muslims and Christians. The gathering, which drew a huge number of Hindu fanatics, was intended to promote Hindutva and Hindu Rastriya.
Polarization and Division in Indian Society
As an exclusionary ideology, Hindutva nationalism has created a significant schism in Indian society by promoting a limited, Hindu-centric vision of India and eroding the rights and dignity of other populations. As a result, social polarization has intensified, with people and groups feeling alienated and disenfranchised from mainstream society.
By supporting divisive and discriminatory policies and behaviors, Hindutva nationalism has destroyed social cohesiveness and pluralism in India. As a result, minority populations have been marginalized, and they are frequently vulnerable to violence, discrimination, and hate crimes. Dalits, for example, are frequently denied access to education, healthcare, and other essential services. This has undermined Indian society's fabric and eroded the links of unity and common ideals.
The emergence of Hindutva nationalism has also cast doubt on the survival of India's democratic norms and institutions. Ideology has been used to justify repression of dissent, degradation of press freedom, and misuse of authority. This undermines democratic governance norms and jeopardizes the stability and security of India's democratic system.
Hindutva nationalism is a harmful ideology that is destroying democratic principles and institutions in India while jeopardizing religious tolerance. It advocates exclusionary and divisive policies that have impacted Indian society by fostering social division, undermining social cohesiveness and pluralism, and jeopardizing democratic government stability.
In India, action must be taken to safeguard religious tolerance and prevent division. Citizens, leaders, and civil society groups must work together to promote inclusive and pluralistic principles, oppose Hindutva nationalism, and preserve the rights and dignity of minority populations. This may be accomplished through education and awareness-raising, minority rights protection, and support for democratic principles and institutions.
Muhammad Wasama Khalid is a Correspondent and Researcher at Global Affairs. He is pursuing his Bachelors in International Relations at National Defense University (NDU). He has a profound interest in history, politics, current affairs, and international relations. He is an author of Global village space, Global defense insight, Global Affairs, and modern diplomacy. He tweets at @Wasama Khalid and can be reached at Wasamakhalid@gmail.com