Mr. Mohan Bhagwat's Error

Hindutva is the Hindi equivalent of Hinduism. The Supreme Court has defined Hinduism as a way of life. The same should apply to Hindutva. Unfortunately many adherents belonging to organizations founded by the RSS who swear by Hindutva display an intolerant and narrow minded approach that is sharply divergent from the Hindu way of life. That is the start of a needless controversy compounded by a confused understanding of language. This controversy was revived recently by remarks made by RSS Chief Mr. Mohan Bhagwat who also betrayed confusion about the meaning of words. Last Sunday Mr. Bhagwat said:

“Cultural identity of all inhabitants of this country is Hindutva.” This is no different from what the Supreme Court ruled except that Mr. Bhagwat used the term Hindutva instead of Hinduism. He went on to add: “Hindus could be of any religion worshipping any God or not worshipping at all.” It is this remark that betrays confusion about the usage of the term ‘Hindu’ that sparked the controversy.

Mr. Bhagwat went on to ask that if inhabitants of England are called English, why are not inhabitants of Hindustan not known as Hindus. The answer is simple. Being English does not denote religion. Both Christians and non-Christians may be English. But being Hindu certainly denotes religion. In a TV debate Mr. Subramaniam Swamy defended Mr. Bhagwat by asserting that there was no Hindu religion – only Sanatan Dharma. He was wrong. There is very much a Hindu religion which has many branches including Sanatan Dharma. In passports under the heading of religion most citizens do not write Sanatan Dharma but Hindu. To repeat with emphasis, all Hindus may follow Hinduism, but all those who follow Hinduism are not Hindus. They can be Christians, Muslims or Sikhs. All those who live in Hindustan are not Hindus. They are Hindustanis.

Why cannot this simple distinction be accepted by RSS leaders?

In the same TV debate featuring Mr. Swamy, Congress spokesperson Mr. Manish Tiwari stressed the constitutional nomenclature of our nation being Bharat, as if that defined its secular difference from being Hindustan. The founding fathers of our constitution, probably riddled by guilt for having betrayed the nation by accepting Partition and the two nation theory, sought comfort by conjuring the nomenclature Bharat for this nation. They also betrayed their ignorance.

The term Bharat derived from Hindu mythology is non-secular compared to the term Hindustan derived from the Arabs.

A Muslim Sufi poet and saint Amir Khusro created Hindvi from which evolved Hindustani comprising both Hindi and Urdu. He created Hindvi from the Khari Boli dialect widely used in the Hindi heartland. Incidentally the term India is the anglicized version derived from Hindustan. Why did our wise constitution framers not abolish the use of that nomenclature too?

The actions of politicians has already divided society badly enough. Let them not increase social divisions by a muddle headed approach towards understanding the meaning of simple words.


More by :  Dr. Rajinder Puri

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Views: 3394      Comments: 8

Comment I would have expected Mr. Bhagwat to have read the book "Hum Hindu Nahin" by Kahn Singh Nabha (first published in 1898) before making such a statement.

Here is one liner about the book from Wikipedia:

"Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha had to write this classic booklet in the time when Hindus were preaching the Sikhs to be a part of Hinduism and that it had no independent status of its own."

This one line confirms that even after over hundred years thought process is still embedded where it was at that time. Good bye independence, constitution, and democracy. Leave us alone where we were in 1898.

Bhupinder Singh
22-Aug-2014 19:45 PM

Comment Shiv, I think you have missed the thrust of my article. Please re-read it with an open mind. I am endorsing the views of Mr. BNhagwat. I differ on his use of words. Hindu DOES denote religion, Hindustani does not. If the simple use of Hindustani instead of Hindu is unacceptable, I cannot fathom the reason and there is nothing more for me to say. Perhaps the use of language in my part of the country differs from yours. I do not "nitpick" the RSS because of the reason you ascribe to me. I attempted to correct your perception of my article because I respect your views. Normally I do not respond to letters of any kind. It was a good decision. In future I shall stick to it.

My Word
18-Aug-2014 02:42 AM

Comment Mr Puri, I think you have missed the wood for the trees and I think it was due to the first 2 lines in my remark..I never said - You said that RSS is behind partition,, what I said is the perceived thinking that RSS behind hindu muslim enmity.I think we all can agree to disagree,still feel you do have a bias over RSS,otherwise you won't be nitpicking simple statements which have value

18-Aug-2014 01:23 AM

Comment Mr.Puri, I am astonished at your harsh words for Mr.Shiv -
"Shiv, please don't write nonsense and attribute wrong statements to me."
I agree with Mr.Shiv that anyone who lives in Hindustan is a Hindu though he or she might be practising any religion of his or her choice. Just like--people living in America are Americans who practice different religions..
It is only in Hindustan--till recently the majority community(Hindus) were treated like second class citizens.
Look at Kerala--just during this Independence day--a city was banned from playing "Vande Mataram" because it will hurt the sentiments of Muslims.
Only in India--this can happen and no body cares.
We need true Indian Hindus who care for the country.
Look at Kashmir,North East--they all want separate country.
Secularism in Hindustan exists because of tolerant Hindus.
Bande Matarm

Buddha Rudra
17-Aug-2014 15:54 PM

Comment Shiv, please don't write nonense and attribute wrong statements to me. I have never accused RSS of creating Hindu-Muslim enmity leading to Partition but always the Congress. As for you misquoting the Constitution regarding Hindus please read the following:"India's Constitution does not give a definition of the term Hindu, but it does define to whom the "Hindu Law" applies. It has to do this because in spite of its pretence to secularism, the Indian Constitution allows Muslims, Christians and Parsis a separate Personal Law. In a way, this separate treatment of different communities merely continues the communal autonomy of castes and sects accepted in pre-modern Hindu states, but it exposes the credibility deficit of Indian secularism. At any rate, the situation is that Personal Law is divided on the basis of religion, and that one of the legal subsystems is called Hindu Law."

My Word
16-Aug-2014 22:05 PM

Comment I think the author completely misses the point due to his inherent distase of partition and the enmity between muslims and hindus and a perceived thinking that RSS is behind this enmity..According to our constitution a hindu is one who practices any Indian religon.DrSwamy is spot on when he says there is no known religon as "Hindu" what majority follow is the religon of Sanatan Dharma.The problem is when RSS opens their mouth say cultural identity is hindutva,immediatly whole horde who are against jump on them painting them to be narrow minded.If India needs to progress, the inhabitants of this land need to understand where they come from.They all have their background from "Hindu" ancestry.Irrespective whether they are of "Hindu" religons or semetic ones,they are all hindutvadis.This understanding will greatly minimise divisions within society on caste or religious lines.I am 100% with RSS and DrSwamy on this issue.Both have clarity and their actions demonstrate to me their love for this country.

16-Aug-2014 04:08 AM

Comment If all Indians are Hindus then all Hindus are not devotees of Ram and Krishna; some are devotees of Mohammed, Jesus, Nanak, Buddha, Mahavir etc.

P V Rajeev
15-Aug-2014 10:19 AM

Comment Every generation carries the burden of consequence of past action or inaction.The mention of this topic generates only further controversy with no positive results.
The RSS have succeeded in installing BJP government with a clear majority.
Nation expects Mr Bhagwat to ensure that this government provides Sushasan, leading to Achhe Din.He should ensure that the formidable organization of RSS contributes to nation building and not fritter away energy in inconsequential direction.
The opportunities are immense.

14-Aug-2014 21:13 PM

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