|A guide to|
|Persons of interest|
Hindutva (literally translated: "Hinduness")[note 1] is a majoritarian political ideology and far-right ethnonationalist movement. Basically, a melding of Hindu Fundamentalism and Hindu Fascism and forms the basis of the Hindu nationalist movement in India as a political form[note 2] of militant nationalism that aims to eliminate the secular foundation of India's constitutional democracy and turn India into a Hindu State (“Hindu Rashtra”) also referred to as “Rama’s Realm” (“Ram Rajya”).
In India, an umbrella organization called the Sangh Parivar champions the ideology of Hindutva. The Sangh comprises organizations such as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council), and others.
From its very inception in 1923, its promoters have often resorted to cherry-picking events, evidence, and the meanings drawn from the interpretations of the facts to spread its message through historical revisionism; extra-constitutional violence, whether to mobilise mass agitations or to silence dissent through mob lynching; or encouraging doublethink to justify contradictory statements.
The Hindu nationalist movement, though primarily concentrated in India, has global presence and a section of the Indian diaspora living in the Europe and North America fund Hindutva groups in those countries, as well as in India.
What it is
In popular writings on the subject, Hindutva has been variously described as “Hinduism on steroids,” as “Hinduism which resists,” or as “an illegitimate child of Hinduism.”
“”Surely Hitler knows better than Pandit Nehru [refers to Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India] does what suits Germany best. The very fact that Germany or Italy has so wonderfully recovered and grown so powerful as never before at the touch of Nazi or Fascist magical wand is enough to prove that those political ‘isms’ were the most congenial tonics their health demanded.
Savarkar also said that Hitler was not a human monster because he was a Nazi. "Nazism proved undeniably the saviour of Germany." Furthermore, Savarkar criticised the Jews for "failing to absorb into the German national fabric" (i.e., convert their religion) and compared them to Muslims in India (who should do the same) saying “A Nation is formed by a majority living therein. What did the Jews do in Germany? They being in minority were driven out from Germany.” “If we Hindus grow stronger, Muslim friends... will have to play the part of German Jews.” Even though he held such views, he still supported the establishment of the Jewish state of Israel, as it was not only in accordance to his theory of nationalism, but also as a "bulwark against the Islamic Arabic world."
Hindu nationalist groups in India like the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) were inspired not by Hindu teachings, but by Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s fascists in Italy.
This explains how Hindutva's slogan of “One Nation! One Culture! One Religion! One Language!" sounds uncannily similar to the Nazi slogan of “Ein Volk! Ein Reich! Ein Fuehrer!”... Italian Fascism, German Nazism, and Hindutvan Fundamentalism all came around the same time in the 1920s... Crowds marching under fascist and swastika banners, black, brown shirts and khaki shorts, saffron flags, black hats and tridents, with clenched fist salutes... and even acknowledging the Aryan, Nordic and Roman gods of racial solidarity, all seem eerily similar.
The three essentials of Hindutva ideology are common nation (rashtra in Hindi), common race (jati in Hindi) and common culture/civilisation (sanskriti in Hindi).  So Hindutva is similar to ideologies like pan-Islamism and is antithetical to multiculturalism and secularism including instances of atheism. Several academics have described Hindutva as a far right ideology.
The word “Hindutva” wasn’t even used in Ancient Hindu scriptures such as the four Vedas, the Upanishads, and the Puranas, nor in the Buddhist scriptures or anywhere else. The various traditions used their philosophical and spiritual practices — such as Vaishnavs, Shakta, Mahayana, Vajrayana, Advaita etc. — to identify themselves. But no one called themselves Hindus. Even Adi Shankara, credited to have revived "Hinduism", didn't have the word "Hindu" in his vernacular.
This was, until 1923 when it was first mentioned in V.D. Savarkar’s book, Hindutva, which “articulates criteria for Indian identity based on citizenship, common ancestry, common culture and regard for India as fatherland (pitrbhu) and sacred land (puṇyabhu).” For Savarkar, Christians and Muslims could never be true Indians, despite the presence of both religions in India for centuries.[note 3] Savarkar in his book Essentials of Hindutva had also quoted "A Hindu marrying a Hindu may lose his caste but not his Hindutva." Athough the subject regarding intercaste marriages has different viewership across the broad spectrum of Hindutva following sect.
There are contradictory statements and views among people associated with the Hindu nationalist movement regarding the question of irreligion and atheism. Y. Sudershan Rao, who was appointed the head of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) after the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) formed government in 2014, tries to explain the meaning of "Hindu" arguing, "Hindu in ancient times was a name given to people who were living to the east of the Indus river up to Kanyakumari. Hindus were religious, nonreligious, and irreligious. As a historian, I look at it that way." This argument includes irreligious people as Hindu, if Hindu is defined as an ethnic identity. On the other hand, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the largest Hindu nationalist organization in India, constructs the idea of an "ideal Hindu family." According to a leader of the organization, "We also want people to see to it that their households look like proper Hindu homes: a tulsi plant, images of Hindu gods, the gayatri mantra, etc. should ideally be physically there." This idea of an "ideal Hindu family" obviously excludes atheists and other religions, contradicting the view that irreligion comes within the Hindutva fold.
What it is not
“” Hinduism is a religion, guiding one to live a meaningful life, whereas Hindutva is a political movement claiming Hindu belief to be superior to others. Hinduism guides people towards moksha or salvation from the conflicts of life and frees you, whereas Hindutva guides people to acquire political power and subjugate all others.
|—Dr. Mike Ghouse, author and speaker|
“Hindutva unites Hindus”
Hindu Fundamentalism is synonymous with casteism and untouchability, with many Hindutva leaders such as Golwalkar[note 4] justifying it and demanding the misogynist and casteist Manusmriti (the Ancient Hindu code of law) to replace the democratic Indian constitution.
Even though Savarkar, the creator of Hindutva, was against caste, for the purpose of unifying the Hindu community against the Muslims, ever since the installation Hindutva parties such as BJP in the Indian states, declining rates of violence against Dalits (lowest caste) , including rapes of Dalit women, have been at an all time high.
“Hindutva unites Indians”
Hindu Fascist groups have instigated mob violence throughout their history among minorities such as Christians and Muslims etc. who have stayed in India for several centuries along with Hinduism. Hindutva aims to eliminate the secular and democratic foundations of the country. The leaders of the ideology were once opposed to both the flag of India (and refuse to use it) and its constitution.. RSS have started to hoist the national flag since 2002.
If Hindutva was really about uniting Indians and teaching them their own culture, then why does it have to relate it to religion? Why does the term Hindu have to be enforced on anyone living in the Indian subcontinent? What is the need to rebrand patriotism with the face of religion slapped to it?
Hindutva in practice
Hindutva advocates are accused of suppressing freedom of speech and freedom of expression by banning books, films, and other cultural media which they don't like, rejecting the idea of freedom of choice, and instigating mob violence. In order to gather such a mob, they claim that Hindu culture is under attack by Muslims and Christians to label their hateful ideology as “Hinduism’s Survival Guide To Abrahamic Imperialism.”
MS Golwalkar (1903-1973), the second leader of the RSS, praised Nazi Germany’s racial policies and insisted on their use on Indian Muslims as well.
In 2015, the vice-president of the Hindutva organization All India Hindu Assembly (Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha (ABHM) in Hindi), Sadhvi Deva Thakur, said that the population growth of Muslims and Christians in India need to be controlled by forcibly sterilizing them.
|—Sadhvi Deva Thakur|
“”Wait and watch... Muslims and Christians will be wiped out of India by December 31, 2021... This is our pledge.
“”We will cleanse our Hindu society. We will not let the conspiracy of church or mosque succeed in Bharat… The Hindu wave has just begun. In 10 years we will convert all Christians and Muslims.
|—Rajeshwar Singh, RSS member|
In 2015, Sadhvi Deva Thakur also urged Hindus to have more children to increase their population. BJP MP (member of parliament) Sakshi Maharaj said that every Hindu woman must have four children.
“”The time has come when a Hindu woman must produce at least four children in order to protect Hindu religion.
|—Sakshi Maharaj, BJP MP|
After this remark, another BJP politician suggested that Hindu women should have five children.
“”I want to tell my Hindu mothers and sisters that if they don’t have five children, there will be no equilibrium in India in future. Don’t misunderstand me. To protect Hinduism and Sanatan Dharma, it is necessary for all Hindus to give birth to five children.
“”Which law says that the population of Hindus’ should not rise? What is stopping them when population of others’ is rising. The issue is not related to the system. It is because the social environment is like this.
“”Ayurveda has all the details about how we can get the desired physical and mental qualities of babies. IQ is developed during the sixth month of pregnancy. If the mother undergoes specific procedures, like what to eat, listen and read, the desired IQ can be achieved. Thus, we can get a desired, customised baby.
|—Karishma Mohandas Narwani, national convener of the project.|
“”To keep up the purity of the nation and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of Semitic races – the Jews. National pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by.
|—Madhav Golwalkar, the second chief of the RSS|
In May 2017, RSS’s health wing Arogya Bharati announced their grand plan titled "Garbh Vigyan Sanskar" (lit. Science & Culture of the Womb) to make India great again, using Nazi eugenics and their concept of race. The plan includes giving prescription to those babies of the "intended parents" (ie. Hinduism fundamentalist parents, rich, backing the project) and
brainwashing "purifying" (shuddhikaran) for 3 months. These "ubermenschen" über-babies (uttam santati) are purported to be smarter, taller, and fairer. If you are having WW2 and Nazism flashbacks already, don't worry, because RSS says that the origin of this science lay in the Mahabharata (a Hindu scripture), which is where the Germans stole it from. Varshney says the project was inspired by the advice a senior RSS officer received many years ago in Nazi Germany.
“”He was told that it was due to a woman called ‘Mother of Germany’. When he met her and asked about this resurrection, she told him, ‘you have come from India, have you not heard of Abhimanyu (the son of Arjuna in the epic Mahabharata)?’ She told him that the new generation in Germany was born through Garbh Sanskar and that is why the country is so developed
|—Ashok Kumar Varshney, RSS pracharak for over 30 years and national organising secretary of Arogya Bharati|
The project is conducted in two parts; before and after pregnancy. Jani, a veteran RSS swayamsevak, states: “The first part involves nadi shuddhi (purification of energy channels) and deh shuddhi (purification of body) for 90 days. During this period, we purify the male’s sperm and the female’s egg. The new egg and sperm thus developed will not have genetic defects,” After the baby is delivered, a proper diet of milk and ghee is administered. Furthermore, “If the mother chants shlokas and mantras, it helps in the mental growth of the baby… if she leads such a life, there will be no labour pain and the baby will gain up to 300g more weight.”
Manipulating public education
Hindu nationalists have heavily invested in rewriting Indian history to advance their political agenda. These efforts had first begun in 1999 when BJP governed India between 1999 and 2004. Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi government, this usually takes the form of deleting chapters inconvenient to their narrative, and adding their own pseudohistory mixing Hinduism myths and facts.
The main rhetoric followed by the ruling body of Hindutva advocacy, RSS, is to help people rediscover the greatness of ancient India and re-imagine a golden age before it was "contaminated" by "foreign" invasions (ie. all other religions except of course Hinduism). It is common for RSS
slaves unpaid workers and supporters to describe ancient India as a "golden bird" where they invented every fucking thing in the universe but the "foreigners" stole it from them. That is why they need to recreate this prehistoric perfect age where the Hindus did everything right – where there were no Muslims or Christians or Sikhs or Parsis at the time who coexisted peacefully – and everything we ever invented was from the ancient "science" of Ayurveda.
The education wing of the RSS, Vidya Bharti Akhil Bharatiya Shiksha Sansthan, is the largest private network of schools in India, running more than 24 thousand schools across India with more than 3.4 million students and 15 thousand teachers. Most of these are even affiliated to the Central Board of School Education, the central national board for schools in India. Through the BJP party currently in power, this extremist right-wing organisation has taken the control over many of the country’s policies. Now, it has started using public education as a political tool for brainwashing.
Hindutva writer Dinanath Batra, former general secretary of Vidya Bharati, founded an organization euphemistically named Shiksha Bachao Andolan (Save Education Movement),[note 5] believes religious education should be an integral part of school curriculum.
“”What we need in India is value-based education, education that will build character. We can’t do that without religion,[note 6] so religious studies[note 7] must become a part of school curriculum.
Batra has written some school textbooks which are taught in the Indian state of Gujarat and Uttarakhand, where the Hindu nationalist BJP forms government. On 30th June, 2014, his books were made part of the school curriculum by the Gujrat government in more than 42000 Primary and Secondary government schools in Gujarat. If one explores these in depth, what is written in his books are bound to give laughs as well as shock to any educated sane person. An example of blatant racism and horrible misinformation is given below:
“”Once Dr Radhakrishnan [first vice-president of India] went for a dinner. There was a Briton at the event who said, "We are very dear to God." Radhakrishnan laughed and told the gathering, "Friends, one day God felt like making rotis [Flat bread made from wholemeal flour and consumed in the Indian subcontinent] When he was cooking the rotis, the first one was cooked less and the English were born. The second one stayed longer on the fire and the Negroes were born. Alert after His first two mistakes, when God went on to cook the third roti, it came out just right and as a result Indians were born."
|—schoolbook written by Dinanath Batra|
The above passage endorses classification of people based on skin color. It claims that Indian people are "just right" while people with lighter or darker skin color are the result of something going wrong.
Another blatant example of racism from his book is where people with darker skin color are depicted as violent criminals:
“”The aircraft was flying thousands of feet high in the sky. A very strongly built negro reached the rear door and tried to open it. The air-hostesses tried to stop him but the strongly built negro pushed the soft-bodied hostesses to the floor and shouted, 'Nobody dare move a step ahead'. An Indian grabbed the negro and he could not escape. The pilot and the Indian together thrashed the negro and tied him up with a rope. Like a tied buffalo, he frantically tried to escape but could not. The plane landed safely in Chicago. The negro was a serious criminal in the Chicago records and this brave Indian was an employee of Air India.
|—schoolbook written by Dinanath Batra|
This does not even come close to the pseudoscientific insanity that gets passed as education in Dinanath’s books. Especially entertaining examples include:
- Television was not invented by John Logie Baird in 1926 but rather by Indian rishis; Sanjay, using his “Divya Shakti” (holy power) could provide live telecast of the Mahabharata to the blind Dhritarashtra.
- The map of India includes Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Burma, because that is Akhand Bharat.
Aside from Batra's books, the RSS also publishes other schoolbooks.
“”Q: Which are the countries along our present-day border that were once part of our country? A: Brahmadesh (Myanmar) and Bangladesh to the east, Pakistan and Afghanistan to the west, Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan to the north, and Sri Lanka to the south.
|—Bodhmala 4, page 5|
This is a page from Bodhmala 4, a textbook on cultural knowledge for class 4 students from Vidya Bharti.
The teachers’ guidebook of the same series also states:
“”Earlier, Hindu culture prevailed all over Jambudweep... what we call Asia today was the ancient Jambudweep. The whole of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Kazakhstan, Israel, Russia, Mongolia, China, Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia, Java, Sumatra, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan and Afghanistan were part of it. […] In the aftermath of the war between the Kauravas and the Pandavas, it shrunk into Āryāvarta, which included Afghanistan and Pakistan, but attacks, religious conversions and wars in between left us with only Hindustan... according to scientific enquiries, Himalaya and its surroundings, having Kailasa at its centre, is the oldest specimen of land on earth. Trivishtapa (Tibet) is the highest part of land on earth. Arguably, it is here that the human race emerged in the aftermath of the catastrophic flood.
|—Bodhmala, Teacher’s Guidebook|
These are some of the many “facts” expounded in the Bodhmala series – textbooks for Class 4-12 students and three guidebooks for teachers – published by the same Haryana-based Vidya Bharti Sanskriti Shiksha Sansthan.
Vidya Bharti publishes three books for teachers: Praveshika, Madhyama and Uttama.
“”Foreign historians like Müller, Weber, Ludwig, Housman, Schroeder have spread wrong conceptions about the Vedas, Rama and Krishna and tried to cut off India’s new generation from the pride of our nation’s antiquity and cultural spread. Unfortunately, several Indian historians too started following them and we ended up considering the real existence of our vast nation as imagination. But new history proves that today’s independent countries like Trivishtapa (Tibet), Upaganasthan (Afghanistan), Brahmadesh (Myanmar), Sinhala (Sri Lanka) and Kingpurush (Nepal) had once been part of undivided India.
|—Uttama page 33|
Other interesting factz and tidbits include:
- Boomerang is modelled on Krishna’s Sudarshana Chakra.
- China is a Sanskrit word, and it has "Aryan culture".
- Colonel James Tod, an East India Company officer, traced the origins of the Chinese back to the son of Pururava mentioned in the Indian puranas.
- India is the world’s oldest nation.[note 8] For instance, page 8 of Bodhmala 8 says, "Manushya-matra ki janani adibhumi Bharat." meaning "All human beings originate from India."[note 9]
- They refer to the Arabian Sea as the "Sindhu Sea", and the Indian Ocean as the "Hindu Ocean".
RSS's grip over public education is not limited to the thousands of Vidya Bharati schools. Education ministers in other BJP ruled states, like in the case of Rajasthan’s education minister Vasudev Devnani, have created their own school textbooks by taking notes from Vidya Bharati. After defeating the their opposition in Rajasthan, 2013, the BJP appointed a textbook writing committee selecting only members of the RSS. Some of the changes in Devnani's revised textbooks include...
- The math books of every class will contain a chapter on "Vedic mathematics".
- Emphasis on "new contexts and concerns at the state and national level," which takes examples of two (failed) BJP-led government policies, namely the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yojana ("Save The Girl Child, Educate The Girl Child Campaign") and the Swachh Bharat Mission ("Clean India Mission").
- Enforcing the Hindu supremacist worldview by removing minorities from it entirely. In "Ajmeer ki Sair", a story of two boys sightseeing the city of Ajmeer for class 3 students, was revised to remove the Muslim characters and places with Muslim names to insert the names of past Hindu rulers "who defeated Bharat’s invaders... several times" and Hindu religious places. The name of the book was also changed to "Ajmeer ki Yatra".
- Any mentions of Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minister and famous freedom fighter, was completely removed from the revised class 8 social science books. It does not mention who India’s first Prime Minister was. This is because of Nehru was a Congress party member, who is the main opposition of the BJP.
- The revised Hindi textbook for class 5 has a chapter on Kaamdhenu, detailing the benefits humans can earn if they consider a cow as their mother. The animal's portrait in the book has a pantheon of Hindu gods tattooed on its body.
- Lines between fiction from scriptures and nonfictional history is blurred as history texts contain sections about stories from the Mahabharata and Ramayana as historical accounts. The revised history textbook for class 6 talks about how the Pandavas spent their days in exile while Rama ruled over the ancient kingdoms of India.
- Attempts to create national pride through nationalist pseudohistory. The revised class 7 history textbook states that Maharana Pratap won the Battle of Haldighati against Akbar; the exact opposite of what happened.
What makes this revisionism so severe in Rajasthan's case, is that teachers lack any other resources to teach children. For the majority of the Rajasthan students who study in government schools, these free textbooks are perhaps the only ones most of them will ever be exposed to.
The Bhagavad Gita, a famous Hindu scripture, has been made mandatory for all students studying in government public schools in BJP-ruled states, such as Gujrat, where the Gita will be taught from 6th class “in such a way that students will develop an interest in it,” says Gujarat's Education Minister Jitu Vaghani, and in classes 9-12 they will be offered a deeper look into the book. After Gujrat's implementation, BJP-ruled Karnataka also plans to teach the scripture, saying "If not Bhagavad Gita, what else will impart moral values?". This is the same state that banned hijab to "keep religion out of schools".
The Sangh Parivar and Hindutva advocates in general also indulge in a lot of pseudoscientific claims. For example, it is not uncommon to find Hindutva proponents claiming that the discoveries of modern science are actually re-discoveries of what had been found ages ago by the ancient Hindu saints. Also, they tend to justify things like Ayurveda using pseudoscientific blabber.
Vedic Science is a concept used by Hindutva advocates to denote to the scientific tradition of ancient India.[note 10] Astrologer Gayatri Devi Vasudev writing for The Organiser, a publication of the Hindutva organization the RSS, claimed that the distinction of science and pseudoscience (or protoscience) is Eurocentric and inapplicable to Vedic Science:
“”Western scientific thought draws on the traditions of Greek rationalist thinking according to which only what is within the purview of the five senses is taken cognisance of. Scientific methods follow some kind of closed scientific reasoning which insulates itself against facts that its methods cannot account for. How else can they [scientists] dare dismiss Jyotisha (astrology) which sees a level of existence beyond the purview of the five senses?
“”The idea of 'contradiction' is an imported one from the West in recent times by the Western-educated, since 'Modern Science' arbitrarily imagines that it only has the true knowledge and its methods are the only methods to gain knowledge, smacking of Semitic dogmatism in religion.
Even before the advent of the Bharatiya Janata Party, there was a pseudoscientific historian named PN Oak, who made numerous ridiculous claims. Among them, was the allegation that the Taj Mahal was a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva, and that the Patriarch Abraham, was a Brahman (Abraham, Brahman). He also alleged that the Vatican originated as a Vedic priesthood (Vatican, Vatika), when it has been clearly documented that it was a successor to the Papal States, itself a successor to Western Imperium Romanum. (Just because a bunch of words are similar, that does NOT imply common origin. Hell, the fact that Japanese fisherman chant 'Yahweh', does NOT mean that they descended from the lost tribes of Israel).
In 2014, after the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power, it appointed Y. Sudershan Rao, a history professor associated with a RSS-affiliated organization, as the head of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR). Rao believes that material evidence is not necessary to write the history of India. He said during an interview with the Outlook magazine,
“”Western schools of thought look at material evidence of history. We can’t produce material evidence for everything. India is a continuing civilisation. To look for evidence would mean digging right though the hearts of villages and displacing people. We only have to look at the people to figure out the similarities in their lives and the depiction in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. For instance, the Ramayana mentions that Rama had travelled to Bhadrachalam (in Andhra Pradesh). A look at the people and the fact that his having lived there for a while is in the collective memory of the people cannot be discounted in the search for material evidence. In continuing civilisations such as ours, the writing of history cannot depend only on archaeological evidence. We have to depend on folklore too.
|—Y. Sudershan Rao, head of the Indian Council of Historical Researh|
However, this statement is fallacious and in good old RationalWiki fashion, we have dissected and responded to it:
|Western schools of thought look at material evidence of history.||Historians actually use a method called oral history to record non-material evidence. It deals with collective memory and individual construction of history, so Rao is straw manning here. The difference between oral history and Rao's "method" (if you can call it that) is that the former has a critical approach, whereas Rao simply takes folklore at face value. Rao also sets up a false East/West dilemma, a technique used by fundamentalists in Asia to attack the supposed Euro- and Americentric scientism of "Western" academia and replace it with their preferred brand of pseudoscience.|
|We can’t produce material evidence for everything. India is a continuing civilisation.||See my hands waving! As Christopher Hitchens so pithily put it: "What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." Rao also forgets to explain what "a continuing civilisation" is and why it means we should ditch normal criteria for conducting historical enquiries. Rao seems to be taking a page from the book of paranormal woo peddlers who make all kinds of excuses for why their branch of woo doesn't work when subjected to controlled experiments. Try imagining a Dane, making this same argument and insisting that the tales of Thor and the Jörmungandr has to be taken as fact(oids), because Denmark is part of "a continuing Norse civilisation". Try again.|
|To look for evidence would mean digging right though the hearts of villages and displacing people.||Argument from adverse consequences. It's also a red herring or possibly an escape hatch bordering on an emotional appeal ("Oh, the poor farmers!" - as if anyone suggests that it's necessary to move in with bulldozers and demolition crews and raze the houses of the poor villagers. Contrast with how we've acquired knowledge of other ancient, but still inhabited, sites, such as Rome, Jerusalem, Jericho or Istanbul).|
|We only have to look at the people to figure out the similarities in their lives and the depiction in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.||If this seems familiar, it's because it's a Hindu version of the old biblical literalist nugget of "these events were real, hence the entire Bible must be correct!" Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, Rao. Rao is also begging the question, because he uses the fact that folklore occasionally matches written epics which were originally oral epics as evidence that the written version is correct. This is patently absurd because it amounts to using the correspondence between the depiction of Spider-Man in the movies and in the comics as "evidence" that Spider-Man must be real and that the movies are essentially documentaries. It's what we call circular evidence.|
|For instance, the Ramayana mentions that Rama had travelled to Bhadrachalam (in Andhra Pradesh). A look at the people and the fact that his having lived there for a while is in the collective memory of the people cannot be discounted in the search for material evidence.||Here Rao combines the appeal to tradition with an argumentum ad populum. Why would the fact that countless people have believed something for a long time mean it's real? Loads of people believed in the pantheon of the Greco-Roman or ancient Egyptian religions, but practically no one do so now. Why should we accept Rao's myths?|
|In continuing civilisations such as ours, the writing of history cannot depend only on archaeological evidence. We have to depend on folklore too.||And so we return to the hand waving, ad hoc'ing and argument by assertion. Yeah, Rao, keep repeating it and it will magically become a good argument and every rationalist will believe you...|
Revisionism of science and technology
Y. Sudershan Rao claimed that Indians used to fly aircraft, conduct stem cell research and use cosmic weapons 5000 years ago, and believes that the Indian epics the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, which were written two millennia ago, are not fiction, but essentially history books.[note 11] He argues humans did not develop the art of fiction writing until a few centuries ago; hence, the events and things described in these epics must be real.
In the school textbook Tejomay Bharat written by Hindutva writer Dinanath Batra, it is claimed that television was invented in the age of Mahabharata ca. two millennia ago:
Batra's textbook also claimed that the automobile was first invented in ancient India:
In the Indian epic Mahabharata, a character Karna is described as having born to an unmarried woman. In 2014, while delivering a lecture in front of a group of doctors and other professionals, Narendra Modi, BJP politician and the 14th Prime Minister of India, said that Karna's birth outside his mother's womb is the proof of the existence of genetic science in ancient India:
Ganesha is a well-known Hindu deity. His body is that of a human and his head is that of an elephant. In 2014, Modi suggested that this could be possible because an ancient Indian plastic surgeon transplanted elephant's head on the body of a human being.
“” We can feel proud of what our country achieved in medical science at one point of time... We worship Lord Ganesha. There must have been some plastic surgeon at that time who got an elephant’s head on the body of a human being and began the practice of plastic surgery."
Hindutva movement worldwide
The Hindutva movement is not an Indian-only phenomenon. It is present worldwide, in Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries. A number of organizations, mostly in the form of non-profits, constitute the movement and a section of the Hindu Indian diaspora in different countries support these organizations. An average supporter of an Hindutva organization may not adhere to the extremist beliefs of these organizations, but they join or support these organizations out of a perceived sense of alienation in a country where Hindus constitute a religious minority.
In the United States, Hindu nationalists take the benefit of the liberal secular atmosphere of the pluralist American society and draw on multiculturalist discourse for their presence, while at the same time they fund cultural and political organizations in India that spread hatred and commit acts of violence against India's religious minorities. In Australia, Hindu nationalist organizations legitimise their activities through the rhetoric of liberal multiculturalism. At the same time, just like the American Hindutva organizations, they promote hatred against religious minorities in India.
- See the Wikipedia article on Hindutva.
- Hindutva: Myths and Reality
- Hindu Fascism 101: What is Hindutva?
- Hindutva Harassment Field Manual
- Hindu nationalists are gaining power in India — and silencing enemies along the way, The Independent
- Hindu nationalists flex muscles in Narendra Modi’s India, Financial Times
- The Triumph of the Hindu Right Foreign Affairs
- Hitler’s Hindus: The Rise and Rise of India’s Nazi-loving Nationalists, Haaretz
- How did Hindus become Hindu and why Hindutva is not Hinduism
Propaganda in education:
- Delete and control - the Parivar's mantra, article about manipulation of school textbooks
- Hindutva’s Dangerous Rewriting of History, full text from journal
- The Hindutva View of History: Rewriting Textbooks in India and the United States, full text from the Harvard Library of Scholarly Communication
- The Textbook of Chanakya's Pupils. Vidya Bharati and Its Gauravsali Bharat Textbook in Uttarakhand, full text.
- The Saffronization of Indian Textbooks
- Hate factory: Inside Kapil Mishra’s ‘Hindu Ecosystem’ (Long read) How Hindutva groups manipulate social media.
- Tek Fog: An App With BJP Footprints for Cyber Troops to Automate Hate, Manipulate Trends (Long read) How the BJP automates this manipulates manipulation through unsettling means.
- #EyeballPolitics Facebook Investigation (4-part investigative series) The BJP's relations with Facebook itself
- Peddler of myths, article examining manipulation of History
- Postmodernism, Hindu nationalism and `Vedic science'
- The foreign hand, article shows how Hindutva groups collect money in America and then send it back to extremist organizations in India
- In god's name, article explaining how the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America grew
- The Parivar in America, an article about Hindu nationalist activities in the United States
- Trans-atlantic thrust, another article about Hindu nationalist activities in North America
- Western Hindutva: Hindu nationalism in the United Kingdom and North America
- Hindutva Abroad, The California Textbook Controversy
- Indian alt-right glossary
- National mysticism
- Nationalist pseudohistory
- Nationalism in history textbooks
- 969 Movement
- Christian Identity
- Sanskrit -tva is a neuter abstract suffix, hence Hindu-ness in English.
- Hindutva was mainstreamed into Indian politics with Narendra Modi's election as Prime Minister in 2014.
- Savarkar argued that they
“”...cannot be recognized as Hindus; as since their adoption of the new cult they had ceased to own Hindu civilisation [Sanskriti] as a whole. They belong, or feel that they belong to, a cultural unit altogether different from the Hindu one. Their heroes and their hero-worship, their fairs and their festivals, their ideals and their outlook on-life, have now ceased to be common with ours...
“”The Virat Purusha, the Almighty manifesting himself… Brahmin is the head, Kshatriya the hands, Vaishya the thighs and Shudra the feet. This means that the people who have this fourfold arrangement, i.e., the Hindu People, is [sic] our God. This supreme vision of Godhead is the very core of our concept of ‘nation’ and has permeated our thinking and given rise to various unique concepts of our cultural heritage.
- Shiksha (Hindi) means education, Bachao (Hindi) means save, Andolan (Hindi) means movement
- See the RationalWiki page on Humanism.
- By using the term "religious studies", he does not refer to the secular academic discipline religious studies which analyzes religion from a non-religious point of view. He refers to theology when he uses the term.
- India was never a nation, only consisting of fractured empires, until Indian liberals formed an independent India with all of its different cultures. Even if they meant "civilization", there have been civilizations well outside of India such as in Mesopotamia, China, Mesoamerica, and South America.
- Modern Homo-sapiens first originated and evolved from Africa.
- Quite similar to the Hare Krishnas use of the term "Vedic creationism" to give their brand of creationism some ancient Indian patina.
- Similar to how some people read the Bible...
- Aanashva is a name of a kind of rath, rath is a Hindi word which means chariot.
- Yantra (यन्त्र) is a Hindi word which means machine, hence yantra-rath (यन्त्र रथ) means a machine chariot.
- Hindu Fundamentalism, Encyclopedia Britannica
- “After the 1940s and 1950s, a number of scholars have labelled or compared Hindutva to fascism.” (from Wikipedia, check citations)
- Leidig, Eviane (2020). "Hindutva as a variant of right-wing extremism". Patterns of Prejudice 54 (3).
- Hinduism vs Hindutva debate ignores Hindu people, puts religion where it doesn’t exist by Yaajnaseni (11 January, 2020 1:29 pm IST) ThePrint
- E. Frykenberg, Robert (2008). "Hindutva as a Political Religion: An Historical Perspective". The Sacred in Twentieth-Century Politics: pp 178-220. (See full text)
- Hindutva the ideology the impact and the implications, Academic paper by Imsu Jinger (Free full text)
- Cherry-picking only Hindu icons: BJP’s cultural nationalism threatens idea of pluralistic India, by G Pramod Kumar (May 18, 2015 18:45:06 IST) Firstpost
- By rewriting history, Hindu nationalists aim to assert their dominance over India by Rupam Jain and Tom Lasseter (March 6, 2018, 11 a.m. GMT) Reuters
- Iwanek, Krzysztof. (2015). The Textbook of Chanakya's Pupils. Vidya Bharati and Its Gauravsali Bharat Textbook in Uttarakhand. Archiv orientální. 83. 255-+.
- Baber, Zaheer (March 2000). "Religious Nationalism, Violence and the Hindutva Movement in India". Dialectical Anthropology 25 (1): pp 61-76. (Request full access and see citations)
- Singh, Ujjwal Kumar (2019). "Law, state and right-wing extremism in India". Journal of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism 14 (3).
- Banerjee, Sumanta (Jan 19, 1991). "'Hindutva': Ideology and Social Psychology". Economic and Political Weekly 26 (3): 97-101.
- The BJP's Response to Dalit Protests Only Emphasises Contradictions in Its Hindutva Ideology, (02/AUG/2016) The Wire India
- Sharma, Arvind (Spring 2020). "On the Difference Between Hinduism and Hindutva". Education About Asia 25 (1).
- Hindu Nationalist’s Historical Links to Nazism and Fascism by Palash Ghosh (03/06/12 AT 3:27 PM) International Business Times
- "Rethinking Secularism in India in the Age of Triumphant Fascism" by Murzban Jal (2016) Critique 43(3–4):523–524.
- Vinayak Damodar Savarkar: He admired Hitler and other lesser-known facts about him: He widely read Indian and world history and wrote aggressively on the oppressive British rule in India, his admiration for fascism and his views on Muslims and Christians. by Adrija Roychowdhury (Updated: May 28, 2018 5:29:13 pm) The Indian Express.
- Basu S., Das S. (2005) Knowledge for Politics: Partisan Histories and Communal Mobilization in India and Pakistan. In: Partisan Histories. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-137-09150-5_7
- Savarkar wanted one god, one nation, one goal. Modi has fulfilled his dream with Kashmir move by Vikram Sampath (7 August, 2019 12:46 pm IST) The Print
- How The Idea Of ‘One Religion, One Language, And One Culture’ Is Damaging Indian Secularism by Ananya Barua in Politics (30th October, 2014) YKA (Youth Ki Awaaz ((in eng.) Voice of the youth))
- One nation, one language: Why is Amit Shah inviting trouble? by Editorial Board, Telegraph
- See the Wikipedia article on Führer § Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer.
- Sharma, Arvind (2002). "On Hindu, Hindustan, Hinduism and Hindutva". Numen 49 (1).
- Les Back and John Solomos (2000), Theories of Race and Racism: A Reader, p.591, ISBN 9780415156714. "It is important to note the marriage between far-right-wing Hindutva ideology and western New Ageism in the works of writers like David Frawley (1994, 1995a, 1995b) who is both a key apologist for the Hindutva movement and the author of various New Age books on Vedic astrology, oracles and yoga."
- Ramayan, Mahabharat historical sources, West dubs them myth: Y Sudershan Rao Economic Times
- RSS focuses on Hindu family values to unify community Hindustan Times
- Golwalkar's views on tricolour, martyrs, minorities, caste as per RSS archives
- See the Wikipedia article on Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh § Opposition to the Constitution of India.
- See the Wikipedia article on Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh § Opposition to the National Flag of India.
- TalkPoint: Is Mohan Bhagwat right in saying that only united Hindus can save India? ThePrint (27 February, 2018 1:25 pm IST)
- Ananya, Vajpeyi (2014). "The Triumph of the Hindu Right: Freedom of Speech and Religious Repression in Modi's India.". Foreign Affairs 93 (5): pp.150–156.
- In the ‘land of storytelling’, Netflix and Amazon Prime reshape India’s creative landscape The Guardian
- No, really. As this unironically demonstrates (Swaraja is a far-right magazine with a history of spreading fake news).
- See the RationalWiki article on Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh § Golwalker.
- Muslims, Christians should be forcibly sterilised: Sadhvi Deva Thakur, India Today
- Hindu Mahasabha Leader Sadhvi Deva Thakur Says Muslims, Christians Should Be Forcibly Sterilised, Huffington Post India
- Every Hindu woman must produce at least 4 kids: Sakshi Maharaj Times of India
- India MP Sakshi Maharaj: Hindus must have more babies BBC
- After Sakshi Maharaj’s ‘4 kids’ remark, a BJP leader now asks Hindu women to bear five children Indian Express
- See the Wikipedia article on List of Sarsanghchalaks of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
- Hindu nationalists are trying to create designer babies that are fair, strong, and smart, by Maria Thomas (May 9, 2017) Quartz
- RSS’ grand plan to help Indians bear fair, bespoke babies exposes Hindutva’s obsession with race by Shoaib Daniyal (May 08, 2017 08:00 am) Scroll
- The link between Arogya Bharati, that promises genius babies, and the RSS that OpIndia couldn’t find by Pratik Sinha (9th May, 2017 10:11 PM) AltNews
- RSS wing has prescription for fair, tall ‘customised’ babies by Ashutosh Bhardwaj (May 7, 2017) The Indian Express
- They Peddle Myths and Call It History, New York Times
- NCERT is removing caste conflict chapters from class 9 History textbooks for HRD Ministry exercise
- Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti, Desh Kosh entry
- India’s new school textbooks favor Hindu nationalist themes, making minorities uneasy Washington Post
- What the government of Gujarat is encouraging children to read is dismaying Quartz
- Top Indian educationalist accused of racism over portrayal of criminal 'negroes' The Telegraph
- From Hindu Ocean to Sindhu Sea: Here’s what RSS-backed schools are teaching children about history by Snigdhendu Bhattacharya (24 Aug, 2021) Newslaundry
- No one, not even Indians, can claim to be part of an ancient nation by Partha Chatterjee (Aug 23, 2021), Scroll.in
- Chan, E.K.F., Timmermann, A., Baldi, B.F. et al. Human origins in a southern African palaeo-wetland and first migrations. Nature 575, 185–189 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-1714-1
- Inspired by the RSS, dictated by BJP minister: The inside story of Rajasthan’s textbook revisions
- See the Wikipedia article on Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yojana § Effectiveness.
- See the Wikipedia article on Swachh Bharat Mission § Reception.
- Vasudev, Gayatri Devi. 2001. Vedic astrology and pseudo-scientific criticism, The Organiser (an English-language publication of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh), reprinted in The Astrological Magazine, cited after Sokal (2006:38)
- Mukhyananda, Swami. 1997. Vedanta in the Context of Modern Science: A (Comparative Study. Mumbai [Bombay]: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.
- Reality Check: Whose Taj Mahal is it anyway?, by Vikas Pandey (2 Nov 2017) BBC
- See the Wikipedia article on P. N. Oak § Taj Mahal Theory.
- Ancient India had aeroplanes, nuclear weapons, says chief of India's premier history body India Today
- ‘Ramayana, Mahabharata Are True Accounts Of The Period...Not Myths’ Outlook
- Fears grow in India about Hindu 'Modi-fication' of education, Reuters
- Science lesson from Gujarat: Stem cells in Mahabharata, cars in Veda Indian Express
- Indian prime minister claims genetic science existed in ancient times The Guardian
- Hindutva Bigotry in America
- Kamat, Sangeetha (et al.) (2003). "'Mapping political violence in a globalized world: The case of Hindu nationalism'". Social Justice 30 (3): pp.4–16.
- Osuri, Goldie (et al.) (2011). "'Transnational Bio/Necropolitics: Hindutva and its Avatars (Australia/India)'". Somatechnics 1 (1): pp.138–160.