Author: Jotirmaya Sharma
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0670049905
The upsurge of militant Hindu nationalism in the past decade has brought to the fore questions of who is a Hindu, what is Hinduism, and what does Hindutva and Hinduism mean to Hindus. Seeking answers, this book attempts to explain political Hindutva as an outcome of the endeavours by various philosophers and ideologues in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to restate Hinduism while simultaneously addressing questions of nationalism, identity and culture. It delves into the writings of Swami Dayanand, Sri Aurobindo ,SwamiVivekananda and VD Savarkar, to show how the four have forged elements constituting political Hindutva in its contemporary guise.
Unravelled, for example, is the role of supremacy accorded to the Vedas and the Upanishads in making Hindustan a codified, monochromatic, excluding entity, and setting aside the importance of theology; of caricatured Islam and the tirades against Muslims, Jains, Buddhists and even Vaishnavites in reaffirming the clash of Hinduism with other religions as a core ingredient, besides introducing invective, abuse and contempt as tools of writings; of the renewal of kshatriyahood or manliness in scoring masculinity, aggressiveness and violence as essential attributes.
Erudite, incisive and unsparing, Hindutva offers us original insights into the intellectual traditions that have nourished political Hindutva. While being a powerful indictment of this position, it proposes the need for an enquiry into traditions that perceive Hinduism as complimentary with multiple identities, openness to new currents of thought, and to understanding, accommodation and assimilation of even contrary philosophical strains.
Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
A Note on Translations