Savarkar promoted Hindutva as a ‘political ideology’ rather than a ‘religious ideology’ like Hinduism

The two terms; Hinduism and Hindutva are being widely debated mainly because of Salman Khursheed’s recent writing in which he aligned Hindutva with the ideology of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Boko Haram.

Khursheed wrote, “Sanatan Dharma and classical Hinduism known to sages and saints were being pushed aside by a robust version of Hindutva, by all standards a political version similar to the jihadist Islam of groups like ISIS and Boko Haram of recent years.”

Though it is debatable up to what extent he was wrong or right, however, it is a matter of fact that Hinduism and Hindutva are two separate terms. As the promoter of the term Hindutva, Vinayak Damodar Das Savarkar promoted Hindutva as a ‘political ideology’ rather than a ‘religious ideology’ like Hinduism with the objective to consolidate Hindus for the making of the ‘Hindu Rashtra’.

As per Savarkar, Hindu was the one who identifies the first and perceptible source to the Himalayan altitudes of the Vedic Saptasindhu. It could also be understood as the one whose fatherland and holy land is Bharat. In this way, those who have converted to Christianity and Islam would not be considered as Hindus although they are sharing common culture and lifestyle, Bharat being their fatherland, as they do not regard the same as their holy land.

Savarkar has been branded as the one who politicised religion through bringing religious metaphors. He was the prime ambassador of Hindu nationalism in the discourse of Indian politics. The ultimate aim of Savarkar was to establish a Hindu Rashtra, which could also be interpreted as opposite to the spirit and ethos of the composite culture which has been the hallmark of the Indian civilization for numerous centuries.

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