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Thursday, Aug 22, 2019

Why India won’t become a Hindu Pakistan

As long as Bharat is embedded within Hindutva, it will never become Pakistan

analysis Updated: Aug 08, 2018 18:32 IST
Manmohan Vaidya
Manmohan Vaidya
If Pakistan accepts its liberal heritage, then it will become ‘Hindu Pakistan’
If Pakistan accepts its liberal heritage, then it will become ‘Hindu Pakistan’(REUTERS)

A senior leader of the Congress recently said that if the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) returns to power, India will become a “Hindu Pakistan”.

Several leaders of the Congress party, perhaps supported by the evangelical Church and influenced by the un-Indian ideology of Communism, continue to issue statements that hurt the very identity and glory of Bharat. When these highly educated people make such statements, one is reminded of the comment made in the report of education commission by former President Dr S Radhakrishnan in 1949: “One of the serious complaints against the system of education which has prevailed in this country for over a century is that it neglected India’s past, that it did not provide the Indian students with the knowledge of their own culture. It has produced in some cases the feeling that we are without roots, in others, what is worse, that our roots bind us to a world very different from that which surrounds us.”

Clearly, this un-Indianisation has gone so deep that it has influenced our thinking, even our vocabulary. Hindu Pakistan, Hindu Taliban, Hindu terror — all these terms exhibit a completely un-Indian thought. In fact, the expression “Hindu Pakistan” is a complete oxymoron. Before we recognise the meaninglessness of this term, we should understand what Bharat and Hindutva are.

Speaking about Bharat in Nagpur recently, the former President Dr Pranab Mukherjee said that “India was a state long before the concept of the European nation state gained ground. This model of a defined territory, a single language, shared religion and a common enemy… led to the formation of various nation states in Europe. On the other hand, Indian nationalism emanated from “universalism”, which finds its roots in the Bharatiya philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam and Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah, Sarve Santu Niramayah. We see the whole world as one family and pray for the happiness and good health of all. Our national identity has emerged through a longdrawn process of confluence, assimilation, and co-existence. The multiplicity in culture, faith and language is what makes India special. We derive strength from not just tolerance but acceptance and respect. We accept and respect pluralism that forms the basis of our composite culture. We take pride and celebrate our diversity. These have been a part of our collective consciousnesses for centuries. Any attempt at defining our nationalism in terms of dogmas and identities of religion, region, hatred and intolerance will only lead to dilution of our national Identity.”

The foundation of this fundamentally liberal, all embracing, tolerant and universal thought is the integral and holistic view of life based on spirituality. This view of life has been called the ‘Hindu view of life’ by Dr Radhakrishnan. Enumerating its distinctive features, he said: “The Hindu method of reform enables every group to retain its past associations and preserve its individuality and interest. As students are proud of their colleges, so are a group of their gods. We need not move students from one college to another, but should do our best to raise the tone of each college, improve its standards and refine its ideals, with the result that each college enables us to attain the same goal.”

He adds: “We see that the Hindu recognises one Supreme Spirit, though different names are given to it. In his social economy he has many castes, but one society. In terms of population there are many races and tribes, but all are bound together by one common spirit.”

Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore also said the same thing in his essay “Swadeshi Samāj”. He wrote: “To feel unity in diversity, to establish unity amongst variety — this is the underlying dharma of Bharat. Bharat does not regard difference as hostility, she does not regard other as enemy. That is why without sacrifice or destruction she wants to accommodate everybody within one great system. That is why she accepts all ways and sees the greatness of each in his own sphere. Because of this virtue in Bharat we shall not be frightened considering any society as our opponent. Each fresh conflict will enable us to expand ourselves. The Hindus, the Buddhist, the Muslim and the Christian will not fight each other and die in India; here they will find a meeting point. That point will not be non-Hindu, but very specifically Hindu. However foreign may be her body parts, her life and spirit will be of Bharat only.”

The Congress leaders forget that Pakistan was formed in denial of this liberal, all embracing, integral and holistic spiritual tradition. This is the result of un-Indianisation through education and the influence of un-Indian ideologies like Communism. As long as Bharat is embedded within Hindutva, it will never become Pakistan. It is only due to the rejection of Hindutva that Pakistan was born. The unity, independence and sovereignty of Bharat is its existence — “Astitva” — and the philosophical and cultural heritage based upon spirituality of Bharat is its identity — “Asmita”. Due to petty political interest, leaders of the Congress are denying the very identity of Bharat. This is a matter of deep concern. Don’t they realise that the denial of its inherent identity can threaten the very existence of Bharat?

The liberal Indian culture which celebrates diversity, and of which Dr Mukherjee spoke, and which was called as “Hindu view of life” by Dr Radhakrishnan and Tagore, was inherited even by Pakistan. But it became Pakistan because it snapped ties with this rich heritage. If it reconnects itself to this heritage, then without leaving its Muslim way of worship it can remain Hindu. Innumerable people like MC Chagla, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam and the Pakistan-born Canadian resident Tarek Fatah, while continuing to follow the Muslim faith, connected themselves with this heritage. In this way, even while remaining Muslim, if Pakistan accepts this liberal and tolerant heritage, then it will become “Hindu Pakistan”; in other words, it will become “Bharat”. It can do this even while retaining its separate political identity.

Manmohan Vaidya is sah sarkaryavah (joint general secretary), Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh

The views expressed are personal
(This is the first of a two-part column on India’s identity and its roots)

First Published: Aug 08, 2018 11:59 IST

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