“Hindu” vs “Hindutva”

Browsing through Western media channels, I commonly see a mistake being made between these 2 terms. So I will focus my article today on explaining the very important differences between these 2 terms which are being used interchangeably in Western reporting on India!

To put it simply, the word “Hindu” refers to the religion called “Hinduism” or more correctly “Vedic Hinduism”. The word “Hindutva” on the other hand, refers to a political ideology inspired largely from European Fascism. They SHOULD NOT therefore be used interchangeably as is being done now!

A little history lesson for context – Vedic Hinduism as a religion has existed for over 3000 years in some form. One historical view is that nomadic Aryan Tribes moved out of Thrace (modern Bulgaria) and moved northwards and then eastwards over a 1000 years. At some point, the groups split and while one set of tribes moved westwards towards Europe, the other groups pushed Eastwards and settled in the Steppes area of modern day Iran. Across the next millenia, they pushed further eastwards towards India and over the next millenia pushed out the Dravidian Tribes resident towards the South and replaced them in the Gangetic Plains where they remain. Genetic evidence for the “Aryan Invasion Theory” exists depending on whether you choose to believe the X or Y chains in the Gene Blocks. However there is other evidence in the form of linguistic markers between Germanic Languages and “Aryan” languages like Prakrit or Sanskrit from which all Languages in the Northern India are derived. The Southern half of India speaks atleast 7 major languages based on a common Dravidian linguistic base with almost zero connection to Sanskrit, though some Loan words have entered the languages in more recent times. The Genetic markers of people in the North and South are also vastly different with Northern people having genetic markers more common with Iranian Tribes than with Dravidians. A very visible sign of these genetic differences is that people from Northern India tend to be on the fairer side, with some even light skinned enough to pass off as European! My own genetic markers, tested throough an agency called 23andme, show a mix of Dravidian and Middle Eastern markers – which given my “Nazarene Christian” ancestry could be evidence that the “Legend of Thomas” could be true after all!

The RSS itself was ironically a big proponent of the “Aryan Invasion” history till the 1940s when Fascism was ruling the roost in Europe. Both Savarkar and Moonje even wrote extensively on this topic, highlighting the Aryan link and the regressive Caste System as being essential to ensure “Genetic Purity”! They did a full U-Turn on this the moment Mussolini fell from grace! The humiliating fall of Mussolini was an eye-opener. Reading RSS newspaper of the era called “Agrani” is a good way to understand the mindset in this period! However, the Aryan association also opened up a interesting irony which was not lost on the RSS! The entire foundation of the RSS ideology of “Hindutva” rested on the assertion that “Abrahamic Religions” from the West had invaded the Homeland and enslaved it. That same logic could be applied on the Aryan Invaders as well! Indeed, many Dravidian leaders like Periyar who were agitating for a Dravidian homeland in the southern half of India, brought up exactly this point. The RSS, true to its nature, quickly changed it’s stance!

“Hindutva” was a term invented by Savarkar in a 1923 article. It is a clever combination of “Hindu” and the Sanskrit adjunct “tva” roughly meaning “to be”. “tva” in Sanskrit is usually used like “ing” in English (Com-ing, Liv-ing). “Hindutva” was coined by a particularly vile person called “Vinayak Damodar Savarkar” in the 1920s. Savarkar lived and studied in Europe in the early 1900s and witnessed first hand the rise of Fascism in Europe, both Mussolini in Italy and Nazis in Germany. Savarkar passionately believed that the reason for the fall of Hinduism into “slavery” was because of the invasion by “Abrahamic Religions” – Islam and Christianity in that order. If Hindus were to restore their Golden Aryan heritage, they would have to evolve a strategy to fight these 2 religions. Conflict was inevitable. This was by no means unique to him and was a belief popular among Brahmins on the Western Konkan Coast where he came from. He also came to believe after his years as a student in Europe that Fascism as a model was uniquely suited to the cause of fighting the traditional enemies of Hindus – the “Abrahamic Religions” if it was adapted to the Indian context. It did not help that Hitler chose the Aryan Swastika – a deeply religious symbol for most Hindus – as his own symbol for the Nazi party! Savarkar coined the term “Hindutva” for his ideology. That word never existed before that day in 1923 when Savarkar’s article was published! So in essence, while “Hindu” refers to a religion, “Hindutva” means a political ideology – importing European Fascism suitably modified for the Indian people.

The RSS itself was formed officially in 1925 at a time when Fascism was on the rise in Europe. Like Savarkar, the ideological founders of the RSS like Moonje and Golwalkar, both from the same Konkan Brahmin caste as Savarkar, also saw in European Fascism a model for the India they wanted – a totalitarian state unified by one language, one religion (Vedic Hinduism), governed by the laws of Manu written 2000 years ago, and ruled by one great, strong leader who represented the Aryan ideal – Fair skin and light eyes. The books written by Savarkar, Moonje and Golwalkar himself in this period provide a fascinating insight into how the minds of these people worked! Golwalkar’s book in Marathi language called “Aaamhi” (English – We, the people defined) in particular makes for a fascinating, if somewhat macabre, reading into this man’s personality. It is just a small pamphlet of around 100 pages – should not take more than a couple of hours! The migraine after reading it might last a week or more though! Golwalkar and Moonje used Savarkar’s writings and their own ideas to build on the idea of Hindutva. Their inspiration was always European Fascism – they were obsessed with that idea! Moonje and Golwalkar even travelled to Europe and met Fascist Leaders on the continent. While their meetings with Mussolini and Italian Fascists is a matter of public record, it is not true that they met Hitler. All public records show is a meeting with Ribbentrop who would later become Germany’s foreign minister. What is certainly true, is that Moonje and Golwalkar returned to India convinced about the suitability of European Fascism as a model for the India they wanted to see – an Aryan Homeland! Their uniforms, organisational structure with various paramilitaries and ofcourse that infamous “Salute to the Motherland” – it all just seems like a macabre copy-paste job!

After initially trying unsuccessfully to build alliances with the European Fascists, the RSS quickly changed tack once it became clear that they would lose the World War. They watched the defeat of the European Fascists with alarm initially but did learn some valuable lessons from it. The way they saw World War 2, was not that the Germans were evil in planning subjugation of Foreign lands or the “Final Solution” against the Jews – they just planned it wrongly. In the RSS world view, Germans jumped into WW2 without being fully ready. The Nazis just played their cards too early! If the Nazis had waited just 2 more years, they would have had an unassailable lead on the Allies in critical technologies like Jet Engines, Tanks, Rockets and nuclear weapons and the war would have gone very differently. So the RSS adapted! They realised that India would need time to gain the technologies needed to take on the “Abrahamic Religions” and after the experience with European Fascism, the West may not take kindly to another country adopting that ideology and may hesitate to share the Technology they needed! A democratic cover was needed! So the RSS allied themselves to the British who saw the RSS as a useful counter to the Congress Party fighting for Freedom. The idea was to build bridges with the British and take over at the appropriate time when they were ready. They focussed on building their base, and after independence, making sure to embed themselves in all political parties to subtly modify State Policy and Institutions in the secular, Democratic India that came up after Independence. They were biding their time, unwilling to show themselves to the World until they were certain of being ready to do battle.

In the 90s, India unveiled a new set of economic reforms that opened up the economic potential of India like never before. The RSS saw in this an opportunity to come forward and assert itself more openly via its political wing, the BJP who used emotive religious issues and riots in a calibrated strategy to gain power. But a brief stint in power in the late 90s revealed that India was still not ready, technology and economy wise, to do the sustained battle required to achieve their Aryan homeland. The time to reveal themselves fully had not come…YET! In 2010, with the Congress party in power managing to successfully negotiate a “Nuclear Deal” with the West, essentially legitimising the Nuclear Weapons, they saw an opportunity once again to move to assert control. And they did! Post 2014, we have seen a much more aggressive assertion of the Hindutva ideology! They still hesitate to show themselves fully to the West though, understanding fully well that India is still 40 years behind the West in critical Technology like Jet Engines, Electronics and Mettalurgy as well as new generation Warfare techniques. They know that any sanctions at this time on the RSS or India itself would essentially derail the Hindutva ideology. So their focus is on showing off “Soft power” – using Bollywood and Culture to keep people distracted while they focus on building their base.

Over the past 10 years in power, The RSS has essentially implemented the Nazi Germany model in India. Every crazy Nazi German idea like using Paramilitaries and Lynch Mobs to attack Religious Minorities and Laws targetting minorities and LGBTQ have been pushed through Parliament. Since they lack a full 2/3 majority required by the 1950 Indian Constitution, they use tactics like convening “special Joint sessions of Parliament” to push through specific laws. The Nuremberg style Laws of NRC, CAA and the regressive “Transgender Rights Act” were all pushed through in the same way. As I sit to write this (05-Sep-2023), another “special Parliament session” has just been announced. The speculation is that they seek to formally change the name of “India” to the old Sanskrit name of “Bharat” as well as push through “One Nation, One Election” and “One Nation, One Language” type Laws. Who knows what fresh atrocities they will unleash this time!

There is one Nazi Idea that the RSS have not tried so far but I am sure that it is on the cards! Nazi Germany also operated under the cover of Democratic Republic for the first few years. Then the Reichstag (German Parliament) was torched, blame was placed on a minority Jew and that incident was used not just to ratchet up violence against Jews but to suspend the Democratic constitution and take full dictatorial control. Going by what we know of how the RSS operates, I am certain that this is exactly what we will see in India in the coming days!

I hope this article has put things in context and provided a better understanding of the reality of what is happening in India. In the 1930s, many people in America (and Europe) did not really see the Nazis as the evil that they were but as a counterweight to Stalin’s Russia. The world awoke to the horrors of Germany only later when it was too late. Millions of people suffered needlessly because of this. What we are seeing in India today is a repeat of History – like someone has pushed the rewind button of History! Many people simply do not understand the reality of what the RSS really represents. They see even Modi’s India merely as a counter-weight to China without seeing the danger signs clearly coming out of India! As I said earlier, every lunatic Nazi idea has a RSS parallel. Nazis had the Nuremberg Laws. RSS has the NRC/CAA. Nazis had ideas like “Greater Germany” and Lebensraum. The RSS has “Akhand Bharat” (Greater India)! The Nazis had theories of Racial Superiority. The RSS sees the Caste System as a way to maintain that Racial Purity. There is a reason that History is taught to children in schools because History holds vital lessons for the future. People must see and understand that Historical Mistakes are being repeated again – except on a much, much larger scale this time!

I may or may not survive my flight to freedom! There is a good chance that I may not make it out of this alive! But I want people to know the horrors of what is happening in India right now! I want people to understand the nature of the beast you are dealing with here and hopefully save some lives in the process!

Postscript: Dear Journalists – Stop using the words “Hindutva” and “Hindu” interchangeably – they mean different things! STOP using terms like “Hindu Nationalist” to describe the RSS! The RSS is neither “Hindu” nor “Nationalist” – Calling them THAT is an insult to both Hindus and Indian Nationalists! The RSS is a satanic cult planning a war against “Abrahamic Religions”! PERIOD!

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