Thursday, Sep 18, 2014

Out of my mind: Who’s afraid of Hindutva?

 The electoral history of the BJP shows it has learnt that no party can win a majority by being merely Hindu majoritarian. The electoral history of the BJP shows it has learnt that no party can win a majority by being merely Hindu majoritarian.
Written by Meghnad Desai | Posted: June 15, 2014 12:26 am

an Indian nation. The Muslim elite had doubts about democracy where the majority could swamp the minority. To get Muslims on board, the Congress and Muslim League negotiated a joint platform at the 1916 Lucknow meeting for seat-sharing where Jinnah played a crucial role. The climax for Hindu-Muslim cooperation came in the Khilafat movement, which Gandhiji launched and after Chauri Chaura suspended. Hindu-Muslim unity became elusive after that.

Savarkar was looking for a European-style argument for Indian nationhood. Following that logic, he began by defining Hindutva as the basis for what constituted a nation for people living in the territory that was India before Independence. Much of the essay is concerned about showing that the word Hindu does not come from Persian but is derivative of Sindhu. His stance was without doubt hostile to recognising Muslims as equal parts of the Indian nation unless they accepted India as their motherland.

The times have moved on. India is a nation and a nation state. The electoral history of the BJP shows it has learnt that no party can win a majority by being merely Hindu majoritarian. Neither Ram Mandir nor the destruction of Babri Masjid delivered a majority. The argument for nationhood even for a Hindu majoritarian party has to be inclusive. That in my view is what Modi offered and voters have bought. Let us see how well he delivers on his promise.

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