By Sandeep Pandey

In India, we can observe how nationalism is a political ideology that holds devotion to one’s country as paramount to all other concerns. It was not until the late 18th century that nationalism became a widely acknowledged sentiment shaping public and private life and one of the great, if not the greatest, single determining factors of modern history, though people have always felt a solid connection to their native countries, their parents, and their governments. When the British ruled India, there was economic backwardness, repressive colonial policies, socio-religious reform movements and the influence of western education which led to the rise of nationalism. This spirit of nationalism shaped the anti-colonial movement under the leadership of mainly the Congress that forced the Britishers to quit India. Hindu-Muslim unity was an important plank of the movement inspired by nationalism.

Hinduism is a religion of the Indian subcontinent, which survived the onslaught of  religions of various invaders, unlike some other parts of the world which converted en masse to a foreign religion. In contrast, Hindutva is an ideology working towards establishing the hegemony of the Hindus and Hinduism and has given rise to a new concept of nationalism conflating with majoritarian religious hegemony. Hindutva has also been present in the Nepalese monarchy. As aspirations for democratization grew around the close of the 20th century, the rulers aggressively embraced Hindutva to maintain public support and authority.

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