IDEOLOGY

The Hindutva ideology, also called Hindu nationalism — distinct from Hinduism, which stresses ideals of brotherhood and Vasudeva Kutumbakam (meaning: though nations might be mired in conflict, civilizations co-exist) — was popularised by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. It is a modern political ideology that advocates Hindu supremacy and seeks to transform India into a Hindu nation where Muslims and Christians are reduced to second-class citizens.

The term “Hindutva” was articulated as a political ideology by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in 1923, who was inspired by the ethnonationalist movements in early 20th century Europe, including Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Germany.

For Savarkar, Christians and Muslims could never be true Indians, despite the presence of both religions in India for centuries. His criteria of the Indian identity are based on common ancestry, common culture, and regard for India as Pitrbhu (fatherland) and Punyabhu (sacred land).

Hindutva is a fascist ideology because it promotes national ‘regeneration’ or ‘resurgence’ by claiming the superiority of the majority and using an ‘us vs. them’ rhetoric to demonize and deny the humanity of minorities, which paves the way for state-backed violence to subordinate and eliminate their opponents. They use organized violence against non-Hindus to assert domination in the name of religion. Heinous acts of violence have been committed against minorities in the form of spontaneous mass violence that involves coordination with participating law enforcement and Hindu militias to whip political gains.

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