Proposition 1: “We Hindus are all one and a nation, because chiefly of our common blood”
Proposition 2: “A Hindu is a person for whom Bharat is both his/her fatherland and holy land”
If I were to ask a Munda tribal or say a Gond for that matter if he considers Bharat as both his fatherland and holy land, wouldn’t he agree? Of course he will agree and say that such is the case for he has no acquaintance or memory of any other land except where his ancestors lived in so far as he knows.
Now, if I were to ask the same question to say a ‘Rajput from Kangra’ or a ‘Brahmin from Jammu’ wouldn’t these gentlemen also answer this question affirmatively. Yes they will of course. According to the definition of a Hindu by Savarkar all four qualify as Hindus without an iota of a doubt. This is so by definition. (Axiomatic determinism).
But, does it also make these two – The tribals and the Savarna Hindus – of the same stock or blood? The answer of course is a big ‘No’. Let alone be of the same blood, they are not even remotely similar to each other from an ethnic, biological, or anthropological standpoint.
Thus, the above two propositions when made to operate in conjunction lead to abominable contradictions in most cases, if not all. This is exactly what is wrong with Savakar’s Hindutva. If anything it is a bundle of contradictions when viewed through the lense of realism. It is merely a rhetorical thesis that looks good on paper to its ardent but naive followers, but lacks any organic basis in the ancient civilization of this land called Bharat, which served as a cradle for a thousand nationalities, philosophies, traditions, religions, ethnicities, and races.
Hindutva was a neologism coined by Savarkar with a clear political purpose of politically mobilizing the people of the native faiths to develop a front against the followers of the foreign faiths who were hyper collective. At best it had instrumental value, but beyond that it had very little to offer from a civilizational standpoint.
Even Savarkar knew it. Perhaps.
The Hindutva in all its versions, new and old, as an instrument of political mobilization of the followers of the native faiths and traditions has failed, as the history of the last 100 years will easily bear out. Of course the torchbearers of Hindutva have to blamed for it. But that is hardly our concern here.
Savarkar could never have imagined that his ideological descendants who were mostly men of poor acumen will take Hindutva not as a political tool but as an alternative to the traditional way of life instead, in gross violation of all native laws of Bharata, and will seriously work towards materializing the rhetorical idea of a ‘common blood’ quite literally. Sadly, this is exactly what has happened.
Hindutva to its followers over the years has become the only acceptable way of life, so much so, that they are unwilling to admit any other alternative – traditional or otherwise. In this sense they are no less totalitarian than Marxists or Abrahimics.
They want to homogenize the people by finishing all diversity and distinct ethnic identities. They want to make the Mundas and the Savarnas quite literally of one stock and blood, and if they continue to stay in power they have a good chance of succeeding. Therefore, they are as much an enemy of the traditionalists as are the others. I hope they don’t succeed.
Quoting the example of the Sikhs, the Buddhists, and the Jains, Savarkar claims that followers of these sects don’t believe in the Vedas and donot observe the usual caste norms of the orthodox Hindus but they are still Hindus because they consider Bharat as their fatherland and holy land.
He goes further to argue counter-factually–what will happen if the Varnas and the Jatis are somehow dissolved ? Will anything change ? Shall we not remain Hindus in the absence of our Varnas and Jatis? Like the Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains we shall continue to remains Hindus even if Jati/Varna were to vanish, he maintained.
It is plain that Savarkar didn’t recognize “Varna/Jati” as the essential feature of the Hindu way of life. For him these identities were simply dispensable. Now whether these identities are actually essential to our way of life or not is another question and we will not take it up for a discussion here. It would suffice to note that within the Hindutva world view this is certainly not the case.
This eagerness to dispense with Varna and Jatis however must be our area of focus. We must investigate into the reasons that led to the shaping of this opinion. Like many others Savarkar was a man educated in the west. Can we claim that he was suffering from some kind of inferiority complex which could be traced to his exposure to and conditioning thereof in the western thought and ideas? It does seem to be the case.
Foreign invaders (read Abrahimics) were dazzled by the unending and unfathomable diversity that India had to offer by way of its multifarious religions, philosophies, traditions, cults, sects, ethnicities, languages, and other multiplicities. These foreigners couldn’t integrate their Indian experience with their deepest convictions shaped by their monotheistic world view as one would expect and as such they looked down upon the Indian people and pretty much everything Indian. This deep-seated bias against India is still very much manifest in the mainstream discourse about India in the west.
The Indians who were trained in the western thought through education naturally inherited all the biases of that system. This led them to develop a certain inferiority complex about their indigenous institutions and way of life. Because caste was a bad and discriminatory term in the western world view, Savarkar thought the same about Varna and Jatis. In his blind zeal to represent Hindus as one people and as a nation for which he subscribed to a western definition (draws many parallels with French, British etc) he rushed to declare that Jatis and Varnas are completely dispensable. If anything, for him, the idea of Jati and Varna was merely an impediment on the way to fulfillment of the destiny of Hindus as one people,one race, and one nation.
Working from within the Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT) paradigm, although he did openly admit his scepticism about it and didn’t take it as a gospel truth unlike many others such as Tilak did, Savarkar tells us that the intrepid Aryas after having made the Sapta Sindhu their home issued forth and went on colonizing the vast tracts of the subcontinent along with tribes inhabiting therein thus establishing new states and forging new unions and identities for themselves.
The name Hindu gradually got eclipsed by other names such as Kurus, Magadhas, Panchalas etc. Building a nation was the task they cut out for themselves, their efforts were eventually crowned with success when the valourous prince of Ayodhaya entered Ceylon in triumph. For this brought the whole landmass from the Himalayas to the seas under one sovereign sway.
Ofcourse much of what has been proposed above has turned out to be fairly unreliable, historically speaking. We know AIT has no basis in archaeology and doesn’t stand to reason even when we turn to textual and astronomical evidence from Vedas, the genetic data converges on this point with other indicators and all this seals the fate of the AIT for good. Only intellectually dishonest people continue to hold on to the dead horse called the AIT with all its versions.
The question is not whether the Aryans were natives of India or were invaders however, the real issue at hand is whether they mixed with other tribal natives or not? And even if we admit that they did mix to some degree with others would it mean that the two became one essentially? Did the difference between the Aryans and Un-Aryans remain or vanish, as Savarkar boldly claims that the Aryans and the Un-Aryans became one? That does not seem to be the case, and no eloquence with words or appeal to emotion can change that singular fact, historically speaking. Therefore, merely because a political hegemony was achieved by Aryans over others and they colonized various parts of the subcontinent taking with them their culture and language to native tribes does not weld the two i.e. the Aryans and Un-Aryans into a people with common blood as Savarkar puts it, even though this conquest provided the cultural template for the birth of a civilization.
To argue against this would be akin to saying that the British colonization of Africa and Asia made the Asians and the Africans British in blood. The only thing that can be agreed upon is that the British did leave an enduring strain culturally upon them atleast to a certain degree.
Arguing counter-factually, would Savarkar have revised his position had he lived among us today? Very much so I feel. He was certainly an intelligent man unlike Sanghis. The next legitimate question that must be asked is this, With the historical foundations upon which the philosophy of Hindutva rested gone, does it still hold any water? Specially when we take into account the fact that for Savarkar, more than anything else ‘Hindutva’ represented a collective history of the Indian people.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SatyaVijayi.