Work-a-day Hindutva: Is it Inferior?
The thing I love about CRI is the sheer diversity of thought it gives voice to within the Conservative discourse. For instance, take these two articles- the first authored this June by Albatrossinflight (“AIF”) titled “The Mass Leadership Doctrine” and the second authored last month by Pulakesh Upadhyay titled “Atheism and Hindutva: Carvaka to Savarkar”. These two articles have given me the pegs I need, to convey a point which I, as a foot-soldier of the Conservative movement, have long believed in.
Before I proceed any further, I have a few disclaimers to make- First, I do not wish to play the sly Narada Muni between two equally compelling writers and pit one against the other. Second, my opinions, even if misplaced, are genuine and are the product of first-hand experience with application of Hindutva on the ground. Therefore, I can state with a modicum of confidence that my views are not that of an arm-chaired critic. Third, the honest intention behind this post is to elicit views on concrete work-a-day goals, micro and macro, which proponents and supporters of Hindutva can and must work towards.
Finally, I wanted to give this post the title “Practical Hindutva” or “Hindutva in Practice”, but then I would have run the risk of being accused of taking a holier-than-thou stance. I could have been asked “Are you by any chance suggesting that the aspects of Hindutva the rest of us deal with aren’t “practical” enough?” To avoid such a futile confrontation, I decided to call the post “Work-a-day Hindutva”. With these few disclaimers, I proceed with the post.
Both Pulakesh and AIF have dealt with two “grades” of Hindutva, both of which cater to 2 real audiences, each of which has its own rightful place under the firmament of Hindutva. May be it is possible to debate and prove which grade of Hindutva is subtler and hence superior. May be it is even necessary to identify which of them should rightfully occupy the throne of being the ultimate goal of the Conservative movement.
But, considering the testing times we live in, I think it would help to not look down upon a particular strand of conservative dialogue as being inferior, because each strand has its own purpose which it serves. God-willing or Force-Willing or Science-willing, there will probably come a time when it would be safe to altogether discard a strand as not necessary, but even then its contributions must never be belittled or relegated to mere footnotes of Conservative history, whenever it is re-written.
This is in keeping with the hierarchy of truths which Swami Vivekananda strongly believed in. There could be higher truths and lower truths, but people reserve the right to climb the rungs of the ladder at a pace they wish to, or are simply capable of. Also, each truth has its own purpose and origin which is rooted in experience and milieu. Therefore, it would be incorrect to judge a particular experience or reaction from one-remove. This approach, in my humble opinion, applies to the Conservative movement as well. Just as the movement needs its Sitaram Goels and Koeraad Elsts to don the mantles of Intellectual Kshatriyas to counter the propaganda war being waged by opportunistic and fanatical forces on the other side of the fence, it equally needs its hammers, foot-soldiers and mass leaders who marshal the crowds and deliver hard political results as and when needed.
After all, of what use is all talk of ideology if it cannot or does never generate a groundswell of support from the ones who actually vote or act?
It is probably unfortunate that the average Ramu (a Hindu substitute for “Joe”) on the street that sympathises with the Conservative cause may not understand or may simply not have the time to digest the majesty and esotericism of Hindutva. But then, that is the guy who is fervently hoping for deliverance from a daily struggle against plain and simple Judeo-Abrahamic aggression and enticement. He looks up to the Conservative movement to speak the language he does, to assure him that the proponents of the movement understand what he is up against, and realize what he seeks from the movement. For us to expect him to have the patience to take in the lofty traditions of “true Hindutva” in all their glory, I am sorry to say, is just cruel.
A case in point is the Akbarabadi Mosque Controversy which I wrote on a few days ago. The facts of the case amply bear out the terror in which the Hindu community lives in, in the Walled City in Delhi. They find themselves pitted against ruthless block-headed fundamentalist obscurantist Islamists who are ably backed by a political ally and have the unstinted support of scores of known rowdy-sheeters who are armed to the teeth. To add to their cup of woes, Hindus in the area realize that the Government is either impotent or is willingly bedding the Islamists. The only source of “interim” succour appears to be the Judiciary, which showed the will to enforce the rule of law and to call a spade a spade. I use the word “interim” since the dispute is far from settled, and from the looks of it, has all the makings of the next ‘Babri Masjid’. Only this time it could be worse since the venue of the face-off is the nation’s capital.
Imagine, in these circumstances, if one were to preach and pontificate to the Hindus in the area on the “majesty of true Hindutva”, how would one be received? Even if the preacher of “true Hindutva” manages to come out unscathed thanks to his or her lucky stars, I am sure he or she would have effectively alienated those people from the Conservative movement, which calls itself the voice of the voiceless majority. I repeat it is not my intention to take pot shots at any particular brand or school of Hindutva, but I think the talk of Hindutva having been subjected to reductionism at the hands of those who tackle real-time issues is unfair to the people who put their lives and reputations on the line to act in defense of the cause. Without a doubt, it is unfair to the “doers”.
I do not for a moment suggest that a vibrant debate on Hindutva is a waste of time, or is not “practical enough”. But it is certainly my opinion that when faced with a real issue, it would help to mean business. And the ones who do take up the cudgels on the ground, must at least not be seen or projected as unsubtle boors who suffer from intellectual phimosis because their vision is too narrow to accommodate the grandeur of Hindutva.
If the Conservative movement is to become a real political force instead of being branded and lumped as “Internet Hindus”, it must evolve a more concrete agenda which resonates with the electorate. NaMo’s Gujarat has already given us enough material to chart a vision for the rest of the country. It would help if every grade of Hindutva could channel its energies towards etching the contours of that vision, instead of indulging in an unnecessary exercise of one-upmanship on subtlety.