Secularism Vs The Hindu Rashtra

We’ve misunderstood a lot of terms over past centuries. The mistake we’ve been committing is that we take a term,without looking at its source,origin and father, and apply it blindly according to our own understanding. On one hand, we’ve adopted words of foreign origin, concepts developed in foreign conditions without customizing them according to our own requirements. On the other hand, we’ve misunderstood the terms, concepts and ideas germinated in our own soil. Former is the case with “secularism”, and latter with the “Hindu Rashtra”.

Talking about secularism, we must first consider what’s a “theocracy”. Going by the dictionary meaning, it refers to a state run by priests in the name of God. Which means the God is the head of the state and priests are his representatives. This system of government has failed to lead the people and the state to betterment, for the simple reason that it didn’t adapt to the changing conditions. It dictate laws based on a book which is several centuries old and is allegedly the word of god. It’s this because of which people living under theocracies wanted a system in which priests and their powers are limited to the premises of church. Thus, they came up with the idea where the state has whatsoever nothing to do with the religion, priests, holy books etc. It was decided that the law of the land will come from the state, and not the holy text. This concept of parting state with religion, came to be known as “secularism”.

Coming to the question of “Hindu Rashtra”, we’ve to look at the foundation stones on which this concept has been raised upon. The primary foundation of a “Hindu Rashtra” is “Hindutva” or “Hinduness”. Earliest of the Hindutva-thinkers, Sir Vinayak Damodar Savarkar has defined “Hindutva” to be a collective nationality of people living in Indian subcontinent. Western thinkers have argued over time and again, that India is no one nation, rather a union of several nations. It’s this argument which Savarkar, wanted to refute.

He had thought of a common nationality for people having varied customs, traditions, eating habits, culture etc. “Hindutva” doesn’t go along the religious lines, rather it has its limits along national identities. It’s a nationality just like British, Scottish, Irish, French etc.

Thus, we may easily understand that the concept of “Hindu Rashtra” based on “Hindutva” is not theocratic. None among the thinkers (in my knowledge) of “Hindu Rashtra” call for or have ever called for a theocratic state having laws coming from the authoritative text of a particular religion. “Hindu Rashtra” essentially means a nation state of people who submit to the idea of “Hindutva” or “Hinduness”.

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