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  • Writer's pictureAslam Abdullah

What Is a Hindu Rashtra (Nation)?

During a Hindu holy festival, nationalists attacked a mosque and hoisted a Hindu flag on its minaret under the protection of Police.

What is a Hindu Rashtra (Nation)? Is it a state run by Hindus only? Is it a monolithic nation, eradicating the diversity of religious identities? Or is it a theological polity drawing inspiration from sacred texts? Or is it a state where religious communities deemed as foreign, such as Jews, Christians, and Muslims, and some 4,300 faith-based groups with roots in places other than India, will have no status?

If it is a state and nation governed by sacred texts, then who would choose them? The Brahmans, who constitute less than five percent of the population, or the tribal groups twice in size than the upper castes? Will Dalit religious texts become part of a foreseeable Hindu Rashtra? What about other indigenous religious texts such as Guru Garanth Sahib of Sikhism, Agamas, or Srutas derived from the Tirthankaras of Jainism, or Buddhism's 'Sutta Piṭaka', the discourses and words of the Buddha, the 'Vinaya Piṭaka', the monastic regulations and the 'Abhidhamma Piṭaka', the educational analytical works.

Will the Hindu sacred book Manusmirti provide a constitutional framework for a society that divides people into lower and upper castes by birth in the name of the creator?

The advocates of a Hindu Rashtra have no sensible response to these and many similar questions. However, based on the empirical evidence found in the country since 2014, when the nationalist Hindu party took over the control of the federal government as well as of states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and Maharashtra, etc. one can identify some salient features of a Hindu Rashtra. The pattern is also evident in Hindu groups such as the RSS, Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, and hundreds of other outfits rooted in their ideology.

  1. India is for Hindus only. Hindi, Hindus, and Hindustan are non-negotiable in a Hindu Rashtra.

  2. Non-Hindus must return to Hinduism because they left their original faith under duress.

  3. Unless that happens, they must live as second-class citizens.

  4. Hindu Caste-system is supreme, and it must be the foundation of the social division of the country.

  5. Non-upper-caste women cannot claim equality with upper-caste women. They are the property of higher castes. Rape, gang rape, and molestation of such women are not punishable in a Hindu Rashtra.

  6. The country must return to vegetarianism, and initially, beef eaters, if they happen to be Muslims or Dalits, would face lynching under police protection.

  7. Hindu nationalist groups will get protection from converting any non-Hindu religious place of worship into Hindu temples by any means. Initially, the Hindu groups will target Muslim places of worship, but eventually, other non-Upper caste groups' holy places will also become the targets.

  8. Upper-caste Hindus will get incentives to rape Muslim, Christian, and Dalit females. They will receive financial support for converting Muslim women.

  9. Conversion of Muslims in areas where they are in a small minority will enable Hindu youth to earn a higher religious and political status.

  10. History of India will only show Upper-caste culture and customs as genuine, and they will receive state patronage.

  11. Hindu nationalist groups will organize pogroms against religious and ethnic minorities under a Hindu Rashtra protected by law enforcement agencies and the judiciary.

  12. Only those who subscribe to the ideology of Hindu nationalists will have the privilege to join Hindu Rashtra's military, bureaucracy, judiciary, intelligence, and legislature.

  13. Mansusmirti will replace India's constitution. Only those subscribing to Hindu nationalist ideology will have the right to elect the approved rulers.

  14. Only Hindu nationalists will have permission to run businesses. Others can serve in menial jobs, as determined by Manusmirti.

  15. Hindu nationalist rulers will have the status of god's reincarnation. They will be above any questioning.

  16. The state will finance Hindu religious places.

  17. Violence against non-Hindu nationalists will go unpunished.

  18. Hindus who object to Hindu nationalists will have second-class citizen status with no voting rights.

  19. The Hindu Rashtra will eventually expand to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Burma, Bangladesh, and neighboring areas.

  20. The Hindu Rashtra will also expand to the Middle East, as the people in the area were originally idol worshipers.

These features will not appear in a Hindu Rashtra in one or two decades. They will fully implement when the Hindu nationalists succeed in polarizing India on religious and ethnic lines, and violence against non-Hindu nationalists has become a norm. The RSS ideologues believe that under the present BJP government, it stands the best chance to run India into a Hindu Rashtra in the next 50 years. The RSS has its branches all over India and the world. It reportedly receives millions of dollars from non-resident Hindus living abroad. It believes in Hindu upper-caste supremacy. Non-upper castes serve a tactical purpose for it. The nationalists consider them foot soldiers in a religious war against Christians, Muslims, and Sikhs. Dalits are the victims of nationalists too, yet the polarization envisaged by the BJP and the RSS is so structured and well-organized that many think eradicating Muslims and Christians will solve their problems and elevate them to a special status in Hinduism. So far, this status views them as untouchables and prevents their entry into sacred upper-caste places.

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