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The word ‘Hindu’ has time and again generated unnecessary political heat in India as it had in the year 2014-2017 in the context of the friendly views expressed on it by Najma Heptullah, the-then lady BJP MP who happened to be from the Muslim community.
She had said in an interview to The Hindustan Times that she agreed with the notion of every Indian being a Hindu. All opponents of the RSS and the BJP lost no time in using her interview to try to score brownie political points by telling the people that the RSS and the BJP are allegedly communal as they allegedly support the alleged communal concept called Hindu…!
Later under obvious political pressure from her Muslim fellows and opposition, she retracted her statement and denied having said so. However, in this age of instant Twitter-Blogger-Facebook-In-Your-Face-Age, the relevant video-clipping released on Twitter by the Hindustan Times shows she did indeed endorse the concept of the Hindu…!
Is the word The Hindu really communal and narrow?
The word Tthe ‘Hindu’ has variously been misconstrued to mean a certain category of Indians practising a certain set of religious or spiritual faiths. In other words, it has narrowly been misinterpreted to mean A CERTAIN SECTION AMONGST those Indians who follow the deities of the Sanaatana Dharma, viz, Brhma - Vishnu – Mahesh - Ganesh and Divine Mother Shakti, etc.
By the way, it would only be correct to add here that the Sanaatana Dharma is omnibroad, omniliberal and isn’t restricted to just five deities…!
The Persians had used the word Hindu in a geographical context to mean those people who lived east of the Hindukush Mountains.
Thus, the Iranians called people living in the Indian subcontinent as the Hindi, Hindavi or Hindustani and the land the Hindustan. Europeans couldn’t pronounce the word Sindh river properly. So, they mispronounced it as river Hindh or Indus. Therefore, Europeans called inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent living in and around the river Sindh the Hindus after the name of the river Hindh or Indus.
Later on, Vir Savarkar invoked the word the Hindu/Hindutva in an attempt to unify politically all Indians irrespective of religious or spiritual faiths against the oppressive empirical British rulers during the great Indian freedom struggle. Unfortunately, a certain section of society including religious and political elements mistook it to mean only A CERTAIN SECTION AMONGST the followers of the Sanaatana Dharma…!
This is where the problem with the general acceptability of the word the Hindu originated.
The word the Hindu/Hindutva cannot be appropriated by or linked to any particular group like the matriotic Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangha [RSS]. The word Hindu has a pan-Indian political appeal. In broad sense, each Indian irrespective of divergent religious or spiritual beliefs and faiths is politically a Hindi, Hindavi or Hindu if we use the Persian word for Indian citizens just as each Indian irrespective of divergent religious or spiritual beliefs and faiths is politically a Bharatiya if we use the Sanskrit/Hindi language word Bharat for Indian nation-State as enshrined in the Indian Constitution…!
Although Indian Constitution uses the word ‘Bharat’ to mean politically the sovereign political nation-State of India yet the word the Hindu coming from the Persian language very much remains an integral part of our rich composite cultural Indian heritage that we are quite correctly proud of…!
Interestingly the RSS and its affiliates are often accused of being anti-West when it comes to matters of finance or culture. For example, they are accused of being too pro-India as evidenced from their staunch opposition to Foreign Direct Investment or late night operating pubs in big cities, etc…! But, no one is patting the RSS for the RSS unwittingly going culturally Vasudhiotic [Global] and extremely liberal by insisting on the use of a word like the Hindu from a foreign language such as the Persian language…! Let us then appreciate this Vasudhiotic gesture from the RSS…!
The citizens of the USA are called Americans, but not ‘Ameri’ and inhabitants of Germany are termed Germans and not ‘Germ’. Similarly, citizens of Pakistan are labelled Pakistani and not ‘Paki’ or ‘Paku’. Likewise, why call people the Hindu and not Hindustani in Hindustan or Bharat? Let us use the full word Hindustani for each Bharatiya or Indian and not the half word the Hindu. Of course, no one can stop you from using the word the Hindu. But, the full word would be more appropriate…!
Some Indian politician prefer the word Hinduism to describe the culture of the Indian Subcontinent.
However, the Sanaatana Dharma AS A CONCEPT is MORE BROADER than the NARROW CONCEPT of the HINDU/HINDUISM/HINDUTVA...! Is the Sar Sangha Sanchalak listening? Or are the RSS-Baiters paying heed to this article?
~ Dr Swaamee Aprtemaanandaa Jee
Hindu, Hindukush, Hindavi, Bharat, Bharatatiya, RSS, BJP, Najma Heptullah, Vir Savarakar, Hindustani, Globalization, Vasudhiotic, Matriotic, Persian, Sanaatana, liberal, communal, Muslim, Positive Thoughts, Hindustan Times
[The blogger is a versatile spiritual, political thinker and author of several well-received books including “The Vasudhiotic World Government and The Great Indian Dream of The Paramatantrataa”]