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Hindutva ("hinduness", coined by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in his 1920 book of the same name) is a movement, advocating the promotion of Hinduism. It is virtually impossible to discuss Hindutva without discussing the controversy surrounding it.

The main beliefs of Hindutva are:

Hindutva has always had a strong anti-Communist bent, and usually portrays Communists as conniving and manipulative of the truth. Some critics consider Hindutva as being anti-Muslim and anti-Christian, and anti-foreigner in general.

Hindutva also advances a strong critique of secularism in India, which it dubs pseudo-secularism, because of different standards for Hindus, Muslims and Christians. The subject of a Uniform Civil Code, which would remove special divorce provisions for Muslims and Christians from the Indian Constitution, is one of the main political planks of Hindutva. Followers contend that in a secular democracy, it makes little sense to allow Muslims, for example, to marry more than once, but to prosecute Hindus for doing the same. This actually seems to focus attention on an atypically controversial instance, since, in general, the Civil Code was fragmented to accommodate the considerable ethnic and religious diversity and plurality of the Indian people.

Table of contents
1 Alleged Hate Speech
2 Violence
3 Social Work

Alleged Hate Speech

Some people claim that speeches and letters distributed by Hindutva organisations incite hatred of people based on an ethnic stereotype for Muslims. Some examples of alleged hate speech by the VHP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh include the following (from English translations of the original pamphlets in Gujarati that have been widely circulated in Gujarat during years leading up to 2002 - [1])


Several Hindutva organisations (notably the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal have been associated with anti-minority (for lack of a better word) violence by groups espousing Hindutva philosophies.

The BJP, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Bajrang Dal have been associated with the anti-Muslim violence in Gujarat in early 2002. In the inquiry led by Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer, which led to the report Crime Against Humanity ? An Inquiry into the Carnage in Gujarat, detailed allegations claiming that Hindutva organisations actively supported the pogrom of over 2000 Muslims are presented [1].

While followers of the philosophy are rarely apologetic about violence, they do seek to rationalize it; in the case of Graham Staines, violence was excusable because of the greater violence done by conversion; in the case of the Gujarat riots, it was a justified response by outraged Hindus to the burning of 56 Hindu pilgrims in a train by a Muslim mob. In fact, several studies have been done by (arguably biased) Hindutva scholars (notably Arun Shourie and Koenraad Elst) documenting the primary causes of violent events in India, and concluding that in almost all cases, Hindus did not instigate the initial violence.

Social Work

Followers of Hindutva feel that any violence associated with their organisations is marginal, and the real work of Hindutva organisations is social service. Hindutva organisations are active in many disaster relief efforts, notably the Gujarat earthquake of 2001. They also coordinate extensive education and public health efforts amongst the tribal communities across India. These have, however, been interpreted by many to be devious efforts to gain acceptance in, and infiltrate, new sections of society.