At a time when the words ‘neo-Hindutva seem trending and the Opposition is accusing the BJP of polarising the nation, newly elected Rajya Sabha MP Ghanshyam Tiwari, a 6-time BJP MLA, told IANS in an exclusive interview that ‘Hindutva’ is defined as a way of life while neo-Hindutva is fake propaganda by the Opposition who are scared to see the BJP scripting a success story and hence are bringing out such fake narratives.
Tiwari who witnessed the days of the Emergency and had faced beatings in jail, says ‘Hindutva’ as recorded by the Supreme Court in its judgment is a way of life or a state of mind and it is not to be equated with, or understood as religious Hindu fundamentalism, adding that “The BJP follows the principles of ‘sanskratik rashtravad’ which was the first resolution passed after the formation of the Jan Sangh in Kanpur in 1951.”
“The first resolution passed in the convention by Pt Deendayal Upadhyay after the Jan Sangh’s formation was to follow the principles of ‘sanskratik rashtravad’. In those days, we demanded the scrapping of article 370, section 35(A), and later at the Palampur convention, we passed a resolution for the construction of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. There was no fundamentalism in all these proposals and we were working to build a cultural legacy. Now we have attained these goals following sanskratik rashtravad which the opposition is seeing as ‘neo-Hindutva’ which is wrong,” he said.
Tiwari added that the “BJP on its foundation day in Delhi at Ferozeshah Kotla ground on April 6, openly announced to follow the Hindutva ideology. On November 30, in its first convention held in Mumbai, it was announced that the theme of Sanskratik Rashtravad will be retained by the BJP and the party following this ideology will take the Hindutva path.”
“The reason was we considered Hindutva as a way of life. Also, we wanted to continue with our cultural legacy and hence wanted the Kashmir issue to be resolved and a Ram temple to be built. In fact, Mahant Ramchandra Das Paramhans pitched for the construction of a Ram mandir which we followed later.
“There are statements being made of making India a Hindu nation? What will be the place of Muslims if it is declared a Hindu nation? In fact, in Beawar a few Muslims have followed Hinduism and in Banswara, a few Christians have adopted Hinduism.”
Answering a query, Tiwari said, “Pt Deendayal Upadhyay had openly said Muslims residing here are also Indians. Hindu is neither a religion nor a caste, But those who live within its natural surroundings and consider India as motherland, that society is called Indians. There may be differences on views and ideologies for example, there are Sanatani followers, Sikhs, Jains, etc; similarly, there are Muslims; they should also consider that our forefathers were one like Sikhs, Jains etc. They can all stay together with us, this is what our constitution says, this is what our scriptures say and this is what our ideology says” he added.
In fact, when a temple is being constructed in Ayodhya, land has also been allotted for a mosque, he added.
Tiwari reiterated the fact that Hindutva is a way of life and all those connected with Hindutva are connected with the nationality of India.
Do you know from where this word Hindu comes, he questioned and then answered, Our literature says, “Himalayam Samarabhya Yavadindu Sarovaram, Tham Devanirmitham Desam Hindusthanam Prachakshathi” which means “The holy land, surrounded by Himalayas in the North and the Indian Ocean in the south, created by the Gods themselves is called Hindustan.”
In general, one nation, one culture which follows a certain way of life is Hindutva, he added.
The Opposition says that a strong Hindutva agenda is dangerous for the world? How do you see it with recent events unfolding (like Nupur Sharma’s statement, Gyanvapi row)
“The world can never be in danger due to Hindutva as it gives a straight message of Vasudev Kutumbakam. We have never attacked anyone and we have never tried to rule any nation on a religious basis. India has always promoted the message of non-violence and peace. Even different religions which came out from India promoted non-violence and spread its roots in the world. Hindutva in fact is a guarantee of establishing peace in the world as we follow the concept of ‘Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinaam,” he said.
Taking it further, he quoted Swami Vivekanand and said that the great seer announced that the 21st century will be India’s century. Let’s look at it, we saw the world doing yoga, now there is no Hindutva in yoga but it is a fact that this is India’s gift, So India has been giving the best in terms of poems, songs, gifts to the world which speak of world peace, he added.
Speaking on the recent controversy over Nupur Sharma’s statement on the Prophet, he said the BJP has taken stringent action against it. “We follow the ideology of Sarva Dharm Sambhav and we conveyed it to the world but the Muslim countries were quick to react. However, our foreign ministry immediately clarified that we hold the Prophet in high regard, we told them that we give equal respect to all religious leaders, and later the Muslim countries also understood the matter and the issue was resolved.”
Tiwari clarified, “Since Jan Sangh to BJP, Atal Behari Vajpayee to Modi, there has been no change in policies. Now other parties are facing continuous defeats and hence are levelling allegations of strong Hindutva, aimed at securing the minorities vote bank. But they forget that they are playing with the sentiments of Indians who are aware of the fact that our constitution and Supreme Court respect all castes and treat all citizens equally.”