Elaborate the salient features of V.D. Savarkar’s Hindu nationalism

V.D. Savarkar, also known as Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was a prominent Indian independence activist and a key proponent of Hindu nationalism.

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His ideology, often referred to as “Hindutva,” emphasized the following salient features:

  1. Cultural and Civilizational Identity: Savarkar believed in the idea of a distinct Hindu cultural and civilizational identity. He argued that Hindus share a common heritage, language, customs, and values that define their collective identity. According to Savarkar, Hinduism is not just a religion but a way of life encompassing various aspects of individual and societal existence.
  2. Assertive Nationalism: Savarkar advocated for a strong and assertive form of Hindu nationalism that prioritized the interests and well-being of the Hindu community. He called for unity and solidarity among Hindus and emphasized the need for Hindus to assert themselves politically, socially, and culturally.
  3. Hindutva as a Political Ideology: Savarkar viewed Hindutva as a comprehensive political ideology that encompassed all aspects of national life. He argued for the integration of Hindutva principles into the political structure and governance of the country. Savarkar believed that Hindutva should guide the formation and functioning of the Indian nation-state.
  4. Preservation of Hindu Unity and Culture: Savarkar stressed the importance of preserving Hindu unity and culture. He expressed concerns about the perceived decline of Hindu society due to historical invasions, conversions, and religious conflicts. Savarkar advocated for the protection of Hindu interests and the promotion of Hindu values and practices.
  5. Opposition to Appeasement and Conversion: Savarkar was critical of what he perceived as appeasement of religious minorities and advocated for a policy of equal treatment for all citizens regardless of their religious background. He expressed concerns about mass conversions to non-Hindu religions and called for measures to address this issue.
  6. Nationalism and Independence: Savarkar strongly believed in the idea of a united and independent India. He played a significant role in the Indian independence movement and believed that the freedom struggle should be led by Hindus united under the banner of Hindutva. Savarkar’s nationalism was centered around the idea of a Hindu Rashtra (Hindu nation) within a unified India.

It is important to note that Savarkar’s ideology of Hindu nationalism has been a subject of debate and interpretation. While some see it as a legitimate expression of Hindu identity and pride, others criticize it for its exclusionary tendencies and potential for religious polarization. Savarkar’s ideas continue to influence political discourse in India, particularly within right-wing Hindu nationalist circles.

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