(The Interview was conducted by the team of The Verandah Club on Shri Ram Madhav’s book “The Hindutva Paradigm: Integral Humanism and the Quest for a Non-Western Worldview”. Views expressed are personal.)
Ram Madhav was at his best while talking about his latest work ‘The Hindutva Paradigm’. The former General Secretary of the world’s largest political party, the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party), enthralled the Verandah Club team while elucidating on Hindutva and related concepts. Ram Madhav has been serving in the RSS for many years and his nationalist views are very popular amongst the youngsters.
“There is a lot of misconception about the term Hindutva, and it is largely as a result of motivated negative propaganda by the adversaries. One such effort is to create an artificial distinction between Hinduism and Hindutva. This term is used by the adversaries of Hinduism to call a person or organization as extremist. I have attempted to present Hindutva in a twenty-first century perspective by anchoring it on the perspective given by the great proponent, Bharatiya Dheendayal Upadhyaya, in his seminal work, ‘Integral Humanism,’” stated Ram Madhav while offering us some black coffee at Zone by the Park Hotel in Coimbatore.
Ram Madhav is very clear, and he put forth the difference between philosophy and ideology. He states that ideology is nothing but a closed set of ideas while philosophy is enriching. The author does not want India to get trapped in ideology. He states that India did not produce Marx or Mill, but it produced Buddha, Aurobindo, Gandhi and Shankara. Ram Madhav points that Hindutva is the essence of the philosophy of all the great sages, saints and scholars who lived in India over the millennia. The author added that Hindutva is not an ideology and that it is the same as Hinduism or Sanatana dharma. He opines that the effort to create a distinction between Hindutva and Hinduism is mischievous.
“Gandhiji had called it as an eternal search for truth. Hinduism is open and inclusive. A near equivalent in English could be Hindu-ness or Hindu-dom. We must understand that in Hindutva there is no enemy. It is neither extremist nor exclusivist. The adversaries must be told that it is open ended. There can be people who disagree with you, they need to be convinced about the process. If there is someone who does good to you, do him good but if someone harms you then such a person should be tackled through justice. In short give him justice.”
“It is definitely not tooth for tooth. Justice is an elevated concept. The protagonist should therefore understand the background behind all this. Basically, my book deals with thought of Dheendayal Upadhyaya. He had spoken about the ancient through process of our country. Post-independence, we got swarajya and not swatantra. We just inherited the system. I am not condemning, for they just did what was possible. We need a socio-political model. Gandhi and Dheendayal Upadhyaya stated that we cannot just copy European concepts. They wanted them to be Indianized. We had just proposed and used Euro-centric models. Now, we are in the twenty-first century, and it is high time that we look at these models with Indianness. They should be embellished with the Indian thought,” asserted the intellectual.
Ram Madhav also stated that the world order keeps changing from time to time. The pre-covid world had been built by the western powers. Their ideas of democracy, secularism, capitalism, human rights, socialism etc., dominated the discourse globally for the last seven decades or so. All the countries applied these models. Even China adopted the economic model. We have used the political model.
The author avowed that in the new order we should contribute towards a new world that is taking shape. He pointed out to some new things like climate change, health care as in healthy living, the love for Yoga and how India can offer healthy living. How Ayurveda is a science that promotes healthy living. He also stated that newer types of discourses will come up with regard to human rights. The role of technology was also pointed out by him. He was positive by stating that India can contribute towards a new world order in a fantabulous manner. The concept of economic self-reliance was also pointed out during the discussion. He stated that this should not come in the way of economic exchanges with others. Thus, he stated that an economic thinking is also undergoing a change.
“We are getting to see dominant leaders rising after the pandemic. Humanity is in the hands of the Government, and it has become even more powerful. Is it good, or no? Our Indian model talks about greater decentralization, lesser role for the Government. Modiji is talking about minimum government and maximum governance. Both Gandhi and Dheendayal felt that the European model was based on majoritarianism while the Indian model was based on consensus. In democracy, the weakest should get the same importance as the strongest. That is only the Ramarajya of Gandhi. Dheendayal had also spoken about consultative democracy. Ambedkar had shared a lot of information about the Buddhist Sangha. We get to learn that the Sangha had a parliamentary procedure. They had a whip and a cut-motion. Both the antagonists and protagonists present Hindutva in a binary way. However, Hindutva is never about exclusion, and it is always about us. So, we need to look into that social dimension as well,” articulated Ram Madhav.
The erudite and scholarly author spoke about the identity of Hindutva. He stated that the book discusses about who is a Hindu and who can be one. Ram Madhav basically concludes that the twentieth century belonged to Euro-centric ideas and now the twenty-first century belongs to Indo-centric ideas. He added that if we succeed in understanding ideas properly, it is possible to present the same in a Bharatiya manner to the world. Ram Madhav spoke about the semitic challenge. He felt that the thousands of years of Bharatiya thought should not be influenced by the exclusivist semitic philosophy.
“The state should take care of the adharmic forces. Values are constant. Hindu philosophy is about values and dharma means the same. Let us work towards the Indian century. India, the fountainhead of philosophy, is now ready to offer its best to the world,” declared the prolific writer.
The book, ‘The Hindutva Paradigm,’ is sure to add quality to the discourse that will make India the Viswaguru.
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