From Bengal:

Bengal was the province where English had initial impact. The Bengalis were influenced by the British rule more than any other area of the country. The East India Company established its capital at Calcutta in 1773. The upper caste, the Bhadra Bengali people were attracted towards English culture and they were thinking that English education, English culture were superior. Not only that, they had developed a sort of contempt towards their own old life style and culture. In the book “The Heart of Aryavarta” by Earl of Ron Aldashay (1927) quoting a Bengali gentleman who, said how the things had changed because of the English rule said, “Sanskrit, Persian and Arabic held in such supreme reverence but a few years before as the only source of wisdom, were in consequence of such teachings, looked upon with supreme contempt. They came to be regarded as barbarous, unwholesome, and unfashionable”. (p. 46)

Such was the inferiority complex among the upper castes of the Bengal. P. C. Muzumdar in his introduction to the “Life and Teachings of Keshub Chandra Sen” wrote, ‘The ancient scriptures of the country, the famous records of the spiritual experiences of the great men of numerous Hindu sects, had long since been discredited. The Vedas and Upanishads were sealed books. … The whole religious literature of ancient India presented an endless void. Our young reformers studied Pain’s ‘Age of Reason’ to get fresh ideas on the subject of religion.”

But, then the turn came for a change. Some influential people started looking to the traditional Indian values of their culture.

Among them, were Jogendrochandra Ghosh and Bankimchandra Chatterjee. These were the prominent revivalist leaders. Such prominent persons had started boasting in favour of Indian culture and went further to such an extent that they started saying, ‘Indian scriptures are the source of modern Western science.’ This message was being spread later on across India and we find upper castes, especially Brahmins from all provinces started chanting the mantra that the Western people made discoveries in science by studying the Indian scriptures like Vedas.

Rammohan Roy: (1772-1833) His original surname was Bandopadhyay and Brahmin by caste. He was inspired by the Western culture but he remained the staunch Brahmin. It is said, “He never took any food that was forbidden by the Shastras for a Brahmin. He never took food with anybody who belonged to any other religion or caste. Till his death the sacred thread for a Brahmin, he maintained on his body.” (Rammohan Rachanabali, Harap Prakashan, Introduction, p.21) He opposed ‘Sati’, the cruel practice of burning woman with husband’s dead body. He was moved because his family woman member was made a ‘Sati’. That means he was not against ‘Sati’ as a Hindu religious dogma. Some people criticised him as a family reformer.

He was loyal to the British rule but was against the Muslim rule and religion. S. K. Biswas in his book, “Hinduraj”-Today-Yesterday-Tomarrow” (Orion Books, Calcutta, 1996) says, “He simply played a dirty game of licking the feet of the new colonial, foreign despots and offered his services to the imperialist ruler to get rid of the so called tyrannical Indian Muslim rulers. He offered himself as an agent for the British Commercial company against the Indian rulers, on communal line, to be used by the advancing neo-colonial rule.” (p.27) for his this stand he was given ‘Rai Bahadur’ title. He was also made Diwan of British company.

Later on he turned to Vedic thoughts. He founded Brahmo Samaj in 1825. He had also written the books – Vedanta Grantha and Vedantasara. R. K. DasGupta in his book, ‘Vedanta in Bengal’ 2003, p. 47, (pub. The Ramkrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Kolkata) considers Rammohan as the creator of Vedantism in modern Bengal. How he was adherent of the Vedic philosophy and proud of his racial background is clear when in the function of his death centenary a speaker, B.N. Seal said, “He (Rammohan) declared that the light of individual reason had to be reconciled with the authority of the scripture, as repositories of the collective wisdom of the race.” (Op. cit p.46). That shows how he was for Hindu revivalism.

Ramakrishna Paramhans (Gadadhar Chattopadhyay): (1834-1886) He was considered as the godly personality by many intellectuals in Bengal. He was not much educated or learned in Vedic scriptures but his sermons were heard with utmost seriousness as they were full of common sense religiosity. Being a Brahmin by caste he had advantage of listening to the religious discourses. His cult was another source of revivalism. His utterances attracted the intellectuals of Bengal and became his staunch disciples. They played major role in Hindu revivalism. Ramakrishna’s admirers were not only in India but also in the Western countries. This has become possible because of Vivekananda’s speech at the Parliament of World Religions at Chicago, US, (1893) which made him world famous.

Some of the foreigners who praised Ramakrishna, include Roman Rolland, who in his book ‘Life of Ramakrishna’ said, “I am bringing to Europe the fruit of a new autumn, a new message of the soul, the symphony of India, bearing the name of Ramakrishna, and he also said, ‘he was the consummation of two thousand years of the spiritual life of three hundred million people.’ (op cit p. 76-77), Christopher Isherwood (1904-1986), said, ‘he was Vedanta’s greatest human exemplar, Max Muller, who said, “Vedanta philosophy is the very marrow running through all the bones of Ramakrishna’s doctrine” (op cit. p.76)

Swami Vivekananda: (1863-1902) He was the chief disciple of Ramakrishna and became world famous by his speech delivered in the Chicago Parliament of the World Religions in 1893. He was also initially influenced by Brahmo Samaj. Before going to America, Vivekananda travelled to many places in India and met many famous saints, religious people, princes and luminaries. He also met B.G.Tilak, a Marathi Hindu revivalist at Pune. He founded the Ramakrishna Mission in 1897. Satinath Datta, well known Bengali Vedantic writer looks upon ‘Swami Vivekananda as the architect of a Vedantic revival.’ (DasGupta,p.64). Sister Nivedita in her introduction to ‘The works of Swami Vivekananda’ said, “Ramakrishna and Vivekananda are a single spiritual personality as a creator of new Hinduism.” (R.K.DasGupta, Vedanta in Bengal, p.76). Because of him faith in Vedic religion increased. Thus, he is considered a major force in the revival of Hinduism in India.

Ramakrishna mission has founded Ashrams or maths all over India and abroad also. Main theme of the mission’s work is making Sanyasis out of common men and through them spread the message of Vedic religion. M.S. Golwalkar, the second RSS chief was also inspired by the mission and he wanted to join it but was dissuaded by mission’s Calcutta Swami.

Vivekananda’s overall mission was to uphold Hindu system, glorify it and to instil in Indian Upper castes the pride of the Hindutva. He, although at times, spoke of Shudra raj but he also praised the caste system. He defended the dreaded ‘Sati’ He described ‘Sati’ as an act of self immolation of the Hindu women out of their divine and endless love and celestial devotion to their husbands. ‘Sati’ was the device to maintain caste system and do away with surplus women. The women being considered Shudras in the Varna model they were the objects of perpetual contempt.

Against Reforms and caste annihilators: 

While some times he hailed reforms but opposed them on later times. In a speech at Kumbhakonam in Madras state on the 4th February 1897, he declared –

“There are evils in our society even our babies know it. But is there any society which is bereft of evils? My countrymen! I take this opportunity to tell you that I have visited and seen many countries and nations. After a comparative study I have arrived at a conclusion that our nation on the whole is more religious and ethical than that of others. Our social system, in fulfilling their objects, is best in the world to make humanity happy. Therefore, I do not want any reform. My object is to see the rise and expansion of our nation. … I do not want to declare myself as one of those who are just caste annihilators, just the reformists. (Vivekananda O samakalin Bharatvarsha, Shankariprasad Basu,Vol-III, p.289).

Secondly, when he established Ramakrishna Mission he framed rules which again speak of his dislike for social reforms. One of the rules is-

“Math/Mission will not pay much attention on social reforms, because those social ills and wrong customs are a type of disease of the social body. When that body will become O.K. and strong enough after getting nutrition of education etc. Those diseases will disappear automatically. Therefore, instead of wasting of time by disclosing those social evils the Mission will take care of feeding the society to strengthen it.” (Vivekananda O samakalin Bharatvarsha, Shankariprasad Basu,Vol.III, p.65).

This shows how Vivekananda kept mission aloof from social change. He is rightly adored and glorified by the Hindu Nationalist organisations, which also are known as fascist forces. Vivekananda thus, by his eloquence served the established social system. Same was the stand taken by B.G. Tilak about the social reform platform of the congress. Vivekananda, thus was close to the Hindu nationalist forces. These forces do not adopt, eulogise a luminary unless he/she is useful to them. RSS established the Vivekananda centre at Kanyakumari in Tamilnadu, by collecting huge amount of money from all over India. Even Congress ruled state governments supported monetarily the centre.

Vande Mataram and Bankimchandra Chatterji (1838-1894) After Rammohan Roy Bankimchandra Chatterjee was a famous literary figure who served as Deputy Collector under the British and got Roy Bahadur title from the rule. He had written the historical novel “Anand Math” (1882). He gave in it the anti-Muslim thoughts. While praised the English rule and people he at the same time spew venom against Muslims. “He advocated in his book ‘Anand Math’, both absolute servitude to the foreign masters and extreme communal hatred against their own countrymen who believed in a different faith called Islam. (‘Hindu raj’ by SK Biswas, 1996, p.31). In ‘Anand Math’, he wrote,

“English people are very wise in worldly knowledge, they are very equipped in controlling public. Therefore, we will make the British our king…Satyanand!

Don’t worry, having adopted the wrong means, dacoity, you had collected wealth and got success in this battle, Therefore, you won’t be eventually successful in liberating your motherland. However, the result will be good. Behold! There is no hope or chance for revival of Sanatan (Hindu) Dharma without the British rule. …we will eliminate Muslims, our greatest enemy.” (Anand Math-Bankimchandra Chatterji)

The hymn ‘Vande Mataram’ in it evoked quite a large influence. This hymn-song got country wide acceptance among the revivalist leaders. Bankimchandra blamed Bakhtiyar Khilji through his novel for loosing independence of Bengal.

The impact of this song was so much that the revivalist Congress leaders also fell in its love. Bipin Chandra Pal decided to start a patriotic journal in August 1906 by name ‘Vande Mataram’. Another Congress leader, Lala Lajpat Rai also published a journal of the same name. (…) The three top leaders of the independence movement were well known as Lal-Bal-Pal-i.e. Lala Lajpat Rai, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Bipinchandra Pal.

Thus, ‘Vande Mataram’ became the rallying point for anti-Muslim fervour. The ‘Vande Mataram’ song is used by Hindu Nationalists to target the Muslims. The slogans like ‘Is Desh me Rahana hoga to Vande mataram kehna hoga’ (If you want to live in this country you will have to recite Vande mataram.) That means you will have to salute the motherland, which against the tenets of Islam. The RSS combine organisation’s volunteers shout this slogan against Muslim in their morchas whenever they get the chance to hoodwink the Muslims. Now, this song has become the national song which is sung in the Indian parliament at the start of every session. This shows how Indian parliament has become subservient to the Hindu Nationalist forces nay the Indian state has become the Hindu state. Many Muslim members of the parliament oppose singing of Vande Mataram in the parliament, but their complaints fall on deaf years. Some MPs walk out of the parliament house as a protest. This speaks how far the Indian state adhere to the principle of secularism.

Aurobindo Ghosh (1872-1950)

He joined independence movement. He established contacts with B.G.Tilak and followed his militant faction. He was jailed in a sedition case. In 1910 Aurobindo withdrew himself from all political activities and went into hidings to escape arrest by British government. His views on Hindu nationalism were akin to other Hindu nationalists.

After he was released from the Alipur bomb case, he was given grand felicitation. In his speech at that occasion speaks of his views. He said, “ …..It is the hindu religion only because the Himdu nation has kept it.” Further he said,  …… this movement is not a political movement and that nationalism is not politics but religion, a creed, a faith. I say it again today, …. I say that it is the Sanatan Dharma which for us is nationalism.This Hindu nation was born with sanatan Dharma. With it, it moves and with it, it grows. When the Sanatan Dharma declines then nation declines. ….The Sanatan Dharma is nationalism. That is the message I have to give to you.” (Vaidic Rashtra Darshan, (Hindi), by- Bal Shastri Hardas, 2000, Suruchi Prakashan, New Delhi, p.12-13.

It is said that Bengali revivalists were emulated by the Marathi revivalist leaders like B.G.Tilak, V.D. Savarkar. Sisir Kumar Ghosh, founder and first editor of the ‘Amrit Bazar Patrika, Kolkata, about whom Prof. Muzumdar says, “It is significant that Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the first extremist leader saluted Sisir Kumar Ghosh as his political guru. (History of Political Thought, vol. II, p.322) quoted in J E Sanjana’s, ‘Caste and outcaste (1946), p. 120, Thacker & Chandranath Bose in 19th century played prominent part in revival of Hinduism in Bengali work ‘Hindutva’. V.D.Savarkar might have been inspired by this Bengali work’ says J E Sanjana, in ‘Caste and outcaste (1946), p. 120, Thacker &

It seems thus, that Hindu revivalism started first in Bengal and Marathi Brahmins were followers of the Bengali Bhadra leaders. It is obvious that the persons involved in the revivalist activities were belonging to Brahmins and Kayastha castes, the Bhadra castes of Bengal.

  1. Maharashtra and Hindu nation:

Maharashtra has the background of Brahmnic rule under Peshwas. Shivaji established his state in parts of to-days’ Western Maharashtra in the 17th century and that was taken over from Shivaji’s clan by the Chitpavan Brahmins also known as Peshwas. The Peshwa rule was taken over by the English in 1818. The Peshwa rule or Peshwai is considered as horrible rule for the lower castes and specifically for the untouchable castes. It was the complete Brahmanic rule after many centuries of Muslim rule over many parts of the country; Maharashtra was one of them.

The Brahmins, thereafter, were reeling under the anti-British rage, but could not do much against it because of the support of people at large and specifically of the lower caste masses. The social revolutionaries like Jotirao Fuley, who criticised the Brahman hegemony bitterly, emerged during the English rule because Brahmins had lost the power to punish the lower castes. Fuley could get courage to oppose and expose the Brahmanic tyranny during bye gone Peshwa rule. He was impressed by the humane nature of British rule compared to the cruel nature of Peshwa-Brahmanic rule. He was against the slavery imposed by Brahmins on the Bahujan masses.

The enraged Brahmins were preparing to over throw the British rule. During later part of the 19th century they built courage to organise against the British rule. The root of today’s Hindu Nation moves lies in the Peshwa rule. It was the rule wherein Brahmins were ruling politically and socially. The caste system was strictly followed with its cruelty and hierarchy. The untouchability was practised with inhuman treatment to the castes which were dubbed as untouchables. In the capital city of Peshwas the untouchables were not allowed to walk in the streets as their touch was considered polluting. They were compelled to tie a broom to their waists and an earthen pot in their neck. The broom to clear their footstep marks and pot for collecting their spitting so that it does not fall on the streets. Thus, they were treated worse than the slaves in the U.S. or the western countries. These castes were Mahars (now mostly converted to Buddhism following Dr. B.R.Ambedkar’s call in 1956.) Mangs, Chambhars etc. The peasant castes such as Kunbis, Malis, Telis, Lohars, Sonars etc which form the majority population were termed as Shudras-lowly, somewhat upper than the untouchables. These castes, too, were treated as slaves. The term Shudra denotes slavery. Their duty was to serve the Brahmins. It is said horrid ‘Manu smriti’ was observed and practised by Peshwa rulers. All Brahmins were treated as ‘Bhudevas’ gods on the earth. This position and status of Brahmins came to end by the British rule. Brahmins lost their supreme position and prestige as they were no more the controllers, rulers of the society. British treated people according their laws. They observed the principle of equality before law which was grossly abused by the Peshwas. They used the law with gradation, hierarchy in the social status. Brahmin criminals were given the least or no punishment for the same crime where as non-Brahmin criminal was given cruellest punishment for the similar crime. Mahatma Jotirao Fuley who was a social revolutionary saw the difference between two rulers and he praised British rule and condemned Peshwa rule as the later was cruel, inhuman.

The Brahmins were at great loss because of the British rule. They wanted to re-establish their past glory and status in the society. Because the Brahmins wanted their rule re-established they resorted to agitations against the British rule. They could not directly talk of Peshwa rule because of changed times and as people tested the humane nature of British rule. Hence, the Brahmins gave the call of Hindu raj, Hindu nation. By Hindu they mean not only the Brahmins but all the people of various castes. It was not possible for Brahmins alone to over throw British rule, hence they tried to include people whom they treated with contempt. The leaders of the anti-British rule movement and proponents of ‘Hindu Nation’ were, therefore, all the Marathi Brahmins. It will be clear from the following leaders who wanted creation of ‘Hindu nation’.

B. G. Tilak:(1856-1920)

B. G. Tilak is generally known as the freedom fighter and one of the tallest leaders of the freedom movement. But that is half truth. He was also the foremost revivalist and pioneer of the idea of Hindu nation. Militant in political matters but was equally conservative in social matters. He was for maintaining the caste-Varna system and he was against the social reforms. He pleaded that social reforms will be looked after political independence. He wanted Brahmin supremacy to be intact and that is why he was in favour of caste system. He, therefore, opposed reservation of backward castes, the measure that was introduced by the Prince of Kolhapur state, Shahu Maharaja in 1902. He was so enraged by the measure that he threatened the prince of dire consequence including murder.

Though, he could not give elaborate plan or scheme of Hindu Nation, but he had sown the seeds of it. As early as first decade of 20th century he tried to give hint of it.

He says, “Vedic religion, Bharat religion or Brahman religion or Hindu religion- whatever name you give to it, it was the dominant religion during Mahabharata period all over the country from the south to the north. Different kings were ruling different states but all of them were of one religion and if looked that way India was a big Hindu Nation. (Kesari, Pune, 30th May 1905), secondly, he says, “If we have to achieve the enlightened state it should be in keeping with the norms of Hindu Nation.” (Kesari, Pune, 12th January 1904)

On May 5, 1905, delivering a speech at Belari (Maharshtra) he said, “The first duty of an Indian Patriot is to ask if the people of India were one nation. The answer that came to the lips of everyone is that India was one nation…..There is no conflict between Vedantic ideals and patriotic ideals. (Mahratta, 7th May 1905).

His idea of Hindu nation included three things, viz. 1. Freedom from English rule, 2. Muslim baiting and 3. Maintenance of Caste-Varna model of society. He was of two minds while dealing with Muslims and English rulers. As a practical step he supported Muslims for gaining independence, but at the same time he was against Islam, Muslims because of his strong Vedic adherence. His activities were not only political but also religiously and socially reactionary. His books ‘Geeta Rahasya’, ‘Orion’ and ‘Arctic Home in the Vedas’ give idea about his bend of mind. He had started Shivaji and Ganapati festivals, in Maharashtra in the late 20th century. Both these festivals caused Hindu-Muslim riots right from 1893. Tilak’s role, in a sense, was pioneer in sowing the seeds of Hindu-Muslim riots and growing enmity against Muslims, Islam.

V.D. Savarkar (1883-1966)

The most vigorous promoter of ‘Hindu Nation’ was V.D. Savarkar along with his brother Gajanan Savarkar, who had authored the book, ‘Rashtra Meemansa’ ‘Critique on nation’ (1934). Both were ardent followers of B.G. Tilak. V.D.Savarkar called Tilak as the greatest ‘guru’. Both of them belonged to the same sub-caste, the Chitpavan Brahmin. Savarkar and colleagues founded ‘Abhinav Bharat’ a militant Hindu secret society for achieving Hindu Rashtra in 1904. This organisation got publicity recently when a colonel from Indian army, Shrikant Purohit was found guilty of the bomb blast in Malegaon (2006) and many other places in the country. He also declared how he wanted to make India a Hindu nation.

Savarkar also was the founder of the Hindu Mahasabha, (1905) the political party, mainly for the Hindus. Through it hate Muslims campaign was carried out vigorously. Mainly Maharashtrian Brahmins were its leaders and the followers. One of Savarkar’s slogans was, “Hinduise the nation and militarise the Hindus.” Obviously, the militancy was against the Muslims more than the English. The hate campaign was multifaceted, he asked Hindus to hate Islam, their language Urdu, Persian and their very way of living- the culture. These organisations were the precursors of the present Hindu nation organisations like RSS, Vishva Hindu Parishad and RSS created organisations in almost all spheres of Human activities/professions.

V.D. Savarkar’s elder brother Babarao Savarkar was his staunch supporter. He had written the book ‘Rashtra Mimansa’ (Thoughts on Nation in Marathi language) in 1934. That book inspired M.S. Golwalkar, the second RSS-Supremo. He wrote the book ‘We or Our Nationhood Defined’ (English) in the year 1939. Thus, it is obvious that Savarkar brothers were the pioneers of Hindu Nation concept. They outlined the theory of Hindu Nation which later on was developed by Golwalkar and adopted by RSS. RSS is the main vehicle now of Hindu Rashtra ideology and practice.

When Hindu Nation came into being?

While Tilak gave beginning of Hindu Nation during Mahabharata period his staunch follower V.D. Savarkar gave more specific but different beginning period. He says, “The day not only the Arya kings but also the Hanumans, the Sugrivas and Bibhishanas of the south surrendered with devotion to the king Rama that was the birth date of Hindu Nation, thus, it was Rama who established the Hindu Rashtra when he captured Lanka of Ravana and became Aryan king.” (Hindutva, by- V.D. Savarkar, p. 14, 1947)   

Elsewhere he says, Buddha kings could not destroy Varna system and later on that system has become such an attraction that later kings started taking pride in calling themselves adherents of Varna system; later on it became the chief identity of our nation.(Hindutva, p. 31-32)

Hedgewar: (1889-1940)

Dr. K. B. Hedgewar, a Telegu Brahman, originally from Hyderabad, came to Maharashtra (then Vidarbha region) sometime in the late 19th century. He came into the contact of B. S. Munje, of Nagpur. He was a staunch Hinduist and follower of Tilak, Sawarkar. Hedgewar, it is said, was impressed by Shivaji’s life and character. Shivaji was hailed as the hero by the Hindu nationalists, including Tilak, Savarkar and Hedgewar Golwalkar. Hedgewar joined Congress party at the instance of B S Munje, it is said. He remained in the Congress party but his bend of mind was somewhat different. There was a hidden anti-Gandhi thinking among Marathi Brahmins. Tilak’s brand of militancy was not found in Gandhi and the basic difference between Tilak and Gandhi was that the latter was not for the Brahmin dominated concept of society as Tilak. Gandhi also was not anti-Muslim as Tialak. Gandhi also was not in favour of Peshwa rule as Tilak and Maharashtrian Brahmins were as he could not comprehend the importance of Peshwa rule as Tilak or Savarkar were having. Gandhi also was not much inspired by Shivaji as were Tilak and Savarkar. Hedgewar being of the same view as Tilak and Savarkar he distanced himself from the Congress and Gandhi and was thinking anew. That was the time when he thought of Hindu organisation. There were many Hindu-Muslim riots during that period.

M. S. GOLWALKAR : (1906-1973)

The second RSS chief, M.S.Golwalkar, was the main architect for expansion of the RSS. He has given meticulous details of Hindu nation needed for the organisation. RSS or its allied organisations refer to Golwalkar for guidance to fulfil the dream of Hindu Nation. For this, probably he was referred to as ‘Guruji’ (Teacher). He is having the greatest respect among the RSS combine and other Hinduist organisations, politicians.

His book, “We or Our Nationhood Defined” (1939), is referred to as the Bible by the followers of RSS combine.

In the “Preface” of the book he writes about the purpose and scope of the book.

He says, “I have throughout the work scrupulously stuck to one idea “Nation” and except where it was unavoidable have given no consideration to the lied concept, the “state”. Nation being a cultural unit and “state” a political one, the two concepts are clearly distinguishable.”  Such is the scope of this book. I pray the reader to remember that this work aims only at analysing the “Nation” concept, applying it to our present day problems establishing the proposition that in this country, our “Nation” means, and independently of the question of majority always must mean the Hindu Nation and nought else” (Preface p.2)

Nation Not State:

Golwalkar’s stress on “Nation” concept is found throughout in this book. He is more for Nation than State. He stresses, “We stand for national regeneration and not for that hap-hazard bundle of political rights-the state. (op cit p.3)

He says, “Do we strive to make our “nation” independent and glorious, or merely to create a “state” with certain political and economic powers centralised in other hands than those of our present rulers? Do we clearly perceive that the two concepts –the nation and the state- are distinctly different? If we do not, we are merely groping in the dark…” (p.3)

He does not consider State as nation. He says ‘nation is above state’.

“We must also see what the nation idea should denote to us in our struggle for national regeneration. ‘Nation’ being a cultural unit, and ‘state’ a political one, the two concepts are clearly distinguishable, although there is certainly a good deal of mutual overlapping.’ (Prologue)

‘We stand for national regeneration and not for that hap – hazard bundle of political rights – the state … (p.3)

Even Hedgewar was not able to give the theory to the organisation as Golwalkar did. Under his stewardship the RSS has multiplied its activities in many fields. He was responsible for founding the ‘Bharatiy Jan Sangh’, in 1951 the political wing of the RSS- the former incarnation of today’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He was also responsible for founding many such organisations to spread the ideology of Hindu Nation. Bharatiya Majdoor Sangh, (workers trade union), Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Vanwasi Kalyan Ashram, Bajarang Dal etc. They were Golwalkar’s brain children. The expansion of RSS’ ideology through these organisations is spreading all over India and abroad. The Hindu Nation theory was, to some extent, outlined by Balarao Savarkar, brother of V. D. Savarkar. Golwalkar gave it a strong founding. Because RSS expanded leaps and bounds unlike Savarkar’s Hindu Mahasabha. Golawalkar toured extensively throughout India. He was welcomed by Brahmins all over country. This was possible because Brahmin is an all India caste. Hindu nation theory was for maintaining the top most position of the Brahmins in the Caste bound social system of India and that is why he was welcomed all over the country by the Brahmins. He established RSS branches (shakhas) all over the country recruiting in nearly cent per cent Brahmins. The others who were induced in it were wealthy Banias or Vaishyas.

He says, “Do we strive to make our “nation” independent and glorious, or merely to create a “state” with certain political and economic powers centralised in other hands than those of our present rulers? Do we clearly perceive that the two concepts –the nation and the state- are distinctly different? If we do not, we are merely groping in the dark…” (p.3)

He does not consider State as nation. He says ‘nation is above state’.

We must also see what the nation idea should denote to us in our struggle for national regeneration.

‘Nation’ being a cultural unit, and ‘state’ a political one, the two concepts are clearly distinguishable, although there is certainly a good deal of mutual overlapping.’ (Prologue)

‘We stand for national regeneration and not for that hap – hazard bundle of political rights – the state ..(p.3)

He asserts that Aryans means Hindus and they have not migrated from anywhere. Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the freedom movement leader had written in his book ‘Arctic Home in the Vedas’ that Aryans have migrated from north pole and came to India. He has given many proofs for his theory. But Golwalkar counters his statement and asserts that not Aryans but North Pole had migrated from India to the present position. This is quite a strange and ludicrous claim to prove indigenous status. (Eventually, he was holder of Master of Science degree in Zoology.)

He asserts-

‘Apart from any considerations of the Hindu i.e. Aryan race being indigenous…’

‘We Hindus have been in undisputed and undisturbed possession of this land for over 8 or even 10 thousand years before the land was invaded by any foreign race (p. 6)

‘The Arctic Home in the Vedas was verily in Hindusthan itself and that it was not the Hindus who migrated to that land but the Arctic zone which emigrated and left the Hindus in Hindusthan. We Hindus came into this land from nowhere, but are indigenous children of the soil always, and natural masters of the country.’ (p. 8)

Not only, according to him, Aryans are indigenous but are masters of this country.

‘Muslims were invaders. The great Empire of Vijayanagar, the illustrious Rana Pratap of Chitor fought the enemy to the last drop of their blood. Then came the glorious period of Hindu revival under the great Shivaji and the whole illustrious line of Hindu warriors, who over threw the Muslim domination right up to the Sindhu river and shattered the throne of the ‘Great Moghal’ the emblem of Muslim victory. (p.10)

We have almost forgotten our nation (p. 15)

According to him, five entities constitute the Nation.

They are-

  1. Country,  2. Race 3. Religion, 4. Culture and, 5. Language.

It is to be seen how Golwalkar gave importance to race and this is the inner view of the RSS and other Hindu nationalist bodies in India.

His views on race are as under-

“Race: It is superfluous to emphasise the importance of Racial Unity in the Nation idea. A race is a hereditary Society having common customs, common language, and common memories of glory or disaster; in short it is the population with a common origin under one culture. Such a race is by far the important ingredient of a Nation. Even if there be people of foreign origin, they must have become assimilated in to the body of the mother race and inextricably fused into it. They should have become one with the original national race, not only in its economic and political life but also in its religion, culture and language for otherwise such foreign races may be considered, under certain circumstances, at best members of a common state for political purposes; but they can never form part and parcel of the National body.” (p.21)

Race is the body of the ‘Nation’ with its fall ‘nation’ ceases to exist. (p. 4)

Our race spirit is a child of our Religion and so with culture is but a product of our all comprehensive Religion, part of its body and not distinguished from it. (p. 22)

In this country, Hindusthan, the Hindu Race with its Hindu religion, Hindu culture and Hindu language (the natural family of Sanskrit and her off springs) complete the Nation concept ; that in fine, in Hindusthan exist and must need exist the ancient Hindu nation and not else but the Hindu Nation.

All those not belonging to the national i.e. Hindu race, Religion, Culture and Language, naturally fall out of the pale of real National life.’ (p. 43)

Language: Language being inextricably woven in the all-round life of a race is an ingredient of great importance in its nationality. Without it the Nation concept is incomplete. (p.27)

Those only are nationalists, patriots who with the aspiration to glorify the Hindu Race and Nation next to their heart are prompted into activity and strive to achieve that goal. All others are traitors, enemies, or idiots. (p. 44)

Foreigners: Muslims, Christians

There are only two courses open to the foreign elements, either to merge them in the national race and adopt its culture, or to live at its mercy so long as the national race may allow them to do so and to quit the country at the sweet will of the national race. That is the only sound view on the minorities’ problem. That is the only logical and correct solution. That alone keeps the national life healthy and undisturbed.

….. The foreign races in Hindusthan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but those of the glorification of the Hindu race and culture i.e. of the Hindu nation and must lose their separate existence to merge in Hindu race or may stay in the country wholly subordinated to the Hindu Nation. Claiming nothing, deserving no privileges far less any preferential treatment not even citizen rights.(P. 47, 48)

Since remote past we have a Nation.

The great Hindu renaissance under Chhatrapati Shivaji was the outcome of the years of spiritual life blossoming forth in a Jnaneshwar, a Tukaram, a Ramdas’. (P. 66)

Nagesh Chaudhari is a social activist