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The Saffron Book

Strengths are many. A cardinal one is resilience. In the absenece of a prophetic message, it has responded to the challenges of time.


23. Strengths

Dear Chavan
Being a brave Maratha, I realise that you are in a hurry to know what should be the strategy for achieving Ram rajya. I am taken in by your curiosity but not by your hurry. It may take me several letters to unfold what I believe to be an appropriate approach.

One should know oneself, one's strengths and weaknesses in the context of the task ahead. It is necessary to understand the environment under which one would be expected to operate and, above all, recognise the adverse factors that are possible to anticipate. In military parlance, this is called knowing the terrain and assessing probable enemies. It is only then that thinking should begin on the game plan for success.

Let us today satisfy ourselves with recounting the strengths of Hindutva. Its greatest single strength is the wide horizon of its universe.It spontaneously includes all humans regardless of their race or religion.Unlike in the Judaic tradition, there is no discrimination as between Jews and gentiles, Christians and heathens, Muslims and kafirs or communists and class enemies. The jeevatma or the soul of a departed Hindu could next move to the body of, say, a Muslim infant. How then can a Hindu choose to treat another as an alien without a specific reason?

Before the advent of the Muslims, everyone who came to India joined the Hindu fold. Immigrant, conqueror, or a camp follower, his group soon began to be treated as Hindus.

The group retained its identity as a distinct caste like the Gujjar, the Jat, the Lohana, the Meo et al. Each was free to choose his favourite avataar like Krishna, Ram or Durga as well as his mode of worship. So long as one did not oppose the theory of samsara or the transmigration of the soul across all living beings, he was a Hindu.

A corollary of this universal view makes Hindutva inclusive of potentially anyone. There is no need for anyone to undergo conversionin order to espouse Hindutva. He can continue to worship in a church or a mosque and yet be in the mainstream. Which is why Hindutva is translated as cultural nationalism with no religious connotation.

There are Christians who claim to be brahmin and there are Muslims who also call themselves Rajput. Evidently, their collective memory overwhelm their current faith. All the children who love Mother India belong to the family of Hindutva. Only those who owe their allegiance beyond the borders of  India are unwelcome. Their bodies might reside in the country but their souls yearn for say Beijing or Islamabad.

The third strength of Hindutva is its infinite resilience. The ethos bends but does not break. Not flowing from the message of a prophet or the doctrine of a single holy book, Hindutva is neither rigid nor brittle. Hindu worship is so varied and decentralised to the last temple that it is well nigh unbreakable. Unlike the Buddhist network of monastries in ancient India which could be destroyed merely by killing the monks as the invader often did. Another example of such vulnerability is the virtual wiping out of Christianity from Turkey. Although the headquarters of the Eastern Orthodox Church are still located at Istanbul, Christians form less than two percent of the Turkish population.

Yet another strength that flows from the lack of a prophetic message or a single scripture is the freedom from any finality. Hindutva can be open and ready to be amended in response to the challenge of changing time. The experience of a new rishi or the advent of a new discovery does not have to be ignored. The abolition of untouchability and the acceptance of contraception or birth control are examples. In the words of   Dr Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, the unity of Hinduism is not one of an unchanging creed or a fixed deposit of doctrine, but is the unity of a continuously changing life. This make Hindutva time dynamic.

Hindutva is dialectical. This logical aptitude or potential offers scope for creativity. For evidence, look at the enormous contribution made by the Hindu civilisation during the pre-medieval centuries.Philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, sculpture, literature are some of the spheres in which remarkable creative work was done. Although Hindutva is based on a spiritual inspiration, it could co-exist with science. A contradiction, like the one between the Holy Bible and Charles Darwin with regard to the origin of species is not likely in the Hindu ethos.

The original attitude towards women folk should prove to be another strength of Hindutva. For it is the mother, and not the father, who really brings up the children. The quality of the future generations therefore depends on the enlightenment of the women. During Vedic times, both boys and girls underwent the Upanayana or thread ceremony. Both studied the Vedas which took 12 to 15 years. Marriage therefore had to wait until men and women were in their mid twenties.The age difference between them was very little and they bore fewer children than they did later when the girls began to be married off early. The Mahabharata portrays the last phase of this Vedic tradition. Thereafter, a decline set in and women became unequal. Nevertheless, there was no purdah, women moved about more or less freely and were not an exploited species. Those evils crept in with the advent of Islam.

Another special strength of Hindutva is an entrepreneurial or business aptitude in a significant proportion of the people. Trading, banking and understanding the dynamics of money are traditional. This could be an economic asset domestically as well as internationally.

Another advantage in relationship with other countries is the Hindu preference for self actualisation rather than a desire to control society, to dominate others and build colonies. If each country concentrated on self actualization, there would be no acquisitive or imperialistic tendency. And therefore little cause for tension or war.


The Saffron Book
Prafull Goradia
Introduction
1. Awake and Unite!
2. Why The Saffron Book?

Sooraj
10. Small States
3. Vision
4. Economic Face
5. Abolish Casteism
6. Bride Burning, Divorce
7. Rape, Prostitution
8. Revolutionising Education
9. The Constitution

Nationalism
11. Nationalism
12. Pan-Islamism
13. Communism
14. Subnationalism
15. Casteism

Hindutva
16. Hindutva is Dialectical
17. Origin of Hinduism
18. Medieval Phase
19. Modern Resurgence
20. Not Fundamentalism
21. Not Fascism
22. Tolerance
23. Strengths
24. Weaknesses
25. Opportunities
26. Threats
27. Individual Brilliance

Hindu Paradoxes
42. Idolatry
43. Fatalism
44. Double Standards
45. Masochistic Fringe
46. Fifth Column
47. No Soul before Birth

Christians
48. Proselytising Unwelcome
49. Myth of Divide and Rule

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