Yogi Adityanath of the Bharatiya Janata Party is the new Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in India and the equivalent of the sixth largest nation on earth where about a fifth of those 200 million people are Muslim. Does it represent a shift towards a theocratic state?
Milan Vaishnav, at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a foreign policy thinktank. “He is an extremist in terms of his speeches, a very proud rabble-rouser, and somebody who doesn’t have a claim to fame other than a dedication to a strident form of Hindu nationalism.”
“It is an important and disturbing moment,” agrees Ramachandran Guha, an author and historian. “It is the fringe moving to the mainstream.”
Hinduism is the world’s third most-practised religion. It has no pope, no mandatory scripture, no compulsion to convert new believers. The caste system is embedded deeply into many of its followers beliefs.
Yogi Adityanath is a firm believer in Hindutva ideology which essentially wants to establish India as a Hindu nation.This would mean that the State would no longer remain separate from religion. Any practice sanctioned by the Hindu religion would have to be accepted and respected by each and every citizen of the nation. As an example, cow slaughter could be banned in the nation for the sole reason that the Hindu religion did-not permit it, and each and every citizen would have to abide to by the ban.
All the citizens of India, Hindus and non-Hindus, would have to accept that Hinduism was the national religion, that laws and rules that were made to encourage, protect or promote any religious practice of the Hindus would have to be equally obeyed by all as the law of the land and that the State was free to mete out any treatment that it saw fit to other religious denominations. In a Hindu State, if the State made a law that it would henceforth be necessary for all the citizens to practice the Hindu religion, it would have to be followed by one and all, or else they could choose to leave the State. Alternatively, the State could choose to allow everyone the freedom to practice their religion with the caveat that they would respect all the practices of Hindu religion and not come in the way of any such practice or ritual of the religion. In other words, all the non-Hindu religious communities would be at the mercy of the Hindu nation, to be treated as deemed fit by the incumbent powers. Thus, the success of Hindutva ideology may not necessarily lie in mass exodus of non-Hindu religious communities from the nation. The only condition necessary to be fulfilled may be ensuring that the claim of India being a Hindu nation is accepted by all those residing in India, and consequently, any thought or action that is, in the eyes of the State, detrimental to the Hindu religious beliefs, is not performed by any citizen of the nation. In such a situation, the State could, for example, impose beef ban, make Yoga compulsory for all, uplift Bhagvata Gita to the status of the National Scripture etc., and impose fines and punishment in law for not adhering to these strictures.
There would be umpteen difficulties though, if India became a Hindu nation. These would arise out of the complexities associated with the Hindu religion itself. To begin with, how would one define who is a Hindu and who isn’t? Which scriptures would one choose to follow and adhere to, given the existence of multitudes of them, all with different messages and interpretations of being a Hindu? Which practices would be defined as being the core practices of the religion, and which would be defined to be peripheral and non-mandatory? There would arise many such questions and in all practicality, the interpretation of the ruling power will have to be accepted as the legitimate interpretation and be followed as the law of the land.
Pro-Hindutva hardliners know for a fact that the numbers of non-Hindu population is so high in India that they cannot be wished away. The problem arises when one starts to question, when one dissents, when one puts forward his or her views, and in such cases. Hindutva ideology It treats all such cases of dissents with one lens, and brands them all as anti-nationals, irrespective of their caste, creed, colour or religion. This ideology refuses to see the human being behind the cloaks of caste, creed, religion, gender and all such man-made differences. Socialism is the ideology of HUMANITY. Socialism is the holistic monist thinking encompassing rational dialogue, discussion and debate.
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