Essentials of Hindutva
– by V.D. Savarkar
Veer Savarkar completed his historic book “Essentials of Hindutva” while still in Andamans. This was later published under the pseudo name ‘A Mahratta’
What is in a name?
We hope that the fair Maid of Verona who made the impassioned appeal to her lover to change ‘a name that was ‘nor hand, nor foot, nor arm, nor face, nor any other part belonging to a man’ would forgive us for this our idolatrous attachment to it when we make bold to assert that, ‘Hindus we are and love to remain so!’ We too would, had we been in the position of that good Friar, have advised her youthful lover to yield to the pleasing pressure of the logic which so fondly urged ‘What’s in a name? That which we call a rose would smell as sweet by any other name!’ For, things do matter more than their names, especially when you have to choose one only of the two, or when the association between them is either new or simple. The very fact that a thing is indicated by a dozen names in a dozen human tongues disarms the suspicion that there is an invariable connection or natural connection or natural concomitance between sound and the meaning it conveys. Yet, as the association of the word with the thing is signifies grows stronger and lasts long, so does the channel which connects the two states of consciousness tend to allow an easy flow of thoughts from one to the other, till at last it seems almost impossible to separate them. And when in addition to this a number of sexondary thoughts or feelings that are generally roused by the thing get mystically entwined with the word that signifies it, the name seems to matter as much as the thing itself. Would the fair Apostle of the creed that so movingly questioned ‘What’s in a name?’ have liked it herself to nickname the God of her idolatry as ‘Paris’ instead of ‘Romeo’? Or would he have been ready to swear by the moon that ‘tipped with silver all the fruit tree- tops,’ that it would serve as sweet and musical to his heart to call his ‘Juliet’ by ‘any other name’ such as for example – ‘Rosalind?’ Nay more; there are words which imply an idea in itself extremely complex or an ideal or a vast and abstract generalization and which seem to take, as it were, a being unto themselves or live and grow as an organism would do. Such names though they be ‘nor hand, nor foot, nor any other part belonging to a man,’ are not all that, precisely because they are the very soul of man. They become the idea itself and live longer than generations of man do. Jesus died but Christ has survived the Roman Emperors and that Empire. Inscribe at the foot of one of those beautiful paintings of ‘Madonna’ the name of ‘Fatima’ and a Spaniard would keep gazing at it as curiously as at any other piece of art; but just restore the name of ‘Madonna’ instead, and behold his knees would lose their stiffness and bend his eyes their inquisitiveness and turn inwards in adoring recognition, and his whole being get suffused with a consciousness of the presence of Divine Motherhood and Love! What is in a name? Ah! call Ayodhya, Honolulu, or nickname her immortal Prince, a Pooh Bah, or ask the Americans to change Washington into a Chengizkhan, or persuade a Mohammedan to call himself a Jew, and you would soon find that the ‘open sesame’ was not the only word of its type.
Hindutva is different from Hinduism
To this category of names which have been to mankind a subtle source of life and inspiration belongs the word Hindutva, the essential nature and significance of which we have to investigate into. The ideas and ideals, the systems and societies, the thoughts and sentiments which have centered round this name are so varied and rich, so powerful and so subtle, so elusive and yet so vived that the term Hindutva defies all attempts at analysis. Forty centuries, if not more, had been at work to mould it as it is. Prophets and poets, lawyers and law-givers, heroes and historians, have thought, lived, fought and died just to have it spelled thus. For indeed, is it not the resultant of countless actions – now conflicting, now commingling, now cooperating- of our whole race? Hindutva is not a word but a history. Not only the spiritual or religious history of our people as at times it is mistaken to be by being confounded with the other cognate term Hinduism, but a history in full. Hinduism is only a derivative, a fraction, a part of Hindutva. Unless it is made clear what is meant by the latter the first remains unintelligible and vague. Failure to distinguish between these two terms has given rise to much misunderstanding and mutual suspicion between some of those sister communities that have inherited this inestimable and common treasure of our Hindu civilization. What is the fundamental difference in the meaning of these two words would be clear as our arguement proceeds. Here it is enough to point out that Hindutva is not identical with what is vaguely indicated by the term Hinduism. By an ‘ism’ it is generally meant a theory or a code more or less based on spiritual or religious dogma or creed. Had not linguistic usage stood in our way then ‘Hinduness’ would have certainly been a better word than Hinduism as a near parallel to Hindutva. Hindutva embrases all the departments of thought and activity of the whole Being of our Hindu race. Therefore, to understand the significance of this term Hindutva, we must first understand the essential meaning of the word Hindu itself and realize how it came to exercise such imperial sway over the hearts of millions of mankind and won a loving allegiance from the bravest and best of them. But before we can do that, it is imperative to point out that we are by no means attemption a definition or even a description of the more limited, less satisfactory and essentially sectarian term Hinduism. How far we can succeed or are justified in doing that would appear as we proceed.
What is a Hindu?
Although it would be hazardous at the present state of oriental research to state definitely the period when the foremost band of the intrepid Aryans made it their home and lighted their first sacrificial fire on the banks of the Sindhu, the Indus, yet certain it is that long before the ancient Egyptians, and Babylonians had built their magnificent civilization, the holy waters of the Indus were daily witnessing the lucid and curling columns of the scented sacrificial smokes and the valleys resounding with the chants of Vedic hymns- the spiritual fervour that animated their souls. The adventurous valour that propelled their intrepid enterprizes, the sublime heights to which their thoughts rose-all these had marked them out as a people destined to lay the foundation of a great and enduring civilization. By the time they had definitely cut themselves aloof from their cognate and neighbouring people especially the Persians, the Aryans, had spread out to the farthest of the seven rivers, Sapta Sindhus, and not only had they developed a sense of nationality but had already succeeded in giving it ‘a local habitation and a name!’ Out of their gratitude to the genial and perennial network of waterways that run through the land like a system of nerve-threads and wove them into a Being, they very naturally took to themselves the name of Sapta Sindhus an epithet that was applied to the whole of Vedic India in the oldest records of the world, the Rigveda itself. Aryans or the cultivators as they essentially were, we can well understand the divine love and homage they bore to these seven rivers presided over by the River, ‘the Sindhu’. which to them were but a visible symbol of the common nationality and culture.
The Indians in their forward march had to meet many a river as genial and as fertilizing as these but never could they forget the attachment they felt and the homage they paid to the Sapta Sindhus which had welded them into a nation and furnished the name which enabled their forefathers to voice forth their sense of national and cultural unity. Down to this day a Sindhu- a Hindu-wherever he may happen to be, will gratefully remember and symbolically invoke the presence of these rivers that they may refresh and purify his soul.
Not only had these people been known to themselves as ‘Sindhus’ but we have definite records to show that they were known to their surrounding nations- at any rate to one of them- by that very name, ‘Sapta Sindhu’. The letter ‘s’ in Sanskrit is at times changed into h in some of the Prakrit languages, both Indian and non-Indian. For example, the word Sapta has become Hapta not only in Indian Prakrits but also in the European languages too: we have Hapta i.e., week, in India and ‘Heptarchy’ in Europe, Kesari in Sanskrit becomes Harhvati in Persian and Asuri becomes Ahur. And then we actually find that the Vedic name of our nation Sapta Sindhu had been mentioned as Hapta Hindu in the Avesta by the ancient Persian people. Thus in the very dawn of history we find ourselves belonging to the nation of the Sindhus or Hindus and this fact was well known to our learned men even in the Puranic period. In expounding the doctrine that many of the Mlechha tongues had been but the mere offshoots of the Sanskrit language the Bhavishya Puran clearly cites this fact and says –
Thus knowing for certain that the Persians used to designate the Vedic Aryans as Hindus and knowing also the fact that we generally call a foreign and unknown people by the term by which they are known to those through whom we come to know them, we can safely conclude that most of the remoter nations that flourished then must have applied the same epithet ‘Hindu’ to our land and people as the ancient Persians did. Not only that but even in the very region of the Sapta Sindhus the thinly scattered native tribes too, must have been knowing the Aryans as Hindus in the local dialects in accordance with the same linguistic law. Further on, as the Vedic Sanskrit began to give birth to the Indian Prakrits which became the spoken tongues of the majority of the decendants of these very Sindhus as well as the assimilated and the crossborn castes, these too might have called themselves as Hindus without any influence for the foreign people. For the Sanskrit S changes into H as often in Indian Prakrits as in the non -Indian ones. Therefore, so far as definite records are concerned, it is indisputably clear that the first and almost the cradle name chosen by the patriarchs of our race to designate our nation and our people, is Sapta Sindhu or Hapta Hindu and that almost all nations of the then known world seemed to have known us by this very epithet, Sindhus or Hindus.
Name older still
So far we have been treading on solid ground of recorded facts, but now we cannot refrain ourselves from making an occasional excursion into the borderland of conjecture.
So far we have not pinned our faith to any theory about the original home of the Aryans. But if the most widely accepted theory of their entrance into India be relied on, then a natural curiousity arises as to the origin of the names by which they called the new scenes of their adopted home. Did they coin all those name from their own tongue? Could they have done so? Is it not generally true that when we meet a new scene or enter a new country we call them by the very names – may be in a slightly changed form so as to suit our vocal ability or taste- by which they are known to the native people there? Of course, at times we love to call new scenes by names redolent with the memory of the clear old ones- especially when new colonies are being established in a virgin and but thinly populated continent. But this explanation could only be satisfactory when it is proved that the name given to the new place already existed in the old country and even then it could not be denied that the other process of calling new scenes by the names which they already bear is more universally followed. Now we know it for certain that the region of the Sapta Sindhus was, though very thinly, populated by scattered tribes. Some of them seem to have been friendly towards the newcomers and it is almost certain that many an individual had served the Aryans as guides and introduced them to the names and nature of the new scenes to which the Aryans could not be but local strangers. The Vidyadharas, Apsaras, Yakshas, Rakshas, Gandharvas and Kinnaras were not all or altogether inimical to the Aryans as at times they are mentioned as being benevolent and good- natured folks. Thus it is probable that many names given to these great rivers by the original inhabitants of te soil may have been sansritised and adopted by the Aryans. We have numerous proofs of this nature in the assimilative expansion of those people and their tongues; witness the words Shalakantakata, Malaya, Milind, Alasada, (Alexandria) Suluva (Selucus) etc. If this be true then it is quite probable that the great Indus was known as Hindu to the original inhabitants of our land and owing to vocal peculiarity of the Aryans it got changed into Sindhu when they adopted it by the operation of the same rule that S is the Sanskritised equivalent of H. Thus Hindu would be the name that this land and the people that inhabited it bore from time so immemorial that even the Vedic name Sindhu is but a later and secondary form of it. If the epithet Sindhu dates its antiquity in the glimmering twilight of history then the word Hindu dates its antiquity from a period so remoter than the first that even mythology fails to penetrate – to trace it to its source.
Hindus, a nation
The activities of so intrepid a people as the Sindhus or Hindus could no longer be kept cooped or cabined within the narrow compass of the Panchanad or the Punjab. The vast and fertile plains farther off stood out inviting the efforts of some strong and vigorous race. Tribe after tribe of the Hindus issued forth form the land of their nursery and led by the consciousness of a great mission and their Sacrificial Fire that was the symbol thereof, they soon reclaimed the vast, waste and but very thinly populated lands. Forests were felled, agriculture flourished, cities rose, kingdoms thrived,- the touch of the human hand changed the whole face of the wild and unkemp nature. But while these great deeds were being achieved the Aryans had developed to suit their individualistic tendencies and the demands of their new environments a policy that was but loosely centralised. As time passed on, the distances of their new colonies increased, and different settlements began to lead life politically very much centred in themselves. The new attachments thus formed, though they could not efface th old ones, grew more and more pronounced and powerful until the ancient generalizations and names gave way to the new. Some called themselves Kurus, others Kashis or Videhas or Magadhas while the old generic name of the Sindhus or Hindus was first overshadowed and then almost forgotten. Not that the conception of a national and cultural unity vanished, but it assumed other names and other forms, the politically most important of them being the institution of a Chakarvartin. At last the great mission which the Sindhus had undertaken of founding a nation and a country, found and reached its geographical limit when the valorous Prince of Ayodhya made a triumphant entry in Ceylon and actually brought the whole land from the Himalayas to the Seas under one sovereign sway. The day when the Horse of Victory returned to Ayodhya unchallenged and unchallengeable, the great white Umbrella of Sovereignty was unfurled over that Imperial throne of Ramchandra, the brave, Ramchandra the good, and a loving allegiance to him was sworn, not only by the Princes of Aryan blood but Hanuman, Sugriva, Bibhishana from the south- that day was the real birth-day of our Hindu people. It was truly our national day: for Aryans and Anaryans knitting themselves into a people were born as a nation. It summed up and politically crowned the efforts of all the generations that preceded it and it handed down a new and common mission, a common banner, a common cause which all the generations after it had consciously or unconsciously fought and died to defend.
A synthetic conception gains in strength if it finds a term comprehensive enough to give it an eloquent expression. The terms Aryawarta or Bramhawarta were not so suitable as to express the vast synthesis that embraced the whole continent from the Indus to the sea and aimed to weld it into a nation. Aryawarta as defined by the ancient writers was the land that lay between the Himalayas and the Vindhya. Although it was best suited to the circumstances which gave it birth, yet and therefore, it could not serve as a common name to a people that had welded Aryans and non-Aryans into a common race and had carried their culture-empire far beyond the bending summits of Vindhyadri. This necessity of finding a suitable term to express the expansive thought of an Indian Nation was more or less effectively met when the House of Bharat came to exercise its sway over the entire world. Without entering into speculation as to who this Bharat was the Vedic Bharat or the Jain one or what was the exact period at which he ruled it is here enough for us to know that his name had been not only the accepted but the cherished epithet by which the people of Aryawarta and Daxinapatha delighted to call their common motherland and their common cultural empire. Thus as the horizon opened out to the South we find that the centre of gravity had very naturally shifted from the Sapta Sindhus to the Gangetic Delta and the name Saptasindhu or Aryawart or Daxinapath gave way to the politically grander expression Bharatkhanda which included by the definition of our Nation attempted at a period when the vast conception must have been drawning over the minds of our great thinkers. We have met with no better attempt to define our position as a people when the vast conception must have been drawning over the minds of our great thinkers. We have met with no better attempt to define our position as a people than the terse little couplet in the Vishu Puran, ‘The land which is to the north of the sea and to the south of the Himalaya mountain is named Bharata inhabited by the descendants of are Bharata.
How Names Are Given
But this new word Bharatavarsha could not altogether suppress our cradle name Sindhus or Hindus nor could it make us forget the love we bore to that River of rivers – the Sindhu at whose breast our Patriarchs and people had drunk the milk of life. Our frontier provinces which bordered the course of Indus still clung to their ancient name Sindhu Rashtra. And throughout the Sanskrit literature we find Sindhu Sauveers recognized as an integral and an important part of our body politic. In the great Mahabharata war the king of Sindhu Sauveer figures prominently and is said to have been closely related to the Bharatas. Although the limits of the Sindhu Rashtra shifted from time to time, yet the language that the people speak did then and does even now mark them out as a people by themselves from Multan to the sea, and the name ‘Sindhi’ which it bears is an emphatic reminder that all those who speak it are Sindhus and are entitled to be recognized as a geographical and political unit in the commonwealth of our Indian people. Although the epithet Bharatakhand succeeded in almost overshadowing the cradle name of our nation in India, yet the foreign nations seem to have cared little for it and as our frontier provinces continued to be known by their ancient name, so even our immediate neighbours – the Avestic Persians, the Jews, the Greeks and others clung to our ancient name Sindhus or Hindus. They did not merely indicate the borderland of Indus by this term as in days gone by, but the whole nation into which the ancient Sindhus by expansion and assimilation had grown. The Avestic Persians know us as Hindus, the Greeks dropping the harsh accent as Indos and through the Greeks almost all Europe and later on America as Hindus or Indians. Even Huen-tsang who lived so long with us persists in calling us Shintus or Hintus. Barring a few examples as that of Afganisthan being called as Shweta Bharat by the Parthians, very rarely indeed had the foreigners forgotten our cradle name or preferred the new one Bharat to it. Down to this day the whole world knows us as ‘Hindus’ and our land as ‘Hindusthan’ as if in fulfilment of the wishes of our Vedic fathers who were the first to make that choice.
But a name by its nature is determined not so much by what one likes to call oneself but generally by what others like to do. In fact a name is called into existence for this very purpose. Self is known to itself immutable and without a name or even without a form. But when it comes in contact or conflict with a non-self then alone it stands in need of a name if it wants to communicate with others or if others persist in communicating with it. It is a game that requires two to play at. If the world insists that a teacher or a wit must be handed down as an Ashtawakra or a Mulla Dopyaja well then he, in spite of his liking, is very likely to be remembered as such. If the name chosen by the world for us is not directly against our liking then it is yet more likely to shadow all other names. We might bear witness Page, Mujumdar, Peshawe. But if the world hits upon the word by which they would know us as one redolent of our glory or our early love then that word is certain not only to shadow but to survive every other name we may have. This fact added to the circumstances which brought us first into contact and then into a fierce conflict with the world at large, soonenabled the epithet Hindu to assert itself once more and so vigorously as to push into the background even the well beloved name of Bharatakhanda itself.
Although Indians were by no means cut off from the outside world before the rise of Buddhism and although their world activities had already assumed such dimensions as to give a just occasion to our patriotic poet law- givers to claim [Let all the people of the world learn their duties from the elders born in this land]; yet as far as the present arguement is concerned, the international life of India after the rise of Buddhism, requires chiefly to be considered, because it was about this time when political enterprise having exposed or exhausted all possibilities of expansion in our own land naturally began to overflow its limits to an extent unevidenced before and the communications with the outsiders began to knock at our doors more impudently and even imperatively than they ever had done. In addition to these political developments the great and divine mission that set in motion ‘the wheel of the law of Righteousness’ made India the very heart-the very soul-of almost all the then known world. To countless millions of human souls from Misar to Mexico, the land of the Sindhus came to be the land of their Gods and Godmen. Thousands of pilgrims form distant shores poured into this country and thousands of scholars, preachers, sages and saints went from this land to all the then known world. But as the outside world persisted in recognizing us by our ancient name ‘Sindhu’ or ‘Hindu’ both these in-coming and out- going processes helped mightily to render that epithet to be the most prominent of our national names. The necessity of political and diplomatic correspondence with various states, who knew us as Hindus or Indus, must also have, by making it incumbent on our people to respond to it, revived the use of this epithet first side by side with and then at times even instead of the name Bharatkhand.
But if the rise of Buddhism has thus enabled this epithet to grow in prominence throughout the world and made us more and more conscious of ourselves as Hindus, then strange to say the fall of Buddhism only carried this process further than ever.
Fall of Buddhism
We fear that the one telling factor that contributed to the fall of Buddhism more than any other has escaped that detailed attention of scholars which it deserves. But as the subject in hand does but remotely involve its treatment here we cannot treat it here in full. All that we can do here is to make a few general remarks and leave them to be expounded and detailed out to a more favourable occasion if the work be done by others better fitted to do it. Can it be that philosophical differences alone could have made our nation turn against Buddhism ? Not wholly : for, these differences had been there all along and even flourished side by side with each other. Can it be the general inanition and demoralization of the Buddhistic Church itself ? Not wholly : for, if some of the Vuharas sheltered a loose, lazy and promiseous crowd of men and women who lived on others and spent what was not theirs on disreputable persuits of life, yet on the other hand the line of those spiritual giants of Arhat and Bhikkus had not altogether ended : nor had such scenes been peculiar to the Buddhistic Viharas alone! All these and many other shortcomings would not have attracted such fierce attention and proved fatal to Buddhistic power in India had not the political consequences of the Buddhistic expansion been so disastrous to the national virility and even the national existence of our race. No prelude to a vast tragedy could be more dramatic in its effect in foreshadowing the culminating catastrophe than that incident in the life of the Shakya Sinha, when the news of the fate of the little tribal republic of the Shakyas was carried to their former Prince when he was just laying the foundation stone of the Buddhistic Church. He had already enrolled the flower of his clan in his Bhikkusangha and the little Shakya Republic thus deprived of its bravest and best, fell an easy victim to the strong to the strong and warlike in the very life time of the Shakya Sinha. The news when carried to him is said to have left the Enlightened unconcerned. Centuries rolled on; the Prince of the Skakyas had grown into the Prince of Princes-the Lokajit-the great conqueror of worlds. The confines of his little Shakya State expanded and embraced the confined the confines of India; and as if to give a touch of poetical precision and peotical justice, the woeful fate that had overtaken the tribal republic of Kapil-Vastu befell the whole of Bharatvarsha itself and it fell an easy prey to the strong and warlike-not like Shakyas to their own kith and kin-but the Lichis and Huns. Of course the Enlightened would perhaps remain as unaffected as ever, even if this news could ever reach him like the first. But the rest of Hindus then could not drink with equanimity this cup of bitterness and political servitude at the hands of those whose barbarous violence could still be soothed by the mealy – mouthed formulas of Ahimsa and spiritual brotherhood, and whose steel could still be blunted by the soft palm leaves and rhymed charms. We do not mean to underrate-much less accuse the services of the great brotherhood and its divine mission. We have only to point out the concomitance that is too glaring to escape the attention of any student of history. We know that it could easily be pressed against this statement that the greatest and even the most powerful Indian Kings and Emperors known, belong to the Buddhist period. Yes, but known to whom ? to Europeans and those of us who have unconsciously imbibed not only their thoughts but even their prejudices. There was a time when every school history in India opened from the Mohammedan invasion because the average English writers of that time knew next to nothing of our earlier life. Lately the general knowledge of Europe has extended backwards to the rise of Buddhism and we too are apt to look upon it as the first and even the most glorious epoch of our history. The fact is, it is neither. We yield to none in our love, admiration and respect for the Buddha-the Dharma-the Sangha. They are all ours. Their glories are ours and ours their failures. Great was Ashoka, the Devapriya, and greater were the achievements of Buddhistic Bhikkus. But achievements as great if not greater and things as holy and more politic and statesmanly had gone before them and indeed enabled them to be what they were. So, we do not think that the political virility or the manly nobility of our race began and ended with the Mauryas alone or was a consequence of their embracing Buddhism. Buddhism has conquests to claim but they belong to a world far removed from this matter-of- fact world-where feet of clay do not stand long, and steel could be easily sharpened, and trishna-thirst-is too powerful and real to be quenched by painted streams that flow perennially in heavens. These must have been the considerations that must have driven themselves home to the hearts of our patriots and thinkers when the Huns and Shakas poured like volcanic torrents and burnt all that thrived. The Indians saw that the cherished ideals of their race -their thrones and their families and the very Gods they worshipped-were trampled under foot, the holy land of their love devastated and sacked by hordes of barbarians, so inferior to them in language, religion, philosophy, mercy and all the soft and human attributes of man and God-but superior to them in strength alone – strength that summed up its creed, in two words-Fire and Sword ! The inference was clear. Clear also was the fact that Buddhistic logic had no arguement that could efficiently meet this new and terrible dualism -this strange Bible of Fire and Steel. So the leaders of thought and action of our race had to rekindle their Sacrificial Fire to oppose the sacrilegious one and to re-open the mines of Vedic fields for steel, to get it sharpened on the alter of Kali, ‘the Terrible so that Mahakal -the ‘Spirit of Time’ be appeased. Nor were their anticipations belied. The success of the renovated Hindu arms was undisputed and indisputable. Vikramaditya who drove the foreigners from the Indian soil and Lalitaditya who caught and chastised them in their very dens from Tartary to Mongolia were but complements of each other. Valour had accomplished what formulas had failed to. Once more the people rose to the heights of greatness that shed its lustre on all departments of life. Poetry and philosophy, art and architecture, agriculture and commerce, thought and action felt the quickening impulse which consciousness of independence strength and victory alone can radiate. The reaction as usual was complete even to a fault. ‘Up with the Vedic Dharma !’ ‘Back to the Vedas ! ‘ The national cry grew louder and louder, more and more imperative, because this was essentially a political necessity.
Buddhism – a universal religion
Buddhism had made the first and yet the greatest attempt to propagate a universal religion. ‘Go, ye Bhikkus, to all the ten directions of the world and preach the law of Righteousness ! ‘ Truly, it was a law of Righteousness. It had no ulterior end in view, no lust for land or lucre quickening its steps; but grand though its achievements were it could not eradicate the seeds of animal passions nor of political ambitions nor of individual aggrandisement in the minds of all men to such an extent as to make it safe for India to change her sword for a rosary. Even then, to set an example, did India declare her will to ‘take more pleasure in the conquest of peace and righteousness than in the conquest of arms. ‘Nobly she tried : Ah ! so nobly as to make herself ridiculous in the eyes of lust and lucre. Had she not issued Royal edicts to the effect that the very water be strained before it was poured out for horses and elephants to drink, so as to enable the tiny lives in the waters to escape immediate death ? And had she not opened corn – throwing centres in the midst of the seas that fish be fed in the oceans of the world ? Nor had the very fish ceased to feed on each other ! Nobly did she try to kill killing by getting killed – and at last found out that palm leaves at times are too fragile for steel ! As long as the whole world was red in tooth and claw and the national and racial distinction so strong as to make men brutal, so long if India had to live at all a life whether spiritual or political according to the right of her soul, she must not lose the strength born of national and racial cohesion. So the leaders of thought and action grew sick of repeating the mumbos and jumbos of universal brotherhood and bitterly complained :
1.Those that were killed by you, O God, and the Asuras killed by Vishnu are once again born on this earth in the form of the Mlencchas.
2.They kill the Brahmans, destroy the religious rites like the sacrifices, abduct the daughters of the sages ; what sins do they not commit !
3.If the earth is conquered by the Mlecchas this land of the gods will perish, because of the abolishing of sacrifices and other religious rites.
(Gunadhya) and when the barbarian hordes of the Shakas and the Huns – who had ravaged their fair land that had in utter confidence clad herself in a Bhikku’s dress’ changed her sword for rosary and had taken to the vows of Ahimsa and nonviolence
– were expelled beyond the Indus and further, and a strong national state was firmly established, then it was but natural that the leaders of our race should have realised what an immense amount of strength could be derived if but the new national State was backed up by a Church as intensely national.
Moreover everything that is common in us with our enemies, weakens our power of opposing them. The foe that has nothing in common with us is the foe likely to be most bitterly resisted by us just as a friend that has almost everything in him that we admire and prize in ourselves is likely to be the firend we love most. The necessity of creating a bitter sense of wrong invoking a power of undying resistance especially in India that had under the opiates of Universalism and non-violence lost the faculty even of resisting sin and crime and aggression, could best be accomplished by cutting off even the semblance of a common worship – a common Church which required her to clasp the hand of those as her co-religionists whose had been the very hand that had strangled her as a nation. What was the use of a universal faith that instead of soothening the ferociousness and brutal egoism of other nations only excited their lust by leaving India defenceless and unsuspecting ? No; the only safe-guards in future were valour and strength that could only be born of a national self-consciousness. She had poured her life’s blood for sophistry that tried to prov otherwise !
Then came reaction !
The reaction against universal tendencies of Buddhism only grew more insistent and powerful as the attempt to re- establish the Buddhist power in India began to assume a more threatening attitude. Nationalist tendencies refused to barter with out national independence and accept a foreign conqueror as our overlord. But if that foreign invader happened to be favourably inclined towards Buddhism, then he was sure to find some secret sympathisers among the Indian Buddhists all over Indian, even as Catholic Spain could always find some important section in England to sympathise with their efforts to restore a Catholic dynasty in England. Not only this but dark hints abound in our ancient records to show that at times some foreign Buddhistic powers had actually invaded India with an express national and religious aim in view. We cannot treat the history of this period exhaustively here but can only point to the half symolic and half actual description given in one of our Puranas of the war waged on the Aryadeshajas by the Nyanapati (the king of the Huns) and his Buddhistic allies. The records tells us in a mythological strain how a big battle was fought on the banks of the river ‘Haha, how the Buddhistic forces made China the base of their operations, how they were reinforced by contingents from many Buddhistic nations:
[There appeared for battle a hundred thousand soldiers from Shymadesh as also from Japdesh, and millions from china.]
and how after a tough fight the Buddhists lost it and paid heavily for their defeat. They had formally to renounce all ulterior national aims against India and give a pledge that they would never again enter India with any political end in view. The Buddhists as individuals had nothing to fear from India, the land of toleration, but they should give up all dreams of endangering the national life of India and her independence:
[All the Buddhists swore there and then that they would not come to the Aryadesh with any territorial designs.] (Bhavishya-Purana Pratisarga- Parva)
Institutions in favour of Nationality
And thus we find that institutions that were the peculiar marks of our nation were revived: – The system of four varnas which could not be wiped away even under the Buddhistic sway, grew in popularity to such an extent that kings and emperors felt it a distinction to be called one who established the system of four varnas. Reaction in favour of this institution grew so strong that our nationality was almost getting identified with it. Witness the definition that tries to draw a line of demarcation between us and foreigners From this it was but a natural step to prohibit our people from visiting shores which were uncongenial- in some cases fiercely hostile-to such peculiar institutions as these and where our people could not be expected to receive the protection that would enable them to keep up the spirit and the letter of our faith. Reckless as the reaction was, perfectly intelligible when viewed at politically ; for do we not frequently meet with patriotic thinkers even now in our land who would stand for laws prohibiting our men from emigrating to nations where they are sure to be subjected to national disabilities and dishonours ?
Commingling of Races
Thus is was political and national necessity that was at once the cause and the effect of the decline of Buddhism in India. Buddhism had its geographicalcentre of gravity nowhere. So it was an imperative need to restore at least the national centre of gravity that India had lost in attempting to get identified with Buddhism. When the nation grew intensely self -conscious as an organism would do and was in direct conflict with non-self it instinctively turned to draw the line of division and mark well the position it occupied so as to make it clear to themselves where they exactly stood and to the world how they were unmistakably a people by themselves-not only a racial and national, but even a geographical and political unit. On the southern side of our country the natural and sanctified. The frame work of the deep and boundless seas in which our southern peninsula is set is almost poetical in its grace and perfection. The Samudrarashana had pleased the eyes of generations of our poets and patriots. But on the north-western side of our nation the commingling of races was growing rather too unceremonious to be healthy and our frontiers too shifty to be safe. Therefore it would have been a matter of surprise if the intense spirit of self assertion that had found so benign an asylum under the patronage of the Mahakal of Ujjain had not made our patriots turn to this pressing necessity of drawing a frontier line for us that would be as vived as effective. And what could that line be but the vivacious yet powerful stream-the River of rivers-the ‘Sindhu’ ? The day on which the patriarchs of our race had crossed that stream they ceased to belong to the people they had definitely left behind and laid the foundation of a new nation were reborn into a new people that, under the quieting star of a new hope and a new mission, were destined by assimilation and by expansion to grow into a race and a new polity that could only be most fittingly and feelingly described as Sindhu or Hindu.
Back to the Vedas
Nor was this attempt to identify our frontier line with the river Indus an innovation. In fact it was but the natural consequence of the great war- cry of the national revivalists ‘Back to the Vedas.’ The Vedic State based on and backed up by the Vedic Church must be designed by the Vedic name, and- so far as it was then possible-identified with the Vedic lines. And this process of events which the very general trend of history should have enabled us to anticipate seems to have actually gone through. For one of patriotic Puranas assures us that Shalivahan the grandson of the great Vikramaditya after having defeated the second attempt of foreigners to rush in and expelled them beyond the Indus, issued a Royal Decree to the effect that thenceforth the Indus should constitute the line of demarcation between India and other non-Indian nations.
1 There-after the grandson of Vikramaditya Shalivahan, ascended the throne of his forfathers.
2 Having Conquered the irresistable Shakas, the Chinese, the Tartars, the Balhikas, Kamrupas, Romans, Khorajas and Shathas and
3 Having seized their treasures and punishing the offenders he demarcated the boundaries of the Aryans and the Mlecchas.
4 The best country of the Aryans is known as Sindhusthan whereas the Mlecch country lies beyond the Indus. This demarcation was made by the great king. (Bhawishya Puran, Pratisarga-Parva)
The most ancient of the names of our country of which we have a record is Saptasindhu or Sindhu. Even Bharatvarsha is and must necessarily be a latter designation besides being personal in its appeal. The glories of a person however magnificent, lose their glamour as time passes on. The name that recommends itself by appealing to such personal glories and achievements can never be so effective and permanent a source of everrising consciousness of gratitude and pride as a name that besides being reminiscent of such national achievements and beloved personal touches, is in addition to it associated with some great beneficent and perennial natural phenomena. The Emperor Bharat is gone and gone also is many an emperor as great! —but the Sindhu goes on for ever; for ever inspiring and fertilizing our sense of gratitude, vivifying our sense of pride, renovating the ancient memories of our race—a sentinal keeping watch over the destinies of our people. It is the vital spinal cord that connects the remotest past to the remotest future. The name that associates and identifies our nation with a river like that, enlists nature on our side and bases our national life on a foundation, that is, so for as human calculation are concerned, as lasting as eternity. All these considerations must have fired the imagination of the then leaders of thought and action and made them restore the ancient Vedic name of our land and nation Sindhustan—the best nation of Aryans.
The epithet Sindhusthan besides being Vedic had also a curious advantage which could only be called lucky and yet is too substantial to be ignored. The word Sindhu in Sanskrit does not only mean the Indus but also the Sea- which girdles the southern peninsula—so that this one word Sindhu points out almost all frontiers of the land at a single stroke. Even if we do not accept the tradition that the river Brahmaputra is
only a branch of the Sindhu which falls into flowing streams on the eastern and western slopes of the Himalayas and thus constitutes both our eastern as well as western frontiers. still it is indisputably true that it circumscribes our northern and western extremities in its sweep and so the epithet Sindhusthan calls up the image of our whole Motherland : the land that lies between Sindhu and Sindhu—from the Indus to the Seas.
What is Arya
But it must not be supposed that the epithet Sindhu recommended itself to our patriots only because it was geographically the best fitted; for we find it emphatically stated that the concept expressed by this word was national and not merely geographical. Sindhusthan was not merely a piece of land but it was a nation which was ideally if not always actually a state (rajnah -rashtram). It also clearly followed that the culture that flourished in Sindhusthan and the citizens thereof were Sindhus even as they had been in the Vedic days. Sindhusthan was the ‘ Best nation of the Aryas’ as distinguished from Mlechasthan the land of the foreigners. However it must be clearly pointed out that the definition is not based on any theological hair-splitting or religious fanaticism. The word Arya is expressly stated in the very verses to mean all those who had been incorporated as parts integral in the nation and people that flourished on this our side of the Indus whether Vaidik or Avaidik, Bramhana or Chandal, and owning and claiming to have inherited a common culture, common blood, common country and common polity; while Mlechcha also by the very fact of its being put in opposition to Sindhusthan meant foreigners nationally and racially and not necessarily religiously.
Hindu & Hindusthan
This Royal Decree was as all Royal Decrees in Sindhusthan had generally been, the mere executive outcome of a strong and popular movement. For, the custom of looking upon Attock as the veritable Indian land’s end as the very word Attock signifies could not have been originated and observed so universally and so long, had it not been inspired by and appealing to our national imagination. This custom that is so tenaciously and reverently observed by millions of people, premiers and peasants alike, is a good proof that strongly corroborates the fact that some such royal edict sanctioning the identification of our frontiers with the ancient Sindhu and associating the name of our land and nation with it as Sindhusthan had actually been issued; and that the highest religious sanctification consecrating this royal sanction and popular will must have enabled this attempt to restore the Vedic name of our country to triumph in the end. Of course centuries had yet to pass and momentous events to happen to shape and mould the destinies of the words Sindhu and Sindhusthan till they came to be as powerfully influential as to colour the thought of our whole nation and be the cherished possession of our race. But after all they have done it and today we find that while thousands would not know what Aryawarta or Bharatwarsha exactly means yet the very man in the street will understand and recognize the names Hindu and Hindusthan as his very own. The verses from Bhavishyapuran quoted above seem to be quite trustworthy so far as their general purport is concerned : Firstly because they record a general tradition that, unlike dates or individual successions, can easily be remembered longer. Secondly, independently of that, the general trend of our history as shown points to some such state of affairs. Thirdly, it is not necessary here for our arguments to be very precise either about the date of this Decree or even the king by whom it was issued. And fourthly, the author does not seem to have been writing about things only haphazardly or to which he is entirely a stranger. For the family table that he gives of the House of Vikrama-ditya is again given in other part of the work and the two agree closely with each other. The writer who knows of details about the House is likely to know the SALIENT facts of the most distinguished king that belonged to it.
After all, the main resources of our history had been and must ever be our national traditions remembered or recorded in our ancient puranas. epics and literature. Their details may be challenged, their dates determined and rejected, but on account of discrepancies here or miraculous colouring there which are in fact common to all ancient records of mankind, we cannot dismiss them altogether, especially where the acts recorded have not an impossible or unnatural clement in them or when they do not contradict events otherwise proved to be indisputably true. The habit of doubting everything in the Puranas till it has been corroborated by some foreign evidence is absurd. The sounder process would be to depend on our works especially where general traditons and events are concerned till they are found to be unreliable in the light of any more weighty and less ambiguous evidence and not simply on account of the airy imaginings of some one to whom it does not seem probable. Take the case of this Bhavishyapuran itself ; because it contains some inaccuracies and even absurdities-and is Plutarch free from them ? Are we to reject the personality of Alexander himself because of the supernatural touches given to the story of his birth ? Would it be reasonable to doubt, say the following verse ?
[The son of Chandragupta with leanings towards Buddhism then married the yavani daughter of Sulava, Governor of Purus]
In fact we owe a debt of gratitude to these Puranas and Epics for having preserved all ancient and venerable records of our people through revolutions which had effaced the very traces of whole nations and whole civilizations elsewhere in the world. For after all, these records of our ancient and partriotic Puranas and Historis (Itihasas) are at any rate more faithful, more accurate and more reliable than the modern up-to -date western puranas that have such convincing discoveries to their credit as the one which assures us that Ramayan sings of the foundation of Vijayanagar or the other which asserts that Gautam the Buddha was merely the Sun or the Dawn personified !
Reverence to Buddha
But before we proceed to state what further developments the history of this epithet had to undergo we feel it incumbent to render an apology to ourselves. We have while writing this section wounded our own feelings. So we hasten to add that the few harsh words we had to say in explaining the political necessity that led to the rejection of Buddhism in India should not be understood to mean that we have not a very high opinion of that Church as a whole ! No, no ! I am as humble an admirer and an adorer of that great and holy Sangha the holiest the world has ever seen, as any of its initiated worshipper. We are not initiated not because the Sangha is not worthy of us, but because we are not worthy of stepping on the footsteps of the Temple that has lasted longer because it rested on ideas than many a great palace that rested on rocks. The consciousness that the first great and the most successful attempt to wean man from the brute inherent in him was conceived, launched and carried on from century to century by a galaxy of great teachers, Arhats and Bhikkus who were born in India, who were bred in India and who owned India as the land of their worship, fills us with feelings too deep for words. And if these be our feelings for the Sangha then what shall we say about its great Founder, the Buddha, the Enlightened ? I, the humblest of the humble of mankind can dare to approach Thee, O Tathagat, with no other offering but my utter humility and my utter emptiness! Although I feel that I fail to catch the purport of thy words yet I know that it must be so. Because while thy words are gathered from the lips of Gods, my ears and my understanding are trained to the accents and the din of this matter -of -fact world. Perhaps it was too soon for thee to sound thy march and unfurl thy banner while the world was too young and the day but just risen! It fails to keep pace with thee and its sight gets dazzled and dimmed to keep the radiance of the banner in full view. As long as the law of evolution that lays down the iron command [ Immobile forces arc the easy prey of the mobile ones those with no teeth fall a prey to those with deadly fangs ; those without hands succumb to those with hands, and the cowards to the brave. ] is too persistent and dangerously imminent to be catagorically denied by the law of righteousness whose mottos shine brilliantly and beautifully, but as the stars in the heavens do, so long the banner of nationality will refuse to be replaced by that of Universality and yet, that very national banner hallowed as it is by the worship of gods and goddesses of our race, would have been the poorer if it could not have counted the Shakyasinha under its fold. But as it is, thou art ours as truly as Shri Ram or Shri Krishna or Shri Mahavir had been and as the words were but the echoes of yearnings of our national soul, thy visions, the dreams of our race, even so, if ever the law of Righteousness rules triumphant on this our human plane, then thou wilt find that the land that cradled thee, and the people that nursed thee, will have contributed most to bring about that consummation if indeed the fact of having contributed thee has not proved that much already !!
Hindus : all one and a nation
So far we have depended upon Sanskrit records in tracing the growth of the word Sindhu and we have left the thread of our inquiry at the point where the growing concept of an Indian nation was found to be better expressed by the word Sindhusthan than by any other existing words. It was precisely to refute any parochial and narrow- minded significance which might, as in the case of Aryawarta be attached to this word that the definition of the word Sindhusthan was rid of any association with a particular institution or party-coloured suggestion. For example, Aryawarta was according to an authority— [The land where the system of four Varnas does not exist should be known as the Mlechcha country : Aryawarta lies away from it. ] This solution, though legitimate could not be lasting. All institution is meant for the society, not the society or its ideal for an institution. The system of four varnas may disappear when it has served its end or ceases to serve it, but will that make our land a Mlechchadesha — a land of foreigners? The Sanyasis, the Aryasamajis, the Sikhs and many others do not recognize the system of the four castes and yet are they foreigners ? God forbid ! They are ours by blood, by race, by country, by God. ‘ Its name is Bharat and the people are Bharati’ is a definition ten times better because truer than that. We, Hindus, are all one and a nation, because chiefly of our common blood — ‘ Bharati Santati ‘
At this period of our history-the rise as well as the fall of Buddhism were accompanied by a remarkable spread and growth of the vernaculars of India and Sanskrit was fast being shut up in the impenetrable fortresses of classical conventionality to such an extent that new ideas and new names had to be sanskritized before they could be incorporated in any acceptable work. Naturally the every day life and the ever changing phases of national and social activities gradually sought expession through the spoken Prakrit which thus grew better fitted to convey the living and throbbing thoughts of the people in all their freshness and vigour and precision. Consequently although the words Sindhu and Sindhusthan are at times found in Sanskrit works, yet the Sanskrit writers generally preferred the word Bharat as being more in consonance with tlie established canons of elegance. While on the other hand the vernaculars stuck almost exclusively to the more popular and living name of our land Hindusthan (Sindhusthan), instead of the ancient and well-beloved names Bharat or Aryawarta. We need not repeat here how S in Sanskrit gets at times changed into H in India as well as non-Indian Prakrits. So we find the living vernacular literature of India full of reference to Hindusthan or Hindus. Although the Sanskrit language must ever remain the cherished and sacred possession of our race, contributing most powerfully to the fundamental unity of our people and enriching our life, ennobling our aspirations and purifying the fountains of our being, yet the honour of being the living spoken national tongue of our people is already won by that Prakrit, which being one of the eldest daughters of Sanskrit is most fittingly called Hindi or Hindusthani the language of the national and cultural descendants of the ancient Sindhus or Hindus. Hindusthani is par excellence the language of Hindusthan or Sindhusthan. The attempt to raise Hindi to the pedestal of our national tongue is neither new nor forced. Centuries before the advent of British rule in India we find it recorded in our annals that this was the medium of expression throughout India. A sadhu or a merchant starting from Rameshwaram and proceeding to Hardwar, could make himself understood in all parts of India through this tongue. Sanskrit might have introduced him to circles of pandits and princes; but Hindusthani was a safe and sure passport to the Rajasabhas as well as to the bazaars. A Nanak, a Chaitanya, a Ramdas could and did travel up and down the country as freely as they would have done in their own provinces teaching and preaching in this tongue. As the growth and development of this our genuine national tongue was parallel to and almost simultaneous with the revival and popularization of the ancient names Sindhusthan or Sindhus or Hindusthan or Hindus it was but a matter of course that language being the common possession of the whole nation should be called Hindusthani or Hindi.
After the expulsion of the Huns and the Shakas the valour of her arms left Sindhusthan in an undisturbed possession of independence for centuries on centuries to come and enabled her once more to be the land where peace and plenty reigned. The blessings of freedom and independence were shared by the princes and peasants alike. The patriotic authors go in rapture over the greatness and the happiness that marked this long chapter of our history extending over nearly a thousand years or so.
(Every village has its temple ; in all districts are sacrifices performed; every family has plenty of wealth; and people are devoted to religion.)From Ceylon to Kashmir the Rajputs—a single family of princes—ruled, often connected closely by marriages and more closely by the tradition of chivalry and culture handed down by a common law. The whole life of the nation was being brought into a harmony as rich as divine, and the growth of the national language was but an outward expression of this inward unity of our national life.
But as it often happens in history this very undisturbed enjoyment of peace and plenty lulled our Sindhusthan, in a sense of false security and bred a habit of living in the land of dreams. At last she was rudely awakened on the day when Mohammad of Gazni crossed the Indus, the frontier line of Sindhusthan and invaded her. That day the conflict of life and death began. Nothing makes Self conscious of itself so much as a conflict with non- self. Nothing can weld peoples into a nation and nations into a state as the pressure of a common foe. Hatred separates as well as unites. Never had Sindhusthan a better chance and a more powerful stimulus to be herself forged into an indivisible whole as on that dire day, when the great inconoclast crossed the Indus. The Mohammedans had crossed that stream even under Kasim, but it was a wound only skin-deep, for the heart of our people was not hurt and was not even aimed at. The contest began in grim earnestness with Mohammad and ended, shall we say, with Abdalli ? From year to year, decade to decade, century to century, the contest continued. Arabia ceased to be what Arabia was; Iran annihilated; Egypt, Syria, Afghanistan, Baluchistan, Tartary,—from Granada to Gazni—nations and civilizations fell in heaps before the sword of Islam of Peace!! But here fur the first time the sword succeeded in striking but not in killing. It grew blunter each time it struck, each time it cut deep but as it was lifted up to strike again the wound stood healed. Vitality of the victim proved stronger than the vitality of the victor. The contrast was not only grim but it was monstrously unequal. It was not a race, a nation or a people India had to struggle with. It was nearly all Asia, quickly to be followed by nearly all Europe. The Arabs had entered Sindh and single -handed they could do little else. They soon failed to defend their own independence in their homeland and as a people we hear nothing further about them. But here India alone had to face Arabs, Persians, Pathans, Baluchis, Tartars, Turks, Moguls—a veritable human Sahara whirling and columning up bodily in a furious world storm ! Religion is a mighty motive force. So is rapine. But where religion is goaded on by rapine and rapine serves as a handmaid to religion, the propelling force that is generated by
these together is only equalled by the profoundity of human misery and devastation they leave behind them in their march. Heaven and hell making a common cause-such were the forces, overwhelmingly furious, that took India by surprise the day Mohammad crossed the Indus and invaded her. Day after day, decade after decade, century after century, the ghastly conflict continued and India single-handed kept up the fight morally and militarily. The moral victory was won when Akbar came to the throne and Darashukoh was born. The frantic efforts of Aurangzeb to retrieve their fortunes lost in the moral field only hastened the loss of the military fortunes on the battlefield as well. At last Bhau, as if symbolically, hammered the ceiling of the Imperial Seat of the Moghals to pieces. The day of Panipat rose, the Hindus lost the battle, but won the war. Never again had an Afgan dared to penetrate to Delhi. While the triumphant Hindu banner that our Marathas had carried to Attock was taken up by our Sikhs and carried across the Indus to the banks of the Kabul.
Hindutva at work
In this prolonged furious conflict our people became intensely conscious of ourselves as Hindus and were welded into a nation to an extent unknown in our history. It must not be forgotten that we have all along referred to the progress of the Hindu movement as a whole and not to that of any particular creed or religious section thereof—of Hindutva and not Hinduism only. Sanatanists, Satnamis, Sikhs, Aryas, Anaryas, Marathas and Madrasis, Brahmins and Panchamas—all suffered as Hindus and triumphed as Hindus. Both friends and foes contributed equally to enable the words Hindu and Hindusthan to supersede all other designations of our land and our people. Aryavarta and Daxinapatha, Jambudweep and Bharatvarsha none could give so eloquent an expression to the main political and cultural point at issue as the word, Hindusthan could do. All those on this side of the Indus who claimed the land from Sindhu to Sindhu, from the Indus to the seas, as the land of their birth, felt that they were directly mentioned by that one single expression, Hindusthan. The enemies hated us as Hindus and the whole family of peoples and races, of sects and creeds that flourished from Attock to Cuttack was suddenly individualised into a single Being. We cannot help dropping the remark that no one has up to this time taken the whole field of Hindu activities from A.D. 1300 to 1800 into survey from this point of view, mastering the details of the various now parallel, now correlated movements from Kashmir to Ceylon and from Sindh to Bengal and yet rising higher above them all to visualise the whole scene in its proportion as an integral whole. For it was the one great issue to defend the honour and independence of Hindusthan and maintain the cultural unity and civic life of Hindutva and not Hinduism alone, but Hindutva. -i. e. Hindudharma that was being fought out on the hundred fields of battle as well as on the floor of the chambers of diplomacy. This one word, Hindutva, ran like a vital spinal cord through our whole body politic and made the Nayars of Malabar weep over the sufferings of the Brahmins of Kashmir. Our bards bewailed the fall of Hindus, our seers roused the feelings of Hindus, our heroes fought the battles of Hindus, our saints blessed the efforts of Hindus, our statesmen moulded the fate of Hindus, our mothers wept over the wounds and gloried over the triumphs of Hindus.
It would require a volume if we were to substantiate these remarks by quoting all the words and writings of our forefathers that bear on the point. But the argument in hand does not allow us to be drawn aside even by so alluring a task as that. Consequently we must content ourselves with quoting a few eloquent lines either from the lips or the pen of some of the foremost representatives of our Hindu race.
Of all the works written in the Hindi language, old and new, the great epic Prithviraj Raso by Chand Bardai is, so far as present researches go, admittedly the most ancient and authoritative one. There is only one solitary verse which claims to be an earlier composition. But luckily and strangely enough this very first composition in our northern vernacular literature refers to the word Hindusthan, in terms full of pride and patriotic fervour. The poet, Ven, father of Chand Baradai addresses the Raja of Ajmer, the father of Prithviraj—
Chand Baradai who may justly be called the first poet of Hindi literature, uses the words Hindi, Hindawan, Hind so often and so naturally as to leave no doubt of their being quite common and accepted terms as far back as the eleventh century, when the Mohammedans had not secured any permanent footing even in Punjab and therefore could not have influenced the independent and proud Rajputs to adopt a degrading nickname invented by their foes and make it their national and proud appellation. Describing how Shahabuddin taken prisoner by the Hindus, was let go by the noble Prithviraj on condition that he would not again attack the ‘Hindus’. Chand says—
But Shahabuddin was not a man to be won over by Hindu chivalry. Again and again he sallies forth and a fierce fight ensues to the boundless joy of that divine cynic Narada :— and again till at last
But in spite of his efforts to crush the Hindus Shahabuddin lost the day and the triumphant news sent Delhi mad with joy that Pajjunrai had once more taken Shahabuddin a prisoner. The populace greeted their king Prithviraj :—
Further pledges solemnly entered by the man who had broken his former pledges as solemnly given, succeeded in securing the release of the Shah once more and once more, but now for the last time, did he invade Hindusthan and by a fell swoop was almost at the gate of Delhi. The council of war is summoned by the Hindapati Prithviraj, insolent challenge is sent by Shahabuddin, the Rawals and Samantas are aflame when Chamundrai tells the Mohammedan messenger to remind Shah of the dust he had licked and adds :—
The fatal day drew near and both the sides knew it was a desparate game. Chandbaradai almost on the eve of the defection of Hameer, approaches the Goddess Durga and opens his prayer so pathetic and so patriotic thus —
After having narrated the fateful results of the battle and the consequent plot that enabled Shahabuddin to strike Prithviraj dead, the poem ends with paying a last touching tribute to the fallen Hindu Emperor—
It is remarkable that although the word Bharat appears often in the Raso in the sense of Mahabharat, yet it seldom if ever, is used in the sense of Bharatvarsha. What we find in this earliest of our northern vernacular composition holds good in the latter
development of our vernacular literature down to the day of the great Hindu revival and the war of Hindu liberation. Ramadas, the high priest and prophet of that movement, in one of his mystical and prophetic utterances sings of the vision he has
seen and triumphantly but thankfully asserts that much of what he has seen in his vision has already come to be true —
In utter darkness I dreamt: behold, the dreams are realised. Hindusthan is up, has come by her own, and those that hated her and sinned against God are put down with a strong hand! Verily it is a holy land and happy! For, God has made her cause his own and Aurangzeb is down! The dethroned are enthroned and the enthroned is dethroned. Actions speak better than words! Verily Hindusthan is a holy land and happy : Now that Dharma is backed up by Rajadharma, Right by might, the waters of Hind, no longer defiled, can enable us once more to perform our ablutions and austerities. Let come what may: Rama has made this land holy and happy!
Bhushana, the Hindu poet who was one of the most prominent of our national bards that went up and down the country and roused ‘Hindawan’ to action and achievement in those days of the war of Hindu liberation, challenged Aurangzeb — Again at another place Bhooshan says :—
‘Thou art so busy in winning easy victories over the poor Hindu friars and beggars there. Why dust thou fight so shy to face the Hindpati himself ? Thou hast lost fort after fort in the fair field here: that is perhaps why thou art distinguishing thyself by pulling down unoffending convents, churches and chapels there! Art thou not ashamed to call thyself Alamgir, conqueror of the world, when thyself standest vanquished by the Hindu Emperor Shivaji ?
Speaking of things that Shivaji achieved Bhooshan says:—
It was in this light that the achievements of Shivaji and his compatriots were viewed by his race through -out Hindusthan. Bhushan though not a Maratha felt as proud of the victorious march of the Maratha warriors from Shivaji to Bajirao (Vide Bhushan Granthavali) as they themselves did. He was Hindu of Hindus and till the last day of his life he kept on singing his stirring songs, emphasizing the national and pan -Hindu aspect of the movement and impressing it on the minds of its great leaders. Amongst these Chhatrasal, the brave Bundela king, was his second favourite:—
Nor was this tribute paid to Chhatrasal undeservedly. Chhatrasal was truly like Shivaji, Rajsinha, Guru Govindsinha, the ‘Dhala Hindavaneki.’ He Looked upon himself as the champion of ‘Hindutva’. Says Chhatrasal:-
After his historical visit paid by Chhatrasal to Shivaji the great Bundela leader, greatly encouraged by the latter met Sujansinha who was a powerful Rajput chief in Bundelkhand. In the conversation that followed Sujan sinha draws a moving picture of the political situation of the country —
Sujansinha, the old Raja, saying thus offered his sword and heart to Chhatrasal and blessed him and his mission —
Tegbahadur, the Great Guru, who not only championed the cause of this war of Hindu liberation in Punjab but laid down his life for it, is reported to have advised the Brahmans of Kashmir, who oppressed and threatened with ‘Islam or death’ solicited his help —
And when he was challenged by the foes of the race and religion he boldly answered :—
His illustrious son. Guru Govindsinha, at once the poet, prophet and warrior of our Hindu race and our Hindu culture, exclaims in a moment of inspiration —
The chronicler of Shivaji in the old work ‘
But the shrewd and trusted Dadaji advised : —
And yet Dadaji was the guiding hand of the whole movement. The youthful Shivaji writes in 1646 A. D. to one of his young compatriots- ‘
Mr. Rajvade has the original copy of this letter which reveals, as it were, the soul of the great Hindu movement in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It was no parochial movement—it was Hindavi Swarajya the Hindu Empire—that was the great ideal which had fired the imagination and goaded the actions of Shivaji while he was but in his teens. We have his own word for it.
But when Jaysingh—a Rajput prince—came to subdue Shivaji and his movement, the edge of Shivaji’s power of resistance became very naturally blunted. It was disheartening in the extreme to find the Rajputs— the ancient shield of Hindutva—shedding their blood and the blood of their co -religionists and brother Hindus that the Mohammedans might win ! Says Shivaji to Jaysingh —
Jaysingh was doubtless touched and replied-‘
The rise of Hindu power under Shivaji had electrified the Hindu mind all over India. The oppressed looked upon him as an Avatar and a Saviour. Thus we find that the people of the Savnoor district groaning under the Mohammedan yoke appeal to him :—
Again after Shivaji had restored the Jagir to his brother Vyankoji at Tanjore on condition that he should cease to recognize the sovereignty of the Mohammedan sway. Shivaji writes:—
Rajaram in order to express his sense of appreciation of the national services of Santaji and his brothers in the war of independence, conferred on Bahiroji the high and proud appellation ‘Hindurav’. When the siege at Jinji was pressing the Maratha forces to try their best to break through it an attempt was made to win over the Marathas in the services of the Moghal commander:—
Shahu had once entered into a controversy with Jayasinha (Sawai) on the point ‘ What have I done and what you have done to protect the Hindu Religion !’
The same spirit animated the generations of Bajirao and Nanasaheb.’ Says the historian: –
Brahmendra Swami was the central figure of the intellectuals of the period. Mathurabai writes to this Swami :—
The letters sent by this brave lady, Mathurabai Angre, are all so full of patriotic fervour and force that they deserve a perusal by all those who want to catch the real spirit of the great Hindu revival. (Dhondo Govind’s letters to Bajirao)
But as Vasai was still holding out Bajirao could not go in time. He was chafing under his inabilities. He writes:—
But his indomitable spirit rose triumphant over all obstacles. He writes again :— ( Bajirao’s letter)
Sawai Jaysinha was as intensely proud of his Hindutva as any one else of the great leaders of the Hindu movement. It was he who directed the people -the oppressed Hindus—in Malva to request Bajirao to extend the war of Hindu liberation to Malva and thus to take a further important step towards the realization of the mission of the generation of the followers of the Shivaji cult all over India—the mission of Hindupadpadshahi. In one of his letters the enlightened and patriotic Rajput prince writes :—
Again he writes : ‘ (Jaysingh’s letters 26-10-1721 A. D.)
Nanasaheb the son of Bajirao was in fact the greatest leader of men that the great movement of Hindu liberation and Hindupadpadshahi brought to the front. His correspondence is a study by itself.
Wherever we find him, we find him the champion of Hindutva. To Tarabai he writes :— (Nanasaheb’s letters)
Though much was lost on the field of Panipat, yet all was not lost. For two men survived the battle and saved the cause. Nana Farnavis and Mahadaji Shinde—the brain, the sword, the shield of the Hindu Power—thought and worked and fought for 40 years or so—in spite of the disastrous defeat at Panipat or rather in virtue of it—for that defeat was the greatest blow that the victors had ever received and succeeded in making the Hindus the de facto Rulers of Hindusthan. How conscious the national mind had grown of the triumphant turn events had taken and how intensely proud had they been of
Hindutva and the Hindu Empire all but established can best be seen in the letters of the most talented diplomatic writers of that period. Govindrao Kale writes to Nana Fadnavis from the capital of the Nizam on learning the news that gladdened the Marathas from end to end of Maharashtra that the misunderstanding growing between the two men Nana and Mahadaji had disappeared :—
This one single letter penned with such ease and grace gives a truer expression to the spirit of our history than many a dull volume had done. How spontaneously it hits on the right derivation of the epithets Hindu and Hindusthan and how completely our ancestors down to the last generation loved and reverenced and identified themselves with these epithets is so eloquently illustrated in this letter as to render it superfluous to cite any more.
Stupid notions must go
Having thus tried to trace the successive chapters of the history of the words Hindu and Hindusthan from the earliest Vedic period to the fall of the last of our Hindu empire in 1818 A. D., we are now in a position to address ourselves to the main task of determining the essentials of Hindutva. The first result of our enquiry is to explode the baseless suspicion which has crept into the minds of some of our well-meaning but hasty countrymen that the origin of the words Hindu and Hindusthan is to be traced to the malice of the Mohammedans! After all that has been said in the previous paragraphs about the history of these words, this suspicion seems so singularly stupid that to mention it is to refute it. Long before Mohammad was born, nay, long before the Arabians were heard of as a people, this ancient nation was known to ourselves as well as to the foreign world by the proud epithet Sindhu or Hindu and Arabians could not have invented this term, any more than they could have invented the Indus itself. They simply learnt it from the ancient Iranians, Jews, and other peoples. But apart from all serious historical refutation, is it not clear that had it been really a contemptuous expression of our foes as it is said to be could it have ever recommended itself to the bravest and best of our race ? Surely our people were not quite such strangers either to the Arabic or Persian tongues! The Mohammedans were apt to refer to us as Kafar also but had our people adopted that name and stuck to it, as a distinguishing mark ? Why did they submit voluntarily to the national insult only in the case of the other epithets Hindusthan and Hindu? Simply because, they knew more of our national traditions and were less cut off from our national life than some of us had been. That is why some of us keep constantly harping on the fact that this word Hindu is not found in Sanskrit. What of this word alone ? – The Sanskrit literature makes no mention of Kishan-Banaras-Maratha-Sikh Gujarat -Patna- Sia-Jamuna and a thousand other words that we use daily. But are they to be traced to some foreign source ? The word Banaras though not found in Sanskrit is still ours because it is the Prakrit form of Varanasi which is found in Sanskrit. In fact it is ridiculous to expect a Prakrit word in classical Sanskrit. Nay more; although Hindu being a Prakrit form of a Sanskrit word, should not be expected to be found in Sanskrit, yet as it is it cannot be but a weighty proof of its importance even in its Prakrit form that, that form should be at times met with in Sanskrit literature : for example, the Bherutantra uses this word, Hindu. Great Sanskrit lexicographers like Apte in Maharashtra and Taranath Tarkavachaspati in Bengal have also mentioned it. While the line ‘ Shivashiva na Hindur na Yavanah’ is too well known to be quoted.
It may be that in the modern Mohammedanized Persian some contemptuous meaning has come to be associated with the term Hindu but how does that show that the original signification of Hindu was contemptuous and meant ‘black ‘ ? The words Hindu or Hind are used in Persian but they do not mean black and yet we know that they along with Hindu are originated from the same Sanskrit word Sindhu or Sindh. If the word Hindu is applied to us because it means ‘black ‘ then is it that Hind and Hindi are also applied to us though they do not mean ‘a black man ‘ ? The fact is that the word Hindu dates its origin not from the Mohammedanized Persian but from the ancient language of Iran, the Zend, and then the Saptasindhu meant Saptasindhu alone. It could not have been applied to us because we were black literally for the simple reason that the ancient Saptasindhu i. e. Hindus in Avestic period were as fair as the Iranians and lived practically side by side and even at times together with them. Even so late as the dawn of the Christian era the Parthians used to call our frontier province as Shvetabharat or White India. Thus originally Hindu simply could not have literally meant a black man.
In fact, after it has been made so amply clear in the foregoing sections that the epithets Hindu and Hindusthan had been the proud and patriotic designations signifying our land and our nation long before the Mohammedans or Mohammedanized Persians were heard of it becomes almost immaterial so far as the greatness of epithet Hindu and its claim to our love are concerned, what meaning, complimentary or contemptuous, is attached to it by some swollen -headed fanatic here and there. There was a time when the term ‘England’ had fallen so low in England itself in the estimation of her Norman conquerors that it became a formula of swearing against each other! ‘ May I become an Englishman !’ was the strongest form of self -denunciation and calling a Norman ‘ an Englishman’ an unpardonable insult. But did the English care to change the name of their land or their nation and call it Normandy instead of England ? Or would their disowning their name ‘ the English ‘ have made them great ? No ; on the contrary, precisely because they did not disown their ancient blood or name, to-day we find that while the word Norman has become an historical fossil and Normandy has no place on the map of the world, the contemptuous English and their English language have come to own the largest empire the world has yet seen ! And yet great as the glories of the English world are, what on the whole, has it to show to match the glories of the Hindu world ?
In times of conflict nations do lose their balance of mind and if the Persians or others once understood by the word Hindu a thief or a black man alone then let them remember that the word Mohammedan too was not always mentioned to denote any very enviable type of mankind by the Hindus either. To call a man a Musalman or better still a ‘ Musanda ‘ was worse than calling him a brute. Such bitter fulminations and mutual recriminations though they might have the excuse of inevitability in times of life and death struggles while the fume and flame of the angry brutal passions last, should be forgotten as soon as men recover from their fits and claim to be recognized as gentlemen. Nor should we forget that the ancient Jews used the term Hindu to denote strength or vigour. For these were the qualities associated with our land and nation. In an Arab epic named, ‘ So hab Mo Alakk’ it is said that the oppression of kith and kin are bitterer or more fatal than the stroke of a Hindu sword: while ‘returning a Hindu answer’ is a proverbial way with the Persians themselves, by which they are said to mean ‘ to strike bravely and deeply with an Indian sword’. The ancient Babylonians had been in the habit of denoting the finest quality of cloth as Sindhu because it generally came from the Saptasindhus —a custom which also shows that they also knew our country by its ancient name Sindhu ; nor have we as yet heard of any other meaning being attributed to this word in the ancient Babylonian language than its national one.
No Hindu can help feeling proud of himself at the curious interpretation put upon this epithet by the illustrious traveller. Yuan Chwang, himself belonging to our highly civilized and ancient neighbours, the Chinese, when he identifies our national name ‘Hindu’ with the Sanskrit ‘Indu’ and says in justification that the world had rightly called this nation ‘Indus’ for they and their civilization had like the moon ever been a constant source of delight and refreshment to the languid and weary soul of man. Does not all this clearly show that the way of inspiring respect for our name in the minds of men is not either to change or deny it but to compel recognition of, and homage to it by the valour of our arms, purity of our aims and the sublimity of our souls? Even if we allow some of our brethren to ride their hobby horse in all glee and get themselves recognized and registered in the census reports as ‘Aryans’ instead of as Hindus, yet they could only succeed in dragging down the word ‘Aryan’ to their own level and adding one more synonym to the vocabulary of the words for a ‘helot’ and a ‘cooly’, as long as our nation does not attain to the heights of greatness and of strength as in the days of yore.
But apart from any serious argument against the absurd proposal of denying the epithets, Hindu or Hinduism, and granting for a while the stupid theory that their origin is to be traced to the malice of foreigners, we simply ask ‘ Is it possible to deny them and coin a new word for our national designation?’ As it stands at present the word Hindu has come to be the very banner of our race and the one great feature that above all others contributes to strengthen and uphold our racial unity from Cape to Kashmir, from Attock to Cuttack. Do you think you can change it as easily as a cap ? Once it happened that a gentleman, well-meaning and patriotic intended to get himself registered in the census records as an Aryan instead of as a Hindu, as he had been a victim to the wide-spread lie that we were first called Hindus by the Persian Mohammedans out of their contempt— that the word meant a thief or a black man.
Yet, I could not enter into any detailed discussion about the origin of the word for want of time and so simply questioned him as to what his own name was. He replied it was Taktasingh “My good friend,” I continued, “unlike the word Hindu whose origin is at the worst disputable, your name is indisputably a hybrid word and should therefore be first replaced in the register by some ancient and purely Aryan word, say Maudgalayan or Simhasansinha.” Having evaded the point for a while he tried to point out how difficult it was to do so and how it would completely upset his economical position and after all how could he get the world to call him by the new-fangled name or what could begained at all by this risky experiment of calling himself ‘Sinhasansinh’ while all others persisted in calling him Taktasinha ‘But’, I rejoined, ‘if to change your individual name, which is indisputably foreign, seems to you so difficult, nay, harmful, then, my friend, how much more difficult would it be to change the name of a whole race which is so far from being a foreign invention that it is ours as much as the Vedas are ours ? And how much more futile?’ Of the futility of any such attempt to change a deep- rooted name, a far more convincing example than this personal one is furnished by our Sikh brotherhood in the Punjab. The band of the best and bravest of the Hindu race whom our Great Guru had chosen, triumphantly exclaiming, “The blue clothes are torn; the domination of the Turks and the Pathans is over. For the expressed purpose of the continuation of protection of religion, protection the saints, destruction of the wicked, for this purpose I am born on this earth. The class of warriors have given up their duty, and have adopted the language of the Mlechchas. All are reduced to the one class of serfs. People have lost their faith.” The great Guru was daily greeted with a ‘Vah Guruji ki Fatch ! Vah Gurujika Khalsa !’ The words Darbar, Diwan-Bahadur, have crept like thieves to the very heart of our Harimandirs. They are the scars of our old wounds. The wounds are healed but the scars persist and seem to be incorporated with our form. As long as any attempts to scratch them out threaten to harm us more than profit, all that we can do is to tolerate them ; for after all they are the scars of the wounds received in a conflict that we have won in a gory field in which we remained as the victors of the day.
And yet, if any words, however closely they might have been associated with things sacred, are to be disowned and changed they are these, for they all are indisputably foreign and reminiscent of alien domination. Does it not seem almost insincere that we who can not only tolerate but love these names, should clamour to disown the epithet, Hindu or Hindusthan, which is the very cradle name of our race and of our land chosen by our patriarchs, recorded in the most ancient and revered annals of the world, the Vedas ? —An epithet which had proudly been borne by millions of our countrymen on both sides of the Sindu for the last forty centuries if not more; which expanded to and embraced the whole of our country from Kashmir to the Cape and from Attock to Cuttack; which sums up in a word the whole geographical position of our race and our land, Sindhu or Hindu; which had been recognized as the sign of distinction to mark out ‘The best nation of the Aryans,’ an epithet for which our foes hated us and for which our warriors from Shalivahan to Shivaji went forth in their thousands to keep up their fight from century to century. It was this word, Hindu that was found impressed on the ashes of Padmini and Chitor. It was this word, Hindu that was owned by Tulsidas, Tukaram, Ramkrishna and Ramdas. Hindupadpadshahi was the dream of Ramdas, the mission of Shivaji, the
pole star of the ambitions of Bajirao and Banda Bahadur, of Chhatrasal and Nanasaheb, of Pratap and Pratapaditya. It was inscribed on the banner defending which a hundred thousand Hindu heroes fell inflicting fatal wounds on the foes on the battlefield of Panipat—and Bhau at the head of them all, sword in hand ! — within one single day ! It was for the Hindupadpadshahi that inspite of all that martyrdom and in virtue of it. Nana and Mahadji steered the nation clear of all rocks and shoals and brought it almost within sight of the coveted shores. It is this epithet Hindu or Hindusthan that, even to this day, owns a loving allegiance of millions of our people from the throne of Nepal to the begging bowl in the street. To disown these words is like cutting off and casting away the very heart of our people. You would be dead before you do that. It is not only fatal but futile. To oust the words, Hindu or Hindusthan, from the position they hold is to try to oust the Himalayas from theirs. Nothing but an earthquake with all its terrible wrenches and appalling uncertainties can accomplish that.
The objection that is levelled against the appellations, Hindu and Hindusthan on account of the mistaken notion which attributed their origin to foreign sources could, if left to itself, be easily laid low by advancing indisputable historical facts. But as it is, this objection is in some cases backed up by a secret fear that if the epithet be honoured and owned, then all those who do so would be looked upon as believers in the dogmas and religious practices that go by the name ‘Hinduism’. This fear, though it is not often admitted openly, that a Hindu is, necessarily and by the very fact that he is a Hindu, a believer in the so-called Hinduism, makes many a man determined not to get convinced that the epithets are not an alien invention. Nor is this fear totally unjustified. But it would be more candid if those who entertain this fear should openly advance it as the ground of their objection to being recognized as Hindus and not try to hide it under a false and untenable issue. The superficial similarity between these two terms Hindutva and Hinduism is responsible for this regrettable estrangement that, at times, alienates well-meaning gentlemen in our Hindu brotherhood. The distinction between these two terms would be presently made clear. Here it is enough to point out that if there be really any word of alien growth it is this word Hinduism and so we should not allow our thoughts to get confused by this new- fangled term. That a man can be as truly a Hindu as any without believing even in the Vedas as an independent religious authority is quite clear from the fact that thousands of our Jain brethren, not to mention others, are for generations calling themselves Hindus and would even to this day feel hurt if they be called otherwise. We refer to this simply as an actual fact apart from any detailed justification and examination of it which would presently follow. Till then, we hope our readers would not allow prejudicial fear regarding the conclusion of our argument as to its intrinsic merit and bear in mind that we have throughout the foregoing pages been dealing not with any ‘ism’ whatever but with Hindutva alone in its national and cultural aspects.
Now we are fairly in a postion to try to analyse the contents of one of the most comprehensive and bewilderingly synthetic concept known to human tongue. Hindutva is a derivative word from Hindu, we have seen that the earliest and the most sacred records of our race show that the appellation, Saptasindhu or Hapt -Hindu was applied to a region in which the Vedic nation flourished. The geographical sense being the primary one has, now contracting, now expanding, but
always persistently been associated with the words Hindu and Hindusthan till after the lapse of nearly 5000 years if not more, Hindusthan has come to mean the whole cotinental country from the Sindhu to Sindhu from the Indus to the Seas. The most important factor that contributes to the cohesion, strength and the sense of unity of a people is that they should possess an internally well-connected and externally well-demarcated ‘ local habitation,’ and a ‘ name ‘ that could, by its very mention, rouse the cherished image of their motherland as well as the loved memories of their past. We are happily blessed with both these important requisites for a strong and united nation. Our land is so vast and yet so well-knit, so well demarcated from
others and yet so strongly entrenched that no country in the world is more closely marked out by the fingers of nature as a geographical unit beyond cavil or criticism, as also is the name Hindusthan or Hindu that it has come to bear. The first image that it rouses in the mind is unmistakably of our motherland and by an express appeal to its geographical and physical features it vivifies it into a living Being. Hindusthan meaning the land of Hindus, the first essential of Hindutva must necessarily be this geographical one. A Hindu is primarily a citizen either in himself or through his forefathers of ‘Hindusthan’ and claims the land as his motherland. In America as well as in France the word Hindu is generally understood thus exactly in the sense of an Indian without any religious or cultural implication. And had the word Hindu been left to convey this primary significance only, which it had in common with all the words derived from Sindhu then it would really have meant an Indian, a citizen of Hindusthan as the word Hindi does.
Essential implications of Hindutva
But throughout our inquiry we have been concerning ourselves more with what would have been or what should be. Not that to paint what should be is not a legitimate pursuit; nay, it is as necessary and at times more stimulating; but even that could be better done by first getting a firm hold of what actually is. We must try, therefore, to be on our guard so that in our attempt to determine the essentials of Hindutva we be guided entirely by the actual contents of the word as it stands at present. So although the root-meaning of the word Hindu like the sister epithet Hindi may mean only an Indian, yet as it is we would be straining the usage of words too much—we fear, to the point of breaking- if we call a Mohammedan a Hindu because of his being a resident of India. It may be that at some future time the word Hindu may come to indicate a citizen of Hindusthan and nothing else; that day can only rise when all cultural and religious bigotry has disbanded its forces pledged to aggressive egoism, and religions cease to be ‘isms’ and become merely the common fund of eternal principles that lie at the root of all that are a common foundation on which the Human State majestically and firmly rests. But as even the first streaks of this consummation, so devoutly to be wished for, are scarcely discernible on the horizon, it would be folly for us to ignore stern realities. As long as every other ‘ism’ has not disowned its special dogmas, whichever tend into dangerous war cries, so long no cultural or national unit can afford to loosen the bonds, especially those of a
common name and a common banner, that are the mighty sources of organic cohesion and strength. An American may become a citizen of India. He would certainly be entitled, if bona fide, to be ‘treated as our Bharatiya or Hindi, a countryman and a fellow citizen of ours. But as long as in addition to our country, he has not adopted our culture and our history, inherited our blood and has come to look upon our land not only as the land of his love but even of his worship, he cannot get himself incorporated into the Hindu fold. For although the first requisite of Hindutva is that he be a citizen of Hindusthan either by himself or through his forefathers, yet it is not the only requisite qualification of it, as the term Hindu has come to mean much more than its geographical significance.
Bond of common blood
The reason that explains why the term Hindu cannot be synonymous with Bharatiya or Hindi and mean an Indian only, naturally introduces us to the second essential implication of that term. The Hindus are not merely the citizens of the Indian state because they are united not only by the bonds of the love they bear to a common motherland but also by the bonds of a common blood. They are not only a Nation but also a race -jati. The word jati derived from the root Jan to produce, means a brotherhood, a race determined by a common origin,-possessing a common blood. All Hindus claim to have in their veins the blood of the mighty race incorporated with and descended from the Vedic fathers, the Sindhus. We are well aware of the not unoften interested objection that carpingly questions ‘but are you really a race ? Can you be said to possess a common blood ?’ We can only answer by questioning in return, ‘Are the English a race ? Is there anything as English blood, the French blood, the German blood or the Chinese blood in this world? Do they, who have been freely infusing foreign blood into their race by contracting marriages with other races and peoples possess a common blood and claim to be a race by themselves ?’ If they do, Hindus also can emphatically do so. For the very castes, which you owing to your colossal failure to understand and view them in the right perspective, assert to have barred the common flow of blood into our race, have done so more truly and more effectively as regards the foreign blood than our own. Nay is not the very presence of these present castes a standing testimony to a common flow of blood from a Brahman to a Chandal? Even a cursory glance at any of our Smritis would conclusively prove that the Anuloma and Pratiloma marriage institutions were the order of the day and have given birth to the majority of the castes that obtain amongst us. If a Kshatriya has a son by a Shudra woman, he gives birth to the Ugra caste; again, if the Kshatriya raises an issue on an Ugra he founds a Shvapacha caste while a Brahman mother and a Shudra father beget the caste, Chandal. From the Vedic story of Satyakama Jabali to Mahadaji Shinde every page of our history shows that the ancient Ganges of our blood has come down from the altitudes of the sublime Vedic heights to the plains of our modern history fertilizing much, incorporating many a noble stream and purifying many a lost soul, increasing in volume and richness, defying the danger of being lost in bogs and sands and flows to-day refreshed and reinvigorated more than ever. All that the caste system has done is to regulate its noble bood on lines believed- and on the whole rightly believed-by our saintly and patriotic law-givers and kings to contribute most to fertilize and enrich all that was barren and poor, without famishing and debasing all that was flourishing and nobly endowed.
This is true not only in the case of those that are the outcome of the intermarriages between the chief four castes, or between the chief four castes and the cross-born but also in the case of those tribes or races who somewhere in the dimness of the hoary past were leading a separate and self-centred life. Witness the customs prevalent in Malabar or Nepal where a Hindu of the highest caste is allowed to marry a woman of those who are supposed to be the originally alien tribes but who, even if the suggestion be true, have by their brave and loving defence of the Hindu culture have been incorporated with and bound to us by the dearest of ties —the ties of a common blood. Is the Nagavan-sha a Dravidian family ? Well, then who is who now when the youths of Agnivansha have taken to them the daughters of the Nagas and the Chandravansha and the Suryavansha have bestowed their daughters on the youths of both the families? Down to the day of Harsha-not to mention the partial break-down of the caste-system itself in the centuries of Buddhistic sway —intermarriages were the order of the day. Take for example the case of a single family of the Pandawas. The sage Parashar was a Brahman. He fell in love with the fair maid of a fisherman who gave birth to the world -renowned Vyas, who in his turn raised two sons on the Kshatriya princesses Amba and Ambalika;one of these two sons, Pandu allowed his wives to raise issue by resorting to the Niyoga system and they having solicited the love of men of unknown castes, gave birth to the heroes of our great epic. Without mentioning equally distinguished characters of the same period Kama, Babhruwahana, Ghatotkacha, Vidur and others, we beg to point out to the relatively modern cases of Chandragupta said to have married a Brahman girl who gave birth to the father of Ashok; Ashok who had as a prince married a Vaishya maid; Harsha who being a Vaishya gave his daughter in marriage to a Kshatriya prince ; Vyadhakarma who is said to be the son of a Vyadha with whom his mother, a Brahman girl, had fallen in love and who grew to be the ‘ Yajnacharya of Vikramaditya, Surdas; Krishna Bhatta who being a Brahman fell so desperately in love with a Chandala girl as to lead an open married life with her and subsequently became the founder of the religious sect Matangi Pantha; who nevertheless call themselves and are perfectly entitled to be recognized as Hindus. This is not all. An individual at times by his or her own actions may lose his or her first caste and be relegated to another. A Shudra can become a Brahman and Brahman become a Shudra.
[The family is not really called a family; it is the practices and customs that are called a family. One that does his duties is praised on earth and in heaven.] was not always an empty threat. Many a Kshatriya has by taking to agriculture and other occupations of life lost the respect due to a Kshatriya and were classed with some of the other castes; while many a brave man, in cases whole tribes, raised themselves to the position, the rights and titles of the Kshatriyas and were recognized as such. Being outcast from a caste, which is an event of daily occurrence, is only getting incorporated with some other.
Not only is this true so far as those Hindus only who believe in the caste system based on the Vedic tenets, are concerned, but even in the case of Avaidik sects of the Hindu people. As it was true in the Buddhistic period that a Buddhist father, a Vaidik mother, a Jain son, could be found in a single joint family, so even to-day Jains and
Vaishnavas intermarry in Gujarat, Sikhs and Sanatanis in Punjab and Sind. Moreover, today’s Manbhav or Lingayat or Sikh or Satnami is yesterday’s Hindu and to-day’s Hindu may be tomorrow’s Lingayat or Bramho or Sikh.
And no word can give full expression to this racial unity of our people as the epithet, Hindu, does. Some of us were Aryans and some Anaryans; but Ayars and Nayars—we were all Hindus and own a common blood. Some of us are Brahmans and some Namashudras or Panchamas; but Brahmans or Chandalas—we are all Hindus and own a common blood. Some of us are Daxinatyas and some Gauds; but Gauds or Saraswatas— we are all Hindus and own a common blood. Some of us were Rakhasas and some Yakshas; but Rakshasas or Yakshas—we are all Hindus and own a common blood. Some of us were Vanaras and some Kinnaras ; but Vanaras or Naras—we are all Hindus and own a common blood. Some of us are Jains and some Jangamas; but Jains or Jangamas— we are all Hindus and own a common blood. Some of us are monists, some, pantheists; some theists and some atheists. But monotheists or atheists -we are all Hindus and own a common blood. We are not only a nation but a Jati, a born brotherhood. Nothing else counts, it is after all a question of heart. We feel that the same ancient blood that coursed through the veins of Ram and Krishna, Buddha and Mahavir, Nanak and Chaitanya, Basava and Madhava, of Rohidas and Tiruvelluvar courses throughout Hindudom from vein to vein, pulsates from heart to heart. We feel we are a JATI, a race bound together by the dearest ties of blood and therefore it must be so.
After all there is throughout this world so far as man is concerned but a single race— the human race kept alive by one common blood, the human blood. All other talk is at best provisional, a makeshift and only relatively true. Nature is constantly trying to overthrow the artificial barriers you raise between race and race. To try to prevent the commingling of blood is to build on sand. Sexual attraction has proved more powerful than all the commands of all the prophets put together. Even as it is, not even the aborigines of the Andamans are without some sprinkling of the so -called Aryan blood in their veins and vice versa Truly speaking all that any one of us can claim, all that history entitles one to claim, is that one has the blood of all mankind in one’s veins. The fundamental unity of man from pole to pole is true, all else only relatively so.
And speaking relatively alone, no people in the world can more justly claim to get recognized as a racial unit than the Hindus and perhaps the Jews. A Hindu marrying a Hindu may lose his caste but not his Hindutva. A Hindu believing in any theoretical or philosophical or social system, orthodox or heterodox, provided it is unquestionably indigenous and founded by a Hindu may lose his sect but not his Hindutva-his Hinduness—because the most important essential which determines it is the inheritance of the Hindu blood. Therefore all those who love the land that stretches from Sindhu to Sindhu from the Indus to the Seas, as their fatherland consequently claim to inherit the blood of the race that has evolved, by incorporation and adaptation, from the ancient Saptasindhus can be said to possess two of the most essential requisites of Hindutva.
But only two; because a moment’s consideration would show that these two qualifications of one nation and one race—of a common fatherland and therefore of a common blood— cannot exhaust all the requisites of Hindutva. The majority of the Indian Mohammedans may, if free from the prejudices born of ignorance, come to love our land as their fatherland, as the patriotic and noble- minded amongst them have always been doing. The story of their conversions, forcible in millions of cases, is too recent to make them forget, even if they like to do so, that they inherit Hindu blood in their veins. But can we, who here are concerned with investigating into facts as they are and not as they should be, recognize these Mohammedans as Hindus? Many a Mohammedan community in Kashmir and other parts of India as well as the Christians in South India observe our caste rules to such an extent as to marry generally within the pale of their castes alone; yet, it is clear that though their original Hindu blood is thus almost unaffected by an alien adulteration, yet they cannot be called Hindus in the sense in which that term is actually understood, because, we Hindus are bound together not only by the tie of the love we bear to a common fatherland and by the common blood that courses through our veins and keeps our hearts throbbing and our affections warm, but also by the tie of the common homage we pay to our great civilization—our Hindu culture, which could not be better rendered than by the word Sanskriti suggestive as it is of that language, Sanskrit, which has been the chosen means of expression and preservation of that culture, of all that was best and worth-preserving in the history of our race. We are one because we are a nation a race and own a common Sanskriti (civilization).
What is civilization ?
But what is civilization ? Civilization is the expression of the mind of man. Civilization is the account of what man has made of matter. If matter is the creation of the Lord, then civilization is the miniature secondary creation of man. At its best it is the perfect triumph of the soul of man over matter and man alike. Wherever and to the extent to which man has succeeded in moulding matter to the delight of his soul, civilization begins. And it triumphs when he has tapped all the sources of Supreme Delight satisfying the spiritual aspirations of his being towards strength and beauty and love, realising Life in all its fulness and richness.
The story of the civilization of a nation is the story of its thoughts, its actions and its achievements. Literature and art tell us of its thoughts; history and social institutions of its actions and achievements. In none of these can man remain isolated. The primitive ‘dungi’ (canoe) of the Andamanese can truly claim to have influenced the up-to -date dreadnoughts of America. The latest adventure of fashion amongst the fair sex in Paris is but the lineal descendant of the bunch of leaves stuck in the girdle -string which constitutes the perfection of the toilet of a ‘Patua’ girl.
And yet a ‘dungi’ remains a dungi and a dreadnought, a dreadnought; they are too much more unlike each other than like to be identified as one and the same. Even so, although the Hindus have lent much and borrowed much like any other people, yet their civilization is too characteristic to be mistaken for any other cultural unit. And secondly, however striking their mutual differences be, they are too much more like each other than unlike, to be denied the right of being recognized as a cultural unit amongst other such units in the world owning a common history,a common literature and a common civilization.
Paradoxical as it may sound to those who have fallen victims to the interested or ignorant cry that has secured the ear of the present world that the Hindus have no history, it nevertheless remains true that Hindus are about the only people who have succeeded in preserving their history—riding through earthquakes, bridging over deluges. It begins with their Vedas which are the first extant chapter of the story of our race. The first cradle songs that every Hindu girl listens to are the songs of Sita, the good. Some of us worship Rama as an incarnation, some admire him as a hero and a warrior, and all love him as the most illustrious representative monarch of our race. Maruti and Bheemsen, are the never failing source of strength and physical perfection to the Hindu youth; Savitri and Damayanti, the never failing ideals of constancy and chastity of the Hindu maid. The love that Radha made to the Divine Cow- herd in Gokul finds its echo wherever a Hindu lover kisses his beloved. The giant struggle of the Kurus, the set duels of Arjun and Kama, of Bheem and Dusshasan that took place on the field of Kurukshetra thousands of years ago, are rehearsed in all their thrill from cottage to cottage and from palace to palace. Abhimanyu could not have been dearer to Arjun than he is to us. From Ceylon to Kashmir, Hindusthan daily sheds tears as lovingly and as bitterly as his father did at the mention of the fall of that lotus- eyed youth. What more shall we say ? The story of Ramayan and Mahabharat alone would bring us together and weld us into a race even if we be scattered to all the four winds like a handful of sand. I read the life of a Mazzini and I explain, ‘How patriotic they are!’ I read the life of a Madhavacharya and exclaim, ‘How patriotic we are !’ The fall of prithwiraj is bewailed in Bengal: the martyred sons of Govindsing, in Maharashtra. An Aryasamajist historian in the extreme north feels that Harihar and Bukka of the extreme south fought for him, and a Santanaist historian in the extreme south feels that Guru Tejbahadur died for him. We had kings in common. We had kingdoms in common. We had stability in common. We had triumphs in common and disasters in common. The names of Mokavasayya and Pisal, Jayachand and Kalapahad make us all feel as sinners do. The names of Ashok, Bhaskaracharya, Panini and Kapila leave us all electrified with a sense of personal elevation.
But what about the internecine wars amongst Hindus? We answer, what about the Wars of Roses amongst the English? What of the internecine struggle, of state against state, sect against sect, class against class, each invoking foreign help against his own countrymen, in Italy, in Germany, in France, in America? Are they still a people, a nation and do they possess a common history ? If they do, the Hindus do. If the Hindus do not possess a common history, then none in the world does.
As our history tells the story of the action of our race, so does our literature taken in its fullest sense tell the story of the thought of our race. Thought, they say, is inseparable from our common tongue, Sanskrit. Verily it is our mother- tongue—the tongue in which the mothers of our race spoke and which has given birth to all our present tongues. Our gods spoke in Sanskrit, our sages thought in Sanskrit, our poets wrote in Sanskrit. All that is best in us —the best thoughts, the best ideas, the best lines—seeks instinctively to clothe itself in Sanskrit. To millions- it is still the language of their gods; to others it is the language of their ancestors; to all it is the
language par excellence; a common inheritance, a common treasure, that enriches all the family of our sister languages. Gujarati and Gurumukhi, Sindhi and Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu, Maharastra and Malyalam, Bengali and Singali constitute the vital nerve -thread that runs through us all vivifying and toning our feelings and aspirations into a harmonious whole. It is not a language alone; to many Hindus, it is a Mantra, to all it is a music. The Vedas do not constitute an authority for all Jains. But the Vedas as the most ancient work and the history of their race belong to Jains as much as to any of us. Adipuran was not written by a Sanatani, yet the Adipuran is the common inheritance of the Sanatanis and the Jains. The Basavapurana is the Bible of the Lingayats; but it belongs to Lingayat and non- Lingayat Hindus alike, as one of the foremost and historical Kanarese work extant. Vichitranatak of Guru Govind is as truly the property of a Hindu in Bengal as the Chaitanyacharitramrit is of a Sikh. Kalidas and Bhavbhuti, Charak and Sushrut, Aryabhatt and Varahamihita, Bhasa and Ashvaghosha, Jayadev and Jagannath wrote for us all, appeal to us all, are the cherished possession of us all. Let the work of Kamba, the Tamil poet and say, a copy of Hafiz be kept before a Hindu in Bengal and if he be asked ‘Which of these belongs to you?’ He would instinctively say, ‘Kamba is mine!’ Let a copy of the work of Ravindranath and that of Shakespeare be kept before a Hindu in Maharashtra, he would claim ‘Ravindra ! Ravindra is mine.’
The works of art and architecture are also a common inheritance of our race, whether they be representative of Vaidik or Avaidik school of thought. For all the labourers who wrought them, the masters who guided them, the tax-papers who financed them and the
kings who organised them, whether Vaidik or Avaidik belonged to the great race that inhabits and owns this land from Sindhu to Sindhu—the Hindu race. Those who are Sanatanis today have contributed and laboured for the Buddhistic monuments of art and architecture then, while those who were Buddhistic then have contributed to and laboured for the monuments, of the Sanatani art and architecture now.
Common laws and rites
Common institutions and a common law that sanctions and sanctifies them, however they may differ in details are nevertheless both the cause and the effect of the basic unity of our race. The Hindu law with the underlying principles of Hindu jurisprudence whatever the superficial differences be and howsoever contradictory a detail here or an injunction there may seem to be, is too organic a growth to lose its individuality by the manifold changes wrought by times and climes. In spite of the feverish speed with which the law- machines in the different states of America and British Commonwealth keep manufacturing and modelling laws we still acknowledge the principles of jurisprudence and the lines of growth that underlie their code to constitute a single whole. The English law, or the Roman jurisprudence or the American law could not be designated as such if eternal identity or a dead level similarity is expected. The Mohammedan law retains its individuality inspite of such damaging exceptions to it as the Khojas or the Bohras who like some other Mohammedan communities, observe the Hindu law in regulating some departments of their life, notably in matters of inheritance. Some of the Hindu customs in Maharashtra or Panjab may differ from some in Bengal or Sind. But the similarity in
all other details is so great that the law of Maharashtra as a whole seems to be an echo of the law- book ruling our brothers in Bengal or Sind and vice versa. When all the rules, customs and laws observed by any given community are collected together it can immediately be found to be nothing but a fitting chapter of the Hindu law while no amount of ingenuity or torture can fit in, say the English or the Mohammedan or the Japanese law-books.
We have feasts and festivals in common. We have rites and rituals in common. The Dasara and the Divali the Rakhibandhan and the Holi are welcomed wherever a Hindu breathes, Sikhs and Jains, Brahmans and Panchams alike. You would find the whole Hindu kingdom enfete on the Divali day, not only Hindusthan, but the Greater Hindusthan that is fast growing in all the continents of the world. Not even a cottage in the Tarai forest could be found on that night that has not shown its little light. While the Rakhi day would reveal to you every Hindu soul from the delighted damsel of Punjab to the austere Brahmins of Madras tying the silken tie that, ‘heart to heart and mind to mind, in body and in soul, can bind,’ Yet we have deliberately refrained ourselves from referring to any religious beliefs that we as a race may hold in common. Nor had we referred to any institution or event or custom in its religious aspect or significance, because we wanted to deal with the essentials of Hindutva not in the light of any ‘ism’ but from a racial point of view ; and yet from a national and racial point of view do the different places of pilgrimage constitute, common inheritance of our Hindu race. The Rathayatra festival at Jagannath, the Vaishakhi at Amritsar, the- Kumbha and Ardhakumbha- all these great gatherings had been the real and living congress of our people that kept the current of life and the thought coursing throughout our body politic.
The quaint customs and ceremonies and sacraments they involve, observed by some as a religious duty, by others as social amenities, impress upon each individual that he can live best only through the common and corporate life of the Hindu race.
These then in short—and the subject in hand does not permit us to be exhaustive on this point —constitute the essence of our civilization and mark us out a cultural unit. We Hindus are not only a Rashtra, a Jati, but as a consequence of being both, own a common Sanskriti expressed, preserved chiefly and originally through Sankrit, the real mother tongue of our race. Everyone who is a Hindu inherits this Sanskriti and owes his spiritual being to it as truly as he owes his physical one to the land and the blood of his forefathers
A Hindu then is he who feels attachment to the land that extends from Sindhu to Sindhu as the land of his forefathers—as his Fatherland; who inherits the blood of the great race whose first and discernible source could be traced from the Himalayan altitudes of the Vedic Saptasindhus and which assimilating all that was incorporated and ennobling all that was assimilated has grown into and come to be known as the Hindu people; and who, as a consequence of the foregoing attributes, has inherited and claims as his own the Hindu Sanskriti, the Hindu civilization, as represented in a common history, common heroes, a common literature, common art, a common law and a common jurisprudence, common fairs and festivals, rites and rituals, ceremonies and sacraments. Not that every Hindu has all these details of the Hindu Sanskriti down to each syllable common with other Hindus; but that, he has more of it common with his Hindu brothers than with, say, an Arab or an Englishman. Not that a non-Hindu does not hold any of these details in common with a Hindu but that, he differs more from a Hindu than he agrees with him. That is why Christian and Mohammedan communities, who, were but very recently Hindus and in a majority of cases had been at least in their first generation most unwilling denizens of their new fold, claim though they might have a common Fatherland, and an almost pure Hindu blood and parentage with us, cannot be recognized as Hindus; as since their adoption of the new cult they had ceased to own Hindu civilization (Sanskriti) as a whole. They belong, or feel that they belong, to a cultural unit altogether different from the Hindu one. Their heroes and their hero-worship, their fairs and their festivals, their ideals and their outlook on life, have now ceased to be common with ours. Thus the presence of this third essential of Hindutva which requires of every Hindu uncommon and loving attachment to his racial Sanskriti enables us most perfectly to determine the nature of Hindutva without any danger of using over lapping or exclusive attributes.
But take the case of a patriotic Bohra or a Khoja countryman of ours. He loves our land of Hindusthan as his Fatherland which indisputably is the land of his forefathers. He possesses—in certain cases they do— pure Hindu blood; especially if he is the first convert to Mohammedanism he must be allowed to claim to inherit the blood of Hindu parents. He is an intelligent and reasonable man, loves our history and our heroes; in fact the Bohras and the Khojas as a community, worship as heroes our great ten Avatars only adding Mohammad as the eleventh. He is actually, along with his community subject to the Hindu law—the law of his forefathers. He is, so far as the three essentials of nation ( Rashtra), race (Jati) and civilization ( Sanskriti) are concerned, a Hindu. He may differ as regards a few festivals or may add a few more heroes to the pantheon of his supermen or demigods. But we have repeatedly said that difference in details here or emphasis there, does not throw us outside the pale of Hindu Sanskriti. The sub-communities amongst the Hindus observe many a custom, not only contradictory but even, conflicting with the customs of other Hindu communities. Yet both of them are Hindus. So also in the above cases of patriotic Bohra or a Christian or a Khoja, who could satisfy the required qualifications of Hindutva to such a degree as that, why should he not be recognized as a Hindu ?
He would certainly have been recognized as such but for his attitude towards a single detail, which, though it is covered by the words, Sanskriti or culture, is yet too important to be lost in the multitude of other attributes, and therefore deserves a special treatment and analysis, which again brings us face to face with the question which, involving as it does the religious aspect of Hindutva, had often been avoided by us, not because we fight shy of it, but on account of our wish to fight it out all the more thoroughly and effectively. For, we are now better equipped to determine the significance and attempt an analysis of the two terms Hinduism and Hindutva.
Who is a Hindu ?
The words Hindutva and Hinduism both of them being derived from the word Hindu, must necessarily be understood to refer to the whole of the Hindu people. Any definition of Hinduism that leaves out any important section of our people and forces them either to play false to their convictions or to go outside the pale of Hindutva stands self- condemned. Hinduism means the system of religious beliefs found common amongst the Hindu people. And the only way to find out what those religious beliefs of the Hindus are, i. e., what constitutes Hinduism, you must first define a Hindu. But forgetting this chief implication of the word, Hinduism which clearly presupposes an independent conception of a Hindu many people go about to determine the essentials of Hinduism and finding none so satisfactory as to include, without overlapping all our Hindu communities, come to the desperate conclusion—which does not satisfy them either —that therefore those communities are not Hindus at all; not because the definition they had framed is open to the fault of exclusion but because those communities do not subject themselves to the required tenets which these gentlemen have thought it fit to lable as ‘Hinduism’. This way of answering the question ‘who is a Hindu’ is really prepostereus and has given rise to so much of bitterness amongst some of our brethren of Avaidik school of thought, the Sikh, the Jain, the Devsamaji and even our patriotic and progressive Aryasamajis.
‘Who is a Hindu ?’ —he who is subject to the tenets of Hinduism. Very well. What is Hinduism ?— those tenets to which the Hindus are subjected. This is very nearly arguing in a circle and can never lead to a satisfactory solution. Many of our friends who have been on this wrong track have come back to tell us ‘ there are no such people as Hindus at all!’ If some Indian, as gifted as that Englishman who first coined the word Hinduism, coins a parallel word ‘Englishism’ and proceeds to find out the underlying unity of beliefs amongst the English people, gets disgusted with thousands of sects and societies from Jews to the Jacobins, from Trinity to Utility, and comes out to announce that ‘ there are no such people as the English at all,’ he would not make himself more ridiculous than those who declare in cold print’ there is nothing as a Hindu people.’ Any one who wants to see what a confusion of thought prevails on the point and how the failure to analyse separately the two terms Hindutva and Hinduism renders that confusion worst confounded may do well to go through the booklet ‘ Essentials of Hinduism ‘ published by the enterprising ‘ Natesan and Co.’
Hinduism means the ‘ ism ‘ of the Hindu; and as the word Hindu has been derived from the word Sindhu, the Indus, meaning primarily all the people who reside in the land that extends from Sindhu to Sindhu, Hinduism must necessarily mean the religion or the religions that are peculiar and native to this land and these people. If we are unable to reduce the different tenets and beliefs to a single system of religion then the only way would be to cease to maintain that Hinduism is a system and to say that it is a set of systems consistent with, or if you like, contradictory or even conflicting with, each other. But in no case can you advance this your failure to determine the meaning of Hinduism as a ground to doubt the existence of the Hindu nation itself, or worse still to commit a sacrilege in hurting the feelings of our Avaidik brethren and Vaidik Hindu brethren alike, by relegating any of them to the Non-Hindu pale.
The limits of this essay do not permit us to determine the nature or the essentials of Hinduism or to try to discuss it at any great length. As we have shown above the enquiry into what is Hinduism can only begin after the question ‘ who is a Hindu’ ? is rightly answered determining the essentials of Hindutva ; and as it is only with these essentials of Hindutva, which enable us to know who is a Hindu, that this our present enquiry is concerned, the discussion of Hinduism falls necessarily outside of our scope. We have to take cognizance of it only so far as it trespasses on the field of our special charge. Hinduism is a word that properly speaking should be applied to all the religious beliefs that the different communities of the Hindu people hold. But it is generally applied to that system of religion which the majority of the Hindu people follow. It is natural that a religion or a country or community should derive its name from the characteristic feature which is common to an overwhelming majority that constitutes or contributes to it. It is also convenient for easy reference or parlance. But a convenient term that is not only delusive but harmful and positively misleading should not any longer be allowed to blind our judgement. The majority of the Hindus subscribes to that system of religion which could fitly be described by the attribute that constitutes its special feature, as told by Shruti. Smriti and Puranas or Sanatan Dharma. They would not object if it even be called Vaidik Dharma. But besides these there are other Hindus who reject either partly or wholly, the authority—some of the Puranas, some of the Smritis and some of the Shrutis themselves. But if you identify the religion of the Hindus with the religion of the majority only and call it orthodox Hinduism, then the different heterodox communities being Hindus themselves rightly resent this usurpation of Hindutva by the majority as well as their unjustifiable exclusion. The religion of the minorities also requires a name. But if you call the so-called orthodox religion alone as Hinduism then naturally it follows that the religion of the so -called heterodox is not Hinduism. The next most fatal step being that, therefore, those sections are not Hindus at all!! But this inference seems as staggering even to those who had unwillingly given whole-hearted support to the premises which have made it logically inevitable that while hating to own it they hardly know to avoid arriving at it. And thus we find that while millions of our Sikhs, Jains, Lingayats, several Samajis and others would deeply resent to be told that they—whose fathers’ fathers up to the tenth generation had the blood of Hindus in their veins—had suddenly ceased to be Hindu!—yet a section amongst them takes it most emphatically for granted that they had been faced with a choice that either they should consent to be a party to those customs and beliefs which they had in their puritanic or progressive zeal rejected as superstitions, or they should cease to belong to that race to which their forefathers belonged.
All this bitterness is mostly due to the wrong use of the word, Hinduism, to denote the religion of the majority only. Either the word should be restored to its proper significance to denote the religions of all Hindus or if you fail to do that it should be dropped altogether. The religion of the majority of the Hindus could be best denoted by the ancient accepted appellation, the Sanatan dharma or the Shruti-smriti- puranokta Dharma or the Vaidik Dharma; while the religion of the remaining Hindus would continue to be denoted by their respective and accepted names Sikha Dharma or Arya Dharma or Jain Dharma or Buddha Dharma. Whenever the necessity of denoting these Dharmas as a whole arises then alone we may be justified in denoting them by the generic term Hindu Dharma or Hinduism. Thus there would be no loss either in clearness, or in conciseness but on the other hand a gain both in precision and unambiguity which by removing the cause of suspicion in our minor communities and resentment in the major one would once more unite us all Hindus under our ancient banner representing a common race and a common civilization.
The earliest records that we have got of the religious beliefs of any Indian community—not to speak of mankind itself—are the Vedas. The Vedic nation of the Saptasindhus was sub-divided into many a tribe and class. But although the majority then held a faith that we for simplicity call Vedic religion, yet it was not contributed to by an important minority of the Sindhus themselves. The Panees, the Dasas, the Vratyas and many others from time to time seem to have either seceded from or never belonged to the orthodox church and yet racially and nationally they were conscious of being a people by themselves. There was such a thing as Vedic religion, but it could not even be idenitfied with Sindhu Dharma; for the latter term, had it been coined, would have naturally meant the set of religions prevailing in Saptasindhu, othodox as well as heterodox. By a process of elimination and assimilation the race of the Sindhus at last grew into the race of Hindus, and the land of the Sindhus i.e. Sindhustan, into the land of the Hindus i. e – Hindusthan. While their orthodox and the heterodox schools of religions have,—having tested much, dared much and known much,—having subjected to the most searching examination possible till then, all that lay between the grandest and the tiniest, from the atom to the Atman—from the Paramanu to the Parabrahma,—having sounded the deepest secrets of thoughts and having soared to the highest altitudes of ecstasy,— given birth to a synthesis that sympathises with all aspirants towards truth from the monist to the atheist. Truth was its goal, realization its method. It is neither Vedic nor non-Vedic, it is both. It is the veritable science of religion applied. This is Hindudharma—the conclusion of the conclusions arrived at by harmonising the detailed experience of all the schools of religious thought- Vaidik, Sanatani, Jain, Baudda, Sikha or Devasamaji. Each one and every one of those systems or sects which are the direct descendants and developments of the religious beliefs Vaidik and non-Vaidik that obtained in the land of the Saptasindhus or in the other unrecorded communities in other parts of India in the Vedic period, belongs to and is an integral part of Hindudharma.
Therefore the Vaidik or the Sanatan Dharma itself is merely a sect of Hinduism or Hindu Dharma, however overwhelming be the majority that contributes to its tenets. It was a definition of this Sanatan Dharma which the late Lokamanya Tilak framed in the famous verse.
Belief in the Vedas, many means, no strict rule for worship-these are the features of the Hindu religion.
In a learned article that he had contributed to the Chitramayajagat which bears the mark of his deep erudition and insight Lokmanya in an attempt to develop this more or less negative definition into a positive one, had clearly suggested that he had an eye not on Hindutva as such but only on what was popularly called Hindudharma, and had also admitted that it could hardly include in its sweep the Aryasamajis and other sects which nevertheless are racially and nationally Hindus of Hindus. That definition, excellent so far as it goes, is in fact not a definition of Hindudharma, much less of Hindutva but of Sanatan Dharma—the Shruti-Smriti-puranokta sect, which being the most popular of all sects of Hindu Dharma was naturally but loosely mistaken for Hindu Dharma itself.
Thus Hindu Dharma being etymologically as well as actually and in its religious aspects only, (for Dharma is not merely religion) the religion of the Hindus, it necessarily partakes of all the essentials that characterise a Hindu. We have found
that the first important essential qualification of a Hindu is that to him the land that extends from Sindhu to Sindhu is the Fatherland, (Pitribhu) the Motherland (Matribhu) the land of his patriarchs and forefathers. The system or set of religions which we call Hindu Dharma— Vaidik and Non-Vaidik—is as truly the offspring of this soil as the men whose thoughts they are or who ‘saw’ the Truth revealed in them. To Hindu Dharma with all its sects and systems this land, Sindhusthan, is the land of its revelation, the land of its birth on this human plane. As the Ganges, though flowing from the lotus feet of Vishnu himself, is even to the most orthodox devotee and mystic so far as human plane is concerned the daughter of the Himalayas, even so, this land is the birth -place—the Matribhu (motherland) and the Pitribhu (fatherland) —of that Tatvajnana ( philosophy) which in its religious aspect is signified as Hindu Dharma. The second most important essential of Hindutva is that a Hindu is a descendant of Hindu parents, claims to have the blood of the ancient Sindhu and the race that sprang from them in his veins. This also is true of the different schools of religion of the Hindus; for they too being either founded by or revealed to the Hindu sages, and seers are the moral and cultural and spiritual descendants and development of the Thought of Saptasindhus through the process of assimilation and elimination, as we are of their seed. Not only is Hindu Dharma the growth of the natural environments and of the thought of the Indus, but also of the Sanskriti or culture of the Hindus. The environmental frames in which its scenes, whether of the Vaidik period or of Bauddha, Jain or any extremely modern ones of Chaitanya, Chakradhar, Basava, Nanak, Dayananda or Raja Rammohan, are set, the technical terms and the language that furnished expression to its highest revelation and ecstasies, its mythology and its philosophy, the conceptions it controverted and the conceptions it adopted, have the indelible stamp of Hindu culture, of Hindu Sanskriti, impressed upon them. Hindu Dharma of all shades and schools, lives and grows and has its being in the atmosphere of Hindu culture, and the Dharma of a Hindu being so completely identified with the land of the Hindus, this land to him is not only a Pitribhu but a Punyabhu, not only a fatherland but a holyland.
Yes, this Bharatbhumi. this Sindusthan, this land of ours that stretches from Sindhu to Sindhu is our Punyabhumi, for it was in this land that the Founders of our faith and the Seers to whom ‘Veda’ the Knowledge was revealed, from Vaidik seers to Dayananda, from Jina to Mahavir, from Buddha to Nagasen, from Nanak to Govind, from Banda to Basava, from Chakradhar to Chaitanya, from Ramdas to Rammohan, our Gurus and Godmen were born and bred. The very dust of its paths echoes the footfalls of our Prophets and Gurus. Sacred are its rivers, hallowed its groves, for it was either on their moonlit ghats or under their eventide long shadows, that the deepest problems of life, of man, soul and God, of Brahma and Maya, were debated and discussed by a Buddha or a Shankar. Ah! every hill and dell is instinct with memories of a Kapil or a Vyas. Shankar or Ramdas. Here Bhagirath rules, there Kurukshetra lies. Here Ramchandra made his first halt of an exile, there Janaki saw the golden deer and fondly pressed her lover to kill it. Here the divine Cowherd played on his flute that made every heart in Gokul dance in harmony as if in a hypnotized sleep. Here is Bodhi Vriksha, here the deer-park, here Mahaveer entered Nirvana. Here stood crowds of worshippers amongst whom Nanak sat and sang the Arati ‘the sun & the moon are the lights in the plate of the sky!’ Here Gopichand the king look on vows of Gopichand the Jogi and with a bowl in his hand knocked at his
sister’s door for a handful of alms! Here the son of Bandabahadur was hacked to pieces before the eyes of his father and the young bleeding heart of the son thrust in the father’s mouth for the fault of dying as a Hindu! Every stone here has a story of martyrdom to tell! Every inch of thy soil, O Mother! has been a sacrificial ground! Not only ‘where the Krishnasar is found’ but from Kasmir to Sinhar it is ‘ Land of sacrifice,’ sanctified with a Jnana Yajna or an Atmaajna (self-sacrifice). So to every Hindu, from the Santal to the Sadhu this Bharata bhumi this Sindhusthan is at once a Pitribhu and a Punyabhu—fatherland and a holy land.
That is why in the case of some of our Mohammedan or Christian countrymen who had originally been forcibly converted to a non-Hindu religion and who consequently have inherited along with Hindus, a common Fatherland and a greater part of the wealth of a common culture—language, law, customs, folklore and history—are not and cannot be recognized as Hindus. For though Hindusthan to them is Fatherland as to any other Hindu yet it is not to them a Holyland too. Their holyland is far off in Arabia or Palestine. Their mythology and Godmen, ideas and heroes are not the children of this soil. Consequently their names and their outlook smack of a foreign origin. Their love is divided. Nay, if some of them be really believing what they profess to do, then there can be no choice—they must, to a man, set their Holy- land above their Fatherland in their love and allegiance. That is but natural. We are not condemning nor are we lamenting.
We are simply telling facts as they stand. We have tried to determine the essentials of Hindutva and in doing so we have discovered that the Bohras and such other Mohammedan or Christian communities possess all the essential qualifications of Hindutva but one and that is that they do not look upon India as their Holyland.
It is not a question of embracing any doctrine propounding any new theory of the interpretation of God, Soul and Man, for we honestly believe that the Hindu Thought— we are not speaking of any religion which is dogma—has exhausted the very possibilities of human speculation as to the nature of the Unknown—if not the Unknowable, or the nature of the relation between that and thou. Are you a monist—a monotheist—a pantheist —an atheist—an agnostic ? Here is ample room, O soul ! whatever thou art, to love and grow to thy fullest height and satisfaction in this Temple of temples, that stands on no personal foundation but on the broad and deep and strong foundation of Truth. Why goest then to fill thy little pitcher to wells far off, when thou standest on the banks of the crystal -streamed Ganges herself ? Does not the blood in your veins, O brother, of our common forefathers cry aloud with the recollections of the dear old scenes and ties from which they were so cruelly snatched away at the point of the sword? Then come ye back to the fold of your brothers and sisters who with arms extended are standing at the open gate to welcome you—their long lost kith and kin. Where can you find more freedom of worship than in this land where a Charvak could preach atheism from the steps of the temple of Mahakal -more freedom of social organisation than in the Hindu society where from the Patnas of Orissa to the Pandits of Benares, from the Santalas to the Sadhus, each can develop a distinct social type of polity or organize a new one ? Verily whatever, could be found in the world is found here too. And if anything is not found here it could be found nowhere.
Ye, who by race, by blood, by culture, by nationality possess almost all the essentials of Hindutva and had been forcibly snatched out of our ancestral home by the hand of violence—ye, have only to render wholehearted love to our common Mother and recognize her not only as Fatherland (Pitribhu) but even as a Holyland (punyabhu); and ye would be most welcome to the Hindu fold.
This is a choice which our countrymen and our old kith and kin, the Bohras, Khojas, Memons and other Mohammedan and Christian communities are free to make —a choice again which must be a choice of love. But as long as they are not minded thus, so long they cannot be recognized as Hindus. We are, it must be remembered, trying to analyse and determine the essentials of Hindutva as that word is actually understood to signify and would not be justified in straining it in its application to suit any pre -conceived notions or party convenience.
A Hindu, therefore, to sum up the conclusions arrived at, is he who looks upon the land that extends from Sindu to Sindu- from the Indus to the Seas,-as the land of his forefathers —his Fatherland (Pitribhu), who inherits the blood of that race whose first discernible source could be traced to the Vedic Saptasindhus and which on its onward march, assimilating much that was incorporated and ennobling much that was assimilated, has come to be known as the Hindu people, who has inherited and claims as his own the culture of that race as expressed chiefly in their common classical language Sanskrit and represented by a common history, a common literature, art and architecture, law and jurisprudence, rites and rituals, ceremonies and sacraments, fairs and festivals; and who above all, addresses this land, this Sindhusthan as his Holyland (Punyabhu), as the land of his prophets and seers, of his godmen and gurus, the land of piety and pilgrimage. These are the essentials of Hindutva—a common nation (Rashtra) a common race (Jati) and a common civilization (Sanskriti). All these essentials could best be summed up by stating in brief that he is a Hindu to whom Sindhusthan is not only a Pitribhu but also a Punyabhu. For the first two essentials of Hindutva—nation and Jati—are clearly denoted and connoted by the word Pitrubhu while the third essential of Sanskriti is. pre-eminently implied by the word Punyabhu, as it is precisely Sanskriti including sanskaras i. e. rites and rituals, ceremonies and sacraments, that makes a land a Holyland. To make the definition more handy, we may be allowed to compress it in a couplet — A Sindu Sindhu paryanta, Yasya Bharatbhumika Pitribhuh Punyabhushchaiva sa vai Hinduriti smritah.
Hindus in Sindh
The rough analysis to which the conception of Hindutva was subjected in the foregoing pages has enabled us to frame a working definition embodying or rather indicating the salient essentials of it. It now remains to see how far this general definition can stand a detailed examination that could be best conducted by testing a few typical and some of the most different cases which have in fact made the necessity of a definition so badly felt. While developing it we have tried at each step to free it, so far as it is possible to do so in the case of so comprehensive and elusive a generalization as that, from the defect of being too wide. If we find in testing a few typical cases in the light of this definition that they all fit in well then we may be sure that it is free from the opposite defect of being too narrow. We have seen that it is not open to Ativyapti, it remains to be seen whether it is not open to Avyapti also.
The geographical divisions that obtain amongst the Hindus would, at a glance, be seen to harmonize well with the spirit of our definition. The fundamental basis of it is the land from Sindhu to Sindhu, and although many of our brethren, and especially those who had been the most undoubted descendants of the ancient Sindhus and who besides are the very people that to this day have never changed the ancient name either of their land or of their race, and are called to day as five thousand years ago, Sindhi, the children of Sindhudesha, inhabit the other bank of the Indus; yet, as in the mention of a river the mention of both its banks is implied as a matter of course so that part of Sindh which constitutes the western bank of the Indus is a natural part of Sindhusthan and is covered by our definition. Secondly, accessories to the mainland are always known by the name of the latter. And thirdly, our Hindu people on that side of the Sindhu had throughout history looked upon this land of Bharatvarsha as their real Pitribhu as well as Punyabhu. They had never been guilty of matricide in attempting to set up the patch they inhabit as their only Pitribhu or only Punyabhu. On the other hand their Baharas and Kailas and Gangotri are our Banaras and Kailas and Gangotri. From the Vedic time they are a part integral of Bharatvarsha, Sindhushivisauveers are mentioned in Ramayan and Mahabharat as the rightful constituents of the great Hindu confederacy and commonwealth. They belong to our Rashtra, to our Jati and to our Sanskriti.
Therefore they are Hindus and their case is well-covered by our definition.
But even if one rejects the contention that the ownership of a river does employ, unless otherwise stated, the ownership of both its banks yet the definition remains as sound as ever and applies to our Sindhi brethren on other grounds. For apart from the special case of our Sindhi brethren that inhabit the other side of the Indus, there are hundreds of thousands of Hindus who have settled in all parts of the world. A time may come when these our Hindu colonists, who even to-day are the dominating factor in trade, numbers, capacity and intellect in their respective lands, may come to own a whold country and form a separate state. But will this simple fact of residence in lands other than Hindusthan render one a non-Hindu ? Certainly not; for the first essential of Hindutva is not that a man must not reside in lands outside India, but that wherever he or his descendants may happen to be he must recognize Sindhusthan as the land of his forefathers. Nay more; it is not a question of recognition either. If his ancestors came from India as Hindus he cannot help recognizing India as his Pitribhu. So this definition of Hindutva is compatibls with any conceivable expansion of our Hindu people. Let our colonists continue unabated their labours of founding a Greater India, a Mahabharat to the best of their capacities and contribute all that is best in our civilization to the upbuilding of humanity. Let them enrich the people that inhabit the earth from Pole to Pole with their virtues and let them in return enrich their own country and race by imbibing all that is healthy and true wherever found. Hindutva does not clip the wings of the Himalayan eagles but only adds to their urge. So long as ye, O Hindus! look upon Hindusthan as the land of your forefathers and as the land of your prophets, and cherish the priceless heritage of their culture and their blood, so long nothing can stand in the way of your desire to expand. The only geographical limits of Hindutva are the limits of our earth!
So far as the racial aspect of our definition is concerned we cannot think of any exception that can seriously challenge its validity. Just as in England we find Iberians, Kelts, Angles, Saxons, Danes, Normans now fused, in spite of the racial restrictions on intermarriages into one nation, so the ancient racial distinctions of Aryans, Kolarians, Dravidians and others even if they had ever been keen, can no longer be recognized. We have dealt with the point as exhaustively as necessary in the foregoing pages and pointed out that the Anulom and Pratilom systems recognized in our law-books bear indisputable testimony to the fact that a fusion sufficient to keep the flow of common blood through our body politic vigorous and fresh was even then an accomplished fact. Nature again broke the barriers where custom refused to pull them down in time. Bheemsen was neither the first nor the last of Aryans to make love to a Hidimba, nor the Brahmin lady the mother of Vyadhakarma, to whom we have referred already, wae the only Aryan girl that took a fancy to a Vyadha youth. Out of a dozen Bhils or Kolis or even Santals, a youth or a girl may at times be picked up and dropped in a city school without any fear of being recognized as such either by a physical or by a moral test. The race that is born of the fusion, which on the whole is a healthy one, because gradual, of the Aryans, Kolarians, Dravidians and all those of our ancestors, whose blood we as a race inherit, is rightly called neither an Aryan, nor Kolarian, nor Dravidian—but the Hindu race; that is, that People who live as children of a common motherland, adoring a common holyland— the land that lies between the Sindhus. Therefore the Santals, Kolis, Bhils Panchamas, Namashudras and all other such tribes and classes are Hindus. This Sindhusthan is as emphatically, if not more emphatically, the land of their forefathers as of those of the so- called Aryans; they inherit the Hindu blood and the Hindu culture; and even those of them who have not as yet come fully under the influence of any orthodox Hindu sect, do still worship deities and saints and follow a religion however primitive, are still purely attached to this land, which therefore to them is not only a Fatherland but a Holyland.
There would have been no serious objection raised against the cultural aspect of Hindutva too, but for the unfortunate misunderstanding that owes its origin to the confusing similarity between the two terms Hindutva and Hinduism. We have tried already to draw a clear line of demarcation between the two conceptions and protested against the wrong use of the word Hinduism to denote the Sanatan Dharma alone. Hindutva is not indentical with Hindu Dharma; nor is Hindu Dharma indentical with Hinduism. This twofold mistake that indentifies Hindutva with Hindu Dharma and both with Sanatani sect is justly resented by our non-Sanatani sects or religious systems and goads a small section of people amongst them—not to explode this mistaken notion, but unfortunately to commit another grave and suicidal mistake in the opposite direction and disown their Hindutva itself. We hope that our definition will leave no ground for any such bitterness of feelings on either side and based on truth as it is, would be acknowledged by all the fair-minded people throughout our Hindu society. But as in the general treatment of this question we could not take any notice of any special case we shall do so now. Let us first take the case of our Sikh brotherhood. No one could be so silly as to contest the statement that Sindusthan, Asindhu Sindhu Paryanta yasya Bharatbhumika’, is their Fatherland-the land that ever since the first extant records of the Vedic Period has been the land where their forefathers lived and loved and worshipped and prayed. Secondly, they most undoubtedly inherit the Hindu blood in their veins as much as any one in Madras or Bengal does Nay more, while we Hindus in Maharashtra or Bengal inherit the blood of the Aryans as well as of those other ancient people who inhabited this land, the Sikhs are the almost direct descendants of those ancient Sindhus and can claim to have drunk their being at the very fountain of this Ganges of our Hindu life before she had descended down to the plains. Thirdly, they have contributed and to therefore are the rightful copartners in our Hindu culture, For Saraswati was a river in the Punjab before she became the Deified Image of Learning and Art. To this day, do millions of Hindus throughout Hindusthan join in the enchanted chorus ‘ with which the Sindhus, your forefathers, oh Sikhs, paid the tribute of a grateful people to, and extolled the glories of the River on whose banks the first seeds of our culture and civilization were sown and catching their Rigvedic accents sing ‘Ambitame, Naditame, Devitame Saraswati; the Vedas are theirs as they are ours, if not as a revelation yet as revered work that sings of the first giant struggles of man to tap the sources of nature. The first giant struggle of Light against the forces of darkness and ignorance, that had stolen and kept imprisoned the spirited waters and refused to allow the rays of Illumination touch man and rouse the soul in him. The story of the Sikhs, like any one of us must begin with the Vedas, pass on through the palaces of Ayodhya, witness the battlefield of Lanka, help Lahu to lay the foundation of Lahore and watch prince Sidhartha leave the confines of Kapilavastu and enter the caves to find some way out to lighten the sorrows of man. The Sikhs along with us bewail the fall of Prithviraj, share the fate of a conquered people and suffer together as Hindus. Millions of Sikh udasis, Nirmalas, the Gahangambhirs and the Sindhi. Sikhs adore the Sanskrit language not only as the language of their ancestors but as the sacred language of their land. While the rest cannot but own it as the tongue of their forefathers and as the Mother of Gurumukhi and Punjabi, which yet in its infancy is still sucking the milk of life at its breast. Lastly the land Asindhu Sindhuparyanta is not only the Pitribhu also the Punyabhu to the Sikhs. The land spread from the river, Sindhu, to the seas is not only the fatherland but also the holyland to the Sikhs. Guru Nanak and Guru Govind, Shri Banda and Ramsing were born and bred in Hindusthan; the lakes of Hindusthan are the lakes of nectar ( Amritsar ) and of freedom—(Muktasar); the land of Hindusthan is the land of prophets and prayer— Gurudvar and Gurughar. Really if any community in India is Hindu beyond cavil or criticism it is our Sikh brotherhood in the Punjab, being almost the autochthonous dwellers of the Saptsindhu land and the direct descendants of the Sindhu or Hindu people. The Sikh of today is the Hindu of yesterday and the Hindu of to-day may be the Sikh of tomorrow. The change of a dress, or a custom, or a detail of daily life cannot change the blood or the seed, nor can efface and blot out history itself.
To the millions of our Sikh brethren their Hindutva is self-evident. The Sahajdhari, udasi, Nirmal, Gahangambhir and the Sindhi Sikhs are proud of being Hindus by race and by nationality. As their Gurus themselves had been the children of Hindus they would fail to understand if not resent any such attempt to class them as Non-Hindus. The Gurugrantha is read by the Sanatanis as well as by the Sikhs as a sacred work; both of them have fairs and festivals in common. The Sikhs of the Tatkhalsa sect also so far as the bulk of their population is concerned, are equally attached to their racial appellation and live amongst Hindus as Hindus. It cannot be but shocking to them to be told that they had suddenly ceased to be Hindus. Our racial Unity is so unchallenged and complete that inter-marriages are quite common amongst the Sikhs and Sanatanis.
The fact is that the protest that is at times raised by some leaders of our Sikh brotherhood against their being classed as Hindus would never have been heard if the term Hinduism was not allowed to get identical with Sanatanism. This confusion of ideas and the vagueness of expression resulting therefrom, are at the root of this fatal tendency that mars at time the cordial relations existing between our sister Hindu communities. We have tried to make it clear that Hindutva is not to be determined by any theological tests. Yet we must repeat it once more that the Sikhs are free to reject any or all things they dislike as superstitions in Sanatandharma, even the binding authority of the Vedas as a revelation. They thereby may cease to be Sanatanis, but cannot cease to be Hindus. Sikhs are Hindus in the sense of our definition of Hindutva and not in any religious sense whatever. Religiously they are Sikhs as Jains are Jains, Lingayats are Lingayats, Vaishnavas are Vaishnavas ; but all of us racially and nationally and culturally are a polity and a people, one and indivisible, most fitly and from times immemorial called Hindus. No other word can express our racial oneness—not even Bharatiya can do that for reasons dealt with in the forgoing pages. Bharatiya indicates an Indian and expresses a larger generalization but cannot express racial unity of us Hindus. We are Sikhs, and Hindus and Bharatiyas. We are all three put together and none exclusively.
Another reason besides this fear of being indentified with the followers of Sanatanpanth which added to the zeal of some of our Sikh brothers and made them insist on getting classed separately as non -Hindus, was a political one. This is not the place of entering into merits or demerits of special representation. The Sikhs were naturally anxious to guard the special interests of their community and if the Mohammedans could enjoy the privilege of a special and communal .representation, we do not understand why any other important minority in India should not claim similar concession. But we feel that, that claim should not have been backed up by our Sikh brothers by an untenable and suicidal plea of being non-Hindus. Sikhs, to guard their own interests could have pressed for and succeeded in securing special and communal representation on the ground of being an important minority as our non -Brahmins and other communities have done without renouncing their birthright of Hindutva. Our Sikh brotherhood is certainly not a less important community than the Mohammedans —in fact to us Hindus they are more important than any non-Hindu community in India. The harm that a special and communal representation does is never so great as the har done by the attitude of racial aloofness. Let the Sikhs, the Jains, the Lingayats, the non-Brahmins and even, for the matter of that. Brahmins press and fight for the right of special and communal representation, if they honestly look upon it as indispensable for their communal growth. For their growth is the growth of the whole Hindu-society. Even in ancient times our four main castes enjoyed a kind of special representation on communal basis in our councils of State as well as in local bodies. They could do that without refusing to get fused into the larger whole and incorporated into the wider generalization of Hindutva, Let the Sikhs be classed as Sikhs religiously, but as Hindus racially and culturally.
The brave people placed their heads by hundreds under the executioner’s axe rather than disown their Guru. Will they disown their seed, forswear their fathers and sell their birthright for a mess of pottage ? God forbid! Let our minorities remember that if strength lies in union, then in Hindutva lies the firmest and yet the dearest bond that can effect a real, lasting and powerful union of our people. You may fancy that it pays you to remain aloof for the passing hour, but it would do incalculable harm to this our ancient race and civilization as a whole —and especially to yourselves. Your interests are indissolubly bound with the interests of your other Hindu brethren. Whenever in the future as in the past a foreigner raises a sword against the Hindu civilization it is sure to strike you as deadly as any other Hindu community. Whenever in future as in the past the Hindus as a people come to their own and under a Shivaji or a Ranjit, a Ramchandra or a Dharma, an Ashoka or an Amoghwarsha feeling the quickening touch of life and activity mount the pinnacles of glory and greatness—that day would shed its lustre on you as well as on any other members of our Hindu commonwealth. So, brothers, be not lured by the immediate gains, partly or otherwise, nor be duped by misreadings and misinterpretations of history. I was once told by one who posing as a Granthi was nevertheless convicted for committing a dacoity in the house of a Brahmin to whom he owed money and whom he consequently murdered, that the Sikhs were not Hindus and that they could incur no guilt by killing a Brahmin as the sons of Govindsing were betrayed by a Brahmin cook. Fortunately there was another Sikh gentleman and a real Granthi and was recognized as such by all learned Sikhs who immediately contradicted and cornered him by several examples of Matidas and others, who had sheltered the Guru and proved true to the Sikhs even unto martyrdom. Was not Shivaji betrayed by his kith and kin and his grandson again by a Pisal who too was a Hindu ? But did Shivaji or his nation disown their race and cease to be Hindus? Many of the Sikhs have acted treacherously first at the time of desertion of the heroic Banda, then again at the time of the last war of the Khalsa forces with the English. Guru Govindsing himself was deserted by a number of Sikhs in the very thick of the fight and it was this act of treacherous cowardice of these Sikhs which by forcing our lion-hearted Guru to try a desperate sortie gave occasion to that cursed Brahmin wretch to betray his two sons. If, therefore, for the crime of the latter we cease to be Hindus, then for the crime of the former we ought to cease to be Sikhs too !
This minority of the Hindus as well as the major communities of them did not fall from the skies as separate creations. They are an organic growth that has its roots embedded deep in a common land and in a common culture. You cannot pick up a lamb and by tying a Kachchha and Kripan on it, make a lion of it! If the Guru succeeded in forming a band of martyrs and warriors he could do so because the race that produced him as well as that band was capable of being moulded thus. The lion’s seed alone can breed lions. The flower cannot say ‘I bloom and smell: surely I came out of the stalk alone — I have nothing to do with the roots!’ No more can we deny our seed or our blood. As soon as you point at a Sikh who was true to his Guru you have automatically pointed at a Hindu who was true to the Guru for before being a Sikh he was, and yet continues to be a Hindu. So long as our Sikh brethren are true to Sikhism they must of necessity continue to be Hindus for so long must this land, this Bharatbhumika from Sindhu to the seas, remain their Fatherland and their Holyland. It is by ceasing to be Sikhs alone that they may, perhaps, cease to be Hindus.
We have dealt at some length with this special case of our Sikh brotherhood as all those arguments and remarks would automatically test all similar cases of our other non- Vaidik sects and religions in the light of our definition. The Devsamajis for example are agnostics but Hindutva has little to do with agnosticism, or for the matter of that, atheism. The Devsamajis look on this land as the land of their forefathers, their fatherland as well as their Holyland and are therefore Hindus. Of course, it is superfluous, after all this to refer to our Aryasamaj. All the essentials of Hindutva hold good in their case so eminently that they are Hindus. We, in fact, are unable to hit upon any case that can lay our definition open to the charge of exclusiveness.
In one case alone it seems to offer some real difficulty. Is, for example. Sister Nivedita a Hindu ? If ever an exception proves the rule it does so here. Our patriotic and noble- minded sister had adopted our land from Sindu to the seas as her Fatherland. She truly loved it as such, and had our nation been free, we would have been the first to bestow the right of citizenship on such loving souls. So the first essential may, to some extent, be said to hold good in her case. The second essential of common blood of Hindu parentage must, nevertheless and necessarily, be absent in such cases as these. The sacrament of marriage with a Hindu which really fuses and is universally admitted to do so, two beings into one may be said to remove this disqualification. But although this second essential failed, either way to hold good in her case, the third important qualification of Hindutva did entitle her to be recognized as a Hindu. For she had adopted our culture and come to adore our land as her Holyland. She felt, she was a Hindu and that is, apart from all technicalities, the real and the most important test. But we must not forget that we have to determine the essentials of Hindutva in the sense in which the word is actually used by an overwhelming majority of people. And therefore we must say that any convert of non- Hindu parentage to Hindutva can be a Hindu, if bona fide, he or she adopts our land as his or her country and marries a Hindu, thus coming to love our land as a real Fatherland, and adopts our culture and thus adores our land as the Punyabhu. The children of such a union as that would, other things being equal, be most emphatically Hindus. We are not authorized to go further.
But by coming to believe into the tenets of any sects of the Hindus a foreign convert may be recognized as a Sanatani, or a Sikh, or a Jain; and as these religions being founded by or revealed to Hindus, go by he name of Hindudharma the convert too, may be religiously called a Hindu. But it must be understood that a religious or cultural convert possesses only one of the three essentials of Hindutva and it is owing to this disqualification that people generally do not recognise as a Hindu any one and every one who subscribes to the religious beliefs of our race. So deep our feeling of gratitude is towards a Sister Nivedita or an Annie Besant for the services they rendered to the cause of our Motherland and our culture, so soft-hearted and sensitive to the touch of love as a race we Hindus are, that Sister Nivedita or a person like her who so completely identifies his or her being with the Being of our people, is almost unconsciously received in the Hindu fold. But it should be done as an exception to the rule. The rule itself must neither be too rigid nor too elastic The several tests to which we have subjected our definition of Hindutva have, we believe, proved that it satisfies both these requirements and involves neither Avyapti nor Ativyapti; neither contraction nor expansion of the exact connotation.
Unique Natural Blessings to Hindusthan
So far we have not allowed any considerations of utility to prejudice our inquiry. But having come to its end it will not be out of place to see how far the attributes, which we found to be the essentials of Hindutva, contribute towards the strength, cohesion, and progress of our people. Do these essentials constitute a foundation so broad, so deep, so strong that basing upon it the Hindu people can build a future which can face and repel the attacks of all the adverse winds that blow ; or does the Hindu race stand on feet of clay ?
Some of the ancient nations raised huge walls so as to convert a whole country into a fortified castle. To-day their walls are trodden to dust or are but scarcely discernible by a few scattered mounds here and there; while the people they were meant to protect are not discernible at all. Our ancient neighbours, the Chinese, laboured from generation to generation and raised a rampart, embracing the limits of an empire, so wide, so high, so strong, a wonder of the human world. That too, as all human wonders must, sank under its own weight. But behold the ramparts of Nature! Have they not, these Himalayas, been standing there as one whose desires are satisfied—so they seemed to the Vedic bard —so they seem to us to-day. These are our ramparts that have converted this vast continent into a cosy castle.
You take up buckets and fill your trenches with water and call it a moat. Behold, Varuna himself, with his one hand pushing continents aside, fills the gap by pouring seas on seas with the other ! This Indian ocean with its bays and gulfs, is our moat.
These are our frontier lines bringing within our reach the advantages of an island as well as an insular country.
She is the richly endowed, daughter of God—this our Motherland. Her rivers are deep and perennial. Her land is yielding to plough and her fields loaded with golden harvests. Her necessaries of life are few and a genial nature yields them all almost for the asking. Rich in her fauna, rich in her flora, she knows she owes it all to the immediate source of light and heat—the sun. She covets not the icy lands; blessed be they and their frozen latitudes. If heat is at times ‘ enervating’ here, cold is at times benumbing there. If cold induces manual labour, heat removes much of its very necessity. She takes more delight in quenched thirst than in the parched throat. Those who have not, let them delight in exerting to have. But those who have—may be allowed to derive pleasure from the very fact of having. Father Thames is free to work at feverish speed, wrapped in his icy sheets. She loves to visit her ghats and watch her boats gliding down the Ganges on her moonlit waters. With the plough, the peacocks, and lotus, the elephant and the Gita, she is willing to forego, if that must be, whatever advantage the colder latitudes enjoy. She knows she cannot have all her own way. Her gardens are green and shady, her granaries well- stocked, her waters crystal, her flowers scented, her fruits juicy and her herbs healing. Her brush is dipped in the colours of Dawn and her flute resonant with the music of Gokul. Verily Hind is the richly endowed daugher of God.
Neither the English nor the French with the exception of the Chinese and perhaps the Americans, no people are gifted with a land that can equal in natural strength and richness the land of Sindusthan. A country, a common home is the first important essential of a stable strong nationality; and as of all countries in the world our country can hardly be surpassed by any in its capacity to afford a soil so specially fitted for the growth of a great nation; we Hindus whose very first article of faith is the love we bear to the common Fatherland, have in that love the strongest talismanic tie that can bind close and keep a nation firm and enthuse and enable it to accomplish things greater than ever.
The second essential of Hindutva puts the estimate of our latent powers of national cohesion and greatness yet higher. No country in the world with the exception of China again, is peopled by a race so homogeneous, yet so ancient and yet so strong both numerically and vitally. The Americans too, whom we found equally fortunate with us so far as excellent geographical basis of nationality is concerned, are decidedly left behind. Mohammedans are no race nor are the Christians. They are a religious unit, yet neither a racial nor a national one. But we Hindus, if possible, are all the three put together, and live under our ancient and common roof. The numerical strength of our race is an asset that cannot be too highly prized.
And culture ? The English and the Americans feel they are kith and kin because they possess a Shakespeare in common. But not only Kalidas or a Bhasa but, Oh Hindus ! ye possess a Ramayan and Mahabharat in common—and the Vedas ! One of the national songs the American children are taught to sing attempts to rouse their sense of eternal self- importance by pointing out to the hundred years twice told that stand behind their history. The Hindu counts his years not by centuries but by cycles—the Yuga and the Kalpa and amazed asks ,The Uttra Kosala of Raghupathi is nowhere to be seen, nor is Shri Krishna’s city of Mathura .He does not attempt to rouse the sense of self-importance so much as the sense of proportion which is Truth. And that has perhaps made him last longer than Ramses and Nebuchadnezzar. If a people that had no past has no future, then a people that had produced an unending galaxy of heroes and hero-worshippers and who are conscious of having fought with and vaquished the forces whose might struck Greece and Rome, the Pharaohs and the Incas, dead, have in their history a guarantee of their future greatness more assuring than any other people on earth yet possess.
But besides culture the tie of common holyland has at times proved stronger than the chains of a Motherland. Look at the Mohammedans. Mecca to them is a sterner reality than Delhi or Agra. Some of I them do not make any secret of being bound to sacrifice all India if that be to the glory of Islam or could save the city of their prophet. Look at the Jews; neither centuries of prosperity nor sense of gratitude for the shelter they found, can make them more attached or even equally attached to the several countries they inhabit. Their love is, and must necessarily be divided between the land of their birth and the land of their Prophets. If the Zionists’ dreams are ever realized—if Palestine becomes a Jewish State and it will gladden us almost as much as our Jewish friends—they, like the Mohammedans would naturally set the interests of their Holyland above those of their Motherland in America and Europe and in case of war between their adopted country and the Jewish State, would naturally sympathise with the latter, if indeed they do not bodily go over to it. History is too full of examples of such desertions to cite particulars. The crusades again, attest to the wonderful influence that a common holyland exercises over peoples widely separated in race, nationality and language, to bind and hold them together.
The ideal conditions, therefore, under which a nation can attain perfect solidarity and cohesion would, other things being equal, be found in the case of those people who inhabit the land they adore, the land of whose forefathers is also the land of their
Gods and Angels, of Seers and Prophets; the scenes of whose history are also the scenes of their mythology. The Hindus are about the only people who are blessed with these ideal conditions that are at the same time incentive to national solidarity, cohesion and greatness. Not even the Chinese are blessed thus. Only Arabia and Palestine, if ever the Jews can succeed in founding their state there, can be said to possess this unique advantage. But Arabia is incomparably poorer in the natural, cultural, historical, and numerical essentials of a great people; and even if the dreams of the Zionists are ever realized into a Palestine State still they too must be equally lacking in these.
England, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey proper, Persia, Japan, Afganistan, Egypt of to- day (for the old descendants of ‘Punto’ and their Egypt is dead long since), and other African states, Mexico, Peru, Chile (not to mention states and nations lesser than all these ), though racially more or less hemogeneous are yet less advantageously situated than we are in geographical, cultural, historical and numerical essentials, besides lacking the unique gift of a sanctified Motherland. Of the remaining nations, Russia in Europe, and United states in America, though geographically equally well-gifted with us, are yet poorer, in almost every other requisite of nationality. China alone of the present comity of nations is almost as richly gifted with the geographical, racial, cultural essentials as the Hindus are. Only in the possession of a common, a sacred and a perfect language, the Sanskrit, and a sanctified Motherland, we are so far as the essentials that contribute to national solidarity are concerned more fortunate.
Thus the actual essentials of Hindutva are, as this running sketch reveals, also the ideal essentials of nationality. If we would, we could build on this foundation of Hindutva a future greater than what any other people on earth can dream of, greater even than our own past; provided we are able to utilize our opportunities. For let our people remember that great combinations are the order of the day. The league of Nations, the alliances of powers Pan-Islamism, Pan-Slavism, Pan-Ethiopism, all little beings are seeking to get themselves incorporated into greater wholes, so as to be better-fitted for the struggle for existence and power. Those who are not naturally and historically blessed with numerical or geographical or racial advantages are seeking to share them with others. Woe to those who have them already as their birth-right and know them not; or worse, despise them! The nations of the world are desperately trying to find a place in this or that combination for aggression—can any one of you, Oh Hindus! whether Jain or Samaji or Sanatani or Sikh or any other subsection afford to cut yourselves off or fall out and destroy the ancient, the natural and the organic combination that already exists?—a combination that is bound not by any scraps of paper nor by the ties of exigencies alone, but by the ties of blood, birth and culture? Strengthen them if you can: pull down the barriers that have survived their utility, of castes and customs, of sects and sections: What of interdining?— but intermarriages between provinces and provinces, castes and castes, be encouraged where they do not exist. But where they already exist as between the Sikhs and Sanatanies, Jains and Vaishnayas, Lingayats and Non-Lingayats-suicideal be the hand that tries to cut the nuptial tie. Let the minorities remember they would be cutting the very branch on which they stand. Strenghten every tie that binds you to the main organism, whether of blood or language or common Motherland. Let this ancient and noble stream of Hindu blood flow from vein to vien, from Attock to Cuttack till at last the Hindu people get fused and welded into an indivisible whole, till our race gets consolidated and strong sharp as steel.
Just cast a glance at the past, then at the present : Pan-Islamism in Asia, the political Leagues in Europe, the Pan-Ethiopic movement in Africa and America- and then see, O Hindus, if your future is not entirely bound up with the future of India and the future of India is bound up in the last resort, with Hindu strength. We are trying our best, as we ought to do, to develop the consciousness of and a sense of attachment to the greater whole, whereby Hindus, Mohammedans, Parsis Christians, and Jews would feel as Indians first and every other thing afterwards. But whatever progress India may have made to that goal one thing remains almost axiomatically true- not only in India but everywhere in the world-that a nation requires a foundation to stand upon and the essence of the life of a nation is the life of that portion of its citizens whose interests and history and aspirations are most closely bound up with the land and who thus provide the real foundation to the structure of their national state. Take the case of Turkey. The young Turks after the revolution had to open their Parliament and military institutions to Armenians and Christians on a non-religious and secular basis. But when the war with Servia came the Christians and Armenians first wavered and then many a regiment consisting of them went bodily over to the Servians, who politically and racially and religiously were more closely bound up with them. Take the case of America: when the German war broke out she suddenly had to face danger of desertions of her German citizens; while the Negro citizens there sympathise more with their brethren in Africa than with their white countrymen. American State, in the last resort, must stand or fall with the fortunes of its Anglo- Saxon constituents. So with the Hindus, they being the people, whose past,present and future are most closely bound with the soil of Hindusthan as Pitribhu, as Punyabhu, they constitute the foundation, the bedrock, the reserved forces of the Indian state. Therefore even from the point of Indian nationality, must ye, O Hindus, consolidate and strengthen Hindu nationality ; not to give wanton offence to any of our non -Hindu compatriots, in fact to any one in the world but in just and urgent defence of our race and land ; to render it impossible for others to betray her or to subject her to unprovoked attack by any of those ‘Pan-isms’ that are struggling forth from continent to continent. As long as other communities in India or in the world are not respectively planning India first or mankind first, but all are busy in organizing offensive and defensive alliances and combinations on entirely narrow racial or religious or national basis, so long, at least, so long O Hindus, strengthen if you can those subtle bonds that like nerve threads bind you in one organic social being. Those of you who in a fit suicidal try to cut off the most vital of those ties and dare to disown the name Hindu will find to their cost that in doing so they have cut themselves off from the very source of our racial life and strength.
The presence of only a few of these essentials of nationality which we have found to constitute Hindutva enabled little nations like Spain or Portugal to get themselves lionized in the world. But when all of those ideal conditions obtain here what is there in the human world that the Hindus cannot accomplish ?
Thirty crores of people, with India for their basis of operation, for their Fatherland and for their Holyland with such a history behind them, bound together
by ties of a common blood and common culture can dictate their terms to the whole world. A day will come when mankind will have to face the force.
Equally certain it is that whenever the Hindus come to hold such a position whence they could dictate terms to the whole world — those terms cannot be very different from the terms which Gita dictates or the Buddha lays down. A Hindu is most intensely so, when he ceases to be Hindu; and with a Shankar claims the whole earth for a Benares ‘ Waranasi Medini !’ or with a Tukaram exclaims ‘my country! Oh brothers, ‘the limits of the Universe — there the frontiers of my country lie ?’