Hindutva, which means "Hinduness", is a kind of nationalism in India. The word was made popular by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in 1923. Groups that believe in Hindutva include the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and the Sangh Parivar. Hindutva considers Hinduism better than other religions and cultures. Because of this, some people describe Hindutva as almost fascist, while others say that Hindutva is conservative.
Comments by scholars
According to Christophe Jaffrelot, a political scientist specializing in South Asia, the Hindutva ideology has roots in an era where the fiction in ancient Indian mythology and the Vedics was thought to be valid. This fiction was used to "give sustenance to Hindu ethnic consciousness". Its strategy emulated the Muslim identity politics of the Khilafat movement after World War I, and borrowed political concepts from the West – mainly Germany.
According to Anthony Parel, a historian and political scientist, V. D. Savarkar's Hindutva, Who is a Hindu? (1923) is a fundamental text of Hindutva ideology. He comments on Savarkar's summary of Hindu culture "as a self-sufficient culture, not needing any input from other cultures" by saying that this is "an unhistorical, narcissistic and false account of India's past".
Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad, a Fellow of the British Academy and a scholar of Politics and Philosophy of Religion, says that Hindutva is a form of nationalism that is seen differently by its opponents and its supporters. The Hindutva ideology according to Savarkar, states Ram-Prasad, is based on "geography, race, and culture".
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