Hindu vs Hindutva

India Today - - INSIDE -

AA WAY OF LIFE, an an­cient tra­di­tion of re­li­gious thought and di­verse prac­tices. A uniquely in­clu­sive cul­ture and the source of shrill and po­lar­is­ing rhetoric. How can the rich legacy of Hin­duism be squared with the frac­tious pol­i­tics that sur­round it to­day?

While the ap­pro­pri­a­tion of Hindu iden­tity by the ‘Hindutva’ pol­i­tics of the Sangh Pari­var has gath­ered mo­men­tum and helped pro­pel the NDA gov­ern­ment to power at the cen­tre—and now in 19 states—re­cent months have seen an un­prece­dented at­tempt by ‘lib­eral’ po­lit­i­cal forces to re­claim the lost ground. From Rahul Gandhi’s tem­ple tour on the Gu­jarat cam­paign trail to Ra­jinikanth’s man­i­festo of ‘spir­i­tual pol­i­tics’ and Sid­dara­ma­iah’s war of words with Yogi Adityanath or the lat­est posters de­pict­ing the PM as Ra­vana in Ame­thi—the bat­tle of ‘Hindu ver­sus Hindutva’ has been joined.

Now, as the lo­qua­cious Congress MP Shashi Tha­roor re­leases an­other broad­side in the form of a book re­claim­ing Hin­duism as a lib­eral legacy, we asked a panel of em­i­nent and en­gaged writ­ers from across the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum to weigh in. The re­sult is an en­light­en­ing, some­times per­plex­ing de­bate re­flect­ing, we think, the rich­ness of the Hindu cul­tural tra­di­tion. Call it di­ver­sity in unity.

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