The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Partners ring Hindutva alert

New Delhi, Jan. 3: By giving a new interpretation to and trying to impose their own brand of Hindutva on the nation, BJP hardliners and Sangh parivar leaders have violated the Supreme Court ruling on Hindutva, the NDA allies have said.

Alerting the hardliners against loose talk, an NDA leader said their utterances could invite punitive action if challenged in court.

The Janata Dal (United), the DMK, the PMK, the Samata Party and the Rashtriya Lok Dal accused Sangh leaders of distorting the meaning of Hindutva and sneaking in their agenda, showing scant respect for the Constitution.

Disposing of the disenfranchisement petition of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray on December 11, 1995, the apex court had observed: “No precise meaning can be ascribed to the terms Hindu, Hindutva and Hinduism, and no meaning in the abstract can confine it to the narrow limits of religion alone, excluding the content of Indian culture and heritage.”

Even deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani on Wednesday said the BJP would not shy away from debating Hindutva if the party was made out to be fundamentalist or communal in the coming Assembly polls in some states.

“If secularism is made a poll issue and the BJP is made out to be fundamentalist and communal, then we will respond adequately,” Advani had said.

The apex court had said while hearing the appeal of Thackeray, accused of spreading disaffection in society by spreading communal hatred:

nThe term “Hindutva is related more to the way of life of the people of the subcontinent. It is difficult to say that the term Hindutva or Hinduism per se, in the abstract, can be assumed to mean and be equated with narrow fundamentalist Hindu religious bigotry, or be construed to fall within the prohibition in Sub-Sections 3 and/or 3A of Section 123 of R.P. Act” (ruling by a bench of then Chief Justice J.S. Verma, Justice N.P. Singh and Justice K. Venkataswami).

nOrdinarily, Hindutva is understood as a way of life or a state of mind and it is not to be equated with, or understood as, religious Hindu fundamentalism. The word Hindutva is used and understood as a synonym of Indianisation, i.e., development of uniform culture by obliterating the differences between all cultures co-existing in the country.

Cautioning the Hindutva brigade, PMK chief S. Ramadoss today said political parties should refrain from talking about religion and concentrate on the country’s development.

Dismissing the Hindutva concept, DMK chief M. Karunanidhi said his party rejected any principle that was against rationality, humaneness and sought to divide people in the name of caste and religion. Yesterday, he had coined the term “Dravidtva” to counter Hindutva in Tamil Nadu.

Samata spokesman Shambhu Shrivastwa said: “The Supreme Court has said Hindutva is a way of life. It has not said that the Indian state or the Indian nation is based on Hindutva.

“The Indian nation is a secular nation, according to our Constitution. Hindutva is a way of life that is essentially secular and against any kind of extremism and fundamentalism.”

Since the word used in the Constitution is secular, we cannot call it a Hindu state,” he said.

The Rashtriya Lok Dal, whose leader Ajit Singh is a Union minister, too, condemned “attempts to spread hatred between various communities, which would not be tolerated”.

His party condemned Uttar Pradesh BJP president Vinay Katiyar’s statement that Muslims should accept cultural nationalism and his call to “liberate” Kashi and Mathura along with Ayodhya.

The Rashtriya Lok said Muslims, too, are citizens of the country and have rights equal to the others.

JD(U) sources said the party was keeping a close watch on the Sangh strategy.

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