British oppression forced the people of Indian sub-continent to dream about their own nation. As such, Indian nationalism was a political movement born under the impact of British rule, with the central objective of attaining independence of Indian-subcontinent. During India’s struggle for independence, it was a liberating force and a powerful defense against colonial tyranny and oppression. It was not purely political, but a renaissance movement embracing almost every sphere of Indian life. It was a vast movement of a whole people towards national independence, national self-respect, national well-being and national enlightenment.From the very beginning it had a deep sense of internationalism and that of belonging to the world community. It was not just limited to its own independence, but was also concerned about the world. From the uncompromising stand against fascism and Nazism to Khilafat Movement, Indian nationalism had internationalized itself.
Somewhere, amidst this struggle for an independent India, religious nationalists-both Hindus and Muslims propounded the Two Nation theory. It hijacked Indian nationalism and laid the foundation of religious and narrow nationalism in India. It was here that traditions, faith and culture came to become an intrinsic part of Indian nationalism. The specter of partition continues to haunt and even structure the contemporary nationalism in India. Nationalism is now performed across the country in different theaters of nationalism-national day parades and Retreat ceremony at Wagah, at the India–Pakistan border.The flag waving and chest beating cries along with those old Hindi nationalist songs such as Meri Desh ki Dharti and Wo Bharat DeshHai Mera blared out of the stereos that mark these ceremonies.
Today world is at crossroads as large number of democratic countries such as USA, India, Israel, Turkey and Brazil have adopted aggressive nationalism with an inclination towards tribalism and authoritarianism. It is because multilateralism and the existing world order have failed to deliver. These have failed to create opportunity for ‘many’ and these ‘many’ are revolting against and challenging the existing institutes of multilateralism. On the other hand, the rise of authoritarian and protectionist China has fueled the rise of nationalism across the globe. The paroxysms of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) and cries for a Hindu Rashtra are linked to this world phenomenon. Though Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has been espousing this ideology since the first day of its foundation but what was earlier restricted to writings only is now put into practice. Hindu nationalists had deliberated on Hindu Rashtra even before India gained independence. For example, in 1920s Hindu nationalist Savarkar gave the widely recognised formula of pitribhum–punyabhum(fatherland–holy land). Whoever can identify India as both may be considered as Hindu. In consonance with this formula, he develops the idea of rashtra-jati-sanskriti (nation-race-culture). Identification with the Hindu race and nation is encompassed by the recognition of pitribhum; whereas identification with culture is encompassed by the recognition of punyabhum.
Even vigilantism has gone global. In USA it is the armed anti-immigration vigilantism and in India it is GauRakshak (cow vigilantism) and anti-love Jihad vigilantism. There were instances when married people were arrested for public display of affection. You had to carry your marriage registration certificate with you the whole time you were out with your partner. This vigilantism reached crescendo when people started to investigate what is cooking in your kitchen and what is placed in your fridge.Lynching citizens belonging to minority on these trivial things became a new normal and government policies only fueled it. The worst of it came when a Harvard educated union minister garlanded lynching accused.
The rise of China as a global leader has also given rise to techno-nationalism across the globe.There is a Japanese slogan kagakugijutsurikkok (nation-building by science and technology) which almost equals to techno-nationalism. PM Modi’s ‘Made in India’ project to push for indigenous production in technology is a manifestation of this techno-nationalism. The latest test of ASAT (anti-satellite) missile which was laced with the rhetoric of ‘national pride’ and ‘progress’ is a clear case of techno-nationalism.Though techno-nationalism is associated with restricted transfer of technology which India clearly lacks because all of its strategic technology is imported but the government has still showed it techno-nationalist inclinations by attempting to leverage techno-globalism to get home innovation under ‘Made in India’ project. Hindu nationalists’ love for technology was at full display at the 102nd edition of the Indian Science Congress in January, 2015 where they made some egregious claims related discoveries and inventions in India. It was at the inaugural function that Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan claimed that India had given the world algebra and the Pythagoras's Theorem. A presentation given by Captain Anand J Bodas claimed that a sage in India during Vedic-age had invented a 30 engine, 200-foot plane that could fly forwards, backwards and sideways and even hover in mid-air.
All in all, Hindutva in India is kind of nationalism which brings together politics of imagination, insecurity, cultural transformation, and social mobilization in a manner that generates fear but at the same time allows for the myth of tolerant Hindus to go unchallenged. It has been successful in conjuring up the image of a peaceful Hindu Self vis-à-vis the threatening minority.Couching itself in cultural terms, Hindu nationalism is essentially a political movement seeking to purify culture and transform society in India. The capturing of the state is seen as a means to an end- the creation of a Hindu Rashtra. There is no gainsaying that the disease of nationalism has gone global and at most places it has degenerated into authoritarianism.What we see is more and more people arguing against democracy, more and more people who are looking to restrict freedom of the press, and we see more intolerance, more tribal divisions, more ethnic divisions, and religious divisions and more violence.
If we don’t stand up for globalism, tolerance and moderation and respect for others, if we begin to doubt ourselves and all that we have accomplished, then much of the progress that we have made will be lost and eventually we will have war and conflict. Sooner or later the societies will break down. We must reject those appealing to religion, appealing to fear, pitting one group against another, telling people that order and security will be restored if it weren't for those who don't look like us or don't sound like us or don't pray like we do.