Why would you need to reclaim the term, Shiv ? What is the end goal you hope to achieve by reclaiming "Hindu nationalist" and why do you think there is no alternative terminology that serves to achieve these same goals?
shiv wrote:I don't think we need to give up the term. We need to reclaim the term. That is what this thread is about - recognizing how the term "Hindu Nationalism" has been made "toxic" (an appropriate word) and then detoxifying it and grabbing it. Hindu nationalists are not bigots. And there is a "Hindu" nationalism that stems from ancient traditions, literature and history that has nothing to do with hatred of minorities. It is love and loyalty to the geography and all the tradition and history that our sacred geography is associated with. There is nothing to be ashamed of. It is not "against" anyone. No one should be offended by it. Certainly not enough to call people bigots and extremists.
If the goal is to protect India's ancient traditions and honor the memory and spirit of the ancestors of this land - it seems to me that is automatically achieved through allegiance to the concept of Dharma alone
. Dharma is nothing but belief in a moral code that among other things implies that diversity of traditions and culture indigenous to a place should be preserved; and the memory of our ancestors needs to be respected.
Dharmic meta-ethics alone would militate against the concept of exclusivist and predatory faiths rooting out indigenous traditions. The Hindu in Bali only needs to understand Dharmic principles in order to understand why he needs to ensure that Bali's ancestral traditions are protected. The sacred geography of India is irrelevant to his decisioning process. And frankly, the same applies as much for Hindus in India.
I don't see why 'Hindu Nationalism' needs to be viewed as a necessary condition or terminology in order to achieve the balance in social and community relationships that we seek to achieve as our end goal. 'Dharmic Nationalism' or simply Dharmartha principles should be enough to lead one to the same conclusions.
shiv saar would of course explain it in his own way. Here is my take on it.
1) Cultural Terminology
is just like Land. Others try to occupy one's land and one has to defend it. If one does not do so, then the other side feels emboldened and next time may try to grab even more land. Plus one cannot let it go because one's ancestry and culture are rooted in the land.
Same is with cultural terminology. Others ascribing to a different set of ideologies, values and agendas try to besmirch your cultural terminology, sometimes even in the garb of studying it. Thus they are able to establish their ownership over the semantics of the terminology. And so the West has also come to "own" the term "Hindu", often through their Macaulayist sepoys, and wish to subject Hindus to judgment about what it means to be a good Hindu and a bad Hindu. "Hindu Nationalist" is in no way a nice thing from their viewpoint.
Now if one is unwilling to let ownership of one's land pass into the hands of aggressors, why should we let the ownership of our cultural terminology pass into the hands of the same aggressors?
2) IMHO, Dharma gives us the values, and according to it we are duty-bound to protect our Sabhyata (~civilization) and Sanskriti (~culture). Hindutva or Hindu Nationalism is a concrete manifestation of that Dharma meant to deal with the challenges we faced ever since Muhammad bin Qasim attacked Sindh in 711 AD and we started our struggle to stave off foreign physical and ideological onslaught on India.
So in my opinion it makes no sense to fall back on a more general concept: Dharma, when we are not willing to embrace that what Dharma brought forth: Hiindutva or Hindu Nationalism. In some ways it is akin to retreating from Siachin and going back to barracks in Jammu.
3) Calling the traditional Balinese people as Hindus is a misnomer, just as calling ISKCON devotees from all over world as "Hindu" is also a misnomer. We share Dharma
and the Āryatva/Bharatiya Sanskriti
with them. If one insists on "Hinduism", then perhaps one can call them Hinduists.
The sacred geography and history of Bharat - the Bharatiya Sabhyata, is not completely irrelevant to the Balinese, because it is the process which generated the concepts of Dharma and to some extent the Sanskriti the Balinese person follows. But the Balinese person does not owe any political allegiance to any Bharatiya Rajya which sits on some holy place. Nor is he remote controlled from India through any channels that are used for faith. This is unlike Vatican or Mecca.
However one can still have a collective struggle against Adharma or against something that has been recognized as Adharma.
4) We need to be careful that we do not reduce Dharma to a dry hay, a list of "values", that one can recite on one hand, or that Dharma becomes a hollow encasing, with nothing inside, just a word. Through the medium of our epics and festivals, Dharma is a living organism. One cannot capture the essence of something like Dharma, simply through its name, so one needs to be careful not to throw out the baby with the bathtub water, in one's eagerness to be reductionist.