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Is it right or wrong to call India a Hindu state?
When BJP's MLA from Goa Dipak Dhavlikar said Narendra Modi will make India a Hindu Rashtra, it sparked a lot of criticsim because the intent behind it is understandable. Then Goa deputy CM Fransis D'Souza said that India is a Hindu Rashtra and he himself is a Hindu Christian. With what intentions did he say so, perhaps he only can explain, but I can definitely say that India was a Hindu Rashtra, is a Hindu Rashtra and will remain a Hindu Rashtra.

To understand true Hindu Rashtra one has to realize that Hinduism is never a religion. No ancient Indian scriptures ever uttered 'Hindu' word. Even now days if one observes during religious rituals or sankalpa the line will come as 'Sanatan Dharamasya, 'X' gotrasya 'Y' Debasramana?..' This means the real religion practiced since Vedic era is Sanatan Dharma (the religion of eternal law).

Sanatan Dharma in fact doesn't have a single prophet or single God and is a religion where different faiths like Shaibya, Vaishnabya, Shakteya, Prakruta etc converges. In one line it can be said that Sanatana dharma doesn't have a single founder nor follows fixed regulation. It's a religion of multi faiths greeting each other. Sanatan Dharma is also very accommodative. For example when Buddhism emerged from Sanatan Dharma followers, Lord Buddha had been accommodated as ninth incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

Now let's understand what the term 'Hindu'! Hindu is a Persian word that means people living beyond river Indus (Sindhu), hence Hind is automatically is the land of Hindu as per both Persian language as well as Arabic term (al-Hind). Thus Hind and Hindu are foreign words like India and Indian (western names) and are synonymous with Bharat and Bharatiya. Just refer the Indian Ocean, Hind Mahasagar and Bharta Mahasagar are synonymous.

In 13th century the name Hindustan emerged as alternative name for India and Bharat. Thus Hindu is nothing but a culture or a way of life as practiced in India/Hindustan/Bharat. It's to be noteworthy that before British, India was never a single country. Rather it consisted of many countries but all combined was always referred as India/Hindustan/Bharat/ Hind (land of Hindus).

Let's understand why the term Hinduism is reduced and taken as a religion. The term Hinduism occasionally used very late in some Sanskrit texts like 'Rajtaranginis of Kashmir (1450 AD), Bengali Goudiya Vaishnav, Chaitanya Charitamruta and Chitanay Bhagawat' (all are between 16th to 18th centuries).

These are in fact used to contrast Sanatan Dhram followers from Yavan and Mlechha (Foreign aggressors like Muslim attackers). However in nineteenth century the updated definition of Hindusim is shaped in the interest colonialism and western notions of religion. Since then the Sanatan Dharm followers believed that they are only Hindus and Muslims are foreigners. This was British idea of divide and rule and they were successful.

No doubt there were foreign Muslim aggressors! Does this means all Muslims and also Christians of India are foreigners? Technically whoever was born in the soil of Hind are Hindustani. Very few foreigners settled in India and their next generation automatically become Hindustani. Large number of present Muslims converted to Islam as per their own choice. This doesn't make them foreigner. One might have differences between different faiths and traditions but you can't say son of soil is a foreigner.

The present extremist Hindu groups always played to the British term as if Hinduism is a religion. This is to term Muslims and other religion as outsiders. This creates trust deficit.

Factually India, Bharat and Hind/Hindustan means the same and Indian, Bharatiya and Hindu/Hindustani too means the same. Thus there would be nothing wrong if one says he is Hindu Muslim, Hindu Christian, Hindu Sikh or Hindu Shanatani. If I am not wrong then the Muslims pilgrim to Mecca too are termed as Hindus by the Arab locals.

Point is Hinduism is a great culture that believes peaceful cohabitation of different faiths, races and communities. Even The Supreme Court [of India] in the course of deciding an appeal in an election petition, has interpreted the meaning of 'Hindutva' and 'Hinduism' as a 'synonym of 'Indianisation' -- i.e. development of uniform culture by obliterating the differences between all cultures co-existing in the country.'

The unanimous judgment given by the three-judge bench consisting of Justices J.S. Verma, N.P. Singh and K. Venkataswami, on December 11, 1995, has quoted earlier Supreme Court judgements and opinions of Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, Dr. Toynbee and others in coming to the conclusion that Hinduism represented a way of life.

Thus there is no point reducing such a great culture into a religion of Sanata Dharma followers. In this in fact Sanatan Dharma too is ignored and insulted. Thus majority present Hindus must leave the religion tag from Hinduism and all other Indian of non-Sanatan Dharma should also accept that they too are Hindustani and Hindu, because, there is no difference among Hindu, Bharatiya and Indian. Why to still toe the British line intended for divide and rule.

Once this is accepted extremists and fanatics can't divide the nation in the name of religion.Thus while I too reject Dhavlikar's comment but welcome the Mapusa MLA, the number two of Parrikar government whole heartedly. He really spoke courageously the right thing breaking many barriers. I think if other minorities too come out saying such, Majority India will welcome this and the 'Dukan' of communal and fanatic outfits will come to an end.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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India is not a Hindu nation but a multi-religious nation. If India were a Hindu nation then all the people living in India would be believing in ancient scriptures of India like Vedas, Puranas, Shastras, Mahabharta, Ramayana etc. or at least one type of these scriptures or they would be believing in one God only or one God as well as other deities also and they would be believing in the various powers of God like rivers, oceans, trees etc. Thus Arya Samajis who believe in one God and Vedas, Sanatan Dharmis who believe in all the ancient scriptures of India, one God and various deities as well as powers of God, atheists and agnostics who believe in one of the Shastras which denies the existence of God or is silent about it, are Hindus. However, Muslims and Christians who believe in one God but not in the ancient scriptures of India, are not Hindus. Moreover, if Muslims and Christians were Hindus then Hindu Code Bill would have been applicable to them along with other Hindu civil laws but such is not the case. As this country is inhabited by not only Hindus but Muslims and Christians also, so it cannot be called a Hindu nation. Moreover, it is not a secular nation because in a secular nation, the State has nothing to do with religion but in India, many Hindu temples are administered by the Government and Government also makes laws about Sikh bodies like Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandak Committee also. Moreover, Indian Government gives Haj subsidy to Muslims which means that it is not a secular Government. Hence India is neither a Hindu nation nor is it a secular nation but it is a multi-religious nation.
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