By: Kaka D. Iralu October 28, 2014.
To begin with, nations and nationalism are interconnected. In this interconnection, it is nations that give inspiration to nationalism. Therefore, without nations, there can be no nationalism.
On the other hand, Race and Racism are two different things. Race is the existential reality of a people living together with a common physical, historical and cultural entity. Racism on the other hand, is a thought or assertion on the part of certain races who think that their own race is superior to other races physically, historically and culturally. Racism is influenced by religious beliefs or philosophical world views.
Presently, with the racist attacks on North East citizens in Delhi and other Indian states, some Nagas seems to be worried about a Hindu nationalism attacking Nagas in Indian cities. This fear is however totally misunderstood.There does not exist such a thing as a Hindu nationalism because only the presence of a nation (and not a religion) can inspire nationalism. As for Hinduism, it is a religion and not a nation. In the same vein there also cannot exist such a thing as a Christian nationalism that can incorporate all Christian races into a common Christian nationalism. Here again, this is because Christianity is also a religion and not a nation.
As for the existence of a very real Hindu cultural racism, the present ruling BJP party which is inspired by the RSS religious ideology upholds this Hindu cultural ideology. In their terminology, they call this Hindu cultural ideology as “Hindutva” or Hinduness. It is also a fact that they are trying to impose this Hindu cultural ideology on the rest of all the citizens of India.
On the one hand, Hinduism is a religion that tries to swallow everything into itself. As such, Hindutva also advocates Hindu cultural nationalism. According to Hindutva writers like Savarkar and Golwalkar, other minority groups like Christians and Muslims are all foreigners in India’s Hindustan. Golwalkar in his book “We, or Our Nationhood Defined”, wrote:
(Quote) “The foreign races in Hindustan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence Hindu religion, must entertain no ideas but those of glorification of the Hindu race and culture… or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment – not even citizen rights.”(Unquote) (Source: “India: The Grand Experiment” by Vishal Mangalwadi p.285)
Here, their goal is cultural imposition of Hindu culture on the rest of the Indian citizens. If it is to be defined in clear sociological terms, it is not Hindu nationalism but Hindu cultural imposition. Their political ambition is more of a religious Hindu imperialism than Indian nationalism. But whatever their politico-religious ambition may be, India can never have a common Hindu culture that can embrace all the various races and cultures of India into one family. This is because India is a sub-continent inhabited by many races and not a country inhabited by a single race. As such, there also cannot exist such a thing as an “Indian Nationalism.” The only valid and real nationalism that can exist in India are for example, Punjabi nationalism that is fighting for a country of their own called Khalistan. Or the Tamilian nationalism that is fighting for a Dravidisthan of their own. In actual fact, at its best, whatever is called Indian nationalism can only be described as “Indian enthusiasm over the undefinable concept of a Bharat or Hindustan that has never existed in anthropological secular history.” This 19th century idea of an India was conceived and made in England through British trained Barristers like Gandhi and Nehru and grandiosely set up by the British on their departure from their South Asian Empire in August 1947.
But as for factual anthropological and historical records, there has never existed such a thing as a common Hindu race that has inhabited India in a so called “Ram Rajya.” Belief in the existence of such a fantastic Hindu past civilization is mere fictitious mythology.
On the factual side, it is a fact that different races that have inhabited the Indian sub Continent had adopted the Hindu religion and created their own racial cultures over the centuries. Examples of these racial cultures influenced by the Hindu religion are the Tamilian Hindu culture or the Kashmiri Hindu culture. But as to race, these two races are totally different races and Tamilian Hindu culture is different from Kashmiri Hindu culture.
Coming back to the recent attacks of Nagas and North Easterners in Indian cities, the attacks are all Indian racial attacks motivated by Indian racism.
Now, as stated earlier, Race and Racism are two different things. Indian racism – especially Hinduism influenced racism – is very much influenced by Hindu religious beliefs of caste ism. In this Hindu religious belief, some castes are born to rule others while the other castes are born to serve those who are born to rule.
There are of course many good Hindu Indians. But the typical Hindu Indian, influenced by his religion of caste ism thinks that because of his caste status, he is a superior being born to dominate or rule what he believes is the lesser born tribal of other races. On the other hand, the Naga tribal for example, being born an equal to anybody else and never ruled by any political or religious order (in the form of castes) can never take a racial insult without retaliating. The result is a cultural clash. This is a clash that these two species of human races will always have, when they come into social contact! Their future too as one nation is unthinkable.
This is precisely the reason why Nagas have been fighting for their independence from India right from 1929 to the present.