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Hindutva and Hinduism are two different concepts, says Rahul Gandhi amid Khurshid row

India News

Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday stated that Hindutva and Hinduism are two different things and stressed upon the need to explore and understand such differences.

Virtually addressing an orientation camp in Wardha, Gandhi asked if Hinduism is about persecuting people of a different faith, while asserting that Hindutva “of course” is about that.

“What is the difference between Hinduism, as we know it, and Hindutva? Are they the same thing? Can they be the same thing? If they are the same thing, why don’t they have the same name? Why do they have different names? Why do we use the word Hinduism, why just not use the word Hindutva, if they are the same thing? They are obviously different things,” he said.

“And these are things we have to start to explore and understand, and develop a group of people… who deeply understand these differences, who can apply these differences to issues, to behaviours, to actions,” he said.

He continued: “Is Hinduism about beating a Sikh or a Muslim? Hindutva of course is. But is Hinduism about killing Akhlaq?”

He further stated that he has read Upanishads and has not seen it anywhere that “you should kill innocent man”.

Gandhi’s remarks came just days after senior party leader Salman Khurshid stoked a controversy after equating political Hindutva with “jihadist” Islam of groups like the Islamic State and Boko Haram of Nigeria in his latest book “Sunrise Over Ayodhya”.

Exploring in detail the Babri Masjid-Ram Janambhoomi issue and its impact, the legal battle on the matter, and the judgments of the Allahabad High Court and Supreme Court in his book, Khurshid wrote, “Sanatan dharma and classical Hinduism known to sages and saints was being pushed aside by a robust version of Hindutva, by all standards a political version similar to the jihadist Islam of groups like ISIS and Boko Haram of recent years. Since the political content was clear, the term inevitably found place in election campaigns.”

On Friday, Gandhi, however, acknowledged that the “hateful ideology” of RSS and BJP has now overshadowed the “affectionate and nationalistic” ideology of Congress.

“Today, whether we like it or not, the hateful ideology of RSS and BJP has overshadowed the loving, affectionate and nationalistic ideology of Congress Party, we have to accept this. Our ideology is alive, vibrant but it has been overshadowed,” Gandhi added.

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