Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was seen in his best possible avatar on Sunday. Without mincing his words, he voiced the party’s ideology, elaborating on what he hadn’t in the last few years – the difference between Hinduism and the political ideology of Hindutva. Gandhi, who has long abstained from commenting on ideological issues and explain them to masses, this time opted for an bold approach on the topic, claiming that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS’) ideology of Hindutva is purely political and does no good to humanity.
“Who is a Hindu? Someone who respects every religion and is scared of nobody. Those in power are false Hindus… India is experiencing a Hindutva-vadi raj, not Hindu raj. We want to remove these Hindutva-vadis and bring in a Hindu raj,” he added in the Congress party’s rally at Jaipur, which was also attended by his mother Sonia Gandhi and sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
The Congress leader cited the example of Mahatma Gandhi to explain his narrative further: “Mahatma Gandhi searched for the truth, Nathuram Godse pumped three bullets into him. He was a Hindutva-vadi. A Hindu is interested in satyagraha. Hinduta-vadis are only after power, they don’t care about truth. A Hindutva-vadi is only after satta-grah (search for power).”
This is the first time Rahul Gandhi has expressed his views on the Hindutva vs Hinduism debate on a public stage. However, he has communicated similar views at party forums a few times.
Last month, during a party meet, Rahul Gandhi had used simpler terms to say that Hinduism is about spirituality, while Hindutva is about torturing others.
“Is Hinduism about beating a Sikh, or a Muslim. Hindutva, of course, is. In which book is it written? I have not seen it. I have read the Upanishads. I have not read it,” he said. “We say there is a difference between Hindutva and Hindu religion. It is a simple logic – if you are a Hindu then why do you need Hindutva? Why do you need this new name,” he was quoted as saying by the PTI.
The BJP, unsurprisingly, reacted sharply to his comment, saying that Congress has a “pathological hatred” for Hindus.
“It is in the character of the Congress and the Gandhi family to attack Hinduism at every opportunity… What they say is not a coincidence but an experiment. And the headmaster of this experimental lab is Rahul Gandhi,” said the BJP’s national spokesperson Dr Sambit Patra.