World Hindu Congress renounces ‘Hinduism’, embraces ‘Hindutva’

The declaration noted that many academicians and intellectuals portray Hindutva as the antithesis of Hindu Dharma, out of ignorance.

Bangkok: The World Hindu Congress on Friday renounced the word Hinduism, contending that the term reflected oppressive and discriminatory, and embraced Hindutva and Hindu Dharma to refer to the “eternal” religion.

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The third World Hindu Congress (WHC) adopted a declaration here asserting that the word Hindutva was more accurate as it includes the gamut of all that the word ‘Hindu’ implies.

“In the term “Hindu Dharma”, the first word, i.e, ‘Hindu’ is an unbounded word. It signifies all that is Sanatan or Eternal. And then there is Dharma, which means ‘That, which sustains’,” read the declaration adopted at the end of the first day of deliberations of the WHC.

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It said that in contrast, Hinduism is totally different because it is suffixed with an “ism”, which is a term defined as an oppressive and discriminatory attitude or belief.

“It is for such reasons that many of our elders preferred the term “Hindutva” over Hinduism as the former is a more accurate term since it includes the gamut (spectrum) of all that the word “Hindu” implies. We agree with them and should do the same,” the declaration read.

The assertion in the declaration came against the backdrop of a row that erupted after DMK leaders made certain controversial remarks about Sanatan Dharma at a symposium with the theme ‘Abolition of Sanatana’.

The declaration said that Hindutva was not a complicated word and simply meant Hindu-ness.

“Others have used the alternative “Sanatan Dharma”, often abbreviated as “Sanatan”. Here the term “Sanatan” works as an adjective indicating Hindu Dharma’s eternal nature,” it said.

The declaration noted that many academicians and intellectuals portray Hindutva as the antithesis of Hindu Dharma, out of ignorance.

“But most are anti-Hindutva because of their visceral hatred and biases against Hindu Dharma. Many politicians driven by political agendas and personal prejudices have also joined that group, and are criticizing Sanatan Dharma, or Sanatan with increasing regularity and vitriol,” it added.

The WHC condemned such attacks and urged Hindus worldwide to unite to overcome those who are engaging in such bigotry and emerge victorious.

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