Savarkar's rationalism
(Reposting some comments I made in a facebook discussion)

Savarkar's so called rationalism, humanism etc.. all come down to deference to religious ethics, justifying violence and treating non-Hindus as outsiders:

"We may find many passages in Manusmriti which can provide valuable guidance to today's problems. but we should accept them because they are beneficial today, not because they were found in an ancient text and certainly not because manu's orders are not to be transgressed. Whatever we find in Manusmriti to be harmful or ridiculous today should not be followed, but that does not make Manusmriti harmful or ridiculous. On the contrary, when compares Manusmriti with codes of other societies such as Babylon, Egypt, Hebrews, Greece and Roman, Manusmriti stands high above the rest. It deserves our respect for that" (

“Compassion for all living beings is a principle to be practised to the extent it leads to material human benefit. Beyond that, a human being is not guilty of violence if he has to commit it for the benefit of humankind! That guilt lies with nature, with creation, if at all it is god who has willed it!” (

"I shall content myself at present by stating that Hindudom is bound and marked out as a people and a nation by themselves not by the only tie of a common Holyland in which their religion took birth but by the ties of a common culture, a common language, a common history and essentially of a common fatherland as well.

Just as by the first constituent of Hindutva, the possession if a common Holyland-the Indian Mahommedans, Jews, Christians, Parsees, etc. are excluded from claiming themselves as Hindus which in reality also they do not,-in spite of their recognising Hindusthan as their fatherland, so also on the other hand the second constituent of the definition that of possessing a common fatherland exclude the Japanese, the Chinese and others from the Hindu fold in spite of the fact of their having a Holyland in common with us." (


After seeing Anish's mention of Savarkar's book "Saha Soneri Panh", I searched and found it:

That is an illuminating read that should put to rest any claim of Savarkar being anywhere close to humanism. His entire ideology is built on a macho display of power. He holds the idea of a nation over and above the idea of people and he believes a nation's honor is the most important thing to defend. This leads to his lack of compassion for people who die needlessly in the political games played by rulers. For him, a war between Greeks and the various kingdoms of Nothern India is a cause for lament not because of a bloodthirsty Alexander, but because of cowards in India who simply capitulated to Alexander instead of standing up and fighting (and people dying in the process). He speaks glowingly of a kingdom which practiced self-immolation when defeated by enemies. He talks about Alexander beheading his enemies as an affront to the Hindu nation, but doesn't bat an eyelid when Indian kingdoms do the same. In essence, his entire philosophy can be summed by this line of his:

"Love is impossible without fear"

His worldview is proudly "an eye for eye". If anyone attacks the Hindu nation, they're the enemy and should be treated in kind. And when you add his Muslimophobia, you get Hindutva in its purest essence. At one point he contrasts Alexander and the Muslims. Though Alexander was a bloodthirsty asshole, Savarkar doesn't hold him in the same contempt as holds Muslims rulers who had the same blood-lust. Alexander gets a pass from Savarkar for not being a Muslim .

Now coming to RSS, it is an organization that is built on same philosophy. Their language is one of macho posturing. There opponents are cowards and seditious traitors. The hanker for a violence against enemies of "Hindus", to give them a reply in kind. Godhra wasn't an absolute horror for them, but an unfotunate "reaction" to the burning of kar sevaks. Pakistan needs to be taught a lesson. And so on.

You really have to understand that their or Savarkar's ethics are the exact opposite of a humanistic worldview that has compassion at its heart. Hindutva is all about being macho and honor bound. Such societies are one of the worst with respect to how they treat people without power. Think khap panchayats and their belief that people rather be killed than to besmirch the honor of the village. Just like Savarkar speaks approvingly of that kingdom which practices self-immolation rather than accept defeat and lose their honor.
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Here is a further repost from the same Facebook discussion, in response largely to the following comment, which is an oft-quoted claim:
Quote:The five elements of Savarkar's philosophy were Utilitarianism, Rationalism and Positivism, Humanism and Universalism, Pragmatism and Realism.
A common tactic among Hindutva defenders is to cast Savarkar as a sort of 'Indian Theodor Herzl' and thus as a counterpart to the secular Jewish proponent of political Zionism. Herzl's ostensibly secular argument of statehood as protection against persecution that a scattered diaspora were vulnerable to, and Savarkar's theory that Hindus are a nation and must organize as such to resist persecution, are both cast by such ideologues as suggestions for emancipation of persecuted peoples.

Unmindful as the purported Herzl-Savarkar equivalence is of obvious historical differences between the Jewish diaspora and the stratified and divided Hindu society, it is nevertheless a convenient self-serving analogy for Hindutva ideologues because it allows them to cast their opponents as unwitting supporters of the sort of human suffering the diasporic Jews were subjected to. It is a tactic employed in a fairly in-your-face fashion by Hindutva cheerleaders like Francois Gautier who by introducing terms like 'Hindu Holocaust' in mainstream vocabulary attempt to make Hindutva opponents look like anti-humanist Holocaust-deniers.

The Herzl-Savarkar false equivalence has staying power in the Hindutva mindscape because of what maybe called 'Israel envy', prompted by the revivalism of Hebrew (on which revivalists think a Sanskrit Renaissance can be modeled) and of the 'villa in the jungle' rhetoric and zero-tolerance policies to terror (which are compared against what is seen as a weak-kneed appeasing stance of an Indian administration that is 'soft on terror'). The romanticizing of Israel's nation-building and counter-terrorism successes, paired strangely enough with the observation that China is a largely mono-ethnic overwhelmingly Han society, are all treated in Hindutva circles as 'empirical evidence' for how consolidation of an ethno-religious majority is a pre-requisite to national greatness. Of such arguments are constituted the 'empiricism' and 'rationalism' and 'positivism' of Savarkarite thought.

Savarkar's seemingly pragmatic utilitarianism is often described by supporters as being of a sort that would allow cow-slaughter to prevent famine-related deaths. Savarkar's argument that "One's nation is where the sites one considers sacred are." is something that could well have been said by someone was an atheist but subscribed to the notion that declaring some territory as Holy Land serves the utilitarian purpose of nation-building.The worst of Utilitarianism (or historical perversions of Utilitarianism pending the Neoclassical Synthesis of Rights and Utility) supporting conclusions that the sacrifice of the rights and prosperity of minorities is a worthwhile expense in nation-building and civilizational greatness, is the sort of utilitarianism one can find in Savarkarite thought.

PS: How is it that Hindutva ideologues who ceaselessly disparage the 'desert religions', are so intent upon modeling their history and geography on the Holy Land narratives of the very religions they despise?
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Has anyone read the book "Semitization of Hinduism" by Romila Thapar. It is precisely this that the secularists want to prevent. However, the Hindus want to update their religious flexibility, what the secularists do not want. They do not want an organized Hinduism related to non-casteist beliefs. Hindus who adopt non-casteist approach are automatically considered progressive. When Hindu political parties denounce casteism as per policy, secularists try to exploit deeds of fringe elements who only come to light because of controversial statements. Should religion be used to gain power? If Minoritism is not using religion to gain power, how can majoritism be a sin in gaining power. The pivotal issue is caste based politics played by secularists opposed to a non-caste based common Hindu belief as propounded by the Hindu Parties. Social justice in the garb of Hinduism is unacceptable to the secularists.

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