Hindutva: Radical Nationalism

One of the most significant movements in Hinduism today is the rise of the sociopolitical ideology Hindutva, which literally means “Hinduness”. Its influence has grown for the past 20 years, and it is the ideology of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), India’s current ruling party.

Hindutva is exclusionary. It is a right-wing, nationalistic movement whose core belief is that India’s national identity should be synonymous with being exclusively Hindu. Other ethnic or religious minorities cannot be fully “Indian”, regardless of their birthplace. This pervasive ideology results in the oppression and persecution of minority groups.

In a country where one-fifth of the population is non-Hindu, this ideology is especially problematic.

Christians are particularly vulnerable, and they have already suffered severe persecution under this political ideology. On January 9, 2019, hardline Hindus tore down a church in Narnepadu village in the state of Andhra Pradesh “because it was built on the west side of a village, which they claimed violated Hindu principles of placement and positioning.” (Morning Star News, January 17, 2019)

On April 10, 2019, a Christian tribal man in the Indian state of Jharkhand was killed by a crowd of Hindu radical “cow protectors” on suspicion of having slaughtered an ox, which is considered a sacred animal by Hindus. (AsiaNews)

Some states are passing laws that criminalize conversion, and they have introduced programs that encourage converts to “come home” to Hinduism. Many Western Christian organizations have had to leave or scale down their operations.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matt 5:10–12


WAYS TO PRAY:

  • PRAY FOR wisdom and courage for local Christians who are trying to live and share their faith in a hostile environment.

  • A POLITICAL CLIMATE like this makes it difficult for the gospel to be shared; pray that a more tolerant government will come into power.

From The Hindu World Prayer Guide

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