‘The Hindutva Paradigm’: Being Hindu is the ‘in-thing’ in India: BJP, RSS leader Ram Madhav in U.S.

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Chandrakant Patel, Rajyalaxmi, Dhiren Amin, Ganesh Ramkrishnan, Vikas Nangia, Krishna Reddy, Ram Madhav, HR Shah, Dr. Sudhir Parikh, and Upendra Chivukula at the Nov. 21, 2021 book launch of ‘The Hindutva Paradigm’ written by Ram Madhav. Photo: ITV Gold

Ram Madhav, a Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former National Executive member of the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh, Ram Madhav was feted by Indian-Americans at a Nov. 21, 2021, event to launch his latest book, The Hindutva Paradigm: Integral Humanism and the Quest for a Non-Western View. Madhav is a prolific author and is seen as a strategic thinker by many.

In his speech, Madhav asserted that in today’s India, being Hindu is the in-thing and being secular is no longer fashionable.

He exhorted Hindus in the diaspora to not be engaged in negativity while countering those who spoke against Hinduism, but instead to build their own positive narrative about Hindutva and Hinduism.

From left, veteran politician and author Ram Madhav, Krishna Reddy of Overseas Friends of BJP, and Padma Shri recipient Dr. Sudhir Parikh, lighting the lamp at the Nov. 21, 2021, book launch of ‘The Hindutva Paradigm’ written by Madhav. Photo: ITV Gold

Speaking to a capacity crowd in New Jersey, at the TV Asia studio, Madhav recalled the times of Swami Vivekananda when he came in 1857 to Chicago and spoke at the World Parliament of Religions.

Thanking those who invited him, including Padma Shri recipients Dr. Sudhir Parikh, chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media and ITV Gold and H R Shah of TV Asia, as well as others, Madhav recounted some of the history of Hinduism in the United States.

“About 120 years ago, when Swami Vivekananda came to Chicago to attend the World Parliament of Religions, India was in an utterly difficult stage. We were under foreign rule. We were backward. We were besieged with many internal issues like casteism, untouchability, division, and many such social evils. Over and above, there was a lot of negative propaganda about Hindu dharma, Hindu culture, Hindu practice, and Hindu tradition by the missionaries,” noted Madhav.

“When Vivekananda came to Chicago it was the most difficult period for Hindu society. But what was his speech at Chicago? Did he crib? Did he cry? Did he go on complaining about India? Did he go on talking ill of India?” he asked.

India’s veteran BJP, RSS leader, politician and author Ram Madhav gestures as he speaks at a Nov. 21, 2021, book launch event in New Jersey. Photo: ITV Gold.

Rather Vivekananda, “Oozed confidence. He demonstrated the inner vitality of our religion of our dharma, and he told the world that, may be I have a hundred thousand problems today in my society, but I am here not just to complain about my people, not about my religion. But to tell you that for the future of mankind there is only one path, that is my path, that is the path of the ‘sanatan dharma’, the Hindu dharma,” Madhav said.

Since then, the author said, things are just the opposite.

“Today India’s cultural identity as a an ancient civilizational cultural nation, the nation of the great Hindu culture, Hindu tradition, is the mainstream ‘in-thing’ of the Indian society today,” Madhav said, adding, “For a period ten years ago, being secular was a fashionable ‘in-thing’. And being Hindu (was) to be identified as being communal. Today, being Hindu is fashionable and being secular is a fringe in India. That doesn’t mean secularism is back. To be Hindu is to be truly secular,” Madhav maintained.

He urged the community, “Look at your own strength.”

Those who wanted to dismantle global Hindutva, he contended, are dismantled themselves.

According to him, that was because “The Hindu community here stood up.”

“So give up negativity with positivity, with strength… Approach the challenger with the attitude that ‘we will transform them, we will change the situation’. ‘We now can change the situation’, with that confidence we have to approach,” he said.

“If there is (a) negative narrative in the media here, the reply to that negative narrative is not to stop the negative narrative alone. If you can stop it, you can stop it. But the reply to negative narrative is to build a positive narrative.  You should work on building a positive narrative,” he said, calling on Indian-American media to build this positive narrative.

“Lakhs and lakhs of Americans are turning to Hinduism, turning to Yoga. 190 countries celebrate Yoga Day, and you are worried about one article in New York Times?” he questioned.

Instead of focusing on what is being written here in media, he urged those present to “have your own propaganda. This is a

democracy. It is an open society. There will be people writing things. Build an alternate narrative.”

The event began with a traditional lamp-lighting ceremony, followed by speakers who praised Madhav’s book and asked him for advice in countering what they considered anti-Hindu propaganda in the U.S.

Krishna Reddy, former president of Overseas Friends of BJP, said some scholars from a few universities in the U.S. had together tried to ‘malign Hindus and Hinduism.” He encouraged them to read Madhav’s book to understand what is Hindutva to be able to respond to ‘false propaganda.’

Padma Shri recipient Dr. Sudhir Parikh, chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media and ITV Gold, speaqking at Nov. 21, 2021, book launch event for Ram Madhav, BJP, RSS leader and author, in New Jersey. Photo: ITV Gold.

The book focuses on the life of Deen Dayal Upadhyay, known for his lectures on integral humanism, dharma and rashtra, cultural integration and human rights, as well as on Western philosophies and Indian tradition.

Dr. Parikh welcomed Madhav and praised him as a leader and philosopher. The book, The Hindutva Paradigm, “promises to be a great seller. And I’m sure it will be a best seller,” he predicted.

The book, “is not about ideology and ideologues. This book is about new ideas,” Dr. Parikh noted.

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