What is Hindutva? Salman Khurshid, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi have a fiery debate

What is Hindutva? Salman Khurshid, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi have a fiery debate

At Agenda Aaj Tak, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Minister of Minority Affairs, and Salman Khurshid, Congress leader, have a fiery debate over Hindutva. Excerpts:

Q: In your book, you have written: ‘Sanatan Dharma and classical Hinduism known to sages and saints were being pushed aside by a robust version of Hindutva, by all standards a political version similar to the jihadist Islam of groups like ISIS and Boko Haram of recent years.’ You must have felt this will lead to fire?

SALMAN KHURSHID: There is fire. We need to douse that. That’s why I wrote this book. That’s why: ‘Sunrise over Ayodhya.’ I will be deeply pained if Hindus don’t understand what sunrise means. I didn’t call it sunset over Ayodhya. I didn’t express disappointment. I didn’t talk about darkness. I talked about a new hope.

Q: Are you comparing Hindutva with ISIS and Boko Haram?

SALMAN KHURSHID: Justice JS Verma had said Hindutva is a way of life. Religion doesn’t change but way of life does. In the country, abroad. In Islam, in Christianity. I said people are also changing Hindutva and that’s not a good thing. I used the word ‘similar’. I didn’t say ‘same’ or ‘exactly the same’. Similarity lies in the misuse of religion. And to criticise is my duty. It’s our duty to keep religion above us. Whether it’s Hinduism, Islam, Christianity or Sikhism.

Q: He wrote the right book at the right time. Hindu will be in danger, everything will be done

MUKHTAR ABBAS NAQVI: Hindutva is India’s soul. India’s constitution has the words ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.’ You know what’s written in Pakistan’s constitution. It’s because of our culture and commitment that India became a secular country. And it’s because of their culture and commitment that Pakistan became an Islamic country. It is because of Hindutva that we talk about unity in diversity, Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat. During Partition, Pakistan had 24% minorities. Today, it’s down to 2%. In India, it’s gone from 8% to 22%. Hindutva hasn’t distanced any religion.

Salman Khurshid’s Congress has a problem. It has become a non-performing asset. It has no value. When the Ayodhya verdict came, nobody had a victory celebration; nobody objected to it. Everyone accepted it. The result is, Ram Temple is being built in Ayodhya and everyone is accepting it. Only a political mindset and objective can be behind such controversies now.

Q: You’re an intellectual; you have written many books. It seems you don’t understand what ISIS and Boko Haram do. They spread terror; they kill innocents; they rape women; they kidnap and force children into jihad. ISIS and their version of Islam are a challenge for many countries. Comparing that with Hindutva? Same thing happening here?

SALMAN KHURSHID: Will you accept that I had the courage to call Boko Haram and ISIS bad? I said so because they misuse Islam. How can criticising those who misuse another religion be wrong? I totally agree with what my brother said. I accept the great contribution of Hinduism to India’s secular culture. But the constitution talks about Sarva Dharma Sambhava. My book says those who object to the Ayodhya verdict should understand that it’s the right verdict.

READ| PM Modi’s Constitution Day remark not a clash with judiciary: Law Minister Kiren Rijiju

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