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

PTI, Nov 25, 2023, 8:38 AM IST

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

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.

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.

Earlier, addressing the inaugural session of the WHC, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said India will show the path of happiness and satisfaction to the world which is stumbling from experiments with materialism, communism and capitalism.

He appealed to Hindus across the world to reach out to each other and connect with the world together.

“We have to reach out, connect with every Hindu. And Hindus together will connect everybody in the world. As Hindus are connected in more numbers, the process of connecting with the world has also started,” Bhagwat said at the gathering of thinkers, activists, leaders, and entrepreneurs, from across the world.

The quadrennial event began with the blowing of the conch by Swami Vigyanananda, the founder and global chairman of the World Hindu Foundation with delegates from over 60 countries participating in the three-day event.

Spiritual leader Mata Amritanandmayi Devi, Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) General Secretary Milind Parande, WHC organising committee chair Susheel Saraff, Bharat Sevashram Sangh Working President Swami Purnatmanand, Hinduism Today-USA Publisher Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami among others.

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