AND THE STATE OF INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE IN INDIA
The Present Context:
As the second largest democracy in the world, India sustains a political system identified itself as the Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic. It has a history of long-standing tolerance and peace, positive accommodation and happy interaction for centuries (from the time of Buddha and Mahavira in 6th Cent. B.C., down the time of Emperor Ashoka in 3rd Cent. B.C. until the time of M.K. Gandhi in 20th Cent. A.D.).
But the meaning and the functioning of institutions and politics based mainly on religious differences have led substantially to communalising of the whole Indian society and polity with the consequent intolerance and religious hatred. Ever since the dawn of the Hindu Mahasabha (The Great Hindu Assembly) and Muslim League in the early 1920s, Hindu-Muslim conflicts have drenched the roads of India in blood. The Hindu fundamentalists often viewed nationalism and culture in a way pro-Hindu and anti-Minorities (Muslims and Christians).
The origin of cultural nationalism (the idea of one language, one religion, and one nation) goes back to the time of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar , one of the heroes of the Indian Liberation movement (Swatantra Veer). He gave “an ideological framework and a political philosophy that combined cultural pride and national self-assertion with a modernist outlook and a vision of a strong, culturally homogeneous nation embodied by a unitary state.” In his book “Hindutva - Who is a Hindu” Savarkar developed the novel idea of Hindutva or the essence of being a Hindu: the valour of the arms, the purity of our aims, the sublimity of our souls.
In his Presidential address to the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha held in Ahmedabad in 1937, Savarkar reminded it of its mission as a national body: “the Hindus … possess a common country, a common language the Sanskrit from which all their current languages are derived or are...