Chapter

Savarkar and Gandhi: From Politicizing Religion to Spiritualizing Politics

A. Raghuramaraju

in Debates in Indian Philosophy

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9780195693027
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080359 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195693027.003.0003
Savarkar and Gandhi: From Politicizing Religion to Spiritualizing Politics

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This chapter highlights the debate between V.D. Savarkar and Mahatma Gandhi on the relation between religion and politics in contemporary Indian society. It also demolishes the opposition posited between Enlightenment and Hindutva to forcefully counterpose the differences between Gandhi and Savarkar. In contrast to Sumit Sarkar's description of Hindutva as religious, it argues that Hindutva is a modified modern phenomenon which, far from representing religious aspects, has in fact adopted a number of important elements of the Enlightenment such as its obsession with unity, fascination for science and technology, and instrumental rationality. While Savarkar sought to politicize religion, Gandhi pleaded for spiritualizing politics. Recognizing this difference would enormously help in articulating, and understanding the larger tensions engulfing contemporary Indian society and possibly in proposing realistic recommendations to combat communalism through making a case for the Gandhian option, particularly to wean away those who are on the borders of Hindutva.

Keywords: V.D. Savarkar; Mahatma Gandhi; politicizing religion; spiritualizing politics; Hindutva; Enlightenment; Indian society; communalism; Sumit Sarkar

Chapter.  10783 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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