In an interview to Karan Thapar for The Wire to mark the launch of his book ‘Our Hindu Rashtra: What it is, how we got here, Aakar Patel spoke at length about his analysis of Hindutva and Hindu Rashtra. He said in classical terms ideology is understood as a doctrine of economic or political theory. Hindutva, as pursued by the BJP or its predecessor, the Jan Sangh, has never been consistent either in terms of its economic or political thinking. The only issue on which Hindutva has been consistent is the demand that Muslims give up their mosques, their personal law, their autonomy in Kashmir and now, more recently, the right to marry Hindu girls or eat beef. This is why he believes Hindutva is not an ideology but prejudice and, specifically, anti-muslim.
He said the concept of Hindu Rashtra as upheld by the BJP – in contrast to Nepal – “is purely about the exclusion and persecution of India’s minorities, particularly muslims. That is the only meaning of Hindu Rashtra in India. It imagines India as a Hindu nation where the muslim and christian exist on sufferance. That is all there is to Hindu Rashtra.” Aakar Patel told The Wire that the aim of Hindu Rashtra seems to be the persecution of non-hindu minorities and not the betterment of the majority community. “The acquisition of authority in Hindu Rashtra is not towards bettering the lives of hindus but damaging, excluding and handicapping those who are not born hindu.”