The Bharatiya Janata Party is one of the two biggest political parties in India. It is currently positioned to gain control over of over 300 seats in the parliament that would secure them a majority. On top of that Narendra Modi, who is also a member of the BJP, is also set to become prime minister. The Indian National Congress is the party the BJP won most of its seat from this year. Because of this India will likely be seeing a lot of changes in the year to come. Some of these changes will be a result of Hinduism playing a key role in the BJP’s policies. This paper will explore how Hinduism affects and doesn’t affect the BJP, as well as some potential concerns for the other major religion in the country; Islam.
BJP, Women and Hinduism:
In the BJP’s election manifesto they have made promises to set up many programs that will benefit women. Here are some examples of what the BJP plans to do right out of the manifesto:
- Women’s welfare and development will be accorded a high priority at all levels within the government, and BJP is committed to 33% reservation in parliamentary and state assemblies through a constitutional amendment.
- Launch a national campaign for saving the girl child and educating her – Beti Bachao – Beti Padhao.
- Strict implementation of laws related to women, particularly those related to rape.
- We will enable women with training and skills – setting up dedicated Women ITIs, Women wings
in other ITIs.
- We will transform the quality of life of women in Rural India by providing electricity, tapped water, cleaner fuel and toilets in every home.
These policies differ drastically from Hindu beliefs regarding women. Many Hindu beliefs would today be considered sexist, however the BJP has chosen to do the opposite when it comes to women.
Integral Humanism and Hinduism:
Integral Humanism is the philosophy embraced by the BJP. In fact in order to be a member of the BJP one has to take an oath saying one believes in Integral Humanism. The philosophy shares several similarities with Hinduism and it’s likely why the BJP chose it as their party’s philosophy. Beyond that it differs drastically from many western political philosophies. One of the biggest similarities it shares with Hinduism is the focus on the individual’s spiritual well-being. Integral humanism states that society isn’t made by people but rather made of people. In other words society doesn’t get created it forms naturally. This is similar to the Hindu belief about understanding your own relation to god. The founder of Integral Humanism was Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya who was a Hindu as well as the leader of the BJP at one time.
Modi and the Gujarat riots:
In 2002 riots broke out in Gujarat that caused the death of nearly 2,000 Muslims. These riots have often been blamed on Narendra Modi who is the leader of the BJP and soon to be Prime Minister. Although the investigation ended with the supreme court ruling there was insufficient evidence, many people still feel that Modi caused the deaths. Modi has also been accused of putting Hindu nationalist propaganda inside of textbooks, as well as painting a positive image of Nazism. These accusations have raised many concerns for Muslims throughout India.
The BJP is going to take over control of India soon and will undoubtedly make many changes to the way India is run. Some of these changes will be in line with Hindu beliefs. A good example of this would be the party’s philosophy; integral humanism. However not all of the changes will be in line with Hinduism, like the way women are going to be treated. But whether or not the Hindu ties the party has will affect the way they treat Muslims is yet to be seen. The party leader, Narendra Modi, has been accused of being responsible for the death of 2,000 Muslims. Whether or not this is true it’s important to know that this is not the result of any Hindu influence on the party. The party’s ideology, integral humanism, does not in any way condone the murder of innocent Muslims.
Mark Oliver, and Luke Harding “He is blamed for the death of 2,000 Muslims in India. So why is Narendra Modi in Wembley?” The Guardian, 8/18/2003
Author Unknown, “PANDIT DEENDAYAL UPADHYAYA” BJP
Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya “INTEGRAL HUMANISM” BJP
Author Unknown “BJP Manifesto” BJP