Days after his new book, Sunrise over Ayodhya: Nationhood in Our Times, on Ayodhya caused massive uproar by drawing a parallel between ‘Hindutva’ and radical Islamist groups, the Nainital home of Congress leader Salman Khurshid was vandalized and set on fire on Monday. Visuals shared by Khurshid on Facebook show tall flames, charred doors and shattered window panes of his Nainital home. Two men are seen trying to douse the fire by throwing water. At the centre of the controversy is a passage that reads, “Sanatan Dharma and classical Hinduism known to sages and saints were being pushed aside by a robust version of Hindutva, by all standards a political version similar to the jihadist Islam of groups like ISIS and Boko Haram of recent years.”
Khurshid has drawn sharp reaction from the BJP and other right-wing groups. Even Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad stated that it is wrong to compare the Hindutva ideology with jihadist Islamic groups like the ISIS. Hindutva as a political ideology is very extremist. It seeks exclusiveness and supremacy for one particular religion. In a diverse country like India, where a minority population also shares the space with the majority, the Hindutva ideology runs contrary to the constitution which gives equal rights to everyone. In recent years, anti-minority violence is on the rise in the country. The majority of it is being attributed to extremist right-wing Hindutva supporters. However, comparing the Hindutva ideology with the ISIS and Boko Haram is going too far. The ISIS and Boko Haram are militant groups. Khurshid is entitled to his opinion, but everyone need not necessarily agree with it. But if Hindutva supporters violently react to his view, then it might end up proving his opinion correct.