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Date(s) - 24/07/2022 - 26/07/2022
10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Seminar Hall


National Seminar
“Swatantraya Veer Savarkar’s Hindutva (1923) in Contemporary Contexts: Critical Readings”
Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla
(22-24 July 2022)

In accordance with the spirit of nation-wide celebration of “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsava”, the proposed three-day Seminar intends to critically examine, from interdisciplinary perspectives, the significance of Veer Savarkar’s (1883-1966) seminal text- Hindutva (1923) in the contemporary social, cultural, political, historical and economic contexts that are central to Bharat/India, both as a “dharma-centric”‘Civilization’ and ‘Rashtra’ (emphasis added). Needless to say,  Swatantraya Veer Savarkar ( hereafter referred to as Savarkar), was not an armchair intellectual/thinker, he was a great “Rashtrabhakta” (patriot), a selfless doer or a lokasangrahikarmayogi,  a great thinker, a great orator and a great sahityakar or writer.  In a national/international scenario characterized by the rise of ideological/religious dogmatism, communalism, terrorism, socio-economic inequalities leading to conflicts, how and how far the critical insights gained from a serious discussion of the text ( Hindutva) address the issues related to  our saanskritic smriti and chetana (cultural memory and cultural consciousness), jatiyata or national identity, communalism, social and economic justice, symbiotic coexistence.
It is both- surprising and shocking that the text as well as its protean writer has, over the years, largely been subjected to frequent abuse in media and intellectual circles without having been subjected to a rigorous intellectual/philosophical inquiry.The aim of the Seminar is to focus on the “tattva-charcha or tattvartha (i.e. exploration of the essence of the multiple meanings) of Hindutva or Hindunessfrom different civilizationally-significant perspectives. The Seminar will also critically analyze the relevance of the “arthas/meanings” of the text of Hindutva in present times.
The Seminar, therefore,  intends to  re-read and re-interpret the text and its vital meanings  in order to understand how the semantically and civilizationally loaded concept of “Hinduness or Hindutva”,   is grounded in the “chiti or vital essence” of  our  dharma-centric notions of  “Rashtra”, “Rashtriyata” and “Rashtra Dharma”. The questions – “Who is a Hindu?” or “What is Hinduness?” “What is the world-view of Hindutva?” and “How can Hindus have a peaceful coexistence with other communities in the so called Hindu Rashtra?” will, inter alia, be discussed in the proposed Seminar.
It is also worthwhile to mention here that the text – Hindutva that is completing 99 years of its publication in 2022, has often been the source and site of conflicting ideological and polemical contestations, resulting into the distortion of the text as well as the writer. This kind of contrived and arbitrary marginalization of a profound text and its great writer in the intellectual/academic institutions and social media calls for ( and vindicates also) a serious critical and constructive engagement with the multiple meanings embedded in the text.
Subthemes/ Topics for Presentation/ Writing Abstracts/Papers:-
(The text referred to in the subthemes mentioned below implies- Hindutva by Veer Savarkar)

Critical Examination of :-

  1. The Mimamsa / philosophical analysis of the text and its meanings.
  2. Multiple meanings of “Hindutva”,“Hinduism” and “Hindu Rashtra”.
  • The relevance of the historical-political-cultural contexts of the text (Bharat/India in the 1920s)
  1. The geo-cultural/spiritual significations and significance of concepts of “Hinduness”, “Rashtriyata/Rashtriya Chetana” “Rashtra”, “Rashtra-Prem”
  2. Inclusive nature of Hindutva- focusing on relationship between Indic “dharma-centric” faiths; Relationship between Hindus and the followers of Abrahamic faiths.
  3. The significance of the historical and literary/cultural sources employed by Veer Savarkar to construct and validate the notion of Hindutva.
  • How Veer Savarkar himself revised and redefined the concept of Hindutva during his lifetime.

Other associated topics, focusing on Veer Savarkar’s – Hindutva  may also be explored for the writing of papers.

  1. Aims and Objectives:
  2. To critically examine the textuality as well as the contextuality of Veer Savarkar’s seminal text- Hindutva in order to highlight the hitherto hidden or concealed meanings of Veer Savarkar’s vision.
  3. To recontextualize the significance of Veer Savarkar’s vision of Hindutva at present.
  4. To create the much-needed awareness that Hindutva or Hinduness as envisioned by Savarkar is inclusive.
  5. To disseminate the enabling idea that the vision of Hindutva, as espoused and envisioned by Savarkar, primarily points to a geo- cultural /spiritual vision of Bharat and Bharatiya- embedded in the values of Sanatan dharma.
  6. To correct the existing blunders of the historiography of modern India that does injustice to Veer Savarkar’s great contribution to the cause of India’s freedom and socio-cultural transformation.
  7. Significance of the Seminar (How it will create new knowledge or contribute to the discipline)

The proposed seminar intends to critically examine and highlight the hitherto ignored/neglected aspects of Veer Savarkar’s vision of Hindutva or Hinduness that has largely been erased in the dominant discourses of history in the post-independent India. This way, the seminar is an attempt to critically recover the hitherto occluded but inclusive and enabling meanings of Hindutva/Hinduness that lie at the centre of the unity and integrity of Bharat as a civilizational rashtra. The participating scholars are required to adopt an interdisciplinary approach to the subject in their presentations. In this way, the proposed seminar may expand the horizons of understanding as well as expectations related to the understanding of “who we are” as a civilization/rashtra.

A limited number of participants will be invited to the Seminar. Those interested in participating should send -by email-an abstract of 500 words of the proposed paper along with their brief C.V. (of around 200 words) to:

  1. Professor Sudhir Kumar,

Professor of English,
DES-Multidisciplinary Research Centre
Panjab University, Chandigarh-160014

With a copy to:

  1. Narender Chauhan

Incharge (Academic Resource Section),
Indian Institute of Advanced Study,
Rashtrapati Nivas, Shimla- 171005
Tel: 0177-2831385
The last date for submission of abstract (500 words) is 25 June 2022 till 12:00 midnight.  The Institute intends to send invitation letters to selected participants by the first week of June, 2022. It is the policy of the Institute to publish the papers not proceedings of the seminars it organizes. Hence, all invited participants will be expected to submit complete papers (English or Hindi), hitherto unpublished and original, with citations in place, along with a reference section, to the Incharge (Academic Resource Section), Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla– 171005 by 15th June, 2022. Style sheet for the submission of papers may be downloaded from the IIAS website content/shss. IIAS, Shimla will be glad to extend its hospitality (free hospitality is provided only to the seminar participant) during the seminar period and is willing to reimburse, if required, rail or air travel expenses from the place of current residence in India, or the port of arrival in India, and back.
Note:- Plagiarism is a serious academic offence and the Institute reserves the right to cancel the selection/participation of a candidate found guilty at any stage.