File Photo
File Photo

Nagpur: Senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday said Hindutva meant tolerance, a day after former vice president Hamid Ansari said that, even before COVID-19, society had become a victim of two pandemics of religiosity and strident nationalism.

"Hindutva has never been a hardline (ideology). It has always been tolerant. Hindutva has been the ancient way of living in this country. Hindus never attacked anyone or any country or any state," the former chief minister told reporters while responding to a query on Ansari's statement.

Fadnavis said Hinduism has always taught tolerance, due to which the people of various faiths and castes have been living peacefully in India.

Ansari had said that as against religiosity and strident nationalism, patriotism is a more positive concept as it is defensive both militarily and culturally.

Speaking at the virtual launch of senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor's book 'The Battle of Belonging', Ansari said that in a short space of four years, India has made a long journey from its founding vision of civic nationalism to a new political imagery of cultural nationalism that appears to be firmly embedded in the public realm.

The former vice president said that "there is a passionate plea for an ideal of India (in the book), an India that was taken for granted by our generation" and now is seemingly endangered by "overt and covert ideas and ideologies that seek to segment it on imagined criteria of us and them".

"The COVID-19 as a pandemic is bad enough, but before it our society became a victim of two other pandemics -- religiosity and strident nationalism. Religiosity is defined as extreme religious ardour, denoting exaggerated embodiment, involvement or zeal for certain aspects of religious activity enforced through social and even governmental pressure," he said.

Much has also been written about the perils of strident nationalism and it has been called an "ideological poison" that has no hesitation in transcending and transgressing individual rights, Ansari said.

Ansari asserted that patriotism is a more positive concept as it is defensive both militarily and culturally and inspires nobel sentiments, but must not be allowed to run amok.

(With PTI inputs)

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