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Akhand Bharat
Area7,127,098 km2 (2,751,788 sq mi) (7th)
PopulationApprox. 1,880,000,000 (1st) (Note: This population is according to cumulative population of modern day countries identified by proponents as part of Akhand Bharat)
Population density263.8/km2 (683/sq mi)
Countries

A map of the concept of Akhand Bharat, depicting India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, Myanmar and Sri Lanka[1]
A map of the concept of Akhand Bharat, depicting India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, Myanmar and Sri Lanka[1]

Akhand Bharat (transl. Undivided India; Hindustani: अखण्ड भारत (Devanagari), اکھنڈ بھارت (Perso-Arabic)), also known as Akhand Hindustan (Hindustani: अखण्ड हिन्दुस्तान (Devanagri), اکھنڈ ہندوستان (Perso-Arabic)) is a term for the concept of a unified Indian subcontinent.[2][3][4] It posits that modern-day India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet Autonomous Region, Sri Lanka and Myanmar is one nation.[1][5][6]

History

Further information: Composite nationalism and Hindu–Muslim unity

During the Indian independence movement, Kanaiyalal Maneklal Munshi advocated for Akhand Hindustan, a proposition that Mahatma Gandhi agreed with, believing that "as Britain wanted to retain her empire by pursuing a policy of divide and rule, Hindu–Muslim unity could not be achieved as long as the British were there."[7] In addition, Mazhar Ali Khan wrote that "the Khan brothers [were] determined to fight for Akhand Hindustan, and challenged the League to fight the issue out before the electorate of the Province."[8] On 7–8 October 1944, in Delhi, Radha Kumud Mukherjee presided over the Akhand Hindustan Leaders' Conference.[9]

The Indian activist and Hindu Mahasabha leader Vinayak Damodar Savarkar at the Hindu Mahasabha's 19th Annual Session in Ahmedabad in 1937 propounded the notion of an Akhand Bharat that "must remain one and indivisible" "from Kashmir to Rameswaram, from Sindh to Assam." He said that "all citizens who owe undivided loyalty and allegiance to the Indian nation and to the Indian state shall be treated with perfect equality and shall share duties and obligations equally in common, irrespective of caste, creed or religion, and the representation also shall either be on the basis of one man one vote or in proportion to the population in case of separate electorates and public services shall go by merit alone."[10]

Contemporary usage

The call for creation of the Akhand Bharat or Akhand Hindustan has on occasions been raised by Hindu nationalist organisations such as the Hindu Mahasabha, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Vishva Hindu Parishad, Shiv Sena, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, Hindu Sena, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti and Bharatiya Janata Party.[11][12][13][14] One organization sharing this goal, the Akhand Hindustan Morcha, bears the term in its name.[15] Other major Indian political parties such as the centrist Indian National Congress do not subscribe to a call for Akhand Bharat, although India formally claims the entire region of Kashmir (territorially divided between India, Pakistan and China) as an integral part of India through official maps.

Pre-1947 maps of India, showing the modern states of Pakistan and Bangladesh as part of British India illustrate the borders of a proto-Akhand Bharat.[13] The creation of an Akhand Bharat is also ideologically linked with the concept of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) and the ideas of sangathan (unity) and shuddhi (purification).[14]

The first chapter of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh textbook for standard VII students at Akhil Bharatiya Sanskrit Gyan Pariksha included a map depicting Pakistan and Bangladesh, which along with post-partition India, were territories that were part of "Akhand Bharat" and a trade union magazine of the same organization also included Nepal, Bhutan, and Myanmar.[16]

While the leadership of the right-wing BJP wavers on the issue, the RSS has always been a strong proponent of the idea.[17][18] RSS leader H. V. Seshadri's book The Tragic Story of Partition stresses the importance of the concept of Akhand Bharat.[19] The RSS affiliated magazine Organiser often publishes editorials by leaders such as the present Sarsanghachalak, Mohan Bhagwat, espousing the philosophy that only Akhand Bharat and sampoorna samaj (united society) can bring "real" freedom to the people of India.[20] The call for Indian reunification has been supported by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi,[21] and BJP National General Secretary Ram Madhav.[22]

In December 2015, following Narendra Modi's diplomatic visit to Lahore, Pakistan, the BJP National Secretary Ram Madhav (in an interview with Al Jazeera's Mehdi Hassan) described that "The RSS still believes that one day [India, Pakistan and Bangladesh], which have for historical reasons separated only 60 years ago, will again, through popular goodwill, come together and Akhand Bharat will be created."[23] In March 2019, RSS leader Indresh Kumar claimed that Pakistan would reunite with India by 2025, that Indians would settle in and migrate to Lahore and Lake Mansarovar in Tibet, that an Indian-allied government had been ensured in Dhaka, and that a European Union-style Akhand Bharat would form.[24]

Former Indian Supreme Court Judge Markandey Katju advocated in Pakistani newspaper The Nation that the only solution to the ongoing dispute between India and Pakistan is the reunification of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh under a strong, secular, modern-minded government.[25][26] He expanded on the reasons for his support for a reunified India in an article for Newslaundry;[27] Katju advocated that such a state would be administered by a secular government.[28] Katju serves as the chairman of the Indian Reunification Association (IRA), which seeks to campaign for this cause.[29][30] The former Indian Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani, in April 2004, similarly endorsed a confederation of the sovereign nations of India and Pakistan as a powerful geopolitical entity rivaling the European Union, United States of America, Russian Federation and People's Republic of China.[31]

Akhand Bharat calendar released by RSS campaigners on 17 Nov, 2020 in Jaipur.
Akhand Bharat calendar released by RSS campaigners on 17 Nov, 2020 in Jaipur.

Hindu nationalist political groups such as Shiv Sena, currently an ally of Indian National Congress, have sought the reclamation of Pakistan-administered Kashmir under the pretence of akhand bharat, especially after the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A of the Indian constitution (removing the semi-autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir) in August 2019.[32][33]

On 17 November 2020, the RSS campaigners released a calendar based on the "Akhand Bharat" theme. This calendar was prepared by the province patron of the Vishva Hindu Parishad in Jaipur.[34]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Banerjee, Supurna; Ghosh, Nandini (17 September 2018). Caste and Gender in Contemporary India: Power, Privilege and Politics. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-0-429-78395-1. The Hindutva discourse believes in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan all being a part of Akhand Bharat as they are a part of the sacred soil of the Hindu nation with common claims of nationalism.
  2. ^ Erdman, H. L. (17 December 2007). The Swatantra Party and Indian Conservatism. Cambridge University Press. p. 55. ISBN 9780521049801. The ultimate reunification of the subcontinent is a professed goal, as it is for the Mahasabha, but here, too, there is a difference in emphasis which deserves note: for the Sangh, the goal is 'Akhand Bharat', while for the Mahasabha it is 'Akhand Hindustan'.
  3. ^ Chitkara, M. G. (1 January 2004). Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. APH Publishing. p. 262. ISBN 9788176484657. Those who dub Shri L. K. Advani, the Home Minister of India and others as foreigners, must realise that the freedom struggle was a mass movement of all the people of entire Akhand Hindustan (United Bharat).
  4. ^ Prasad, Sumit Ganguly, Jai Shankar. "India Faces a Looming Disaster". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
  5. ^ Khandelwal, Meena; Hausner, Sondra L.; Gold, Ann Grodzins (2007). Nuns, Yoginis, Saints, and Singers: Women's Renunciation in South Asia. Zubaan. ISBN 978-81-89884-34-5.
  6. ^ Chatterji, Angana P.; Hansen, Thomas Blom; Jaffrelot, Christophe (August 2019). Majoritarian State: How Hindu Nationalism Is Changing India. Oxford University Press. p. 161. ISBN 978-0-19-007817-1.
  7. ^ Ghose, Sankar (1 January 1991). Mahatma Gandhi. Allied Publishers. p. 315. ISBN 9788170232056. Later, K.M. Munishi, with Gandhi's blessing, also resigned from the Congress to plead for Akhand Hindustan as a counter blast to Pakistan. Gandhi, who previously thought that swaraj was impossible without Hindu-Muslim unity, subsequently came to the conclusion that as Britain wanted to retain her empire by pursuing a policy of divide and rule, Hindu-Muslim unity could not be achieved as long as the British were there.
  8. ^ Khan, Mazhar Ali (1996). Pakistan: The First Twelve Years. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195776768. Many months ago, when the Pakistan issue was still in the melting pot, the Khan brothers determined to fight for Akhand Hindustan, and challenged the League to fight the issue out before the electorate of the Province.
  9. ^ Sharma, Jai Narain (1 January 2008). Encyclopaedia Eminent Thinkers. Concept Publishing Company. p. 88. ISBN 9788180694929. On 5 August 1944, he issued a common letter to the leaders of various parties making a proposal to hold Akhand Hindustan Leaders' Conference. Such a conference was held on 7 and 8 October in Delhi. It was presided over by Dr. Radha Kumud Mukherji.
  10. ^ Sampath, Vikram (7 August 2019). "Savarkar Wanted One God, One Nation, One Goal". The Print India.
  11. ^ Suda, Jyoti Prasad (1953). India, Her Civic Life and Administration. Jai Prakash Nath & Co. Its members still swear by the ideal of Akhand Hindusthan.
  12. ^ Yale H. Ferguson and R. J. Barry Jones, Political space: frontiers of change and governance in a globalizing world, page 155, SUNY Press, 2002, ISBN 978-0-7914-5460-2
  13. ^ a b Sucheta Majumder, "Right Wing Mobilization in India", Feminist Review, issue 49, page 17, Routledge, 1995, ISBN 978-0-415-12375-4
  14. ^ a b Ulrika Mårtensson and Jennifer Bailey, Fundamentalism in the Modern World (Volume 1), page 97, I.B.Tauris, 2011, ISBN 978-1-84885-330-0
  15. ^ Hindu Political Parties. General Books. 30 May 2010. ISBN 9781157374923.
  16. ^ Ghosh, Papiya (21 March 2014). Partition and the South Asian Diaspora: Extending the Subcontinent. Routledge. ISBN 9781317809654.
  17. ^ Jyotirmaya Sharma, "Ideological heresy?, The Hindu, 2005-06-19
  18. ^ Radhika Ramaseshan, "Advani fires Atal weapon", The Telegraph, 16 June 2005
  19. ^ Ashish Vashi, "Anti-Sardar Patel book sold from RSS HQ in Gujarat", The Times of India, 27 August 2009
  20. ^ Manini Chatterjee, "Only by Akhand Bharat", The Indian Express, 1 February 2007
  21. ^ "Sindhis want Sindh in India?Modi gives example of Jews". DeshGujarat. 24 March 2012.
  22. ^ "One day, India, Pak and Bangladesh could reunite as Akhand Bharat: Ram Madhav". The Indian Express. 27 December 2015.
  23. ^ "RSS and the idea of Akhand Bharat". The Indian Express. 4 January 2016.
  24. ^ Scroll Staff. "Pakistan will be part of India after 2025, claims RSS leader Indresh Kumar: Report". Scroll.in. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
  25. ^ "The truth about Pakistan". The Nation. 2 March 2013. Archived from the original on 10 November 2013. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  26. ^ "Pakistan all-praise for Markandey Katju". The Indian Express. 7 March 2013.
  27. ^ "We must reunite: Why Pakistan, India and Bangladesh should be one country". Newslaundry. 8 December 2015.
  28. ^ "India And Pakistan Must Reunite For Their Mutual Good". HuffPost India. 10 April 2017.
  29. ^ "Mission Statement of the Indian Reunification Association". Indica News. 7 February 2019.
  30. ^ Markandey Katju (10 April 2017). "India And Pakistan Must Reunite For Their Mutual Good". The Huffington Post.
  31. ^ "The Tribune, Chandigarh, India – Opinions". tribuneindia.com. Retrieved 9 August 2019.
  32. ^ "Dream of 'Akhand Bharat' fulfilled partially with Article 370 abrogation: Shiv Sena lauds Modi, Amit Shah". Zee News. 6 August 2019.
  33. ^ Wasim, Amir (8 August 2019). "Govt, opposition united on Kashmir, divided on domestic issues". DAWN.COM.
  34. ^ "RSS प्रचारकों पर जारी किया अखंड भारत कैलेंडर, जीवनी-संघ के कार्यों का किया गया उल्लेख". Zee Rajasthan (in Hindi). 17 November 2020. Retrieved 16 September 2021.