In many countries with a Muslim majority the constitution mentions at least Islam or both that and Sharia. And inclusion of the latter is often a plank of some Islamist parties e.g.

Contrary to Egypt, there is no provision in Tunisia making of the Sharia a formal source of legislation. In the 1959 Constitution, Article 1 provided: ‘Tunisia is a free, independent and sovereign state; its religion is Islam, its language is Arabic and its regime is the Republic’. [...]

Under the pressure of its opponents and because of its political pragmatism, the Islamist party Ennahda, which lead the government since the 2011 elections, renounced making any mention of Sharia in the Constitution. It does not mean, however, that Ennahda renounced its project of the Islamic moralization of the society, but as in the Erdoğan’s Turkey, it prefers to substitute to symbolic moves a more gradualist approach using the de facto acceptance of Sharia as a source of legislation and case-law.

So, I'd like to know: what (if any) is the equivalent of Sharia in the Hindutva political movement? And do they push for an overt inclusion e.g. in the constitution, or do they follow a gradualist/stealth approach?


3 Answers 3


The Hindu equivalent of Sharia is Dharmaśāstra. Treatises on dharma are referred to as Dharmaśāstra, a category of law and conduct-related Sanskrit writings. These scriptures mostly draw their inspiration from Puranas, unlike Dharmaśāstra, which is based on Vedas. There are many diverse and opposing Dharmaśāstras, with estimates ranging from 18 to about 100. Each of these texts, which have numerous variations, has its roots in Dharmasutra writings from the first millennium BCE, which came from Kalpa studies in the Vedic period.

It seems that the RSS, a Hindu militant organization, wanted Dharmaśāstra to be implemented in the constitution of India in 1949.

In 2017, the Sangh Parivar commissioned a new research on Manusmriti which is one of the five canonical texts in Dharmasastra (see also, and also). Sangh Parivar is an umbrella term used to describe several political and militant groups that were spawned from RSS. Please, note that the ruling party BJP is a part of Sangh Parivar.

In 2018, a pro-Hindu outfit called Hindu Charter was seen demanding the amendment of the Indian constitution.

By 2022, some eminent Hindu scholars have drafted a Hindu Constitution(see also).

  • there appears to be a typo in this answer, Dharmastra ought to read as Dharmasutra (but Dharmasastra is correct)
    – Tristan
    Aug 26, 2022 at 14:09

Hindutva groups are not united, there are many such groups, they have different beliefs, some beliefs are common and there are many uncommon beliefs. They lobby for common beliefs, and get it implemented through centre.

As far as I know, no one from any group beliefs A to Z of their scriptures. They use common sense.

Then again, Hindutva can not be very strict because of diversity. A Gujarati might not eat meat. He might want to even ban sell of chicken or fish within 1 km radius from a temple. But a Bengali will not want that. He needs fish, especially Hilsa fish. Manipuri Hindus love pork. Assamese Hindus love duck and pigeon. And some of them eat buffaloes too. A tribal Tripuri Hindu eats even beef. But they follow Hindutva, isn't it?

Hindutva is more Indianism instead of Hinduism. In fact a Christian leader from Nagaland who hails from BJP is a follower of Hindutva. To him, respect Hindu religion. He expects mainland Indians to respect people of North East. He is proud of Naga regiment of the Indian army. Those guys wanted to eat Pakistanis during a war. I think it was sarcastic. Anyways they were known as head hunters and would chill the spine of the enemies. Anyways. Jokes later.

Hindutva believing people and the ones who didn't before independence worshipped a diety called "Bharat Mata". As you understand, it's romanticism. Goddess form of India, portrayed by someone. We would even say "Bharat Mata ki Jai" (Long Live Mother India".

Once in a while, some groups pop up who would want a stricter form of Hindutva. They have limited followers. But most don't, I think. Sharia is well defined, Hindutva isn't. Some details and related information is there in another answer of mine in a related question

Coming to the question,

Does Hindutva have a concept roughly equivalent to Sharia and do they push for it to be included in the constitution?

Yes, the rule of the land. The Constitution. For Hindutva following Indians it is the Constitution of India. For Hindutva following Americans, it is the Constitution of the USA.

  • 1
    Hindutva is more Indianism instead of Hinduism. --- This is incorrect. Indianism is called Indian Nationalism. Hindustva is Hindu Nationalism. Hindu nationalism originated from Arya Samaj founded by Swami Dayanad Sarwati. Later, another fundamentalist Hindu called Vinayak Damodar Savarkar gave the idea of Hindutva which is a radical form of Hindu nationalism inspired by Nazi and Fascism. This radicalism gave rise to the militant group RSS. Indian nationalism was originated because of Brahmo Samaj and/or All Indian National Congress during the late 19th century.
    – user366312
    Aug 26, 2022 at 13:46
  • Then again, Hindutva can not be very strict because of diversity. --- The core idea of Hindutva is not dependent on food, etc. The core idea is based of removing non-Hindu elements from the society and country. Non-Hindu elements are those elements whose religion didn't originate in the ancient India, e.g., Islam, Christianity, etc.
    – user366312
    Aug 26, 2022 at 13:51
  • @user366312 respectfully, you are using history here. That is not the case today. Hindutva has overlapped with Indianism, and that's more of what it is today. RSS then is not RSS today. Were it that case, why is RSS in existence in Christian areas.
    – Gary 2
    Aug 26, 2022 at 13:52
  • respectfully, you are using history here. --- The point I am trying to make is, Indian Nationalism and Hindu Nationalism are two different things. The former is secular, the latter is not. The former is liberal, the latter is militant/radical.
    – user366312
    Aug 26, 2022 at 13:54
  • Second comment: That's a political or sociological thought of one or two or a dozen guys. Doesn't mean, it is a constitution of all the Hindutva groups. Some follows it, yes. Not all. All pay homage to these guys, yes. They are not following everything they wanted.
    – Gary 2
    Aug 26, 2022 at 13:55

This is not really an answer, but simply an important point which I think is worth mentioning to add to @user366312's answer. The thing is that the RSS and BJP while have more or less common origin story, they have almost nothing to do with each in the common day. BJP does go by the mask of Hindtuva but their policies and principles are often against the tenants of RSS.

There is a significant range of economic ideologies within the party. In the 1980s, like the Jana Sangh, it reflected the thinking of the RSS and its affiliates. It supported swadeshi (the promotion of indigenous industries and products) and a protectionist export policy.

During the 1996 elections, the BJP shifted its stance away from protectionism and towards globalisation; its election manifesto recommended increasing foreign investment in priority sectors, while restricting it in others. When the party was in power in 1998, it shifted its policy even further in favour of globalisation. The tenure of the NDA saw an unprecedented influx of foreign companies in India.[137] This was criticised by the left parties and the BJP's affiliates (the RSS and the Swadeshi Jagran Manch). The communist parties said that the BJP was attempting to appease the World Bank and the United States government through its neoliberal policies. Similarly, the RSS stated that the BJP was not being true to its swadeshi ideology.

Also RSS itself has been changing it's idea to suit modern taste, here is a quote from one of the founding fathers on RSS to showcase that:

The non-Hindu people of Hindustan must either adopt Hindu culture and languages, must learn and respect and hold in reverence the Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but of those of glorification of the Hindu race and culture ... in a word they must cease to be foreigners; or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment—not even citizens' rights.

Yet much later, there came also Muslim and Christian wings for RSS albeit they had to partake in the Hindu activites to stay in the group.


  • BJP does go by the mask of Hinduism... --- Correction! That should be Hindutva, not Hinduism. Those are literally and conceptually totally different elements.
    – user366312
    Sep 4, 2022 at 14:32
  • ...but their policies and principles are often against the tenants of RSS. --- That is absolutely normal! Coz, RSS is not a political group. RSS is a militant organization.
    – user366312
    Sep 4, 2022 at 14:33

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