Cultural Nationalism vs. Hindutva

What's the Difference?

Cultural Nationalism and Hindutva are both ideologies that emphasize the importance of preserving and promoting the cultural identity of a nation. However, while Cultural Nationalism focuses on the broader cultural heritage and traditions of a country, Hindutva specifically promotes the cultural and religious identity of Hinduism in India. Cultural Nationalism seeks to unite people of diverse backgrounds under a common cultural identity, while Hindutva advocates for the dominance of Hindu culture and values in Indian society. Both ideologies have been influential in shaping national identity and politics in their respective countries.


AttributeCultural NationalismHindutva
DefinitionEmphasizes the importance of a shared culture, history, and traditions in defining a nationPromotes the idea of India as a Hindu Rashtra (nation) and advocates for the cultural and political dominance of Hindus
FocusEmphasizes cultural unity and identityEmphasizes Hindu identity and supremacy
OriginEmerged in the 19th and 20th centuries as a response to colonialismRooted in the ideology of Hindutva propounded by V.D. Savarkar and later popularized by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)
Political IdeologyCan be inclusive and non-discriminatory towards minoritiesOften associated with Hindu majoritarianism and exclusion of minorities
SymbolismMay include national symbols, cultural heritage, and traditionsEmphasizes Hindu symbols, rituals, and practices

Further Detail

Cultural Nationalism

Cultural nationalism is a political ideology that emphasizes the importance of a shared culture, language, and history in defining a nation. It seeks to promote a sense of national identity based on cultural heritage rather than political boundaries. Cultural nationalists believe that a strong cultural identity is essential for maintaining social cohesion and national unity.

One of the key attributes of cultural nationalism is its focus on preserving traditional customs, beliefs, and values. This includes promoting cultural practices such as language, art, music, and literature that are seen as integral to the national identity. Cultural nationalists often advocate for the protection of cultural heritage sites and monuments as a way to safeguard the nation's history and identity.

Another aspect of cultural nationalism is its emphasis on cultural homogeneity within the nation. Proponents of this ideology argue that a shared culture and heritage are necessary for fostering a sense of belonging and solidarity among citizens. This can sometimes lead to exclusionary practices that marginalize minority groups or immigrants who do not conform to the dominant cultural norms.

Cultural nationalism can also be used as a tool for resisting external influences and asserting national sovereignty. By promoting a distinct cultural identity, nations can assert their independence and resist the homogenizing effects of globalization. This can be seen in movements that seek to protect indigenous cultures or languages from being overshadowed by dominant global trends.

In summary, cultural nationalism is characterized by its emphasis on cultural heritage, traditional values, and cultural homogeneity as essential components of national identity and unity.


Hindutva is a political ideology that seeks to establish the cultural and religious dominance of Hinduism in India. It is based on the belief that India is a Hindu nation and that Hindu culture and values should be the foundation of the country's identity. Hindutva advocates often argue for the protection and promotion of Hindu traditions, practices, and beliefs as central to the nation's ethos.

One of the key attributes of Hindutva is its emphasis on Hindu unity and solidarity. Proponents of this ideology believe that a strong sense of Hindu identity is essential for maintaining social cohesion and national unity in a country as diverse as India. They argue that Hinduism provides a common cultural framework that can unite the nation's diverse population.

Hindutva also promotes the idea of Hinduness as a unifying force that transcends caste, regional, and linguistic differences. It seeks to create a sense of pride and belonging among Hindus by emphasizing their shared cultural heritage and religious traditions. This can sometimes lead to tensions with minority communities who feel marginalized or excluded by the dominant Hindu narrative.

Another aspect of Hindutva is its focus on reclaiming and revitalizing Hindu symbols, practices, and institutions that are seen as integral to India's cultural heritage. This includes efforts to promote Hindu rituals, festivals, and traditions as a way to strengthen the nation's cultural identity. Hindutva advocates often argue for the protection of Hindu temples and sacred sites as symbols of India's Hindu heritage.

In conclusion, Hindutva is characterized by its emphasis on Hindu cultural dominance, unity, and pride as central elements of India's national identity and ethos.

Comparisons may contain inaccurate information about people, places, or facts. Please report any issues.