In the term “Hindu Dharma”, the first word, i. e. “Hindu” is an unbounded word. It signifies all that is Sanatan or Eternal. And then there is Dharma, which means “That, which sustains”. Thus, Hindu Dharma signifies all that which eternally upholds everything; an individual, a family, a community, a society, and even nature – both animate and inanimate.

In contrast, Hinduism is totally different because it is suffixed with an “ism”. The term "ism" is defined as an oppressive and discriminatory attitude or belief. In the mid-nineteenth century United States of America, the phrase "the isms" was used to collectively refer to radical social reform movements and various non-mainstream spiritual or religious movements in a derogatory manner. The term “Hinduism” should be understood in such a context.

One should also note that the term “Hinduism” was introduced in the popular lexicon by Sir Monier-Monier Williams via his handbook Hinduism. This handbook was published in 1877 by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. This intellectually dishonest terminology is the seed behind the vicious anti-Hindu narratives over the last 150 years. 

It is for such reasons that many of our elders preferred the term "Hindutva” over Hinduism as the former is a more accurate term since it includes the gamut (spectrum) of all that the word “Hindu” implies. We agree with them and should do the same. Hindutva is not a complicated word. It simply means Hindu-ness. Others have used the alternative “Sanatan Dharma”, often abbreviated as “Sanatan”. Here the term “Sanatan” works as an adjective indicating Hindu Dharma’s eternal nature.

However, in the present public discourse many academicians and intellectuals regularly portray Hindutva as the antithesis of Hindu Dharma, i.e. extremely negatively. Some of them argue like that because of their ignorance. But most are anti-Hindutva because of their visceral hatred and biases against Hindu Dharma. Many politicians driven by political agendas and personal prejudices have also joined that group, and are criticizing Sanatan Dharma, or Sanatan with increasing regularity and vitriol.

On behalf of the global Hindu community the World Hindu Congress declares that such malicious criticism of Hindutva, or Sanatan Dharma, or Sanatan, or Hindu Dharma actually targets the Hindu society and all that is beautiful, just, good, and noble in it. In reality, these are attacks against goodness itself. The World Hindu Congress strongly condemns such attacks and urges Hindus worldwide for the manifestation of Hindutva through organized global efforts, to overcome those who are engaging in such anti-Hindu attacks and bigotry and emerge victorious.

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