Swami Avdeshananda Giri is a self-proclaimed spiritual leader and the Acharya Mahamandaleshwar (head) of Juna Akhara ( one of the oldest Hindu monastic orders). His Ashram in Haridwar, Uttrakhand, is frequented by ‘powerful people’ including the President of India, the Union Home Minister, Bollywood actors, and business tycoons. His talks are telecasted live on the satellite channel- Sanskar TV.
However, after the rise of the Hindu far-right Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to the political helm of the country, Giri realigned his position to stay relevant amidst the communally polarised dynamics of the country.
He openly invokes the idea of ‘Hindu Rashtra’ and showers praises on Narendra Modi and his style of politics.
“I have now got the Prime Minister of my choice. Today there is such a government in the country which I had imagined”, he said in June 2022 when he called on PM Modi.
At an event in Uttrakhand, he asked Hindus to stop infightings and stop criticizing Hindutva (Hindu nationalist) leaders as the critics of Hindu seers and leaders end up ‘harming Hindus’ and weakening their (Hindu) position.
Addressing the gathering in Raipur, Chhattisgarh at the summation of ‘Hindu Swabhiman Jagran Sant Padyatra,’ a month-long foot march by saints and seers in the state to declare India a ‘Hindu Rashtra’, Giri said: “The day Hindus become staunch, they will raise their voice for the rights of people, they will sacrifice their limbs to protect dharma and they will even sell their wife and kids for truth. The day Hindu will understand his nature, his identity, there will be no violence and hysteria on this earth and Ram Rajya will come.”
Seeking to superimpose the homogenous ‘Hindu Identity’ on one the most diverse countries like India, he said, “If a person living in Hindustan is not a Hindu then who is he/she? If there are French in France, Dutch in Holland, Americans in America, Japanese in Japan, and Britishers in England, then who are those living in India?” he said to which people replied ‘Hindu’.”
“We were (Hindus) and we will be (Hindus), if a DNA test is done it will show that all of our ancestors were Hindus. Millions of years ago we were all Hindus. Hindus consider the whole world as one family and do not want to hurt anyone,” he added.
Giri further said that, “the day Hindus become kattar (hardcore), the doors of peace and reconciliation will open.”
Notably, a resolution was also adopted at the meeting demanding to make India a ‘Constitutional Hindu Rashtra (nation)’.