The word dharma (धर्म), literally religion, is used in a variety of ways by Hindu Nationalists. For example, in his formulation of integral humanism, Deendayal Upadhyaya stresses that the worship of God is only part of dharma and that "dharma rajya" (literally the rule of dharma) does not mean a theocratic state. He claims the closest English translation would be "innate law", but equally uses the word as national duty: for example, arguing against a plebiscite in Kashmir, he writes "national unity is our dharma".

These uses of a single word to mean religion, national duty, natural law, etc. can be seen as part of the Hindu Nationalist project of presenting nation, culture and religion as inseparable. Hinduism, rather than being an important ingredient of India's history and culture, becomes synonymous with India, and consequently secularism becomes a notion alien to India, or synonymous "pseudo-secularism", a term the Sangh Parivar uses to imply the appeasement of minorities.

Hindu Nationalism: A Reader Edited by Christophe Jaffrelot, Princeton, 2007.