The author indicates the growing importance of Hindu nationalism and the increased presence of communalism as one of the most important factors affecting contemporary India's internal policy and shaping its perception of the international affairs. Communalism, which is commonly understood as a phenomenon where differences and hostility between religious groups are used to achieve political goals, in the case of contemporary India seems to be strongly related with the crisis of the secular state, unable to resolve existing conflicts, one of the possible sources of which is the end of the Cold War bringing increasing instability and weakness of consequent governments. The Hindu nationalism, rising from the end of 1980s, can be seen as a process of using communalism to stress Hindu distinctiveness and, in consequence, increase the Hindu-Muslim conflict. The author considers main components of Hindu nationalism, its relation with Hindu traditions, main influencing factors (apart from international and political, also economic, and actions of other ethnic groups, mainly Muslims) and relation with a secular state program elaborated and founded by Nehru. The author also discusses social and political existence and features of the 'Hindutva' - the ideology of unity and distinctiveness of Hindus.