Hindus are generally not risk takers. But it was not always like this. In ancient times, they had empires across Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, extending as far as the island of Bali in the East, and in the West, as far as Ukraine – Vishnu Idols are regularly found in the river Volga, for one example, see here.
It is the Islamic invasion that has deeply affected their psyche – although they first forced a stalemate by the 14th century, reconquered their country at least 3 times, and finally emerged as an independent country again in the 1700s, it appears that the Hindus never really recovered from that initial shock they had when they lost all territories beyond the Himalayas in 800 – 1000 AD. It was a Blitzkrieg, and the psychological impact of that defeat seems to have been enormous.
Even discounting this factor, there was a strong incentive for them to not take risks throughout the Medieval Period.
Economically, it was a period of depression, and since first the Muslims, from 1000 AD to 1700 AD, and later the Europeans from 1700 onwards, completely disrupted sea trade by piracy, there was little scope for the Hindus to take risks, even if they wanted to.
Being Pagans, in an increasingly hostile world, also caused a closing of mental horizons, so that, by the Medieval Times, most Hindus knew little, and desired to know even less, about the outside world, and even their own histories. Rather, these histories increasingly came to looked upon strictly in symbolic terms, the Kings and Places mentioned in them, being thought of as of no significance. This trend we see matured in say, Gandhi, who completely denied the historicity of the great Indian King Ram, preferring instead to interpret his story as purely a moral parable.
It cannot however be said that the country was completely without life in this period. There were adventurers, conquerors and adventures in this period too – however, it never really grew to be a pan-Indian phenomenon. In flashes and spurts dynasties and Clans arose – like the Jats, Sikhs or the Marathas. However, these flashes either did not last very long, or even among the regions it affected, it failed to touch everyone. Even today, it is safe to say that most Indians are not really aware of these movements; most still live by medieval standards – by which is meant not dress or custom or language, but patterns of behavior, of which an aversion to risk and a obedience to authority are the most prominent.
Today, as the world changes at an increasingly fast pace, these patterns of behavior are increasingly causing Hindus to lose out. There is no doubt about their intellectual abilities, but it safe to say that in most cases, they are simply the “Brains” or “Pen-Pushers” and in most cases, wield no real power, and do not even wish to do so.
The task before Hindutva is to re-awaken that ancient spirit of conquest among the Hindus, to remind them of their past greatness, to infuse them with confidence, to make them conquerors and risk takers again; to stop them from surrendering their intellectual and other gifts to the highest bidder with no long-term gain to themselves. To inspire them to OWN and RULE.