RSS reclaims roots, redefines paradigm
by Nancy Kaul on 05 Mar 2011 17 Comments

The pseudo-secular streak that has engulfed the Indian political establishment and the intelligentsia has left a mark even on organizations aloof from this ethos, with consequences that did not augur well for them or for the Indian nation.


Dr K.B. Hedgewar, founder and first head of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), had certain fundamental principles and goals in mind when he established this unique body in the shadow of the failure of Gandhi’s Khilafat Movement and the communal riots into which it degenerated. But in just a few decades, slithering away from these ideals became a fashion, especially after Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Krishan Advani (who called themselves swayamsevaks) became Prime Minister and Home Minister respectively in the BJP-led NDA regime.


An unconscionable compromise with Hindu and even interests, symbolized most prominently by the abject display of obsequiousness at Agra and also at Kandahar, became the signature tune of the regime. Later, Advani displayed an inexplicable love of Mohammad Ali Jinnah as his new USP.


Unfortunately, the covert agendas of the BJP leaders and the needless appeasement of minorities became the party policy and even overshadowed the ideology of the RSS and the personality of its supreme leader or Sarsanghachalak. All policies and public announcements on crucial of issues of the Sangh Parivar as a whole began to be moulded from the perspective of L.K. Advani (and his coterie), and soon patronage-seeking journalists began to fill column inches with reams about the futility and irrelevance of Hindutva and the RSS. They took care to praise the compromising duo as more relevant than the Hindu soul of the nation.


In a land where once Sardar Patel termed the rebuilding of the Somnath temple – repeatedly destroyed and vandalized by Muslim invaders – as the regaining of national pride, there L.K. Advani who rode to power on the strength of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, sat in the office of that same Iron Man and Home Minister and repeated shamelessly the inanity that the removal of the Babri Mosque at Ayodhya was the ‘black day’ of his life.


To its eternal shame, the RSS never chastised him or disowned this statement, and tried to use this subterfuge to exonerate itself from any role in the destruction of the disputed structure at the Janmasthan. This naturally raised questions in the minds of cadres and admirers about the ideological moorings of the RSS and its commitment towards the Hindu community and Hindu causes.


Now, after a prolonged limbo, the current Sarsanghachalak Mohanrao Bhagwat has with a single stroke negated this ideological paralysis and reaffirmed unambiguously the original paradigm - that RSS is meant to serve the Indian nation – specified as Akhand Hindu Bharat – and the Hindu native community in particular. Terming Dr Hedgewar the guiding force of the organisation, he said, “RSS is what Dr Hedgewar and Guruji (Golwalkar) thought it to be. There is no question of it being ‘secular’ (read non-Hindu or anti-Hindu). Let me reassure it cannot and will not deviate from its path and goal of Hindu interests which are at the heart of it.” “Bharat or India, whatever you choose to call, is a Hindu Nation, her soul is Hindu and we will protect that.”


Laying down the immediate twin agenda of the RSS - Jammu & Kashmir and Ayodhya - the plain speaking by Shri Bhagwat on 26 February 2011, before a select audience of concerned citizens in New Delhi, spelled out the revitalized role RSS intended to play in the Indian nation.


To a pointed question about RSS diluting its ideology by appeasing minorities like a political party, he clarified, “We have no sister concern, nor does Sangh have any morchas (fronts), we just have shakhas (branches).” Certain minority associations had requested the Sangh to depute some leaders to associate with them, he said, and had received such moral support; but RSS had no hand in setting up or running such bodies.


Questioning the intent of the government-appointed interlocutors and the way they were running to appease the separatists in J&K, he said, “these separatists are a bunch, there should be initiative to talk to and strengthen the nationalists in the State. We are looking at the policies and the way decisions on important issues are being taken by the government. Let me make it clear that we will not be mute spectators and will not allow any compromise on any issue including Jammu & Kashmir.” Describing the stakes of each Indian in Jammu & Kashmir, he warned there would be no tolerance for hoodwinking or repetition of wrong decisions as in the past.


Shri Bhagwat also questioned the role and intent of international forces in India, and ruled out any third party mediation in Kashmir. When the United States and China do not tolerate outside interference in their internal matters, why does the Indian establishment permit them to meddle in our internal affairs? “It was different and unfortunate in 1947, but now things are not the same, we are a much stronger nation and another partition or division of the nation will not and cannot happen.”


The RSS was not as strong in 1947 as it is now, he said, and regretted that those charged with the destiny of the nation then had not called the people to resist the partition of the motherland. Today people are far more aware, and another partition will not be tolerated. In fact, he pointed out, RSS has not even now accepted the first partition, but it is not yet in a position to do anything about it.


Recognizing that there was an urgent need for articulating Hindu political aspirations, he said a roadmap was being prepared and door-to-door campaigns conducted to create public awareness of the challenges before the nation.


yada yada hi dharmasya

glanir bhavati bharata

abhyutthanam adharmasya

tadatmanam srjamy aham

[Sri Krishna: Wherever and whenever there is a decline in virtue, O Arjuna, and a predominance of irreligion,

Those many times do I descend and manifest myself as an embodied Being]

- Bhagwat Gita: IV: 7


paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya cha duskritam

dharma samsthapanarthaya sambhavami yuge yuge

[Sri Krishna: To deliver the pious and annihilate the miscreants,

And to reestablish the principles of dharma, I Myself appear, millennium after millennium]

- Bhagwat Gita: IV: 8


This is the karmic trajectory to which the RSS is now pledged to return, to redeem the demoralized and oppressed Hindu Nation …


The author is convener, Daughters of Vitasta

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