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July 2018 Edition of Power Politics is updated.         June 2018 Edition of Power Politics is updated.
Issue:May' 2018

WINDOW ON RSS

Looking beyond Pranab da’s Nagpur address

Hari Jaisingh

Former President Pranab Mukherjee at the RSS headquarters in Nagpur. With him are key functionaries of the RSS, including its Chief Mohan Bhagwat.

Former President Pranab Mukherjee emerged as the winner at the end of his much-awaited historic address on June 7 at the RSS headquarters in Nagpur. Pranab da showed his “class”, politicoideological maturity, an allinclusive vision as evolved historically against the backdrop of India’s rich civilizational values.

Hinduism is a liberal concept. It is a way of thinking as well as living. Looking beyond Ayodhya, India has survived, as the former President underlined at Nagpur, a host of invaders – from the Mughals to the British. What makes the country stand out in the comity of nations is its basic strength of standing up to the shocks of invasion and assimilating the best elements from “alien” cultures to create its own. This has been possible because of the liberal and tolerant rhythm of Hinduism which, even as a religious practice, is without any elements of compulsions and fundamentalism. In this context, the RSS and BJP outfits should have reasons to be concerned about the “growing feeling of insecurity among the minorities” as aired by the Archbishops of Delhi and Goa and even by Akali Dal leader Parkash Singh Badal during his Chandigarh meeting with BJP chief Amit Shah following the saffron party’s by-poll setback.

I give full marks to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat for inviting Pranab Mukherjee to the Shiksha Varh, an annual training camp for swayam sevaks. Symbolically, this showed the RSS chief’s elements of tolerance to listen to diverse views. Pranab Mukherjee said, “Diversity is our hallmark. Difference of opinion is natural …. But it has to lead us to unity at the end”.


Pranab Mukherjee greeted by RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat I am raising this issue in the light of the controversial Nagpur event which, foolishly enough, made Congress leaders raise alarm signals. In the process, the 134- year Congress showed how politically fragile is its brands of tolerance and secularism todayvirtually with feet of clay!

I, however, give full marks to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat for inviting Pranab Mukherjee to the Shiksha Varh, an annual training camp for swayam sevaks. Symbolically, this showed the RSS chief’s elements of tolerance to listen to diverse views. Pranab Mukherjee said, “Diversity is our hallmark. Difference of opinion is natural …. But it has to lead us to unity at the end”.

The RSS-BJP leaders need to critically think and reflect on Mukherjee’s idea of “our nationhood”. He said: “The soul of India resides in pluralism and tolerance…. Secularism and inclusion are a matter of faith for us….. India’s nationhood is not one religion, one enemy, it is the perennial universalism of 1.3 billion people who use more than 122 languages and 1,600 dialects in their everyday lives, practice seven major religions…” He also rightly said that “only through dialogue we develop understanding to solve complex problems”.


I have watched the RSS growth closely. It has evolved itself in tune with the changing times and the spirit of Hinduism. It is a different matter that the RSS is still short of touching the soul of India. Of course, no one can question its spirit of nationalism and patriotism. The RSS as a “godfather” of the BJP is a nationalist outfit with due emphasis on cultural and social arenas. Where it gets a bad name is when its over-zealot cadets take law and order in their hands, bashing Dalits and Muslims in the name of cow vigilantism!

It is the job of the BJP establishments in states not to allow such rowdy elements to play with the system. Such incidents have created an atmosphere of fear and insecurity among the minorities. The BJP governments’ silence on such sensitive issues of traditional jobs, food habits and living norms has drawn criticism at home and abroad. Such sensitive matters could make or unmake the image of saffron governments. I wonder why Mohan Bhagwat and Prime Minister Narendra Modi give the impression of having a “soft corner” for cow vigilants and related areas of governance.

The RSS-BJP leaders need to critically think and reflect on Mukherjee’s idea of “our nationhood”. He said: “The soul of India resides in pluralism and tolerance…. Secularism and inclusion are a matter of faith for us….. India’s nationhood is not one religion, one enemy, it is the perennial universalism of 1.3 billion people who use more than 122 languages and 1,600 dialects in their everyday lives, practice seven major religions…” He also rightly said that “only through dialogue we develop understanding to solve complex problems”.

Lots of correctives have to be brought about in the attitudes and functioning of the Sangh Parivar so as to create congenial atmosphere in the country.

It also needs to be appreciated that secularism cannot be promoted by pandering to minority communalism. Nor can the battle against communalism be fought by advocating the consolidation of Muslims on a communal basis and the division of Hindus on caste and sub-caste considerations. Sadly, large sections of Hindus have felt disillusioned on account of double-games played by various political groups, including the Congress, in the name of secularism. They have adopted an opportunistic approach to the disadvantage of genuine practitioners of secularism.

Indian politics, for that matter, is a complex phenomenon. I very much doubt whether most RSS-BJP leaders have the understanding of India’s diverse images. This is equally applicable to Marxists and Maoists and their extraterritorial loyalty for Marx, Lenin and Mao. I wish to say that our fellow countrymen would refuse to “buy” a revolution in the name of Mao and Marx. These names will not ignite a fire along the GangaJamuna-Krishna-Godavari rivers.

Swami Dayanand insisted that a man’s status should be judged by his worth, not birth. This reformist zeal has kept Hinduism a live force, tuned towards changes in the face of resistance from orthodox elements. The main concern of the Indian polity today is one of senseless drift and the erosion in our value system. Over to RSS, BJP, Congress and leftist leaders!


Unfortunately, large sections of Leftists look up to Mao, Marx and Lenin who are the antithesis of all that Indian nationalism represents. Here, I must commend Pranab Mukherjee for visiting the birthplace of RSS founder Keshav Baliram Hedgewar and hailing him as a “great son of Mother India”.

RSS Founder Keshav Baliram Hedgewar A section of Indian “secularists” have not relished Pranab da’s laudatory observations on the RSS founder. Why such mental barriers towards a person who gave birth to a credible Hindu philosophy which has become a live force of a large section of Hindus. This is regrettable.

Mordern “secularists”, Marxists and Maoists included, swear by philosophies of “alien” persons, but look at Hedgewar as “politically untouchable”. What a shame! Mukherjee has rendered a great service to the swadeshi thought by hailing Hedgewar. “Political untouchability” label on our swadeshi thinkers, philosophers and love for “foreign revolutionaries” cannot be logically and rationally supported. However, WINDOW ON RSS July 2018 Power Politics philosophies of Marx, Lenin and Mao need to be studied and analysed for their strength of spreading their thoughts in an unjust global order.

It needs to be appreciated that our swadeshi philosophy of political dharma, is not religious rituals and practices. Nor does it represent narrow sectarian thoughts. It is both humane and sublime concept that holds the social fabric of the country together. It is the life force in our society. It regulates human conduct and “casts” “individuals” into the right moulds of character and socio-economic and “moral virtues and grace”. It also spurs them to behave with dignity and propriety in relation to fellow beings on a wider canvas of Bharat, that is India!

Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and Mao In fact, Hinduism has always been inclined to reformist influences of saints, swamis and thinkers. Some of these noble souls have lived up to the finer Hindu ideals in trying to rid a stratified society of its unjust customs, practices and institutions. Indeed, Swami Vivekanand launched sustained attack on Hindu orthodoxy. Even Swami Dayanand Saraswati attacked orthodox practices and biases of Hinduism which confined women to the four walls of homes. He decried the caste system as “our greatest curse – that splits Hindu society into mutually warring groups and subgroups”.

Swami Dayanand insisted that a man’s status should be judged by his worth, not birth. This reformist zeal has kept Hinduism a live force, tuned towards changes in the face of resistance from orthodox elements. The main concern of the Indian polity today is one of senseless drift and the erosion in our value system. Over to RSS, BJP, Congress and leftist leaders!