Do organisations say what they intend to do? Not necessarily. This came out clearly from the three long lectures by RSS Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat. The event was supposed to be a dialogue, but the maximum dialogue one could see was his answering a few questions at the end of the lectures. That he answered a few questions was strongly underlined, as probably this must have been a novel thing for this organisation.
What did Bhagwat say which was new? He did say that Hindutva includes Muslims, RSS respects the Constitution, RSS is not opposed to reservations, RSS is not dictatorial and that there is place for opinions of others apart from that of Shri Bhagwat, RSS respects the diversity of this Hindu nation, etc. It became clear the gentleman was replying to the criticism of his organisation by its critics, and there are plenty of them. What appeared novel was the change in the language of the RSS, from that of its major ideologue Guru Golwalkar to Mr. Bhagwat, the current chief. While Golwalkar had bluntly appreciated the Nazi methods of exterminating the minorities, Bhagwat appeared to be accepting the existence of religious minorities. While the Guru had declared that Muslims, Christians and Communists were an internal threat to the Hindu nation, Bhagwat went on to say that today they don’t fully agree with Guruji, and so his book, Bunch of Thoughts, has been republished with sentences that threaten minorities and assert Hindu nationalism in a blunt way omitted.
So has the RSS changed? As should be the case with most organisations, the RSS should also be judged by its actions, or by the outcome of activities and programs of the organisations which come into being due to RSS ideology. That is what will tell us the true character, the real agenda of the RSS, and will help us assess why a pleasant face is being presented now?
The core activity of the RSS is structured around shakhas (branches). In these shakhas, young boys are given physical training, one component of which is wielding lathis (batons). This is what is the most visible part of its activities. Running parallel to this is ideological training, that takes place in the bauddhik (intellectual) sessions. This is where the real agenda of the RSS manifests itself. It is from these shakha bauddhiks, which are backed by long training camps leading to a three-year training program, that the Swamyamsevaks / Pracharaks emerge, who are ready to take on the mantle of RSS programs in an independent way.
These bauddhiks indoctrinate the young boys into believing that India has been a Hindu nation from times immemorial. Roughly speaking, the RSS training module, as gleaned from various sources, follows the following lines: ‘We’ in ancient times had a great society, all castes were equal, women had a honorable place in the society; the society was attacked by foreigners, the Muslims, leading to inequality among castes and degeneration of the status of women; the Muslim kings destroyed our temples and imposed Islam by force; the Muslim kings were very cruel, prominent examples being Mohammad Ghazni (who destroyed the Somnath temple) and Mohammad Ghori (who betrayed Prithivraj Chouhan); Hindu kings like Maharana Pratap and Shivaji saved the Hindu society; during the freedom movement, while Savarkar put forward the concept of Hindu nationalism, the likes of Gandhi–Nehru and their followers regarded people of foreign religions also as belonging to this land; Gandhi appeased the Muslims due to which Muslims got emboldened and demanded Pakistan; it is due to the faulty policies of Nehru that Kashmir, an integral part of India, has become a problem; and so on and so forth.
After this training, the pracharaks / swayamsevaks start work with different segments of society, or go into organisations directly floated by the RSS, such as the Bhartiya Jansangh, ABVP, BJP, VHP, Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram and Seva Bharati, to name a few. Technically, these are all independent organisations, but they are run and controlled by the trained pracharaks of the RSS. So the RSS does not have to act as a remote control, as its ideology runs in the DNA of these organisations. The RSS module of indoctrination has created hatred in society, it has spread hatred against Muslims and partly against Christians as well as against those upholding secular values. One manifestation of this hatred was the murder of Gandhi by Godse, who was a trained pracharak of the RSS. Sardar Patel must have been the first one to articulate this and see beyond the murder of Gandhi. He could see that the core reason behind Gandhi’s murder was spread of hatred in society by the RSS.
While it is true that the volunteers of the RSS also do relief work, we must not forget that these same volunteers have been so much indoctrinated with hate against minorities that they also take up arms to indulge in violence. The violence prevalent in our society today is the outcome of issues raked up by the RSS to generate emotions in the service of Hindu nationalism. Communal violence went up across the country in the wake of the Ram Temple issue. If the country belongs to all, all religions are respected, why commit the crime of demolishing a five-hundred-year-old mosque? Why spread a communal view of history to polarise society? Why has the cow become a political issue, when Swami Vivekanand himself has stated that beef was eaten during Vedic times, and Gandhi posited that state should not take up the banning of cow slaughter or banning of beef?
One can only conclude that the RSS, having gained in confidence during last four years, is now trying to spread its net by mouthing liberal language. This velvet glow is the contribution of Mr Bhagwat to cover up the deepening divide created in society due to the all round work of the numerous progeny of the RSS, which while sounding independent are totally loyal to the training they have got while attending the shakha baudhhiks. We need to recall that when the Jan Sangh component of the Janata Party was asked to severe its links with RSS, it preferred to break the party and re-emerge as the BJP. We need to remember that the late Prime Minister Vajpayee, while addressing NRI Indians at a meeting in Staten Island, USA, reaffirmed his primary loyalty to the RSS. Clearly, the claim by Mohan Bhagwat that the RSS respects the Indian Constitution is a sham as according to the Indian Constitution, we are a secular democratic country, which is directly opposite to the soul of the RSS agenda, its espousal of the concept of Hindu nation.
Meher Engineer: A Requiem for a Man of Reckonable Height Meheryar Hosang Engineer was born on December 20, 1940 in