Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Has the RSS Put Aside Hindutva?

With the changing time the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has also changed itself. Materialism has affected the sincerity of this organization too, points out the writer. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) was founded by Maharashtra’s famous Brahmin Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar in 1925. The foundation was laid when the sun of British Empire seemed to be setting. At that time the question as to whom the British would hand over the reins of India was being asked. The effort to restore the Mughal Empire in 1857 was sent in exile to Rangoon where it slept forever. The basic features of Gandhi’s Congress too were not evident. In this situation some planned to transform India into a Hindu Rashtra after freedom. They were the people who like Hitler’s Nazi party believed in supremacy of Aryans over other communities. Their symbol too was that of the Nazi’s: Swastika. Then the slogan “Hindu, Hindi, Hindustan” was invented that defines itself. Interestingly none of the three words has its origin in Sanskrit or any other Indian language. They are Urdu words and are borrowed in Urdu from Arabic. These words are still used in Arabic dictionaries. The word Hind relates to black or dark brown. Like in India black or brown skinned babies are named Shyam, Shyama or Rajni, in Arabia they are named Hind, Hinda or Laila. So, Hind and Hanadi are still popular names among Arabs. In fact, this could be a topic of research whether RSS founders knew they were Arabic words or they had simply imagined that many would not realize it. Anyway, RSS came into existence and started working under the philosophy that is today known as Hindutva. After its involvement in Gandhi’s murder it was impossible for RSS to transform into a political organization. It confined itself to a cultural organization. After many years of independence Shyam Prasad Mukherjee resigned from Nehru cabinet and floated Jan Sangh Party. RSS volunteers joined the party in folks. Jan Sangh undoubtedly was a political party but it was greatly influenced by the RSS philosophy “Hindu, Hindi, Hindustan”. Jan Sangh traversed a long journey to become Bharatiya Janata Party. The BJP, despite its claims of being a public party, could never detach itself from Hindutva philosophy. Its main philosophy remained unchanged. Change began when under veteran leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee a coalition government was formed in centre. After assuming power it dawned upon BJP leaders that to stay in power and win elections they needed wealth more than popularity and high moral values. This was the beginning of game. Late Pramod Mahajan emerged as its most expert player. In this article, however, we do not intend to analyze change in the BJP. Instead, we want to unveil the secret that this trend is not limited to BJP. The circumstances suggest that this change has engulfed also RSS. This has been revealed not by any anti-RSS political leader or journalist. Rather it was revealed by Anand Moonje in an interview to an English weekly. Anand is grandson of DR. B.S. Moonje, who is among the founding members of Hindu Mahasabha. Anand also disclosed that this change to the RSS was introduced by very late Pramod Mahajan. Mahajan was a known RSS member and dear to Sangh. Before that, RSS would be an organization of the volunteers leading simple life away from worldly pleasure. They would wear khaki chaddi, white shirt & black cap and carried a stick in their hands. Most of them did not even marry. There was common perception about Swayamsevaks that they did dream of Hindu Raj but they did not long for wealth or power. Even those who opposed their philosophy would appreciate their simple life. Changes occurred when the BJP ascended to rule in many states and then in the centre. At this point, the RSS started penetrating its men in the government hoping that it would not let the BJP governments deviate from the path of Hindutva. But after testing power, the mouth taste of the volunteers also changed. Pramod Mahajan told the Swayamsevaks that philosophy and rules aside, there could be no work without money. RSS was indeed an inflectional organization but it was not a wealthy. It had great influence over bureaucracy and a reference to RSS would do in favour of the aspirants. But when multi-national companies flooded India the volunteers lost interest in becoming a Swayamsevak and wielding lathi in encroaching sun. They though it to be a wastage of time. Now, the youth did not look for government jobs. They preferred jobs in multi-national corporations. According to an estimate, during the last ten years enrolment for RSS declined by 42%. By the time RSS, however, had spread its network to a large area. There it required money. As Anand Moonje would put it, this problem was solved by Pramod Mahajan. Then everyone could see the change. The present scenario is that a leader as sincere and devote to Hindutva philosophy as Lal Krishna Advani is ignored, the faithful Swayamsevak like Sanjay Joshi is sidelined and bounties rain on Narendra Modi. Because Modi has power and he has control over large resources of wealth. This is despite that Modi does not care for RSS leaders. One more example in this context is that of Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar. The relation of Shettar with illegal mining mafia is an open secret. Yet, RSS helped him to become CM saying that he is an old Swayamsevak. Old Swayamsevaks say that the BJP had a reason not to always abide by the Hindutva philosophy. According to the BJP leaders, they have to collaborate with the political parties that do not believe in Hindutva philosophy because they have to run NDA in the centre. But the reason why RSS is putting aside its philosophy is beyond perception. The Hindutva was its main aim. One of reasons may be that RSS is now bereft of the likes of Nanaji Deshmukh who spent his entire life in social service, who never ever knocked the door of power and who during his last days too continued working for public welfare from an Ashram in Gorakhpur. Today, those running RSS are not that committed nor are they averse to woman, wealth and power. Add to this the fact that unlike in the earlier days the devout and sincere Swayamsevaks are discouraged. The example of Sanjay Joshi is before us. On Modi’s wish he was sacked from the BJP and humiliated. RSS did not do anything except a light agitation. Perhaps, gone are the days when RSS would challenge ‘disobedient’ ones like Modi. As a result, the oral claim by the RSS that it still abides by the commitment to establish Hindu Rashtra is not convincing for many. A common perception has emerged that now RSS is not an organization of Hedgewar, Golwalkar and Sudarshan, but it is an organization of Swayamsevaks who have succumbed to worldly pleasures. By Hasan Kamal


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