What to believe in: Words or deeds?

Ram Puniyani

RSS Supremo’s Public relations Exercise

Do organizations 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 of dialogue one could see was his answering few questions at the end of lectures. This normal practice of answering the questions was underlined strongly, as probably this must have been novel thing for this organization.

What did Bhagwat say which was new? He did say that Hindutva includes Muslims, RSS respects Constitution, RSS is not opposed to reservations, RSS is not dictatorial-there is a place for opinions of others apart from that of Shri Bhagwat also, RSS respects the diversity of this Hindu nation etc. It became clear the gentleman was answering to the criticism of his organization by its critics, and there are plenty of them. What appeared novel was the change in the language of RSS from its major ideologue Guru Golwalkar to Mr. Bhagwat, the current chief? While Golwalkar bluntly appreciated the Nazi methods of exterminating the minorities, Bhagwat sounded to be accepting the existence of religious minorities. While Guru was announcing the Muslims, Christians and Communists are internal threat to Hindu nation, Bhagwat went on to say that they don’t fully agree with Guruji so his book, ‘Bunch of Thoughts’, has been republished by omitting such sentences which are threatening to minorities and asserting the Hindu nationalism in a blunt way.

So has RSS changed? In case of most of the organizations, they should be judged by their actions, or by the outcome of activities and the programs of the organizations which come into being due to RSS ideology. That’s what will tell us the true character, real agenda of RSS and help us assess why a pleasant face is being presented now?

The core activity of RSS is structured around Shakhas (Branches). In these shakhas young boys are given the physical training, one component of training is wielding lathis (batons). This is what is the most visible part of its activities. Running parallel to this is the ideological training, the bauddhiks (intellectual) sessions. This is where the real agenda of RSS gets itself manifested. In these shakha bauddhiks, which are backed up by long training camps leading to three year training program, the outcome of which are the Swamyamsevak/Pracharak, who is ready to take on the mantle of RSS programs in an independent way.

These bauddhiks indoctrinate the young boys in to believing that, India has been a Hindu nation from times immemorial. Roughly RSS training module, as gleaned from various sources, follows these lines. ‘We’ were having a great society, all castes were equal, women had honorable place in the society. The society was attacked by foreigners, the Muslims, leading to inequality of castes and degeneration of status of women. The Muslim kings destroyed our temples, and imposed Islam by force. The Muslim kings were very cruel, Mohammad Gazani (destroying Somnath) Mohammad Ghori (Betraying Prithivraj Chowhan). Hindu kings like Maharana Pratap and Shivaji saved the Hindu society. During freedom movement, while Savarkar put forward Hindu nationalism, the likes of Gandhi-Nehru and their followers regarded people of foreign religions also belonging to this land. Gandhi appeased the Muslims due to which Muslims got emboldened and demanded Pakistan; it’s due to faulty policies of Nehru that Kashmir, the integral part of India, has become a problem and so on and so forth.

The prachraks/swaymsevaks after this training go in to different segments of society, or into directly floated organizations, Bhartiya Jansangh, ABVP, BJP, VHP, Vanvasi kalian Ashram, Seva Bharati to name the few. Technically these are all independent organizations, but they are run and controlled by the trained prachraks of RSS. So RSS does not have to act as remote control as its ideology runs into the DNA of these organizations. The RSS module of indoctrination has created hatred in the society, hatred against Muslims and partly against Christians and those upholding secular values-liberals. One manifestation of this Hatred was the murder of Gandhi by Godse, who was the trained Pracharak of 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 of Gandhi’s murder was spread of Hatred in society by RSS.

While RSS has volunteers dressed in RSS uniform doing relief work, those taking up arms to indulge in violence are the one, who are guided by this hate against religious minorities. The violence prevalent in the society has been the outcome of issues, which are related to emotions brought into the service of Hindu nationalism of RSS. The communal violence went up in the wake of Ram Temple issue. If the country belongs to all, all religions are respected, why the crime of demolishing a five hundred year old mosque? Why marshalling of communal view of history to polarize the society? On similar lines why Holy cow is the political issue, while swami Vivekanand did say beef was eaten during Vedic times and Gandhi posited that state should not take up banning of cow slaughter or banning of beef?

One must say that RSS, as it has got renewed 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 the deepening divide created in the society due to the all round work of the progeny of RSS, which while sounding independent is totally loyal to the trainings it got while attending shakha baudhhiks. So we know that when the Jansangh component of Janata Party was asked to severe its links with RSS, they preferred to break the party and reemerge as BJP. So the late Prime Minister Vajpayee in Staten Island, while talking in front of NRI Indians reaffirmed his primary loyalty to RSS. Its respect of Indian Constitution is a sham as; for Indian Constitution; we are a secular democratic India, in contrast to Hindu nation, the soul of RSS agenda.    

Category :- English Bazaar Patrika / OPED

The violence in Bheema Koregon is still reverberating. We recall that on January 1st, thousands of dalits returning from Bheema Koregaon were beaten up. In that context the names of Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide cropped up as the instigators of violence. The probe is on. In the context of this earlier five activists, Mahesh Raut, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen and Sudhir Dhawale, working for issues related to Adivasis and dalits were arrested. Now in the month of September there was an attempt to arrest Gautam Navlakha, Sudha Bhardwaj, Warwar Rao, Vernon Gonslaves and Arun Ferreira were arrested while houses of Anand Teltumde and many others were raided. The charge as per police version is that all these activists were behind Bheema Koregaon violence, in the organizing of Elgar Parishad, where inflammatory speeches were delivered, leading to violence. In a surreal manner the police have succeeded in producing a letter ‘unearthing the conspiracy’ to kill the Prime Minster Mr. Narendra Modi. Interestingly the attempt to arrest these activists was halted due to the intervention of Supreme Court, which gave a sort of dressing down to the police, telling them that arresting these activists is like doing away with the safety valve of our democracy. These activists have been put under house arrest till further hearing.

All through; different political individuals and organizations have affirmed that these arrests earlier and now are an attempt to intimidate the dalit activists, meant to instill fear among them, these are vindictive and arbitrary. Aakar Patel; Executive Director of Amnesty International “This is not the first time that activists working on Dalit and Adivasi rights have been arrested with little evidence,” “The government should protect people’s rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly instead of creating an atmosphere of fear.” Now European Union has taken a note of these arbitrary arrests by police and has condemned these arrests and raids. It is due to actions of state like this that India has been named as one of the offenders for 'alarming' level of harsh reprisals and intimidation against those who cooperate with the UN on human rights issues.

The Supreme Court has been forthright in doubting the police action and prevented its attempt to arrest these activists and raid the houses of others. This phenomenon of reprisals against Human rights defenders is very disturbing and also points to the direction in which the present government’s Hindu nationalist agenda is leading the country. In Bheema Koregaon the blame is being put on Elgar Paraishad speeches. While most of these activists have nothing to do with organizing of Elgar Parishad, Retired Supreme Court Judge P. B. Sawant and Retired Justice Kolte Patil have stated that they were the Conveners of this meeting. So the question does arise as to why these activists have been arrested. It seems the major goal of this Government, guided by Hindutva agenda is to label every dissent as anti national, at the same time to suppress all attempts are on to snub those who are trying to help dalits assert their dignity and help demand their rights.

Let’s remember that with this government coming to power the dalit assertion has been targeted all through. Starting with banning of Periyar Ambedkar study circle (IIT Madras) they went on to target the Ambedkar Students Association in Hyderabad Central University leading to institutional murder of Rohith Vemula. In the aftermath of Vemula’s suicide, massive upsurge of dalits all over the country did give rise to a dalit movement, with other social groups chipping in for support. As Hindutva agenda of Holy Cow-Beef unfolded; with targeting of Muslim community, an unexpected parallel to this came up in the form of four dalit youth being stripped and beaten mercilessly. All over the country the discontent of dalits started getting polarized in the form of agitations launched by another dalit young man, Jignesh Mevani, who successfully organized the protests around cow issue, to emerge as a powerful voice of dalits. He has tried to combine the dalit identity and dignity with issue of land, which is the core problem of dalits in the country.

The present political agenda has tried to push the Muslim minorities into second class citizenship by picking up issues like Ram Temple, Cow-Beef, Love Jihad and Ghar Wapasi (Reconversion into Hinduism). Labeling Muslims and Christians as foreigners and in particular Muslims as anti National has been the plank of their politics. As far as dalits are concerned RSS combine has been doing multiple things to co-opt them into their fold. The first major attempt has been that of Samajik Samrasta Manch, (Social Harmony Forum) where the central theme has been to promote harmony between different castes, as RSS propagates that caste inequality is due to the Muslim invaders who tried to convert, leading to caste inequality. This has been backed up by social engineering where attempts have been made to co-opt dalits and even Adivasis into the ideology which hides inequality. Also many a dalit leaders like Ramvilas Paswan, Ramdas Athwaley and Udit Raj have been lured into the posts of power to get their support for Hindu nationalism. At cultural level they have modulated historical icons like Suhel Dev, as great Hindu warriors standing against the foreigners, the Muslims.

Still the rebellion is spilling out; the unrest of dalits is on the streets. The question of equality and dignity of dalits remains undermined. It is in this light that Maharashtra police is desperately trying to implicate those activists/scholars who have stood their ground to help bring up the movement of rights for these marginalized groups. And so this attempts to implicate them with a conference, which was convened by two retired judges. The alert citizens like Romila Thapar have done a yeomen service in invoking the Supreme Court to save the democratic ethos by stopping the reckless police action. Supreme Court has yet again proved that it can protect the rights of the marginalized sections.

Category :- English Bazaar Patrika / OPED