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Mainstream, VOL LVI No 43 New Delhi October 13, 2018

They Come in New Attire!

Monday 15 October 2018

by Binoy Viswam

These lines are being written on October 2 when Gandhiji and his teachings reverberate in the heart and soul of India. This year Gandhiji is ‘privileged’ to be showered with praises from certain unusual quarters. They are none other than the forces of the Sangh Parivar. Mohan Bhagwat, the RSS Sarsanghchalak, Narendra Modi, the Swayamsevak Prime Minister—all seem to be excited with their newly found adoration for Mahatma Gandhi. To set the ground prepared for the new exercise, Mohan Bhagwat had a series of lectures (September 17-19, 2018) at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. The sole purpose of this propaganda exercise was to provide a new facade for the RSS. No doubt they are equipping themselves for the decisive battle in 2019.

The aggressive posture of Hindutva and its philosophical gamut of racial pride have ensured a distinct support-base for the RSS. Based on that, they have succeeded in making political inroads into the body politic of India. The theory and practice of Hindutva was found to be something that appeals to the Hindu psyche of the country. By mixing religion with politics they did score certain political mileage. The 2014 election was its climax. Hollow promises coupled with cunning rhetoric and unending flow of financial support gave them remarkable yield. But that success story is on the reverse now. The promises and policies are moving in opposite directions. The miseries of the people are mounting up. The people’s anger is manifested in various forms. As a result of all these the Hindutva ideology itself is facing a crisis. The preachings and persuasions on which they were relying for several decades have failed. Hence, the RSS is in search of a new garb. While remaining uncompromisingly loyal to the fascist philosophy of Hindutva, they are eager to present themselves in a new attire. In many of the recent speeches and statements of the RSS-BJP leaders, this eagerness is quite visible. When Mohan Bhagwat himself is the originator of the new public relations endeavours, all his lieutenants, including Narendra Modi, follow suit.

The RSS-BJP always swears in the name of patriotism and national pride. But they were present nowhere in the heroic and diverse saga of Indian independence struggle. This undeniable truth of history haunts them terribly. Being experts in distorting history they are bent to appropriate a place for them in the pages of the freedom struggle. As a part of that exercise, Mohan Bhagwat made the claim that RSS founder Hedgewar was an active Congress worker, who had participated in the non-cooperation move-ment. He purposefully hides the fact that this Congress worker was literally disillusioned with the Congress slogan of Hindu-Muslim unity. And out of this bitterness he looked for a new path that led him to none other than Mussolini. He did not disclose the fact that this former Congressman was the one who sent his closest aide, Dr Munje, to meet Mussolini. It was after that meeting and getting lessons from Mussolini that Munje came back to India with a prepared note on Mussolini and his fascist organisation. Mohan Bhagwat further opted not to tell that the RSS was founded based on the teachings of Mussolini.

This is just one example of what has happened in the three-day lecture series. They were trying to present the RSS perspective on the ‘future of Bharat’. Their strategy was to establish that the RSS is not anti-Muslim, not against reservation and, above all, not ‘manuvadi’. In fact it was a marvellous reflection of the RSS expertise in ‘bahubhashan’. That means preaching diametri-cally opposite views from the same source in order to gather support from various sections holding even opposite views. Beneath the ‘bahubhashan’ lies their unchangeable concept of Hindutva. Reporting on the lecture series the RSS mouthpiece, Organiser, wrote on September 30: “Sarsanghchalak Sri Mohan Bhagwat delivered a lecture series on the RSS vision of Future Bharat and besides the usual naysayers, for everyone, it created a positive vibration. Some might have started interpreting it as the new RSS; the reality is, the same philosophical foundation of Hindutva the Sangh has laid down, the same vision it stands for, for the larger audience.” Thus the cat has come out of the bag! At the end of the story, for the RSS nothing has changed. That’s why they criticise those interpreters who talk about the ‘new RSS’ which is the same philosophical foundation of Hindutva! It is the same vision itstands for!The new apparel is only meant forthe larger audience. This shows that nothing will change in the RSS; rather nothing can be changed in the philoso-phical foundation of Hindutva.

Those foundations are laid in their holy book called Bunch of Thoughts. In it they have named the internal enemies of the country. They are the Muslims, Christians and Communists. (Chapters 19, 20, 21) The bunch of thoughts have laid the conditions before the minorities have equal status as citizens of India, that is, they should accept the religion, culture and language of the nation. It urges the Muslims, Christians and other minorities to uphold the Hindutva-based religion as the nation’s religion. The moment they talk of the religion of the nation the very foundation of secularism would break into pieces. But the RSS is least concerned about this. The philosophical trait of Hindutva emerges from the fascist thoughts of Hitler that declared Jews, Christians and Communists as the internal enemies of Germany. That’s why Golwalkar praised Hitler’s Germany as a model land for Hindustan. According to him, that model land has taught the world that different cultures cannot exist under one roof. That continues to be the cornerstone of fascism everywhere. It is the child of the marriage between racial pride and finance capital. Its versions may change from country to country and time to time. The RSS is the Indian version of fascism trying to adapt to Indian conditions. The people of India should be cautioned to be on their vigil against the new strategies of the RSS.

The author, a former Minister of Forests and Housing in the erstwhile LDF Government in Kerala, is a member of the Central Secretariat of the CPI.

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