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The chaste woman of RSS

Hindutva is the central idea of RSS’s ideology. The Hindu religion, wherein women are perceived merely as objects of gratification at the service of men, characterizes Sita, Anusuya and Padmini as superior and divine whereas women like Surpnakha, Holika and Tadka are branded as ‘Rakshasi’ and ‘Kulta’.What is the Sangh’s woman discourse? Siddharth explores:

Which form of woman is glorified by the Hindu culture, which form does it denigrate, who does it portray as great and ideal, who does it depict as ‘Kulta’ and ‘Rakshasi’, what is the basis of establishing women as ideal, ‘Kulta’ or ‘Rakshasi’?

Woman-related thoughts are an important aspect of Sangh’s ideology. Vichaar Navneet, written by Sangh’s second Sarsanghchalak, Golwalkar, is considered as its basic text by the Sangh. Solely addressed to the ‘Hindu men’, this book has been written in such a manner as if women do not have their independent existence. However, women come into the picture while it describes the duties of men. While discussing beauty contests, Golwalkar calls Sita, Savriti and Padmini (Padmavat) as ‘Adarsh Bharatiya Nari’ (ideal Indian woman). Among them, Sita and Savitri exemplify the ‘pativrata nari’ (loyal and devoted wife) while Padmini is a ‘pativrata’ Kshatrani (Kshatriya woman) who performs ‘Jauhar‘ (self-immolation to save her chastity). Simultaneously, there are depraved women who fail the parameter of ideal womanhood. Such women are perceived as ‘Kulta’, ‘Rakshasi’, ‘Dayan’ etc. within Hindu culture and Hindutva ideology.








About The Author


Dr Siddharth is an author, journalist and translator. His books include ‘Samajik Kranti ki Yoddha Savitribai Phule: Jivan ke Vividh Aayam’ and ‘Bahujan Navjagran aur Pratirodh ke Vividh Swar: Bahujan Nayak aur Nayika’. He has translated Badrinarayan’s ‘Kanshiram: Leader of Dalits’ under the title ‘Bahujan Nayak Kanshiram’ (Rajkamal Prakashan). He has also edited and annotated Ambedkar’s ‘Jati ka Vinash’ (translated by Rajkishore, Forward Press)