RSS and Bahujan philosophy   

In his forthcoming book, ‘RSS aur Bahujan Chintan’, to be published by Forward Press, Kanwal Bharti exposes the double-faced RSS and its attempts to co-opt Ambedkar. He does so while reviewing booklets published by the organization as part of its Rashtriya Jagran Abhiyan. Here, Kanwal Bharti introduces the book

Many years ago, I was at the house of my relatives in Moradabad. There, some booklets of Rashtriya Jagran Abhiyan were on the table. On closer look, I understood what they were about. When I asked my relative about the source of the booklets, he told me that they had been distributed in the colony. He further said that a gentleman regularly escorted Dalit youth of the colony to the “shakha”. I brought these booklets home. I spent a couple of days reading them and took some notes as well, with the intention of writing about them later. Since I had other work at the time, I put the booklets in a plastic bag and set them aside. But I forgot about them. However, when the BJP came to power at the Centre and in Uttar Pradesh and the Rashtriya Jagran Abhiyan of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) reared its head again, I remembered I had those booklets. After a daylong search I found them buried under a heap of books. There were eight booklets in all:

  1. Garv se Kaho Hum Hindu Hain – Kyun?
  2. Athato Tatva Jigyasa: Prashnottri
  3. Rasthriya Aandolan aur Sangh
  4. Adarsh Hindu Ghar
  5. Hindu Sanskriti aur Paryavaran
  6. Gauvansh: Rakshan, Paalan aur Sanvardharn
  7. Nari Jagran aur Sangh
  8. Swadeshi: Desh ka Pran

Besides these, I found another booklet named Sangh Gatha, written for RSS workers. These booklets were kept in a four-page folder which had ‘Rashtriya Jagran Abhiyan’ written on it.

Let me tell you about the folder first. There are pictures of RSS Sarsanghchalaks Guru Golwalkar and Dr Hedgewar printed on it. At the bottom, it says “Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Meerut prant”.

The text on the folder begins with these lines:

“The largest voluntary organization in the world, reflecting the power of the nation and therefore, considered of utmost importance by its well-wishers, but that is seen as aggressive by the communal and religious fanatic enemies of the country. What, after all, is the Sangh? Why and how did it begin? What are its ideology, inspiration and values?”           

Further, quoting Dr Hedgewar, it says that he wondered, “If our country was so good, why was it that we were always humiliated by outsiders. Is it possible to save the freedom that all of us have worked to attain? This is really an important question.”

Then the text states:

“Through the study of history and meeting great men of contemporary India, he came to the conclusion that India was an eternal and an old civilization. The Hindu community has been traditionally regarded as  sons of this nation, whose efforts and toil led to the nation’s development, and the world regarded Mother India as its spiritual guru. It dazzled the world with its bravery, knowledge and prosperity. This Hindu community also made many sacrifices. The identity of this nation is Hindu and that is how the world sees it.”     

Thousands of Muslims were ruthlessly killed in the Gujarat riots of 2002

Regarding India’s downfall, the text says, “When we were divided for selfish reasons, forgot our real identity and could not differentiate between those who belonged to us and those who did not, the enemy took advantage. The country was constantly humiliated by the Muslims and the British. For 1200 years, the Hindu community fought for its independence. The Hindu community must rise above its differences and come together as patriots to end the misery and restore the honour of the nation.”

Further, aiming at the Dalits, it is written:

The founder of the Sangh, Dr Hedgewar, spoke of one goal – that our work should unite the entire Hindu community. “It cannot ignore anyone and everybody must be treated kindly. High or low, caste differences should not cross our minds. All who revere India are Hindus and every Hindu is a brother of mine.” From day one, Sangh brought this ideal of equality in its attitude. In 1935, at an RSS camp in Wardha, Mahatma Gandhi had high praise for the Sangh. Dr Ambedkar too considered the Sangh to be free of caste discrimination and untouchability. The third president of the Sangh, Shri Balasaheb Deoras, even said, ‘If untouchability is not a crime, nothing is.’”

In the Introduction, we will discuss these issues. Briefly, the points are:

  1. Communalism and religious fanaticism 2. Continuous humiliation by foreigners 3. The ‘son’ tradition of Hindu society 4. Global guru 5. Hindu as national identity 6. Mutual divisiveness and victory of the enemy 7. 1200 years of Indian slavery 8. Organization of Hindu society 9. Ambedkar’s praise for the Sangh 10. Sangh and the Dalits

Let us begin.

Communalism and religious fanaticism

RSS says that the accusations of communalism and religious fanaticism against it by its opponents are not correct. If we accept this assertion, then they will have to answer the following:

  1. Why do they oppose religious conversion?
  2. Why did they go on a rampage in areas where Dalits chose to convert to another religion?
  3. Why did it force the BJP government into enacting a law prohibiting religious conversions?
  4. In the tribal areas, why did their organization orchestrate murderous attacks on Christian priests and churches. Why did they damage the churches? Why were they instrumental in the murder of priests? In Odisha, why were Graham Staines, who was working to educate tribal youth, and his very young sons burnt alive?
  5. Why were violent protests held against Tribals converting to Christianity?

Co-option: A portrait of B.R. Ambedkar is placed alongside K.B. Hedgewar’s during an RSS march

Not one RSS leader has ever condemned these shameful incidents of communalism and bigotry. The reason for this is that the Hindu Jagran Manch was responsible for these incidents. It is an organization that works against the minorities and is active in 17 states under different names. In Delhi, it is called the “Hindu Manch”, in Tamil Nadu, “Hindu Munani”, in Maharashtra it is “Hindu Ekjut”, etc. RSS calls it a “Manch” (platform), so that one can be a part of it without formal membership. One can easily guess how unbridled such platforms are against the minorities. None of the Sangh leaders expressed anguish on the murder of Dalits and Muslims by the gau-bhakts (cow-worshippers). Last year, when five Dalits were beaten to death outside a police station in Jhajjar, Haryana, on suspicion of cow slaughter, one RSS leader said, “The life of a cow is more important than that of a human being.” While the minorities were terrorized by these statements, the RSS gave full patronage to the Hindu Manch and the cow worshippers. It is this kind of incitement that had earlier led to violence such as that in Una.

In 2016, gau rakshaks flogged Dalits in Una, Gujarat, for skinning a dead cow

Do incidents of this kind not clearly display communalism and bigotry? For those who still find it difficult to believe that the organization is communal or bigoted, they can probably understand it through the issue of the Ram temple. What is this issue of Ram lalla? Can a historian or an archivist prove that Ram was born at the same place where the Babri Masjid was built? Not even science or archaeology have been able to prove that Ram was born at that spot. That is because, unlike Buddha and Mahavir, Ram is not a historical figure; he originates in the folk tradition. But RSS leaders insist that Ram was born exactly where the Babri Masjid stood. And that is why on 6 December 1992, a mob of thousands of RSS workers and other Hindutva workers like the Shiv Sainiks destroyed the Masjid. Its leaders proclaim that it is a matter of faith for the Hindus, not a matter of history or archaeology. Then the question is: The faith of which Hindus? The answer is: The Hindus of the RSS. Now to provoke the Muslim community, they are saying: “The temple will be built; try and stop it, whoever can!”

RSS and other Hindutva workers climb atop Babri Masjid to demolish the structure in 1992

Following the argument that if Hindus could reach Shiva, then Muslims too could reach Adam, in 1987, Syed Imam Bukhari established the Adam Sena as opposed to Shiv Sena. Along the lines of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, a Vishwa Muslim Parishad, too, was created in 1990. But this Muslim organization does not exist anymore. Why is it not there? The answer to this can be found in the current repression of the Bhim Army and its leaders by the Yogi government.

Deshraj Goyal was an active worker of the RSS in the 1980s. His infatuation ended when he saw the RSS campaign against Muslims and he quickly distanced himself. Based on his experiences, he wrote a booklet Rashtriya Sevak Sangh: Stronghold of Communalism. In it, he writes:

“The fundamental ideology of Rashtriya Sevak Sangh is aggressive opposition of Muslims. Muslims are described as ruthless killers and rapists. Rumours are spread far and wide in the country to provoke the Hindus. If this too fails, rumours are spread about  possible attacks by Muslims. At one place where people were not provoked by the rumours, RSS workers put up handwritten posters in Urdu. These were stuck in places where maximum people could read them. These posters were aimed to provoke the Muslims and urged them to kill the Hindus to attain heaven.”

Hindutva mobs burnt down churches and homes and killed tribal Christians in 2008

If some people still have doubts about the communal and bigoted nature of the organization, one may only recall its “Odisha scheme” of 2008, in which its groups – the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal – set fire to about a thousand tribal Christian houses in Kandhamal. Thirty were killed and thousands were rendered homeless. No one can compete with the Hindus of the RSS when it comes to burning the houses of Dalits and Muslims. In this barbaric task, they are best skilled men in the world. The brutal attack on Christians was just like the 2002 attack on Muslims in Gujarat. In Gujarat, Muslims were slaughtered, women were raped and the stomachs of pregnant women were ripped open and the unborn children were cut to pieces with swords. This was allegedly to avenge the Godhra incident while the killings in Kandhamal was to avenge the murder of a Hindu leader, Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati, and his four disciples. It would seem that the right to take revenge belongs to RSS Hindus alone. That is why only the armies of the RSS can take revenge, not Bhim Army or Adam Sena.

The biggest lie, therefore, is that RSS is not a communal or a bigoted organization.

In the pages that follow, I will present a logical review of the above-mentioned eight booklets of RSS’ Rashtriya Jagran Abhiyan. Besides, I will expose two more lies. First, “Veer Savarkar was the first Dalit saviour of India” and the second, “Hindu Ambedkar of RSS”. The fraudulent  intentions of RSS have been revealed in these two lies.

On my Facebook page, I had expressed my wish to write a long series of articles on RSS’ Rashtriya Jagran Manch. Mr Pankaj Shrivastava (I was introduced to him when he was working with Amar Ujala in Lucknow and I often met him there) suggested that I give this series to  the website Media Vigil. This was a good idea, as I was able to maintain continuity in writing. I wrote the first part on 22 June 2017 and the last was written on 29 October 2017. In this way, I was able to come up with a new book in four months while simultaneously working on other projects.  

If this book is able to make the Dalit and backward communities even slightly vigilant against the dangerous organization that the RSS is, I will consider my effort worthwhile.

Translation: Maitreyee Saha; copy-editing: Ravinder/Anil/Ivan


   

Forward Press also publishes books on Bahujan issues. Forward Press Books sheds light on the widespread problems as well as the finer aspects of Bahujan (Dalit, OBC, Adivasi, Nomadic, Pasmanda) society, culture, literature and politics. Contact us for a list of FP Books’ titles and to order. Mobile: +917827427311, Email: info@forwardmagazine.in)

The titles from Forward Press Books are also available on Kindle and these e-books cost less than their print versions. Browse and buy:

The Case for Bahujan Literature

Mahishasur: A people’s hero

Dalit Panthers: An Authoritative History

Mahishasur: Mithak wa Paramparayen

The Common Man Speaks Out

Jati ke Prashn Par Kabir

                                     

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