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Home > 2021 > Is The RSS Stronger or Weaker After 100 Years? | Kancha Ilaiah (...)

Mainstream, VOL LX No 1, New Delhi, December 18/December 25, 2021 (double issue)

Is The RSS Stronger or Weaker After 100 Years? | Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd

Friday 17 December 2021, by Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd


There is an interesting discussion taking place in a section of the media that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh 100 years existence will be celebrated in 2025 like the Chinese Communist Party celebrated its 100 years existence on this planet.No doubt the RSS is also in power at Delhi and in many states, if not exactly like the CPC. The nation knows though a proxy political network, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is said to be in power the actual power operator in India is the RSS. This situation raises many questions. How will they celebrate it? Will they do like what the Chinese Communist Party has done? If so, for what modern transformation of India under their rule? Such questions are one set of them. The more important other set of questions are about how to assess the RSS as an organization? Methodologically all the studies about this organization were done from the point of its anti-Muslim ideology and hence the secular nationalism Vs Hindutva nationalism has been the core. The determining paradigms so far to examine its role was the partition, accommodating remaining Muslims, as they too were rulers for long time and also rulers in the neighboring states, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The secular school was for good accommodation and the RSS was against it.

All the scholars who wrote about the RSS were Dwijas who hardly differed with its foundational fundamentals. Its critiquing Dwija scholars too were in agreement with the RSS’ Brahminic Sanathan Sanskritic traditional discourse. The Nehruvian secular nationalists were for the accommodation of the Muslim elite in the state structure and the RSS Hindutva nationalists were against such Muslim accommodation. Gradually the differences arose on the questions of accommodation of Muslims in the state handling of welfare agendas. But nobody assessed the strength and weakness of the RSS from Other Indian---the Shudra/Dalit/Adivasi— point of view. Till the RSS came to power both in 1999 and more fully in 2014 the Viswarupam of the RSS as against the basic productive masses was not seen by the organic Indian intellectuals who came from the productive masses, who cooperated with its anti-Muslim agendas.

Till they exhausted their anti-Muslim agendas like abrogation of Article 370, beginning of construction of Ram temple, CAA implementation, Triple Talaq they mainly remained around them. The only major issue that is still on RSS’ book about the Muslim population is Uniform Civil Code. The Muslims constitute according to the 2011 census about 170 Million that is about 14 percent of the Indian population. This is much less than the Dalit population itself. Apart from Dalits, who are suffering human untouchability, 52 percent Shudras (both reserved and unreserved castes) and Adivasis are not part of secular Vs communal discourse formation. The so-called mainstream writers on the RSS have no methodological tools to examine the main ideological contradiction between the productive forces—Shudra/Dalit/Adivasis—and the RSS leadership with its pre-modern Sanathan ideology and organization structures and how they handled un-equal, but spiritually emotive Hindutva relations. The RSS has no single equilibrium idea in relation to caste, production and development and its Hindutva spiritual and social system. Once these contradictions as it happened around its farm laws decision, and the farmer’s rebellion, began expressing its weakness but not the strength. In last 100 years it kept these contradictions rapped up under safran rugs with an anti-Muslim agenda. The heads of the Shudras/Dalits/Adivasis are just filled with anti-Muslim ideas. Its wish that these forces can be contained through its brainwashing of Saraswati Vidhya Kendras would not work in the future. When they are ruling the state and controlling all the resources of the nation without passing on to the productive forces such brainwashing around so-called cultural nationalism does not work. No scholar so far told this truth to them.

The first major decision that the RSS made through its political wing—the BJP- in the parliament was handing over the agrarian sector to the monopoly capitalists who were fully aligned with RSS ideology in the recent past. The Shudra/Dalit/Adivasi agrarian masses have tasted what it is up to, once it achieved its anti-Muslim goals and turned to the productive masses. They have now realized that it is a Dronacharya and Eklavya relationship even within their shakhas. In most of the anti-Muslim agendas, the Shudra/OBCs have gone along with them with a hope that once they come to power their equal development with Dwijas unlike in the secular nationalist paradigm will be an assured thing. Because they have sacrificed more for the RSS cause.

But they have not produced the intellectuals to study its very birth with a pre-modern sanatan brahminic ideology where spiritual and social inequalities are an essential component. The Hindutva, its founders Hedgewar and Golwalkar encoded into its being is anti-Shudra/Dalit/Adivasi in a historical sense. Its anti-Muslim agenda was basically formulated only in colonial times with a collaborative posture with European Aryanism.

The anti-reservation utterances (the latest being that of Shanta Kumar former BJP CM Himachal Pradesh), of its leaders, its anti-farmer farm laws, its silent allowing of 750 deaths and one with a vehicle crushing conspiracy and the way farmers fought without any secular or communist party involvement to victory and celebration is a counter new narrative of productive India. This India began to see the real face of the Hindutva ideology. Even the foreign writers on the RSS like Christophe Jeffrelot did not understand how deepening Phule-Amabedkar ideology and the spiritual democratic ethos that Sikhism have injected into educated Shudra/Dalit/Adivasi forces that can fight the RSS sanathanism once it displays its original DNA.

There is good side of the RSS coming to power with a massive support of the Shudra/Dalit/Adivasi forces to see where it takes the country from power. What it can do to the constitution that gave basic democratic rights to the productive masses. From outside power, it was carrying anti-Muslim agenda with credibility because the masses have not seen what it will do from power. The secular nationalists did not allow the discourse of Hindutva or Hinduism to come to the central stage.

The Congress top leaders (they too are Dwija) now are writing and speaking that they are Hindu not Hindutva. The Shudra/OBCs mainly are at a crossroad, while the intellectual Dalits are saying that we have our Ambedkarite Navayana Buddhism. The Adivasis still have a space to embrace any religion and also use reservations and so on. The Shudra/OBCs have not yet produced many globally exposed English educated intellectuals to study the Hindutva or even Hindu Dwija designs.

The farmers movement only has shown, as it was the greatest movement in the known Indian history of food producers to challenge, rather successfully in spite of 750 deaths, the mighty ruling RSS, which is claiming that it is the biggest organization in the world, what it would be without their support. The RSS can celebrate its right-wing centralized strength like the left centralized strength of the communist party of China, but the caste system that its ancient ancestors constructed will also do something that they never anticipated.

The communist parties took 34 years from power in West Bengal to crumble completely. But power was its way for fall not to rise. The RSS is in power now. Let us wait and see what will happen to it too.

(Author: Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd is a political theorist, social activist and author. His most known books are Why I am Not a Hindu—A Shudra Critique of Hindutva philosophy, Culture and Political Economy, and Post-Hindu India—A Discourse in Dalitbahujan Socio-Spiritual and Scientific Revolution)

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