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

RSS: Futile Attempt at Cosmetics by Mohan Bhagwat

Monday 15 October 2018, by Anil Rajimwale

Mohan Bhagwat made a laborious and futile attempt at cosmetics of the RSS at a lecture series intended “to reach out to a cross-section of the people” outside the ‘Sangh fraternity’.

“You need not believe all that I have said during the last three days,” was the only notable utterance the RSS chief (Sarsanghachalak) Mohan Bhagwat made in an address in Delhi on September 17-19 on the “Future of Bharat: An RSS Perspective”, with himself as the sole speaker.

The exercise turned out to be a damp squib and a futile attempt to do some cosmetics on ‘The Sangh as it is’. The RSS chief made some absurd claims, totally at variance with reality and even with some of the RSS’ own claims.

Mohan Bhagwat tried to ‘appear’ as a democrat, a believer in India’s Constitution, as a ‘real’ Indian, a friend of all the people, etc. through his long-winded explanations. He got three full days, yet failed to ‘renew’ the RSS. Really, we ‘need not believe in all that’, he said!

The problem with the RSS is that it wants to present itself in colours it does not possess. It fails to understand that substituting a Hindi or Sanskrit word for English in itself does not make one ‘Bharatiya’. It has to understand the essence and the spirit of the land of ‘unity in diversity’, of its composite culture. It has failed to grasp the great richness of even Hindu traditions, culture and philosophy.

RSS believes in Indian Constitution!

Says Bhagwat, “Bharat is a democratic nation, and we respect all symbols of democracy. The Constitution of India is one of the prime symbols of democracy because it is the outcome of our collective consciousness.” Does the RSS really believe in secularism, democracy and socialism? Just recently, in its Independence Day Special, the RSS mouthpiece, Organiser, clearly stated that it does not believe in democracy, secularism and socialism!

Simultaneously, the RSS carries on a poisonous campaign against the Christians, Muslims and other minorities, even against Dalits among Hindus, in clear violation of the basic principles of our Constitution.

The RSS repeatedly invokes Swami Viveka-nanda, presenting him as a Hindu and a Vedantist etc. Nothing wrong in it. Yet Vivekananda was not anti-Muslim or anti-other religions.

RSS: Militarist Attempts at ‘Man-making’

The RSS has become the self-appointed maker of ‘good’ human beings (‘vyakti-nirman’). What is good is decided by the RSS. This way, the RSS will spread to far corners to coincide with society itself. Bhagwat says the Sangh is for ‘Sarvalokyukta’ or all-inclusive society, not to exclude (‘mukta’). Then he himself asks the question: “...then the fundamental question comes that why we are doing this only for the Hindus”?! Simply because everybody is a ‘Hindu’!! And then follows a long, pathetic and sterile rigmarole.

The whole thing smacks of a militaristic project, creating a society of silent and ‘devoted’ individuals, listening to the hollow words of preachers like Bhagwat, believing that they are moulded individuals (‘nirmit vyakti’!) ready for use in the RSS factory of Hindu automatons! Everybody in India is a Hindu, simply because the RSS tells them to be so.

The RSS wants the Indian nation to ‘go forward’. Where to? The RSS has no answer, except repeating the word ‘ancient’ ad infinitum.

Word ‘Hindu is Foreign’!

The big problem with the RSS is that it has to function in a pluralistic, democratic, multi-cultural Indian society, not to its liking at all. Therefore it has to keep making the right sounds, which are in fact quite hollow.

The RSS is at a loss how to ‘Hinduise’ such a society. But Bhagwat has found a way out. Among his sudden discoveries is that: “The word ‘Hindu’ derives from abroad, from Persia. We don’t have this word in the ancient Indian texts.” There follows a detailed and highly involved explanation of how this word came to India, and things began to be referred to as ‘Hindu’, creating problems for the already Hinduised RSS!

The RSS, which rejects everything foreign, has embraced this particular foreign word, ‘Hindu’, for its very existence. Many others, including Marxist historians, had pointed out the foreign origin of the word Hindu long ago. But then the RSS would not accept any piece of wisdom from the ‘anti-nationals’. Bhagwat has forgotten to mention that even the Aryans were ‘foreigners’, who constitute the source of Hindu ‘race’ in RSS texts.

Bhagwat further twists and turns Indian history several times to somehow reach the conclusion that the ‘invaders’ attacked the diverse belief systems here, forcing them to group into one ‘Hindu’ identity!!!

So far, the RSS has been claiming the ancient ancestry of Hindu traditions etc. refusing to admit the diversity of the Indian belief system, claiming everything was ‘Hindu’! But now the ‘invaders’ are ‘blamed’ for the crime of rendering us Hindus!! Really one does not know what to make of it all. Perhaps he was overwhelmed by a ‘democratic’ audience and tried to find some escape route!

Just see, for example, what Bhagwat says further. According to him, ‘There exists no specific Hindu Shastra because they were created before the word Hindu became prevalent.’

In that case, Hindutva, propagated by the RSS, too is a ‘post-Hindu’ thought, and there really does not exist anything Hindu before ‘sa’ became ‘ha’! This is a comic presentation of the RSS case by its chief.

He claims that the day the Muslims are said to be unwanted here, Hindutva will cease to be Hindutva.

Is it for this reason that the RSS is running a campaign against the Muslims and other minorities? Why are they and others excluded from both the pre- and post-Hindu Hindutva?!

Why Hindu Rashtra then?

Why is there so much noise about the so-called Hindu Rashtra then? Does it represent the ‘pre-Hindu’ discovery or the ‘post-‘ or both? The RSS has repeatedly stated that Muslims have no place ‘in our society’ except when they follow everything dictated to them by the ‘Hindus’ (read ‘the RSS’).

Bhagwat says to understand the RSS, one must understand Dr Hedgewar. Okay, no problem. But Dr Hedgewar contradicts Bhagwat, Guru Golwalkar also contradicts Bhagwat, and Bhagwat contradicts them both!

In the RSS publication Keshav: Sangh Nirmata (Sangh builder; Keshav is Dr Hedgewar), December 2014, Dr Hedgewar is clearly quoted as saying that the RSS is not a Hindu social reform organisation and does not believe in eliminating untouchability and caste differences. (See pp. 114-115)

As for the Muslims, whole passages can be found in the RSS literature, for treating them as ‘outsiders’. Both Dr Hedgewar and Guru Golwalkar downgraded and humiliated those they considered non-Hindus. Golwalkar was a disciple of Hedgewar and his ‘uttaradhikari’ or inheritor. We have no problems.

But as one who carried forward the RSS ideology, Guru Golwalkar made explicit and open references to the Muslims, trying to demean them. There are whole chapters in his book Bunch of Thoughts titled ‘Internal Threats’. (Chapter XVI) The three ‘threats’ are: the Muslims, the Christians and the Communists!! Each of them have been provided separate sub-chapters.

The latest edition at hand is of 1996. The book is so outrageous that the RSS nowadays does not mention it. That does not mean it has repudiated it. Its periodicals largely follow the ideas of the Bunch of Thoughts and of We, or Our Nationhood Defined.

The RSS in its real propaganda totally contradicts the claims of Bhagwat.

RSS on Hitler and Mussolini 

The RSS cannot escape the fact that it was deeply influenced by the ideas of Hitler and Mussolini. The 1930s and 1940s were the times when world fascism was on the rise. The RSS and Hindu Mahasabha were most enamoured of it. They adopted certain basic tenets of Nazi and fascist ideology including that of the ‘race’. Both their basic books use this word.

Just a quote or two are enough to bring out the point. This is from We, or Our Nationhood Defined: “Look at Italy, the old Roman long dormant, has roused itself” to conquer whole areas around the Mediterranean. This was in the context of Mussolini’s conquests around the European and African coast during the Second World War.

And about (Nazi) Germany: “The ancient race spirit” which prompted the German tribes to over-run Europe, has risen again “in modern Germany, with the result that the nation perforce follows” the ancient aspirations.

This is not enough. Guru Golwalkar makes it clear that the RSS looks at its own reflection in these events. He says in his book that similarly “our race spirit has roused itself once again...”! He uses the word ‘race’ for the RSS-led Indians (‘Hindus’).

Guru Golwalkar justified the annexations of Austria and other regions by Nazi Germany, praising to the skies their ‘great nationalism’.

“Modern Germany...has to a great extent achieved what she strove for, to bring under one sway the whole of the territory hereditorily possessed by the Germans... Logically Austria should not be an independent kingdom, but be one with the rest of Germany.” He also justified the German annexation of other regions, “inhabited by Germans”, which were forcibly ‘included’ in Czechoslovakia. This refers to the famous Sudetenland and other regions forcibly taken over by Hitler.

The RSS also sympathised with the perse-cution of Jews by Hitler, and saw in it a reflection of their own attitude to the Muslims etc.

RSS revising its Ideas?


Mohan Bhagwat’s lectures are no more than an eyewash and a failed attempt to impart the RSS an acceptable form. He has not explained how and why he makes certain utterances, seemingly different from the usual RSS positions. When was all this discussed in the RSS? Who made the decisions on his ‘interpretations’ of the Hindu question and so on? He has not said anything at all about Gandhi’s assassination, and other issues. Contrary and conflicting views are presented in the RSS papers at the same time as Bhagwat was trying the cosmetic changes in the RSS.

The RSS acts as if it is doing some charity, posing as ‘large-hearted’ by ‘allowing’ ‘others’ to remain ‘here’ on certain conditions. The RSS should realise that it is not a certificate-issuing authority and it has no right to label others.

The RSS has to answer a lot to the country and history.

The author is a Marxist ideologue.

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