What lies behind the Khaki shorts?

By Dilip Prabhudesai
16 November 2010 08:09 IST

The recent allegation by Rahul Gandhi that the RSS was similar in its fundamental nature to the banned SIMI was closely followed by the linking of RSS leader Indresh Kumar to the Ajmer bomb blast case. A nation-wide agitation has been initiated by the entire Sangh Parivar to expose the “hidden agenda” of the Congress to malign the RSS and to protest against the “dragging of its name” into acts of terror.

Instead of listening to either of the political players, it would be advisable to turn back the pages of history books and take a look at some hard facts.

The “Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh” was formed in 1925 under the leadership of Dr. K. B. Hedgewar on the Hindu holy day of Vijaya Dashami (the triumphant tenth day of the moon) in the Maharashtrian city of Nagpur. According to Hindu mythology, this is the day when in a holy war, Lord Rama, the God king, triumphed over Ravana "the demon king".

The Sangh and its other Parivar organisations have successfully used the name of Rama as a ploy to garner Hindu votes for the BJP and drum up anti-Muslim hatred. In addition to the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, the RSS has been implicated in numerous communal riots all over India. Events like the destruction of the Babri Masjid, the persecution of Muslims in Gujarat and Christians in Orissa have all had the shadow of the RSS pass over them. These are the credentials of what claims to be “a cultural organisation”.

The shakhas of the RSS propagate a notion of Hindu culture that is actually a definition of a majoritarian and authoritarian rashtra where Hindus, under RSS direction, will lay down the rules by which the minorities will have to abide. This credo of an organisation that claims to be nationalist is the very antithesis of the concept of “a secular, socialist, democratic republic” as enshrined in the preamble to our Constitution.

This sort of double-speak is ingrained in the peculiar brand of “culture” that the RSS propagates. Having grown out of Hindu-Muslim communal conflicts in the 1920s, the Sangh continues to feed on the powerful poison of hatred. It hated Mahatma Gandhi for his supposed appeasement of Muslims. Nathuram Godse, the Mahatma’s assassin, had been associated with the RSS, although he was not a member at the time. The RSS has always vehemently denied being linked to the murder, although it also conveniently terms the act as “Gandhivadh”. The RSS was banned on 4 February 1948. Even Vallabhbhai Patel, who had been for some time sympathetic towards the RSS, and whose legacy the RSS claims, was firmly convinced of its implicit involvement.

Later, in post-independent India, the RSS has always defended itself by claiming that charges of its involvement in communal riots are motivated propaganda 

by “pseudo-secularists”. Yet history is witness to the fact that at least three commissions of enquiry have found RSS inspiration behind anti-Muslim and anti-Christian riots. Direct cadre participation might not have been established, but it has been recorded that long-term and sustained communal propaganda by the RSS led to the riots in mention.

In fact, the RSS has always distanced itself from any of its members who have been directly implicated in cases of violence and rioting. Lack of a proper member-roster has facilitated this escape route by which anybody who is caught “in flagrante delicto” is revealed to have quit the organisation some time back. The obvious that is not considered relevant is that even if the individual was no longer part of the organisation, the seeds of hatred and violence were sown when he was part of it.

The RSS has been often accused of being fascist in nature. Its leaders have argued that it has proved its humanitarian spirit by its efficiency, discipline, courage and capacity in organising relief during various catastrophes in the country. In the wake of the 1946 riots, a member of Gandhiji’s entourage was impressed by the RSS cadres’ work at Wagah, a major transit camp for Punjab refugees. Gandhiji had then observed that “But don’t forget even Hitler’s Nazis and the Fascists under Mussolini have such work to their credit”.

In fact M S Golwalkar, who was appointed by Hedgewar as his successor, had made many laudatory references to Hitler and his theories of racial supremacy in his pamphlet-like book “We and Our Nationhood Defined”, published in 1938. An excerpt - "German race pride has now become the topic of the day. To keep up the purity of the race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races-the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole - a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by". The Hindu Mahasabha leader Veer Savarkar, who was much-respected in RSS circles, had once proclaimed "If we Hindus grow stronger in time, Muslims will have to play the part of German Jews”.

Adolf Hitler has been an icon for the RSS and many of its leaders, even of recent vintage. Today, even as Al Qaeda’s acts of terror seem like child’s play when compared to Hitler’s genocidal deeds, the same RSS wants to convince the nation that it does not befit the Congress to label Hitler’s admirers as terrorists or permit the Anti Terrorist Squad to arrest one of them on the basis of convincing evidence of being involved in an act of terror.

Do we need some more Godhras and Kandhamals before we wake up to the truth? Will another couple of Babri Masjids convince us? Or shall we wait till Nanded and Ajmer are replicated all over the country?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dilip Prabhudesai

An electrical engineer by profession and social activist by compulsion, loves the wild, dabbles in theatre, and is a cine buff.

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Previous Comments

People all over India would find it strange that the Catholic Church and RSS joined hands to defeat a congress Govt in the recent election and this would add a new chapter in "Ajibness" of us goans. But we people of Goa understand the things batter. No body accept the RSS workers like RSS. We know that their concept of Hindu nation is nonsence though it is a gospel truth from them. yet catholics on large scale voted for BJP. DEspite the fact that in past BJP in Goa did several act of communal violance against catholics and muslims such as the anti muslim riots in savordem, burning of mosque in porvorim, reqular RSS neusance of Cross breakings at night, Bomb blast at Margao etc. Even when PArrikar became CM RSS celebrated by braking Crosses and churches at mapusa and other places. Yet it was important to defeat Congress. We used to vote for congress but it was congress (I). In Goa as on today is Congress (R) for CONGRESS RANE GROUP. This congress R is more dangerous than RSS. It is run by 5 families, Rane, Churchill, Monserat, Ravi and Madkaikar and these people are far more dangerous than RSS. We know that parrikar too is currupt despite all the chamchagiri that all press reporters in goa are doing and painting his christ like image. But we know that there is no better option right now to fight Congress R. Pratap Rane is a shameless person but Congress at Centre should have some shame before apointing him as leader of opposition. If RSS-BJP is ruling goa through their leader PArrikar it is all because of Rane and his gang of 5.

- Peter, Margao | 20 th April 2012 09:03

 

Dilipbab,

You have mentioned all the recent riots where RSS is supposed to have been involved. Why would you not bring in the 1984 riots that killed thousands of innocent Sikhs. To me you are a blatant biased Congress supporter. Nothing less!

RSS bashing is a good sport!

Sachin

- Sachin Naik, Goa | 19 th April 2012 00:49

 

Dear Dilipbab

You have a great style of writing but

.The RSS has never propagated hatred about muslims but always reacted to events which have anti national ramnifications.Aggressive? yes it is but not destructive.

All that you have written are opinions and nothing of facts except the article by Golvalker. That too has been written before his joining the organisation. My humble request is that if you are representing the free press of this country,please refrain from sowing hatred

however glamourous it may look. The only achievement out of this is diisservice to national unity.

- Mayuresh Khanvte, Ponda Goa | 07 th February 2012 08:17

 

Dear Author,

I request you to make same sort of study on – Jamat – ud – Dawa, Mujahiddins, Indian Mujahiddins, Jamat-e-Muslim, etc.. so on and so forth and also Church Agenda and truth behind White Cloths.

If you do so then not only me but all the people who have written below, will write above and all those who read will salute you.

Requesting you to show the same courage.

- Purushottam, ponda | 09 th December 2010 09:36

 

A Very stereotypical RSS bashing far from truth. Author has only toed the same line which is generally adopted by Congress and Communists.

RSS has a constitution pretty much approved by Indian government, hence RSS's core can not be in conflict with Indian constitution.

--The shakhas of the RSS propagate a notion of Hindu culture that is actually a definition of a majoritarian and authoritarian rashtra where Hindus, under RSS direction, will lay down the rules by which the minorities will have to abide. ------

I don't see from where author gets that. An assertion that I believe requires proof.

When to comes to Golwalkar's book "We the nationhood....". I am pretty sure that author is writing based on hearsay and not reading the book.

This book was written by Golwalkar long before he joined RSS. He himself denounced this book citing that he was wrong. Why can we say that RSS actually changed Golwalkar for good ?

It is true that we see violent outburst from Hindu community at various points in history of independent India and credit goes to RSS. Not for the "sowing seeds of hatred" and all that bullshit but because RSS has managed to unite Hindus who earlier quietly took the beating. Gujarat riot were a reaction to the Godhra carnage, same is the case with Anti-Christian riots in Odisha.

RSS is probably the only voice that Hindus have got for themselves, not certainly without faults and possibly RSS has done more harm to Hinduism than good, but it is nothing of the Author claims it is.

In my opinion RSS is simply not Hindu enough. It is an organization that makes all right noises but when someone criticizes them they run back into their holes.

- Akshar, Panaji | 23 rd November 2010 02:20

 

A very straight forward factual essay exposing the chauvanistic ideology of the RSS.

- rahul, prabhudesai | 18 th November 2010 13:36

 

Well said, author, you had the courage to express yourself. One can read a lot from the title, it sets one thinking.

Yea, out of all the 'swadeshi' ideology they would otherwise profess, why choose a western outfit and above all "a danda" with it to arm themselves for what ? I cannot resist imagining it symbolises aggressiveness rather than cultural anything, Their actions are louder than words even when camoufaged.

- Ludovico, Old-Goa | 18 th November 2010 12:40

 

A fine article with a salutary warning. Thank you, Sir!

I hope I won't be accused of trivialising the issue by commenting on the title you have chosen for the article. It's always struck me as bizarrely incongruous that an organisation with the nationalist aspirations of the RSS have chosen, out of all possibilities, KHAKI SHORTS as part of its standard uniform; a garment so emblematic of British Empire rule (in appearance almost comically so) and Indian subservience, not to mention its further associations with the Boy Scouts movement. However, by retaining their khaki shorts at least they might deter some, who might otherwise have been sympathetic, from taking them seriously.

- raj kapoor, London, England | 17 th November 2010 21:55

 

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