Despite four years of the RSS (via its pocket organization BJP) rule in India under the leadership of PM Modi, a hardened practitioner of the Hindutva politics, the RSS dream of converting democratic-secular polity of India into Hindu rashtra where Manusmriti would be law of the land seems to have fizzled out. The RSS had declared the enthronement of Modi as PM in 2014 as return of Hindu rule after almost 1000 years; last Hindu ruler being Prithvi Raj Chauhan, ruler of Ajmer. However, with strong constitutional edifice in place keeping Indian Republic functional and safe, the RSS project of undoing it as a pre-requisite for establishing Hindu State in India did not succeed. It is true that it was able to undermine parts of judiciary, administrative-cum- police, media and political set ups but the Indian constitutional polity, with in-built safeguards against the abrupt change of course, largely did not succumb to the Hindutva juggernaut.
The RSS including PM Modi knows that constitutional coup for establishing Hindu State of its dreams has not succeeded and is not likely to succeed in future. They could have waited for another victory in the next national elections due in 2019 to make another attempt but are not sure of victory. This frustration with the Indian Republic is forcing RSS to adopt more insidious steps to undo the former.
The latest statement of RSS boss, Mohan Bhagwat at Muzaffarpur, Bihar that RSS has the ability to prepare an “army” to fight for the country within three days should be seen in this context only. He told the RSS cadres of eastern India that
“Sangh will prepare military personnel within three days which the Army would do in 6-7 months. This is our capability. Swayamsewak will be ready to take on the front if the country faces such a situation and Constitution permits to do so”.[i]
He went on to declare that RSS was following army discipline and its cadres were always happily ready to make supreme sacrifice for their country. Now Bhagwat was offering to safeguard India despite India having one of the largest army apart from Territorial Army, central paramilitary forces, reserve police, home guards and NCC.
Unfortunately, many of the politicians and political commentators without realizing the sinister and anti-Indian Republic politics behind Bhagwat’s statement criticized Bhagwat only for denigrating Indian armed forces whose Supreme Commander was President of India, a seasoned RSS cadre. It is true that Bhagwat put Indian armed forces in dock but Bhagwat’s statement was stunning in another respect. It was, in fact, RSS’ open declaration of war against the Indian Republic. RSS was capable of mobilizing its militia within 3 days for the internal-external security of India. He found Constitution as the only stumbling block.
The Indian State should have immediately launched investigation into RSS Supremo’s claim that it could raise battle-ready battalions after battalions of militia in 3 days comparable to professional Indian army. It means RSS militia already exists, the RSS boss should have been called to know about the strength of the RSS militia, arms with which trained, from where finances came and details of the command hierarchy.
Even a rightist academic, Nitin Pai was worried about Bhagwat’s statement and commented:
“it is wrong and deeply worrisome to suggest that its [RSS] volunteers have any role to play in national defence or internal security. The Republic of India does not and must not outsource its fundamental responsibilities to political organisations.”[ii]
There is no doubt that Bhagwat’s threat for taking over the Indian Republic did not happen in isolation or without historical background. The RSS, flag-bearer of Hindutva politics was born in 1925 out of marriage with Hindu nationalist ideologies propounded by BS Moonje and VD Savarkar which adored Hitler and Mussolini. The militarization of Hindus and military take-over of India as a stepping stone to establish Aryan rule over the world has been a persistent project of the Hindutva ideologues.
Let us have a quick glance over Hindu nationalists’ project of militarily controlling India and the world in history.
(1) SAVARKAR AND GOLWALKAR WISHED ARYAN HINDU RULE OVER INDIA &THE WORLD
Both the prominent ideologues of Hindutva politics, VD Savarkar and MS Golwalkar stood for Aryan hegemony over the world beginning with India. Savarkar ended his treatise on Hindutva bearing the same title with the words that Hindus of India,
“bound together by ties of common blood and common culture, can dictate their terms to the whole world. A day will come when mankind will have to face the force.”[iii]
Golwalkar too concluded his work on Hindu nationalism with the same imperialist intention when he wrote:
“Let us rouse ourselves to our true nationality [Hindu], let us follow the lead of our race-spirit, and fill the heavens with the clarion call of the Vedic seers ‘from sea to sea over all the land—one Nation,’ one glorious, splendorous Hindu Nation benignly shedding peace and plenty over the whole world.”[iv]
(2) MOONJE FOR MILITARIZED HINDU NATION
Moonje who inspired KB Hedgewar to establish RSS was the leading protagonist behind the project of militarization of Hindus. After visiting military training institutions run by the Fascist Italian government of Mussolini and personal audience with Mussolini in 193, he circulated a paper titled ‘Preface to the Scheme of the Central Hindu Military Society and its Military School’ among influential Hindu nationalist which read:
“This training is meant for qualifying and fitting our boys for the game of killing masses of men with the ambition of winning victory with the best possible causalities (sic) of dead and wounded while causing the utmost possible to the adversary.”[v]
It is not to be missed here that what Moonje meant by ‘adversary’ was not the external enemy, the British, but ‘historical’ internal enemy, the Muslims. In fact, this School was inaugurated by then Governor of Bombay State, Sir Roger Lumley in 1935. Moreover, this School helped the British in supplying Hindu youth for the World War II. It may be noted that it is this military school which was found to have trained persons which were involved in training/undertaking terrorist activities against minorities in India.
(3) BHAGWAT KNEW OF HINDUTVA TERRORISTS
It is not first time that Bhagwat has talked about Hindutva militia connection. While addressing a meeting of theRSS top level cadres on January 10, 2011 at Surat, Gujarat made asignificant statement saying that
“of the majority of the people whom the government hasaccused (in various blast cases), a few had leftvoluntarily and a few were told by the Sangh that thisextremism will not work here so you go away”.[vi]
It was a candid admission by the supremo of the RSS who wasnaturally better informed about the happenings within hisorganization which works in a clandestine fashion that many ofthese alleged terrorists were part of the RSS. Shockingly, police and intelligence agencies did not question for knowing the identity of those terrorists who left‘voluntarily’ or were asked to ‘go away’. In fact, should have been summoned to seek the names of the ‘terrorists’ notonly in order to verify whether the ones so far arrested were thesame who were referred to by Bhagwat but also to knowabout others who might still be indulging in terrorist activities andhave not been brought to book as yet.
(4) RSS BUILDING DEADLY ALLIANCE AGAINST MUSLIMS & CHRISTIANS
The world obsessed with Islamist terrorism has not bothered to take any notice of a new terrorism network developing fast in India and its neighbourhood between Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and two ultra nationalist Buddhist groups of Myanmar and Sri Lanka against minorities in the area. In a startling and focussed disclosure The International New York Times (October 16, 2014) in an editorial titled ‘Deadly Alliances against Muslims’ wrote:
“On his 79th birthday in July, the Dalai Lama appealed to Buddhist extremist groups in Myanmar and Sri Lanka to stop instigating attacks against Muslim minorities that have killed scores. Instead, in an affront to Buddhism’s core message of compassion, leaders of those groups announced an alliance to make common cause against Muslims.
‘The time has come to ally internationally,’ Galagodaththe Gnanasara, the leader of the radical Sri Lankan Buddhist group Bodu Bala Sena, announced at a convention held in Colombo last month. The guest of honor was Ashin Wirathu, a Buddhist radical whose picture Time magazine put on its July 1, 2014 covers as ‘The Face of Buddhist Terror.’ The government of Prime Minister Mahindra Rajapaksa ignored pleas by Sri Lankan Muslim and Christian civil groups, fearful of more anti-Muslim violence in their country, to deny Mr. Wirathu a visa. Granting Mr. Wirathu a visa can only reinforce the fears of many Muslims that the government —and perhaps more powerful regional allies—back Bodu Bala Sena, which translates as Buddhist Power Force.
“Last week, Mr. Gnanasara claimed he was in discussions ‘at a high level’ with the right-wing Indian Hindu group Rashtriya Swayam Sevak to form what he called a ‘Hindu-Buddhist peace zone’ in South Asia. A Rashtriya Swayam Sevak spokesman, Ram Madhav, promptly denied that there were any such discussions. But Mr. Madhav, now general secretary of India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party, has written comments sympathetic to Bodu Bala Sena and Mr. Wirathu’s group 969 in Myanmar on his Facebook and Twitter accounts.[vii]
The International New York Timeseditorial ended with a serious warning to the then rulers of India, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. It read:
“It is folly for the governments of Mr. Rajapaksa in Sri Lanka, President Thein Sein of Myanmar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in India, or their political allies, to give even the appearance of tolerating these Islamophobic groups in a region that has too often been convulsed by religious sectarian violence. They should condemn this mad alliance before it can spread further.”[viii]
(5) RSS LINKAGES WITH NEO-NAZIS OF EUROPE
Neo-Nazi mass murderer of Norway, Breivik, glorified Indian ‘Hindu Nationalists.[ix]He opened Pandora’s Box when declared ‘Hindu Nationalist’ movement as a key ally in a global struggle to bring down democratic regimes across the world. Just before he went to massacre a large number of people in Norway he released a ‘manifesto’ of 1,518 pages, of which 102 pages dealt with the glorification of Hindutva movement of India. It declared support to ‘Sanatana Dharma movements and Indian nationalists in general.’ This manifesto also laid down a plan of co-operation between Neo-Nazi movements of Europe and ‘Hindu Nationalist’ organizations of India. It said that it was essential that these two ‘learn from each other and cooperate as much as possible’ as ‘our goals are more or less identical.’ This manifesto specially mentioned the name of the fountain head of the Hindutva politics like RSS and its subsidiaries like BJP, ABVP and VHP in this regard.[x]Importantly, the manifesto pledged military support ‘to the nationalists in the Indian civil war and in the deportation of all Muslims from India’ as part of a larger campaign to ‘overthrow of all western European multiculturalist governments.’
(6) A GOVERNOR OF INDIAN STATE TALKS OF CIVIL WAR
Present Governor of Tripura, Tathagata Roy who is a hard-core RSS supporter and perennial Muslim and secular India basher in mid-2017 in a tweet went to the extent of wishing a civil war in India. As justification he quoted from January 1, 1946 entry in Syama Prasad Mookerjee which read that “the Hindu-Muslim problem won’t be solved without a Civil War”.[xi] Mookerjee wrote it in context of pre-partition Muslim separatists represented by the Muslim League but Tathagata Roy made it appear as something necessarily applicable in Independent India. It only showed RSS leader’s love for civil war.
(7) RAMDEV RAISING MILITIA
Ramdev, the Rajpurohit of RSS/BJP governments at the centre and in states was known for yoga and later as a business tycoon manufacturing Ayurvedic products. He is a regular celebrity at all RSS and VHP functions. He also became worried about lack of security in India. In September 2017 he launched his own security firm titled Parakram Suraksha Pvt Ltd. According to a report by news agency ANI, Acharya Balakrishna, managing director of Patanjali (business firm of Ramdev) while launching this venture said,
“Security is a very important issue either for a man or a woman. Our aim is to prepare individuals for self and country’s security and for this we have formed Parakram. This will help develop military instinct in each and every citizen of the country so as to awaken the spirit and determination for individual and national security…Swami Ramdev has hired retired Army and police personnel to train young interested recruits and plan to make a mark in security”.[xii] [Emphasis added to show significance of the statement]
So 15 months before the next general elections in India (to be held in May 2019) there is talk of taking over the internal as well as external security by a non-state player, RSS. This threat has ominous signals for the continuation of the Indian Republic. It makes clear that RSS has lost hope of its cadres winning next elections and threatening to take over by its privately trained militias. Only future will tell us whether India had had its last general elections or RSS is forced to retreat on its threats. It all depends on who succeeds RSS or patriotic Indians who will rise to save the Indian Republic from the Hindutva onslaught.
Shamsul Islam is a retired Professor of University of Delhi.Email: [email protected]
[iii]VD Savarkar, Hindutva, VV Kelkar, Nagpur, 1923, p. 128.
[iv]MS, Golwalkar, We or Our Nationhood Defined, Bharat publications, Nagpur, 1939, p. 67.
[v]Marzia Casolari, ‘Hindutva’s Foreign Tie-up in the 1930’s: Archival Evidence’, The Economic and Political Weekly, January 22, 2000, pp. 218-228.
[vi]‘No place for radicals in RSS, says Bhagwat’, The Indian Express, Delhi, January 11, 2011.
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