A message of positive nationalism
India is the inspiring mother and the fountainhead of all that it espouses and embodies in the Sangh
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's historic and unprecedented outreach, over the three days in the national capital, has gone a long way in countering the false and vicious propaganda that has continuously emanated against the Sangh from a certain political and intellectual quarter. Over the last few years, some leaders and their intellectual drumbeaters have sought to spread canards about the Sangh and one among them, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, has heaped abuse on the Sangh without having an iota of an idea about what the Sangh espouses and what it stands for.
Rahul's grandmother had a better idea and at the invitation of Eknath Ranade (sometime Sarkaryavah of the RSS who was later given charge of building the iconic Vivekananda Rock Memorial at Kanyakumari and had virtually sacrificed himself to create that eternal edifice which is today the spiritual lighthouse for millions of Indian youth) she had been part of the inaugural programmes and had recognised the need for such institutions. But Indira's grandson has a highly skewed understanding of the intricacies of India's history, even his great grandfather's opus "Discovery of India", has not been able to eradicate his profound ignorance.
But the RSS chief's outreach was not meant as a counter to what self-styled leaders such as Rahul Gandhi and those of his ilk propagate about the Sangh. It was an initiative of placing the Sangh, its philosophy, its worldview, its contribution, and its vision for national reconstruction before those who have inherently stored India's well-being including her national interest in mind and heart having a positive inquisitiveness of the Sangh, its activities, and identity. The exercise had a much wider connotation, a deeper objective, a more exalted aim, and a more noble focus than simply being an exercise in retort and riposte. It does not matter to the Sangh, an institution that has relentlessly worked for strengthening the fundamentals of civilised India, what certain callow and deracinated political as well as academics leaders feel about it.
All three days of Mohan Bhagwat's address were an intellectual treat. One saw him make a stimulating and lucid articulation of the various dimensions of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, an organisation which has grown organically and continues to be one of the most democratic institutions, one which has the candidness to accept that it continues to evolve its positions keeping in view "Desh – Kaal – Paristhiti", in which blasphemy is absent, which in non-autocratic, which is non-dynastic, non-authoritarian and functions on a perfectly laid out and perfected system of conversation-consultation- consensus.
Dr Bhagwat unequivocally articulated how positions in the Sangh evolve and were not calcified articulations that could not be modified and transformed. What Sri Guruji Golwalkar said in a particular context and situation, which Dr Bhagwat observed before a packed auditorium, had to be seen and read in the backdrop of that milieu, his utterances and positions which are of perennial value also exist and it is to those that we need to turn towards continuously. This was a remarkable assertion and at a different level demonstrated the catholicity and the power of self-renewal that the Sangh possesses. The Sangh is not a Stalinist or Leninist organisation or political party, it has the strength to accept change and the pragmatism of recognising the need to evolve, unlike the Indian communists whose sole objective has been to idolise foreign ideologues unquestioningly, in order to fit their articulations into Indian conditions and who are incapable of evolving with times and situations and of recognising the peculiarities of the surroundings and society in which they function. The Swayamsevaks, unlike the Indian communists, has a deep reverence for the Indian civilisational experience, though the comparison is unfair given the deep organic, cultural, and social connections that the Sangh has with the Indian ethos as a whole.
Once and for all, Dr Bhagwat put to rest the conjectures and false descriptions of the RSS that has accrued in certain sections of our collective mind over the decades. Hindutva bases itself on the triune pillars of patriotism, reverence for a common ancestry, and ancestors and culture – Sanskriti. All those who are inspired and defined by these, and live in Bharatvarsha are Hindus. There can be no Hindu Rashtra if Muslims were to be excluded from it. The Constitution is the 'consensus document' prepared by those who established the republic. It is inherent to us and we must all follow it. There has been no single instance of the RSS doing anything which has gone against the Constitution. The RSS completely supports all Constitution endowed reservations, it supports reservation to remove social stigmas, and the decision regarding the continuity of reservation has to be taken by those to whom reservation has been granted. Whenever they feel it is not necessary, they will decide, the Sangh works for an exploitation-free and united society — these are some of the most defining articulations that emerged out of these three days. "No single language or God binds us together", Bhagwat observed, "Our food habits, rituals, and customs are not the same. We are divided into various states, languages, castes, and sub-castes. In spite of this, we claim to be the progeny of Bharat Mata and the followers of the universal human values.
One editorial in a leading English national daily has commented that it was a widely held view that the RSS does not subscribe to the Constitution. The question here is that whose 'widely' held view is it, for a wide cross-section of people who know the Sangh, have grown in it, have assimilated, and internalised its ideas, such a view is a highly erroneous one. They know that the Sangh has never displayed such propensity. Such a display is a prerogative of those who pass off as activists and 'legitimate' dissenters while actually calling for the overthrow of the Indian state, and the disintegration of India. The Sangh, on the other hand, has not only abided by the Constitution but has repeatedly and unfailingly directed all its energies and actions towards protecting and perpetuating India's unity and integrity, protecting her democratic ethos as it had done in 1975 when India got converted into one huge prison by Rahul Gandhi's grandmother. India, to the Sangh, is the inspiring mother and the fountainhead of all that it espouses and embodies. It is only a bunch of de-linked intellectuals and pack of de-ranged politicians who portray the Sangh as anti-Constitutional; it is this caucus which is at the root of the false and Goebbelsian propaganda dished out against the Sangh.
Above all, the overweening message that has stuck from these three days is Sarsanghchalak's open and positive exhortation to all to contribute their energies, talents, capacities, expertise, and knowledge in whichever way they could to the progress of India, to strengthening her, to establishing her further as a great member in the comity, to see her prosperous, secure and self-reliant, imparting a sense that each of one us is counted and mattered in India's perpetual civilisational march.
For some, such a message of positive nationalism of unity and inclusiveness, and of pride in one's defining and originating identity continues to be troublesome because the progression of such a worldview directly challenges their faultline, generating social and political agendas.
(The author is Director, Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation, New Delhi. The views expressed are strictly personal)