The relationship between the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the BJP is that of the soul and the body. The BJP disposes of what the RSS proposes. Most chief ministers, governors, and civil appointees, including the president of India were recommended by the RSS.
The RSS is at the forefront of every election in India. Founded in 1925, the RSS has been overtly and covertly supporting the Hindutva parties. RSS’s ideological offshoot BJP took nearly 89 years to form d a Govt in 2014 at the Center with 282 majority seats of its own.
Read more: The RSS’s ubiquitous influence in India
The BJP fulfilled the RSS’s desire to abolish 370 and the conversion of the Babri mosque into Ramjanam Bhoomi (god Ram’s birthplace).
A Janus-faced organization
During his visit to the RSS’s headquarters in the Maninagar area (Ahmedabad, Gujarat), the RSS ideologue said, “All countrymen should read Preamble to the Constitution on the day [Republic Day] as it tells where we should take our country.”
Interestingly, there is a dichotomy between what the Indian Constitution preaches and what it practices. The Preamble reads: WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN, SOCIALIST, SECULAR, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens: JUSTICE, social, economic and political; LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; EQUALITY of status and of opportunity, and to promote among them all, FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity the Nation.
The RSS chief has said many a time that the existence of Muslims in India in such a large number is a testimony to the fact that the Hindu is “generous”. The terrified Muslims join the RSS in hordes to escape persecution. The RSS utilizes its Muslim Wing to distribute its propaganda material and discredit Muslim leaders. Yet, it ensures that no Muslim is elected to the Indian parliament.
Lashing out at PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, RSS’s Muslim Rashtriya Manch chief Indresh Kumar on Monday, termed Mufti a ‘traitor to Islam and India’ for not raising the national flag in Jammu-Kashmir.
Lauding her decision to not contest elections till Article 370 is restored, he said it was for the greater good if Mufti remains away from electoral politics throughout her life. A massive controversy has broken out between BJP and PDP over Mufti’s remark to ‘not raise Indian flag till Kashmir’s state flag is restored’.
The RSS’s idea of Hindu Rashtra is to expel all minorities from India. It wants the minorities to revert to Hinduism or leave India. While speaking at the RSS’ annual Vijayadashami (foundation anniversary) at Nagpur, the RSS’ then chief and ideologue Mohan Bhagwat listed various “noteworthy incidents” like Article 370 abrogation, Ram Mandir Bhoomi puja, Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) that took place in the last one year.
The RSS leaders declared former IHK chief minister Mahbooba Mufti a traitor. It then rushed its goons to hoist India’s national flag at his party’s headquarter. Muslims are even forced to perform Durga pooja.
How RSS gets its “theories” implemented by the BJP
The anti-Muslim amendments in India’s Citizenship Act were contrived by the RSS. The RSS’s ideologue talks of India’s Constitution, but the amendments are repugnant to provisions of India’s Constitution.
The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) goes against the principle of constitutional secularism envisaged by the framers of the Indian Constitution. The CAA emerged out of a new, refined Hindutva ideology, formulated by the RSS.
The RSS and the BJP (or its earlier avatar Bharatiya Jana Sangh) avoided talking explicitly talking about Hindutva. The reason was that it was associated with Savarkar and Hindu Mahasabha. But, after the judgment of the Supreme Court in 1997 on Ayodhya, the BJP formally accepted Hindutva as its philosophy.
Bhagwat is so clever that he does not make any direct comment on citizenship in formal sense. Instead, focuses on explaining a few core values of Hindutva.
He says, “According to us, Hindutva has three basics: patriotism, the glory of our ancestors, and respect for culture… The collective notion of values belonging to the religions (sampradaya) that are sprung from the entirety, that is India, is known as Hindutva. … This is the mark of India. And, India belongs to that.”
Bhagwat refines the punyabhumi (pious land) argument of Savarkar. He invokes the distinction between the Indian origin of a few religions as originally Indian to describe Islam and Christianity as alien religions. However, unlike Savarkar, Bhagwat suppresses his hatred towards Muslims.
No Hindutva without Muslims?
Bhagwat further says that there would be no Hindutva without Muslims. His inference is that Muslims enjoy political equality in India despite the fact that their religion did not originate here.
This new nouveau Hindutva of core Indian values, original religions, and its imagination of persecuted minorities under Muslim rule are ideological sources that the CAA legalizes.
In order to justify this revised version of Hindutva, Bhagwat makes a crucial distinction between the state and the nation. He rejects the western idea of nation-state because it empowers the political entity (state) over the cultural identity (nation).
Bhagwat has argued that the RSS is not interested in changing the constitutional structure of India. Instead, he stresses the need to evolve a national consensus in favor of his interpretation of Hindutva.
Bhagawat envisages the Constitution as a tool to achieve a new national consensus, which could be modified, amended, and even revised from the Hindutva point of view through a legal process.
Impact of the new ideology
This new Hindutva-driven ‘national consensus’ actually points towards a new package of Hindutva politics (the Ayodhya conflict, Article 370, and triple talaq/Uniform Civil Code, the CAA).
Bhagwat’s queer logic is that he “Hindutva does not want a Hindu state; instead, it wants a constitutional state of Hindutva nation”.
RSS’s growing influence over all realms of life in India indicates that would compel the BJP to amend the Constitution in accordance with its whims. Under RSS and Hindutva’s influence, the judges in India increasingly pass judgments in favor of the fanatic Hindus.
The Courts dabble in Muslim religious matters. They may one day pass a uniform religious civil code upon all minorities. Under the RSS’s influence, the syllabi in India have already been amended to include Hindu myths and distorted history as Hindu religion.
Mr. Amjed Jaaved has been writing freelance for over five decades. He has served the federal and provincial governments of Pakistan for 39 years. His contributions stand published in the leading dailies and magazines at home and abroad (Nepal. Bangladesh, Sri Lanka et. al.). He is the author of eight e-books including The Myth of Accession. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.