Sunday, July 13, 2014

Subhash Gatade: Pearls of Wisdom of A RSS Leader – ‘Elections equivalent to Independence Struggle’ // Pracharak as Terrorist

Suresh Soni, RSS’s point person with the BJP, who facilitated ‘anointment’ of fellow Pracharak as PM candidate last year and smoothly engineered the marginalisation of the senior Advani and proved his clout within the organisation, is in news these days albeit for wrong reasons.
News has come in that he along with his former supremo (the late) K S Sudarshan were also beneficiaries of the yet unfolding MPEB scam which has already claimed the head of a senior minister – another fellowPracharak – in Shivraj Singh Chauhan’s cabinet. Laxmikant Sharma, the said minister, who earlier handled important portfolios like mining, culture, human resources had claimed at the time of his arrest that he has been made a sacrificial lamb and when time comes he would also ‘reveal the truth’. He allegedly facilitated appointment of Mihir, a personal assistant to the late Sudarshan, as a ‘Nap Taul Inspector’ at the behest of Suresh Soni.
Fingers have also been pointed towards Chief Minister and his wife and the manner of appointment of CM’s own niece has also come under cloud. The gravity of the situation could be imagined from the fact that Chauhan had to rush to Delhi – cancelling all his appointments – and meet top RSS leaders as well as party bosses to explain the unfolding situation.   
While there has been official denial by the Police Headquarters about involvement of any ‘RSS leaders’ – sceptics have noted that it has no direct locus standi in the whole case as the investigation is being handled by Special Task Force (STF) under the direct supervision of the High Court.
Mihir is right now in police custody, along with scores of other beneficiaries of the scam, the STF has duly recorded his statement and is conducting further enquiries. Looking at the ambit of the scam – which according to Ms Uma Bharati, ex-Chief Minister of the state is ‘bigger in magnitude than Bihar’s fodder scam’- and new revelations coming to the fore daily- one thing is sure that final word has not been said about it.
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Close on the heels of these fast paced developments, Suresh Soni broached another controversy by his utterances while addressing 161 first time BJP MPs at a two-day training camp organised by the Party at Surajkund near Delhi. He has compared BJP’s recent electoral victory with India’s freedom struggle.
.[c]ompared May 16 — the day Lok Sabha election results were declared and the BJP emerged victorious — to August 16, 1947, the day after India won its independence and the erstwhile British rulers finally left the country.” (http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/at-bjp-workshop-rss-compares-may-16-to-the-day-british-left-india-sources-549914)
 It is disturbing to note that forget condemnation of this weird statement nobody questioned this open denigration of the heroic freedom struggle waged by people of the subcontinent, by a very senior member of the very organisation whose most famous activist is at present PM of the country. Was it just a ‘slip of tongue’ as it is normally claimed after all such statements which provoke reaction from different quarters or Mr Soni was making a statement of facts as per his own worldview was concerned?
Any sane person knows the difference between people fighting for independence against foreign intruders or occupiers which is normally a long drawn struggle and involves tremendous sacrifices and periodic elections to choose the party or a coalition of parties to hold the reins of the government. It would be foolish to claim that Mr Soni does not have enough wisdom to differentiate between the two. Then why did he make such an outrageous comparison?
Firstly, inadvertently or so he was giving vent to RSS’s sense of tremendous rejoice over the fact that one of their disciplined Swayamsevaks has reached the topmost post in the country and with this electoral victory ‘fetters’ over their project of building a Hindu Rashtra have been removed. The recent elections to the Lok Sabha have in fact radically changed the picture in their favour. With the seculars and the leftists being pushed to the margins electorally, and the emergence of a ‘Hindu vote bank’ in their favour  cutting across regions and castes, the RSS as well as the plethora of affiliated organisations know very well that they can now move fast forward on their agenda.  
One need not go into the details of the majoritarian nature of this mandate in their favour which is also evident in the fact that they do not have a single member of Parliament from the biggest minority community in the country in the lower house and out of the 282 M.P.s elected to the parliament only two belong to other minority communities. It also happens to be the Parliament where the proportion of Muslims – the biggest minority community here – is at the lowest. Secondly, this statement also resonates with their essential concealed disdain towards the anti-colonial struggle of the Indian people which according to them brought to power ‘pseudo seculars’ and their allies and did great harm to the cause of Hindu nation. Instances galore which show how its’ founders ridiculed the martyrs and made fun of people’s struggle.
This is Hedgewar, the founder member of RSS.
Patriotism is not only going to prison. It is not correct to be carried away by such superficial patriotism.( CP Bhishikar, Sanghavariksh Ke Beej: Dr. Keshavrao Hedgewar, Suruchi, 1994, p. 21.
Here is a quote from Golwalkar, the second Supremo of RSS about martyrs:
There is no doubt that such men who embrace martyrdom are great heroes and their philosophy too is pre-eminently manly. They are far above the average men who meekly submit to fate and remain in fear and inaction. All the same, such persons are not held up as ideals in our society. We have not looked upon their martyrdom as the highest point of greatness to which men should aspire. For, after all, they failed in achieving their ideal, and failure implies some fatal flaw in them. (MS Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts, Sahitya Sindhu, Bangalore, 1996, p. 283)
Thirdly, any student of the independence struggle knows that it is a ‘weak point’ as far as Hindutva formations in general or RSS in particular are concerned. Much has been written on the fact that not only RSS did not participate in that struggle and focussed itself on ‘organising Hindus’ and but it even deterred its own activists from joining it.
In fact, RSS played such an ignoble role during that tumultuous period that today they find it difficult to defend themselves over their inaction. To save themselves from such discomforting questions they either engage in ‘picking someone from that period’ show her/his proximity with the ideals of Hindutva or to denigrate that period or devalue the great martyrs.. read more:

Pracharak as Terrorist

Hindu mythology with its plethora of gods and goddesses (which according to a conservative estimate numbers around 330 millions or 33 crores) has n number of stories supposedly to show the human face of the almighty. One such story talks of the creation of a demon called Bhasmasur by one of the gods himself. The said demon had the unique power of turning everything into ash if he could touch anybody’s head. The story goes that after ‘conquering’ the world the demon tries to attack his ‘creator god’ namely Shiva himself and then Lord Vishnu intervenes and manages to eliminate the demon itself.

Whatever might have been the significance of the story then, it bears striking resemblance to the plight of the RSS – the biggest fountainhead of Hindutva politics in the country – today. And this relates to the arrest of many of its senior wholetimers (called Pracharaks in its lexicon) for their role as masterminds, instigators or patrons of terrorist acts in the country and the ongoing questioning of many other senior leaders for their role in aiding and abetting such acts. Interestingly the parent organisation has till date not formally denied their role in all these acts and nor called it witchhunting as it did when investigations into the Malegaon bomb blast II (Sept 2008) were on and the likes of Sadhvi Pragya, Lt Col Purohit and others from the larger Hindutva family found themselves behind bars. In fact, this time it appears more cautious and according to a report it has even sent few of its leaders who supposedly played some role in these acts on a compulsory leave and has plans to send few more. (Bhaskar, 7 th July 2010).

It might never be known what role (if any) the RSS itself played in these acts or not but with the arrest of few of its seniors in engaging in such acts it is clear that there definitely existed a network of rogue RSS Pracharaks/leaders who cleverly manipulated the Parivar links to their heinous agenda. Of course, it is now history how the RSS received opprobrium (fromVallabhbhai Patel, the first home minister of independent India) for creating the culture of violence which ultimately led to the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and questions would always be raised how it fostered such rogue pracharak-terrorists in its ranks. Whatever might be the truth in the case it cannot be denied that RSS and its top bosses have to do a lot of explaining in the coming few weeks and one might see arrest of few other senior leaders of the Parivar for helping the Pracharak-terrorists execute the Ajmer as well as Mecca Masjid blasts.

The moot question is whether the powers that be will show enough spine to take all necessary steps to stamp out the roots of majoritarian terrorism in the country or will suddenly develop cold feet once the investigations further unravel few other dark corners of the issue.

What is the present worry of the RSS ? The lacklustre performance of its appointee as BJP President or the manner in which the Delhi 4 (as named by Sangh Supremo Mohan Bhagwat) is wresting control over the party with due support of Advani or for that matter the drop in attendance at its Shakhas ? Or it has to do with the re-induction of Jaswant Singh ( who committed the heresy of praising Jinnah in his book) in the party. It cannot be denied that the Sangh leadership is not perturbed over all these developments and has not lost a single chance to administer a dose of  ‘baudhik’ to them from time to time. Recently there indeed was such a meeting where the Sangh people spoke and the top leadership of BJP listened.

But all these little worries have not given the Sangh leadership sleepless nights. It seems more perturbed over the ‘Hindu’ link to terrorism.

If one were to believe newspaper reports then it becomes clear that the biggest worry facing the Sangh leadership is this ‘Hindu’ link to terrorism which first surfaced in the form of ‘Sadhvi’ Pragya Singh Thakur and has since caught on. A leading correspondent with The Hindu even shared that the situation has become so grim that “..[m]any in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh have been spending sleepless nights, wondering where police investigations will lead once the agencies are able to connect all the dots that have emerged over the past two years.” (RSS worried about ‘Hindu’ links to terrorism, Neena Vyas, The Hindu, 2 June 2010)

Definitely its worries are understandable. Nanded-Parbhani-Malegaon in Maharashtra, Tenkasi in Tamil Nadu, Mecca Masjid in A.P. Ajmer bomb blast in Rajasthan, Kanpur in U.P., Bhopal in M.P. and the ongoing investigation in the blasts in the Samjhauta Express establishing clear links with the fraternity. The list seems endless.

Gone are the days when any link of terrorism with the name Hindu was frowned upon even by a section of the civil society, today with the hand of Hindu terror visible in many of the terrorist acts spread over the country and many of the wholetimers of the RSS (called ‘Pracharaks’) behind bars or waiting to be interned or interrogated shortly, there has been a qualitative change in the situation.

Gone are the days when Congress ministers had no qualms in blaming any terrorist act within the country to the omnipresent LeT or HuJI or for that matter evil forces from across the border, gone are the days when many a reporter with secular sounding publications used to provide gory details of the world of ‘Jihadi terror’ directly/indirectly blaming the same forces for every such act. (There is no doubt that the gory world exists but more about it some time later). Perhaps the Sangh felt that it had never been so good that even its arch rivals in politics were parroting the same language vis-a-vis terrorism. But as already mentioned Malegaon happened and Sadhvi Pragya Singh and her bravado reached national headlines and everything seems to have turned for the worse. Interestingly the Sangh was happy that with years of painstaking work done by many of its low lying Swayamsevaks who adorned the seats of power in many key posts in the bureaucracy/polity. This tactics has helped it to see that the ‘eyes and ears’ to any government namely the Intelligence or the IB or the RAW are filled with ‘like-minded’ people, and had made it possible (to quote Malay Krishna Dhar in his book Open Secrets ) that there was convergence of thinking in the ‘intelligence and the RSS’.

As it is evident in the developments since last two-three years all that seems to be passe.

And supposedly to steer clear of any controversy a new line seems to have emerged in the RSS  ‘after intense discussions’.

- No protection or help to those who are indulging in such activities or have been engaged in such acts

- No public statement in support of arrest/interrogation of its workers in such cases

- Cooperation with the police in investigations, the sources said.

To convey its “extreme worries” about being linked to terrorism a “..[strong message has been sent to all swayamsevaks (RSS volunteers) that they should expect no protection if they are mixed up in any terrorist activity, said an RSS leader." (-do- , The Hindu, 2 June 2010)

The question naturally arises as to why suddenly the Sangh fraternity wants to distance itself from 'terrorism' of the Hindu kind? Is it because if it does not do it then there are real chances that many top bosses of the Sangh would be facing music for their connivance with such terrorists at various levels ? A quick glance at the questioning/interrogation of people supposed to be involved in these blasts demonstrates that their fears are real.

And lastly whether Sangh is ready to 'walk the talk' or it is just a case of mere public posturing. A public meeting organised in Jaipur by People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and other democratic organisations  to discuss the Ajmer Bomb Blast and its aftermath proved to be a learning experience to understand the great hiatus which exists between what RSS says and does when it comes to terrorism... read more: