And now Mr Mukerjee has seen fit to lend his stature to a project, the core of which is untrammelled violence and intimidation. (Here is some information on the founder of the RSS, whom he described as a great son of Mother India). Once the chief custodian of our Constitution, he has, by choosing to certify the 'patriotic' credentials of the RSS, abetted their attempt to transform the Indian Union into an ideological dictatorship. He has not only sacrificed his own dignity, but thrown the frail structure of Indian justice into a cesspit. For reasons (perhaps of spite, but who can say?) of his own, he chose to stab - metaphorically speaking - the Indian Constitution though the heart. May God have mercy on his soul. We will recover from this bleak scenario only if Indians can imbibe anew the values for which Mahatma Gandhi gave his life. DS
Mr Mukherjee’s potted account of India’s history and the evolution of its constitutional nationalism was delivered with hallmark pomposity and in verbose prose. Yet it was not a complete waste of time, it had a symbolic purpose. The former President used the opportunity to distance himself individually from the Congress. As a retired President he has no job except to run an eponymous foundation and go on the speaking circuit. Not satisfied with sitting in the pavilion, he wants to pad up again.
It seems that the former President is positioning himself as a conciliator, a man of destiny who can bridge the ideological divide in a sharply polarised polity. Projecting himself as someone who stands for rapprochement in politics, he has signalled that he is a practising Hindu and that Hinduism and secularism can coexist. Taking a step further, he made an unscheduled visit to the house where RSS founder Keshav Baliram Hedgewar was born, describing him in the visitors’ book as “a great son of Mother India”. This political theatre of “opening a dialogue” helped to “normalise” the RSS and its ongoing divisive activities.