Ramachandra Guha: Gandhi said RSS was ‘communal with a totalitarian outlook’ – and that’s still true

The members of the RSS who control the Union government have subjugated the press, allegedly tamed the judiciary and used bribery and coercion to undermine or overthrow state governments run by other parties. The new laws aimed at curbing NGOs are animated by the desire to reduce to insignificance all voluntary organisations that do not owe allegiance to the Hindutva ideology... The RSS and the BJP seek to achieve dominance over the political process, over the institutions of the State, over civil society, even over what people eat, how they dress, and whom they can or cannot marry. This desire to control every aspect of life in the country, whether political, social, institutional or ideological, perfectly fits the textbook definition of “totalitarian”. Meanwhile, their continuing efforts to stigmatise and demonise Muslims clearly demonstrate their communal mindset…  

NB: A forthright assessment by an outstanding historian. I would add the observation that the last few years have also made it clear that has emerged as the delivery vehicle of choice for the country's most powerful corporates. DS

In his book, Mahatma Gandhi: The Last Phase, Gandhi’s secretary, Pyarelal, writes that the partition of India in 1947 and the horrific violence that accompanied it “provided a fruitful soil for Hindu chauvinism. Its most serious manifestation was infiltration of the Hindu middle class and even the Government services by the RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh]. It had begun to command the secret sympathy even of a section of Hindu Congressmen.”

Delhi Police Archive on RSS activity in October-December 1947

Ramachandra Guha: Supreme Court must reflect on its calling as defined by the Constitution

Pyarelal then outlined for his readers what this organisation of Hindu chauvinists stood for, and what its aims were. Thus he wrote: “The RSS was a communalist, para-military, Fascist organisation... Their declared object was to set up Hindu Raj. They had adopted the slogan, ‘Muslims clear out of India.’ At the time they were not very active, at least overtly, but it was being darkly hinted that they were only waiting for all the Hindus and Sikhs in West Pakistan to be evacuated. They would then wreak full vengeance on the Indian Muslims for what Pakistan had done.”…


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