RSS Metaphor -- II

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 29 Sep 2018 10:30:52


 “The RSS has reversed its stand on many issues.”
- General criticism.

OF COURSE, such a criticism was bound to emerge, even from the RSS fold, as Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Sarsanghchalak Dr. Mohan Bhagwat engaged himself in a three-day mega exercise of presenting the RSS’ global view to the nation and the world. May the debate rage all over, but a sane look at what Dr. Bhagwat said about the RSS and its philosophy and its evolution through the past 93 years since its founding in 1925 by Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar in Nagpur, would reveal that there is not much digression from the philosophical stand-point, though there could be a little operational alteration of the trajectory. A still deeper look may reveal that by engaging in the Bhavishya Ka Bharat conclave, the RSS has factually opened newer possibilities of expanding operations and connect with the larger and multi-dimensional Indian society.

For, Dr. Bhagwat’s method and manner indicated successfully that the organisation was not, after all, as rigid as many were tempted to think it to be. From that angle, it appears that Dr. Bhagwat’s exposition on the process of evolution of the RSS through the nine decades of existence will certainly bring many new friendships for its cause. Or, in other words, the effort is quite likely to win some more people willing to offer a softer consideration for the RSS’ thought and action.

Even if a small part of this really succeeds, the RSS will achieve a greater connectivity with the larger society and give out a better-verbalised message of accommodation and acceptance of plurality of the global human society in terms of philosophies and belief-systems. This part gels best with original RSS ideology -- Ekam Sat Viprah Bahuda Vadanti (Different scholars describe One Truth differently)!

There were many people who militated against Dr. Bhagwat’s statement, in effect, that Hindutva would be rendered meaningless if Muslims were to be eliminated from the Indian scene. But where is the reversal of the approach? When did the RSS, officially say in its documents, that it wanted to wipe out Muslims from the land. All the philosophical and ideological statements made officially by the RSS always talked of consolidation of Hindus as a united community, which in no case meant elimination of anybody else. True, the stress on consolidation of Hindus did evoke some politically-motivated response that suggested that such a process could be achieved only when others were eliminated. But then, at best, this was other people’s interpretation that the RSS as an organisation never validated officially. Thus, by making that statement, Dr. Bhagwat achieved something very important; he offered an official assurance that the RSS never thought in terms of proposing an ideology that did not accept constitutional, spiritual and socio-political realities of modern India.

Of course, as he presented the RSS thought-process in newer terms, Dr. Bhagwat did run a risk of being misunderstood by some sections. But he acted on the side of courage of conviction in favour of openness -- as a mark of accommodative democracy. But his method and manner indicated that he was confident that saner elements in the society would certainly arrive at a right interpretation of the RSS metaphor, in due course of time.

Some of the RSS supporters might have felt a little embarrassed and uneasy when some persons in the elite audience referred to some quotations in Golwalkar Guruji’s Bunch Of Thoughts. But Dr. Bhagwat was unfazed. Calmly, he explained that ‘those’ times were different from ‘these’, and that thoughts also evolve and that the RSS has published a corrected version of Bunch of Thoughts! What a cool and wise response!

Over time, the RSS did evolve. Its prayer changed. Its method of parade and drill changed. Its operational machinery assumed a greater smoothness. Its ideological presentation also altered to become more sophisticated. Its uniform changed. Its operations expanded into countless service projects -- Seva Prakalp. Its political influence changed for the better, and it achieved many of its objectives through the changing times.

All this change did not come by easily. It brought along some uneasiness as well. Yet, those who would study the evolutionary process would realise that the organisation grew to this stature because it was willing to change. They will also realise that the RSS never had to reverse any of its beliefs that it expressed officially. Its leaders might have made mistakes, nay blunders. But those with open mind could sense strong vibrations of an invigorating change.

The biggest challenge the RSS has had to face all these years is the threat of extreme isolation from the larger society’s socio-political arena. But those who studied the trajectory of the RSS up to this point in time since 1925, also realised that the RSS faced the forces of change with courage and flexibility. Dr. Bhagwat’s statements indicated all those moments -- of scars and scares. In fact, those moments have added certain authenticity to the RSS’s growth-pattern.

There would still be many who would raise issues with the RSS and doubt its integrity. Dr. Bhagwat’s three-day presentation and the subsequent question-answer session seemed to recognise that possibility. Yet, the cool confidence he displayed in presenting his organisation to the world was unprecedented in the RSS history and also in the contemporary socio-political process in India. Over time, many more changes could be expected to come to the RSS’ way. Yet, over time, most will realise that RSS is evolving positively, and not actually reversing its stand.