New Delhi : Biographer of RSS founder K B Hedgewar, Rakesh Sinha is writing a book on the Sangh’s role in the freedom movement. The DU teacher speaks to Akhilesh Kumar Singh on various issues including allegations of alienation of Muslims since BJP took political centrestage. Excerpts:
Has there been any change in RSS’ ideological posture after formation of the Modi government?
Such things are said or believed by only those who lacked the wherewithal to analyse RSS’s comprehensive ideology. RSS has never been state-centric or hankered after power. It’s a civilisational movement which intends to contextualise thousands of years of culture in the form of cultural nationalism. RSS’s intervention in politics is a nationalist imperative.
It seems RSS ‘s past has been its big liability as historians accuse its founder K B Hedgewar of playing a pro-British role. How far do you agree?
Discrediting RSS as pro-British is nothing less than annihilation of the history of the freedom movement. There are two reasons for such allegations. One, history has been written with selective facts and an ideological predisposition. Two, vernacular newspapers which reported micro details of the struggle have been largely ignored. An objective study will give a picture of RSS’s role in the freedom movement which is contrary to the depiction in certain quarters
But it is alleged that RSS cooperated with the British during the Quit India movement?
This is another big lie of Communist historians. I am working on the subject and my work will unmask their lies. RSS had joined the movement on a big scale. RSS violated prohibitory orders and organised a meeting of 5,000 people in Bombay to protest against British repression. It was reported by ‘Kal’, a prominent Marathi daily on October 22, 1942. In Chimur (Maharashtra), Sangh led a procession and many swayamsevaks were killed in police firing. Letters of RSS swayamsevaks were apprehended all over the country and they faced severe repressive measures.
The country’s discourse is touching new lows every day. Whom do you consider responsible? Hindutva leaders are also accused of major contribution in it.
Post-independence, there was a common expectation that a discourse would emerge to facilitate the building of a strong secular and democratic nation. But things went just the opposite. A strong polarisation was artificially manufactured between RSS and anti-RSS ideology. The intention was to create a captive Muslim vote bank. The state under Jawaharlal Nehru acted as a catalyst to it. Leaders who joined politics after the 1980s are closer to grassroots realities. Therefore, there is a vast gap between the culture of language of the early decades of post-independent India and of contemporary decades. RSS should be judged by the statements of its chief Mohan Bhagwat and other top functionaries.
RSS is accused of being a Brahminical organisation. Is it appropriating Dalits to shed this tag?
Casteless and classless are two important ingredients of RSS indoctrination. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in his Vijayadashmi speech made a clarion call to shed all discriminatory practices. He articulated it as ‘One well, One temple, One crematorium’. His advocacy is based on RSS’s commitment to an egalitarian social order.