To understand the RSS, one needs to look into the history of India all the way back to early 20th century where several developments led to formation RSS.
The Two-nation theory: Origin of two nation theory is widely seen in the muslim self-awakening movement started by Syed Ahmed Khan (the founder of AMU). After Syed Ahmed Khan’s death in 1898, All India Muslim League was formed in 1906 after a series of developments after Bengal’s partition in 1905 on religious lines. The poet Muhammad Iqbal (Writer of Sare jahan se accha) and Muhammad Ali Jinnah went on to become the most prominent faces of AIML and took forward the two nation theory to success at the independence of India. As the ‘two-nation theory’ gained popularity in muslim masses from 1906 onwards, the hindu society was bound to come up with its own version of a national theory too.
Fight against British: The founder of RSS, Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, realized that Hindus were too scattered (among different castes and regions) to fight against the British. Hence a movement of Hindu unity was required to unite them against the British. However the fight against British later lost significance against the fight against the surge of muslim nationalism and the two-nation theory.
Hindu-Muslim Relations : The co-existence of these two communities became frictional in early 1900s, partly because of the two nation theory and the surge of muslim nationalism. Hindus lacked the kind of cohesion and unity that muslim community had gained because of the AIML’s Pakistan movement. There were several local issues too like religious processions of one community irritating the other, which caused friction.
Hindutva theory : Since muslims had already started claiming a separate united identity as a nation, people like VD Savarkar made a reactive attempt to come up with a theory for Hindutva. Hindus were divided into several castes, sub-castes. Regional and linguistic identities were stronger over religious identity. The main ideology of RSS and its founders was to unite Hindus under one identity which would come above their caste, language, region based identities. But for that to happen, first they needed to answer who all would fall under this Hindu category. The initial definition was given by Savarkar which went through several changes over the decades according to the strategic need of the era.
Independence of India and Partition : The creation of Islamic nation of Pakistan in 1947 led to an obvious demand of creation of a Hindu nation – ‘India’. Since India was in the right hands at the time of Independence, sense prevailed and India went on to be a secular nation. But the idea of a hindu nation did not die there. RSS could have easily lost relevance due to dominance of Indian National Congress in India’s post independence politics but they were resilient enough and have not just survived all these years but have become a dominant socio-political force now in the 21st century.
Decline and resurgence of RSS in independent India : Until Nehru ruled, RSS was marginalized politically. Nehru being the idealist that he was, did not try to quash RSS into non-existence. After Nehru’s death also, Nehru-Gandhi family led Congress was too strong for RSS to become politically relevant until late 1980s. Though they appeared dormant on surface, they kept working towards their goal of ‘Hindu-Rashtra’ by spreading their ideology and cadres all over India. The resurgence of RSS as a political force was led by the formation of BJP and its politics over Ram Janma Bhoomi and Ram Temple. Congress’ weakening in early 1990s saw multiple political parties trying to grab the space vacated by Congress. BJP, the political wing of RSS, led by LK Advani came out as the winner in 1998. They were once again on the verge of losing political relevance from 2004–2014 when India was under Congress rule but the phenomenon called Narendra Modi happened and led RSS to the strongest ever position in its history.
Ideology of RSS vs Ideology of Nehru-Gandhi
Nehru and Gandhi promoted idea of united secular India. They promoted nationalist identity of Indian and not religious identities Hindu/muslim/Sikh etc. The idea was to unite all sections of the society to come together as a nation and work towards a modern society free of any kind of discrimination and inequality.
RSS ideology is actually a misnomer. They dont have any real ideology. Their thought-process was based on the feeling that since Hindus are majority community in India, they must dominate over the minorities, specially the muslims who being the second largest community asserted themselves the most after Hindus. To put their thought process in simple words:
“hindu pride, Hindu dominance, hindu supremacy”
“Jo haath hindu par uthega, woh kaat diya jayega” (Any one who goes against Hindu will be destroyed)
“Hindu hit sarvopari hain” (Hindu interests are topmost priority of the nation)
RSS thought process originated in an era where the society was full of doubt on whether Hindus and Muslims can co-exist. On one side AIML used fears of muslims to push the Pakistan movement, RSS pushed for a nation where Hindus would dominate and subjugate Muslims. They would “allow” muslims to live in their country on their terms as if they owned the whole country.
Today, RSS thought process has not only become outdated but is very regressive. In the times when world is trying to go in a direction where there is no discrimination between people on basis of race, nation, language, appearance, gender, economic status, RSS still wants to hold back the country in the era of 1947.
Modus Operandi of RSS
Islamophobia : Nehru attempted to heal the wounds of both Hindus and Muslims during his rule post India’s independence. But RSS constantly made sure that they scratch the wounds afresh every few years. They periodically raise issues like:
500 year old controversies involving destruction of hindu temples by muslim rulers.
Stoking fear over rising muslim population.
Trying to link muslim community as a whole with terrorism
Mocking religious practices of muslims like offering prayer at public places or their appearance.
Saying that all Muslims have sympathies for Pakistan and any one who is against BJP/RSS must go to Pakistan.
Character assassination of Nehru-Gandhi by spreading fake information.
Exaggerating issues like Kashmir and putting the blame solely on Nehru.
RSS was involved in 1992 pan-India riots over babri masjid issue. On record BJP and RSS leaders always maintain that the riots and mosque destruction were spontaneous incidents but it was quite evident that both the things were planned.
RSS orchestrated 2002 Gujarat riots. Along with extended Sangh family, RSS was at the center of Gujarat riots.
Kandhamal anti-christian riots. BJP/RSS people have been convicted for this incident.
They are known to be involved in various small and big Hindu-muslim riots in recent times which have almost always been artificially created to cause polarization before elections.
To become more acceptable for the modern section of the hindu society, RSS have off late come up with smart strategy of outsourcing their dirty work of riots and violence to proxy outfits (hindu sena, ram sena, yuva sena, etc etc) in all parts of India. These outfits serve the purpose of keeping their orthodox electorate happy and at the same time they disown the dirty acts of these outfits as something they are unaware of.
Mob violence: Mobs without name and identity are being used to the dirty job of RSS.
Forcing uniformity over the diverse hindu society:
Dalit hindus prefer having an identity of their own which goes against RSS’ political interests. When in power they try to demolish symbols of Dalit identity being separate from Hindu identity.
Other sects like Lingayats and Dravidians believe their native culture is different from North Indian Brahminical society. RSS is against this idea. Murder of people like Dr Kalaburgi was an attempt to quash such ideas.
RSS is a socio-political organization based around the idea of hindu dominance and subjugation of muslims in India. Though they pretend that their aim is to unite Hindus, all they are trying to do is obtain political power.
RSS’ idea of India is a very regressive one, taking India backwards.
It wouldn’t be entirely wrong if RSS is called a borderline terrorist organization. They have used terror and violence as a means to subjugate minorities and obtain political power.
The charity work which RSS supposedly does including the schools they run is nothing but a smart image makeover exercise, a hogwash. The schools are a place to spread their dangerous mindset to young unsuspecting minds.
Image Source: Logically ai
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