Much has been discussed in mainstream media about BJP’s war cry of ‘Congress Mukt Bharat’, the popular slogan that itself occupies the position of nothing more than a footnote in the BJP’s larger scheme of a Hindu Rashtra. However, the same vigour is missing when it comes to discussing riddance from BJP and RSS’ politics of hate. The silence on the subject assumes alarming proportions when one were to specifically call for a ban on the RSS. There appears to be a tacit understanding between civil society, academia, media, judiciary and law enforcing agencies – that come what may the legitimacy of RSS will not be questioned. The question about banning the organisation last came up for discussion before Vallabh Bhai Patel after investigations in the Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination revealed Nathuram’s links with RSS. Patel under pressure to deliver – outlawed it – only to revoke the ban a few days later.
Decades later Rahul Gandhi, in an attempt to project himself as magnanimous, says that he doesn’t want a BJP and RSS mukt Bharat. He himself serves no good by not amply clarifying as to what exactly he makes of this ambiguous phrase. As per records on at least a couple of occasions he has tried to deal with the subject. The one significant occasion that comes to mind is the speech he delivered in parliament in July this year during the Rafale debate at the end of which he walked up to the treasury bench and hugged the Prime Minister. Prior to the act, he concluded his speech by saying that he doesn’t hate BJP and RSS and believed that he with his love and respect would one day bring them all into Congress’ fold.
Now when Rahul Gandhi says this it can be for either one of two reasons. He may be having a sincere belief that he can achieve a changeover of heart and mind of the communal party. Or, it might be a cleverly crafted superficial remark to position congress as more inclusive of the two and earn in the process a favourable press. If the reason he doesn’t want a BJP/RSS mukt Bharat is to win over the opposition’s heart, and if indeed he succeeds in bringing about this tectonic change then it would be a historic effort by the Congress president, worthy of applause beyond doubt. But, and here I have my reservations, if he isn’t serious and has a limited agenda of political posturing, then it’s a dangerous development.
The sign of this latter possibility was underscored during the press conference held by the Congress president on 11th December after the results for the assembly elections were declared, where he said that the BJP and RSS represent an idea which is a reality in our country. Here unlike his statement in parliament, he seems to be legitimising the idea what BJP and RSS stand for. By not denouncing in unequivocal terms the ideology of hate, he is essentially trying to woo over the Hindutva followers. Rahul Gandhi after 14 years in active politics can’t be so naive so as to not understand the ills that plague the idea he is speaking of as an established reality of this country.
To begin with, the Congress president must understand that RSS right from its very inception was inspired by fascism. Its founding fathers were rather sworn Hitler and Mussolini fans. It didn’t participate in the freedom struggle and infact collaborated with the British. The false testimonies of RSS members led to imprisonment and hanging of many freedom fighters. Not to forget that it conspired to kill Mahatma Gandhi.
Post-independence, it aspires for a majoritarian rule, believes in racial superiority and wants a theocratic state that promotes monolithic culture. Moreover, it doesn’t respect the rule of law, performs Shastra pooja and runs its own private militia. Till only a few years back it didn’t hoist the tricolour at its Nagpur office. Its offshoots still burn the constitution on the eve of independence and republic day. It continues giving Manusmriti the order of precedence over the sacred book of the nation. Its ideology of Hindutva transcends constitutional legit and its existence is a perpetual threat to the unity and integrity of this country.
In recent years riding on the majoritarian wave, it has managed to enter every nook and corner of the nation. Presently it has at least two active members at village level who are entrusted with the job of advancing its propaganda, through a judicious mix of word of mouth and social media. It is increasingly trying to appropriate all symbols of Hinduism, be it scriptures, rituals or personalities and projecting itself as the fountainhead of Sanatana Dharma. Its members have been indicted in several terror cases from Mecca Masjid, Malegaon to Samjhauta Express blasts.
Given Sangh’s history and his own future political relevance, it would serve Rahul Gandhi a lot more good were he to be cognizant about Sangh’s infiltration of his own ranks. Contrary to whatever his wishes are, efforts towards a Sangh mukt Congress should hold primacy for him over all other issues. If indeed he has his heart in the right place he should respect BJP as the principal opposition but only sans its ideology.
RSS, in any case, needs to be collectively called out, by all progressive quarters, for what it is – a terror outfit. Beyond BJP, Congress rhetoric this is one mukti that India desperately needs.