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“The RSS : A Menace to India” Review

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“The RSS was established as an armed, militant wing of Hindu Nationalism in order to overpower and wipe out Indian Nationalism from the country.” Noorani

In April 2019, India was in the first phase of the 2019 general election and ‘fir ek baar , Modi sarkar’ slogan was sweeping across the country. Just one month before the election, a book was launched by LeftWord Books in the India International Centre ( New Delhi).

RSS FB
The RSS ideology of “Hindu Nationalism” is based on similar lines as Mussolini’s “Italian Fascism”.

Not much attention was paid to the book by the ‘liberals’ of this country and no book discussions were held by the ‘mainstream’ media houses. The Hindu Nationalist Narendra Modi (as he called himself) came to power again. The book is titled ” The RSS: A Menace to India”.

Starting with the quote by Dr.Ambedkar “If Hindu Raj does become a fact, it will, no doubt, be the greatest calamity for this country…Hindu Raj must be prevented at any cost’ the book ‘ The RSS: A Menace to India’ written by the most notable Supreme Court lawyer, a constitutional expert and an author A . G . Noorani, opens up a full spectrum of the largest organization of the country – The RSS ( Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh). The voluminous book contains 25 chapters with more than 500 pages and 16 appendices.

The book is a historical report of communalism in pre-independence to post-independent India, dwelling on the present Modi era too. From Hedgewar to Golwalkar, Mookherjee to Advani, every bigshot of the Hindutva ideology finds a place in this book.

It deals with the peculiar relationship between the RSS, BJP and its progeny, the ABVP, VHP and the Bajrang Dal. The author makes his way by focusing on the first revolt of united India against the colonial rulers i.e the revolt of1857, when the Hindus and the Muslims stood together in the lost battle. But on the parallel, a majoritarian ideology was making its way to enter into Indian politics.

The author doesn’t forget to mention, in the first chapter itself, an address given by RSS chief Bhagwat’s on 27 October 2017 where Bhagwat said: ” Hindustan is a country of Hindus. It does not mean that Hindustan is not the country of other people “.

Bhagwat didn’t mention whom he was referring to as the “other” people. This has been the crux of the fascist ideology anywhere in the world i.e “We” and the ” others”. The RSS and BJP don’t believe in the “minority” theory. The ideological difference between Indian nationalism and the Hindu nationalism is well explained by Mr Noorani. But the author didn’t visit the ‘caste ‘ issue in relation to RSS in detail.

The author left no stone unturned by providing a reference to each and every remark about the RSS. The author’s view, with factual references of a collaboration between the RSS, the Hindu Mahasabha and the colonial rulers, makes us question the very existence of the RSS and its allies.

The RSS ideology of “Hindu Nationalism” is based on similar lines as Mussolini’s “Italian Fascism” and its outreach is ever-increasing after the Ayodhya incident.  The Hindu reported in 2019 that the RSS is growing at an annual rate of 20-25% with 50000 daily shakhas,and  5-6 lakhs people attending them.

The book also covers the period when the differences between the BJP and RSS were out in the open and how RSS rose to the level of the controller of BJP while reminding it about its ideological foundation. The Advani episode booked a separate chapter, revolving around his relations with the RSS and its allies, along with the leaders of BJP including PM Modi.

Advani ignored the happenings around him which ultimately resulted in him being sidelined from the mainstream leadership and the parallel rise of Modi as an alternative and also the topmost choice of the RSS.

The 2002 Gujarat riots and the response of Narendra Modi as a CM were also critically noted by Noorani. He cited the testimonies of two of the country’s top police officials and media correspondents.

Narendra Modi wa ‘chosen’ by RSS to lead the country. After 2014, an atmosphere of a fear has been evading the homes of minorities, and there are reasons for that. The author cites a report of Indian Express ( 20th April 2018) which said: “any move in favour of minorities looks illegitimate in the era of majoritarianism “. The people have reasons to believe in the fear instilled by the daily propaganda.

Be it journalists or common citizens, everyone is being targeted if they criticize those in power. New terms like “anti-national, urban-naxals, tukde tukde gang” are being invented every day to degrade and silence the dissent.

The author warns the readers that the ‘poison is spreading alarmingly……What is at stake is not only the Indian Dream. What is at stake is the soul of India.’ 

If you are a voracious reader and take interest in Indian political history, the partition of India and the rise of communalism in India, this book is a concise option for you.

The book is available at the following link:

Click Here

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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