Thoughts on economics and liberty

Category: Politics

The challenge of building a national liberal political alternative

This article was published in the November 2009 (Volume 3, 2009) issue, South Asia eNewsletter of FNF.

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Indian political liberalism has been blossoming in the last few years but is still very fragile. The demand for freedom is still largely confined to the fringe of Indias mainstream political debates. The mantra of socialism refuses to die out despite the success of economic liberalisation. Indeed, Indias politicians continue to preach socialism as they practice their ugly mix of statism, crony capitalism and corruption.

The idea of freedom as the most basic political good is still struggling for relevance in a nation where over six decades socialism has created a strong culture of relying on the government for everything. And there has been very poor communication. As a result most Indians simply dont understand what freedom means, mixing it with democracy or even independence.

Freedom never came in a silver platter. It has had to be fought for and won. By each generation.
Today it is our turn, and we must give battle to socialism and corruption irrespective of whether we win or lose. Sadly, Indian liberals have not recovered from the demise of the Swatantra Party in 1974. They are fragmented and seemingly incapable of combining together to lead India to freedom.
But there are good tidings. It is possible, even likely, that a national liberal political front will take shape in India in the next few years. Let me tell you about this good news.

My lost decade
At this stage I need to introduce myself briefly to you. I worked as an Indian bureaucrat from 1982 to January 2001. I now do similar things in Australia. Like most Indians of my generation who were encouraged to take up science and technology in their school days at the expense of the liberal arts, I had only a feeble understanding of economics, political science or political philosophy when I joined the Indian civil service. I therefore assumed that (the socialist) policies set by the government were well researched.

But dissonance soon arose. For if these policies were so good why was there so much corruption, inefficiency and waste? Public money was being destroyed and entrepreneurship choked. There was a great disconnect between highly talented bureaucrats on the one hand and pathetic results on the other.

Therefore, from 1984 to 1999 I studied economics and management and sought answers to this riddle. In 1998, at age 38, while completing my PhD, the haze finally cleared. When it did, it became also clear to me that the required reforms must start from the top. A political mandate was needed. Another thing became clear: that we need to stop pointing fingers at others and take responsibility for our country. We must become the leaders we want to see.

The Swatantra Party had died without a trace, and it was not possible to join existing corrupt or communal political parties. So I determined to establish a liberal political party, knowing very well the challenges involved. Between 1998 and 2000 I met many Indians across the world to advance the idea of a liberal political movement. Most people I met were cynical, without much hope. But I kept trying.

During this process many shortcomings of Indians became clear our lack of leaders (or rather, the lack of citizenship); and among the few leaders we have, the lack of strategic thinking. No Rajaji did I find. I also found that our industrialists and businessman live solely for themselves. They are happy to bribe their way though the corrupt system. The country means absolutely nothing to them. No JRD Tata did I come across.

And failure dogged my steps. Finally, after three failed attempts, not yet being a persistent leader, I grew disheartened and gave up. That was mid-2005.

Freedom Team of India
But by December 2007 I was back in business, with a totally different approach. What happened?

As I worked within the government machinery while living in Melbourne, it was impossible not to think of India and its colossal waste of human resources. I learnt how an effective governance system looks like and wanted to transmit this learning to India. So I kept writing the book I had started in 2005. This book, Breaking Free of Nehru (published by Anthem Press in 2008 and now available as a free e-book at http://bfn.sabhlokcity.com/), is more a political pamphlet than a book.

In it, after much reflection, I proposed the concept of a Freedom Team of India (FTI).

The idea behind the Team is simple. It aims to bring together at least 1500 outstanding liberal leaders who are willing in-principle to contest elections. After policy agreements are achieved, such a team could give serious battle at the hustling to corrupt socialist forces and ultimately deliver freedom and good governance to India.

Started as an electronic group in December 2007, FTI it has now begun to take serious shape. In July 2009 FTI (http://freedomteam.in/) was registered as a not-for-profit organisation.

FTI has placed itself squarely in the classical liberal mould, steering away from conceptions of social democracy or libertarianism. Over 80 excellent leaders have joined so far, although not all may contest elections in the end.

One thing that distinguishes FTI from efforts like Lok Satta or Jago Party is this, that it will not launch a political movement until all ingredients are in place. That includes leaders, agreed policies, funds, and local supporters. There is little point in making a Quixotian assault against misgovernance by trying to win a handful of seats. There must either be a full-fledged national alternative, or nothing.

Given the great importance of building a support base, FTI has floated the concept of Adharshila of liberal groups across India to take the liberal message to the people and undertake a wide range of activities.

I believe that the strategy chosen by the Team offers a real chance to change the corrupt Indian political landscape. The good news is that those who have joined the team so far are truly excellent people. I am gaining confidence by the day about the possibility that India will finally get its national liberal political party in the coming years.

Of course, this is a herculean challenge and FTI needs all the support it can get. It needs serious commitment from all Indian liberals. You can either join as a leader or help find someone to join it. If you cant do either, then please support it in some other form or shape. If you have any questions please write to me sabhlok AT yahoo DOT com.

I look forward to your interest. In conclusion I would also like to invite you to read my draft manuscript entitled, The Discovery of Freedom, at http://discovery.sabhlokcity.com/. This book, when finished, will complement Breaking Free of Nehru.

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Mythical barriers to joining politics

Sanjeev Sabhlok

(This article was published in the March 2009 issue of Freedom First)

The February issue of Freedom First carried some of the best writings published in this magazine over the past fifty years. But most of these writings perhaps fell on deaf ears, for they advocated freedom at a time when few Indians cared about freedom. Indeed, Indians don’t seem to care much about freedom even today. Law and order has deteriorated, and corruption has become entrenched, but defenders of liberty are nowhere to be seen on the political stage.

Since the Swatantra Party wound up in 1974, virtually no liberal has bothered to contest elections. Yet the basic entry fee for contesting elections in India has remained low – merely a security deposit of Rs. 10,000. There is also no obvious shortage of people with liberal inclinations. And while many young liberals with families may be hard-pressed to contest elections, thousands of retired liberals can surely be mobilized for the defence of liberty.

So why aren’t liberals contesting elections regularly and in sufficient numbers? Are they scared of ‘dirty’ politics and electoral violence? Do they believe elections are too costly? I will show below that these barriers are not as bad as we make them out to be. In any case, the existence of such problems is all the more reason for us to join the fray and fight to change the system.

Myth 1: Indian elections are excessively violent
The belief that our elections are excessively violent is somewhat overdone. Of course, there is some electoral violence, but its magnitude is small in comparison to India’s size (we should avoid comparing India with developed countries at this early stage of our development). Of our six lakh villages, only a few hundred will experience violence, with possibly a few hundred people injured and a dozen or two killed. Booth-capturing is also the exception than the norm. Similarly, the Indian Police is particularly good at protecting candidates: virtually no candidate is assaulted or killed of the many thousands who contest. And so, while we should take due precautions, merely contesting elections won’t (generally speaking) kill us.

Myth 2: Money wins elections
The second myth relates to money. We know that many parties spend crores of rupees in elections. Accordingly I was recently told: “You require at least 2 crores to fight a parliament election.” True, most corrupt parties do such things but why should we copy these corrupt gangsters? Aren’t we different? We believe in integrity. We do not break the law, even though we disagree with it (I strongly disagree with limits on electoral expenses). We must therefore stick with the Rs. 25 lakhs expense limit prescribed for parliamentary elections. Raising this amount is far easier than raising Rs. 2 crores, particularly for outstanding liberals with good networks.

Then there is the belief that money buys electoral results. It is thought that basti wallahs sell their votes for “Rs.250/- cash, a packet of Biryani and a sachet of country arrack”. But the reality is that voters take money from whosoever gives it to them, but then vote (in the quiet secrecy the polling booth) for the candidate they actually believe in. I know of a politician who disbursed Rs.35 lakhs in slum areas in Mumbai in a single night but lost the election! In any event, bribing every voter can be astonishingly expensive, costing over Rs. 30 crores per constituency! No one spends that much in any election.

At the broader level, I question why even Rs. 25 lakhs is really necessary. Some reflection will show that electoral results depend primarily on the following four things.
a) The message. While the average voter is not interested in the details of policy, he wants to know what the proposed policies will mean for him. A well-tailored campaign can make a great difference, and that does not mean throwing money around.
b) Time spent talking to the electorate. Good candidates spend a lot of time in their constituencies to build networks of supporters.
c) Quality and commitment of the candidate. Good candidates speak coherently and demonstrate commitment to their constituents’ interests.
d) Credibility of the bid. The Indian voter is highly strategic and doesn’t waste his vote on independent candidates or on ill-prepared ‘one-man political parties’. He wants to know that the candidate he will vote for has a genuine chance of becoming a part of government.

While money can facilitate these things, it is not the key driver of success. If liberals do their homework and work as a team, then even Rs. 25 lakhs won’t be needed to win. Ask the Janata Party which trounced the corrupt Congress of 1977. Or ask the Telugu Desam of 1982, or Asom Gana Parishad of 1985. Many of these parties were formed weeks before elections and barely spent any money, but won huge majorities.

Time to stop making excuses!
If contesting elections is not that dangerous nor that expensive, then why do we find so many excuses? Highly successful organisational leaders tell us with a serious face that they “don’t have the leadership capability to lead India”. If even these excellent people think they can’t lead us politically, then who can? The local gangster?

Nandan M Nilekani of Infosys wrote in Imagining India that he is “quite unelectable” – thus conveniently washing his hands off politics. Apart from the fact that it is highly presumptuous for anyone to assume the response of the voter, all that the voter really wants is a demonstration of good citizenship, not some mythical glorious leadership. I therefore ask Mr Nilekani and others like him to stop making excuses and join politics as good citizens. Give our voters a chance to elect good people.

Maybe (I hope I’m wrong on this one!) some liberals have big egos which will receive a rude jolt if they lose elections. If the idea of losing elections prevents people from contesting elections, let me assure them that fighting elections honourably will be seen by every right thinking person as a sign of good citizenship. Indeed, the benchmark in politics is so low that any good person who enters politics will be highly regarded. Beyond that, the true liberal must never be bothered about victory or defeat. We are obliged to do the right thing irrespective of results. The fight for freedom is too important for us to make our fight contingent on future success. Let us first get out there and fight for our freedoms. Let the fight succeed whenever it will; that is not for us to worry about.

A good liberal platform needed
The real gap today is not of funds or potential leaders, but of a platform where good people can assemble and offer a viable alternative to the voter. That is what the Freedom Team of India (FTI) aims to become. FTI has now developed a professionally designed website (freedomteam.in) and well-written brochure. Please take a look at these for yourself and ponder your future plans. Do you want to continue making excuses for the rest of your life or are ready to work as a team to start defending your liberties?

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When will I enter full-time politics in India?

(This post is work in progress). A member on FTI asked me about my political plans for India. This is the current situation.

Joint responsiblity
I have wanted to be in full time politics since 1998, but various constraints have prevented it. My family commitments must get first priority. The reform of India is a task for all of us – indeed, of all citizens – not mine alone by any means.

I do expect to come back when financially not significantly worse off (not just for one year or two, but for my entire life). Sharad Joshi gets a substantial UN pension for life – that has left him free to do politics full-time upon his return from Geneva. Therefore he is the only full-time Indian liberal politican today. I am not so blessed, and my attempts to seek funding so far have failed, though I remain hopeful

For instance, I had offered to work in 2000 with CCS for life for a relatively small amount – only $20K US per year indexed for life – but that was too high for CCS to afford at that stage. Now my financial situation is far more complex, and the amount needed to get me to India full-time may exceed $150K AUD pre-tax to pay my mortgage, etc. The fact that I didn’t stay on in India in 2000 has turned out be a good outcome. It forced me to gain experience in a developed country bureaucracy – and also forced me (as I started writing my book/s) to think more clearly about what I stood for. The importance of leadership became clearer to me thorugh experiences in Australia. These things wouldn’t have happened if I had continued in India as part of CCS.

In addition, I’ve been looking for appropriate jobs over the past 3 years that will take me to India but have not been successful on that front yet. If nothing comes up I expect to be able to return in 10 1/2 years at age 60 when I will get an old-age pension in Australia (provided I continue my citizenship) which will mean I could retire from work here and work in India with fewer financial constraints – but that will also mean I won’t be able to contest elections. Delaying for 10 1/2 years is not my preference.

One possibility is that once 1500 members join FTI, there will be sufficient momentum and funding for people like me who want to return and work for FTI and politics full time. Currently, working as a ‘full-time’ second, unpaid job is all I can afford.

Btw, I am aware that similar constraints may apply to a number of others on FTI as well. One thing I don’t want is for any of us to reduce focus on our primary responsiblity – towards our families – for the sake of our secondary (joint) responsibility (country). The liberal must know his priorities. No one is better placed to look after our families than us. If I hear of any liberal who has acted irresponsibly towards his family (and I’m guilty of that at least in part in terms of time I devote), I’d know the liberal has some work cut out for him.

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The Case Against RSS

Addendum 1 November 2014

This blog post along with many others has now been consolidated into a BOOKLET. This post will no longer be updated. Please visit the link below (or better – check the right hand column of this blog, since URL of this link might change):

Angrezon ke Pille: The pro-British Imperialism ‘Hindu’ Taliban: RSS, its parivaar and associates

ARCHIVAL

Addendum 27 October 2014

A great RSS leader’s scientific wisdom: “a plastic surgeon fixed an elephant’s head on Ganesha”

Addendum 25 October 2014

Article in RSS magazine suggests Nathuram Godse should have killed Jawaharlal Nehru instead of Mahatma Gandhi

RSS once again showing its true colours as a HARDCORE VIOLENT organisation. Amazing gall. Instead of condemning Godse for killing the greatest man of peace India has ever produced, this BJP/RSS man wanted Godse to kill Nehru, instead. This is the level of thinking of this vicious group of anti-Indian people.

Addendum 7 October 2014

Saffron terror: Swami Aseemanand implicates RSS Chief Bhagwat

​RSS associates are linked to terror attacks, asserts Home Secretary

Hindutva's Violent History

'Violent Gods: Hindu nationalism in India's present' by Angana Chatterji and 'Savarkar and Hindutva' by A G Noorani    

Addendum 26 May 2014

[SOURCE]

The Hinduists indulge in the various strategies of deception. They try to convince that Swami Vivekanand, Subhash Babu, Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad and the other martyrs were also Hinduists. But not one of them was a Hinduist or a fundamentalist. But there has been a ceaseless and subtle propaganda to inhibit the people's mind that way. Another such lie is to depict Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel as a partisan Hinduist. Here are two excerpts from Sardar Patel's correspondence:

"As regards the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha, the case relating to Gandhiji's murder is sub-judice and I should not like to say anything about the participation of the two organisations, but our reports do confirm that as result of the activities of these two bodies, particularly the former, an atmosphere was created in the country in which such a ghastly tragedy became possible. There is no doubt in my mind the extreme section of the Hindu Mahasbha was involved in this conspiracy. The activities of the RSS constituted a clear threat to the existence of the Government and the State."

18.7.48

Vallabhbhai Patel


(From the letter addressed to Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee. Sardar Patel's correspondence; Vol. VI, p. 323, Navjivan-1973)

Sardar Patel in his letter dated 11th September 1948, addressed to Sarsangh Chalak of the R.S.S. wrote:

"The speeches of the Sangh leaders are poisonous. It is as a result of this venom that Mahatma Gandhi has been assassinated. The followers of the Sangh have celebrated Gandhiji's assassination by distributing sweets. "

 

Addendum 25 May 2014

Refer this article: http://archiv.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/volltextserver/9086/1/HPSACP_NANDY.pdf​

 

Addendum 20 May 2014

Hindu Nationalist’s Historical Links to Nazism and Fascism

Addendum 19 April 2014. 

Patel speaking out vigorously against RSS's plans to make India a Hindu Raj. And now an RSS leader wants to be PM, and a lunatic senior leader of BJP wants to disenfranchise Muslims.

Addendum 8 June 2009. This blog post has been discussed at length on Shantanu's blog post of June 5 2009. Shanatanu doesn't agree that I have made the case against RSS. Therefore, please be sure to form your own opinion after reading and understanding all the facts – and that includes material linked through Shantanu’s blog!

Addendum: http://news.in.msn.com/national/article.aspx?cp-documentid=5334918

Addendum: this is frightening: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/must-read-for-madhya-pradesh-students-an-rss-magazine/836218/ – shameless misuse of power.

Addendum: RSS not involved in killing Gandhi: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/rss-didnt-plot-gandhi-killing-hindu-mahasabha-did-patel-told-nehru/870537/

Addendum: This blog post by Kiran purports to demolish the "myths" around RSS: http://kiranasis.blogspot.com.au/2014/02/myths-about-rss.html

Addendum: The myth that Nathuram Godse was not an active RSS member demolished, here.

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Over the years I've noticed an increasing tendency among intellectuals in India to gloss over the great many problems with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangha (RSS), the successor of the Hindu Mahasabha [Addendum 8 June 2009 – this last bit is incorrect – see here]. I've therefore compiled a number of academic critiques (and some newspaper reports) that highlight the dangers that RSS poses to India as a modern, prosperous, and non-violent nation. This blog post will be edited over time as I compile more material. If you have more material to add, please send in through comments.

At this stage (21 February) this is very tentative, but a very substantial start to the project of contesting RSS and its narrow view of India.

A question can well be asked why I am not writing against Islam extremists or Christian fanatics. The answer is that enough has already been written about them, and in particular, I have covered examples of these (other) problematic religious fanaticisms in my draft manuscript, The Discovery of Freedom.

Addendum 1 September 2009. About M.S.Golwalkar and his writings
Golwalkar's writings are in red, below. Double quotes by Bipin Chandra. Single quotes by Golwalkar.

A) FROM WE, OR OUR NATIONHOOD DEFINED BY GOLWALKAR
These are a few extracts from Golwalkar cited in Bipin Chandra, India’s Struggle for Independence, New Delhi: Penguin, 1989, p.437-38. Note: The full text of Golwalkar's 1939 book, We: Or Our Nationhood Defined, was republished in 2006 as "Golwalkar's We Or Our Nationhood Defined: A Critique With The Full Text Of The Book" by by Shamsul Islam. See Khushwant Singh's review as well.

* "If the minority demands were accepted, 'Hindu National life runs the risk of being shattered.'"

* "RSS attacked Muslims and the Congress leaders. Golwalkar attacked the nationalists for 'hugging to our bosom our most inveterate enemies (Muslims) and thus endangering our very existence.'"

* "Condemning the nationalists for spreading the view by which Hindus 'began to class ourselves with our old invaders and foes under the outlandish name – Indian,' he wrote: 'We have allowed ourselves to be duped into believing our foes to be our friends… That is the real danger of the day, our self-forgetfulness, our believing our old and bitter enemies to be our friends.'"

* "To Muslims and other religious minorities, Golwalkar gave the following advice: 'The non-Hindu peoples in Hindusthan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence Hindu religion, must entertain no ideas but those of glorification of the Hindu race and culture, i.e. they must not only give up their attitude of intolerance and ungratefulness towards this land and its age long traditions but must also cultivate the positive attitude of love and devotion instead – in one word, they must cease to be foreigners, or may stay stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment – not even citizen’s rights.'"

* "Going further, he wrote, 'We Hindus are at war at once with the Muslims on the one hand and British on the other.'"

* "He said that Italy and Germany were two countries where 'the ancient Race spirit' had 're-risen'. 'Even so with us: our Race spirit has once again roused itself,' thus giving Hindus the right of excommunicating Muslims."

B) FROM 'A BUNCH OF THOUGHTS' (1947: 1966 edition) BY GOLWALKAR

* He accused "Congress leaders … of asking Hindus 'to submit meekly to the vandalism and atrocities of the Muslims' and of telling the Hindu 'that he was imbecile, that he had no spirit, no stamina to stand on his own legs and fight for the independence of his motherland and that all this had to be injected into him in the form of Muslim blood'."

* "[H]e said in 1947, pointing his finger at Gandhiji: 'Those who declared "No Swaraj without Hindu-Muslim unity" have thus perpetrated the greatest treason on our society. They have committed the most heinous sin of killing the life-spirit of a great and ancient people.'"

* "He accused Gandhiji of having declared: 'There is no Swaraj without Hindu-Muslim unity and the simplest way in which this unity can be achieved is for all the Hindus to become Muslims.'" [Note: This was clearly a most blatant and gratuitous lie.]

About Veer Savarkar and his writings

Savarkar and Gandhi’s murder

Savarkar's book, Hindu Rashtra Darshan is now available on the internet. Here is a copy. Extracts below:

19th Session – at Karnavati – 1937
'Let us bravely face unpleasant facts as they are. India cannot be assumed today to be a unitarian and homogeneous nation, but on the contrary there are two nations in the main; the Hindus and the Moslems, in India.'

Note: This was at the 1937 session of the Hindu Mahasabha, being the FIRST PUBLIC DECLARATION IN INDIA BY A MAJOR ORGANISATION OF THE DEMAND FOR TWO NATIONS IN INDIA

Later, in 21st Session Calcutta-1939
'in India we Hindus are marked out as an abiding Nation by ourselves. Not only we own a common Fatherland, a Territorial unity, but what is scarely found anywhere else in the world we have a common holyland which is identified with our common Fatherland.'

General discussion
1. Liberal Party of IndiaCommunalism of the Congress and BJP | BJP are not true Hindus – provides links to many articles which talk of the role of RSS in fanning communalism in India, and actively participating in communal riots, e.g. http://www.liberalpartyofindia.sabhlokcity.com/communal/riots.html

1a, Hate as a history lesson.

2. "The utopian future of militant Hindu ideology is more a revival of Hindu glory than a reformation, and character in this utopia is not molded to accommodate cultural diversity. In a manner as inherently ambiguous, inconsistent and tautological as Calvinist predestination, the RSS philosophy advoc- ates action without transformation."[Joseph S. Alter, ‘Somatic Nationalism: Indian Wrestling and Militant Hinduism, Modern Asian Studies, Vol. 28, No. 3 (Jul., 1994), pp. 557-588]

3. "groups such as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (National Servants' Society, RSS) and the Vishva Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council, VHP)- … that have targeted India's Muslim minority as a dangerous internal enemy threatening the unity of the nation." [Norbert Peabody,'Inchoate in Kota? Contesting Authority Through a North Indian Pageant-Play, American Ethnologist, Vol. 24, No. 3 (Aug., 1997), pp. 559-584]

4. "According to Golwalkar, who succeeded Hedgewar as executive director of the RSS in 1940, all Muslims were by definition traitors to India and not even deserving of citizenship rights (Gol- walkar, 1939:52). Golwalkar was an open admirer of Nazi Germany, and argued for the exclusion of Muslims on the grounds that 'Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for Races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by' (Golwalkar, 1939:35)." [Sucheta Mazumdar, Women on the March: Right-Wing Mobilization in Contemporary India, Feminist Review, No. 49, Feminist Politics: Colonial/Postcolonial Worlds (Spring, 1995), pp. 1-28]

5. "the RSS branch in Delhi has sold 5 million postcards and envelopes showing India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh all under a saffron flag" [Sucheta Mazumdar, Women on the March: Right-Wing Mobilization in Contemporary India, Feminist Review, No. 49, Feminist Politics: Colonial/Postcolonial Worlds (Spring, 1995), pp. 1-28]

6. "The main mechanism for political mobilization of the RSS-VHP- BJP in the 1980s has been marches from one end of India to another. With Toyota vans camouflaged as 'chariots of the gods' to evoke Hindu religious sentiment, massive parades with hundreds of thousands in tow have crisscrossed the country with their message of 'Hindutva'. As many as 1,200,000 volunteers have been mobilized for these events (Ghimire, 1992:31). There is a glorification of blood and violence throughout the parades; young men offer up bowls of their blood to the leadership as proof of their commitment to the cause; volunteers at Ayodhya have 'Jai Shri Ram' (Victory to Rama) written on their skins with their own blood (Basu, 1994: 33). Each segment of the march concludes with Hindu sacrificial rituals honouring Mother India (Bharat-mata) deified as a modest sari-clad goddess seated on a lion holding a saffron flag (see Figure 2). The RSS-VHP-BJP organizations have also developed sophisticated use of audio-visual media, much of it targeted towards youth. A vast array of popular magazines, books, music cassettes with catchy tunes, and video films on religious themes and 'Hindu history' have been produced to attract new recruits. These songs, along with the speeches of the leadership and exhortations to rise up and experience 'Hindu pride', are widely circulated on tapes sold at nominal prices throughout India.

"The BJP-VHP-RSS version of history is propagated through the use of popular comic and cartoon magazines as well as collections of essays, stories and poetry (see Figure 3). Combining the call for a modern vision with a cry for the preservation of 'traditional values', the message is always the same: India is in crisis, sons of the soil are being short-changed, Muslims are treacherous imperialists and are multiplying, Hindus need to organize and come to the defence of Hindu religion and the Motherland. Saturating the media with their message is an important strategy; in one state recently after the BJP came to power, ten new RSS-BJP publications have been started up with state government largess (India Today, 1992b: 34).13 In all the states in which the BJP has come to power in the legislative assemblies, one of the priority projects has been the rewriting of Indian history textbooks. The narratives focus on violent antagonism between Hindus and Muslims; RSS historians equate Islam with destruction and vandalism (e.g., Goel, 1989)." [Sucheta Mazumdar, Women on the March: Right-Wing Mobilization in Contemporary India, Feminist Review, No. 49, Feminist Politics: Colonial/Postcolonial Worlds (Spring, 1995), pp. 1-28]

7. 'Renascent Hindu communalism has taken its most extreme form in the development of a paramilitary organization called the Rashtriya Svayam- sevek Sangh (RSS), complete with cadres of highly trained troops and an ideology of the Hindu state involving the complete elimination of all non- Hindu minorities. During World War II, two RSS leaders held talks with Hitler with the aim of establishing an Aryan alliance that would enable Hindu Aryans to overthrow the British, and prompted Nehru to call the RSS "the Indian version of fascism."' [Cynthia Keppley Mahmood, 'Sikh Rebellion and the Hindu Concept of Order', Asian Survey, Vol. 29, No. 3 (Mar., 1989), pp. 326-340]

8. "The RSS as a cultural organization is exclusionary in its membership and approach, intent on advancing the interests of the Hindus as a nation." [Baldev Raj Nayar. 'The Limits of Economic Nationalism in India: Economic Reforms under the BJP-Led Government, 1998-1999', Asian Survey, Vol. 40, No. 5, Modernizing Tradition in India (Sep. – Oct., 2000), pp. 792]

9. "attempts on the part of fundamentalist Hindu groups, such as the Rastriya Svayamsevak Sangh (RSS), to make India a national Hindu state (Hindu Rdstra), just as Pakistan is an Islamic state and Khalistan a wished-for Sikh state [Hans Bakker, 'Ayodhy?: A Hindu Jerusalem: An Investigation of 'Holy War' as a Religious Idea in the Light of Communal Unrest in India, Numen, Vol. 38, Fasc. 1 (Jun., 1991), pp. 80-109]

10. "In their restorationist vision, communalist forces seek to control history. Addressing the situation particular to India, in his keynote address K.N. Panikkar, professor of history at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, described the tactics used by Hindutva forces, most notably the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its support organizations the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS), the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), and the Bajrang Dal, to recapture the imagined past. The past that they postulate is indisputably an invented history designed to disseminate the ideology of Hindutva and further its political influence. Yet the power of this invented history comes about in large part because the Parivar has an institutional network with which to disseminate their version of history. Professor Panikkar explained that while the marginalization and oppression of Hindus by alien rulers, both Muslim and Christian, has been to an extent internalized, "particularly by the middle class whose role in the making of public opinion is quite decisive," still the "dissemination of these ideas to a large section of the Hindu population is ensured by the Sangh Parivar through the network of institutions and channels of communication painstakingly set up during
the last many years." The hand of these institutions extends into education, history, archeology, music, and the media. It follows that secular forces need to not only mobilize to posit a different view of history from the selective inaccurate view of the past told by communalists, but secular groups must also participate in determining the practices of the institutions that disseminate such knowledge." [Mira Rosenthal, 'DASTAK: Starting Point for Further Action, Social Scientist, Vol. 26, No. 9/10 (Sep. – Oct., 1998), pp. 63-73]

11. "Committed to the cause of building a resurgent Hindu nation and a revived Hindi-Hindu culture, the ideology of the RSS and the Jana Sangh was fuelled by the stereotype of an aggressive Islam on the rampage. They repudiated secularism, denounced the Congress for its policy of appeasement under the 'camouflage of secularism',28 and proposed the 'Indianisation' of Muslims to purge them of disloyal tendencies. 'Indianisation of the Muslim outlook is the only solution of the socio-religious as well as the political aspect of the communal problem', declared a foremost RSS and Jana Sangh activist." [Mushirul Hasan, 'Indian Muslims since Independence: In Search of Integration and Identity,' Third World Quarterly, Vol. 10, No. 2, Islam & Politics (Apr., 1988), pp. 818-842]

12. "Hindutva, or what the BJP has called 'cultural nationalism', and what the anti- communalists see as a clarion call for establishing a Hindu India, rose to prominence in the writings of Veer Savarkar. Identified as one of the architects of the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak (RSS), Savarkar defined the boundaries of Hindutva in a communal manner and further circumscribed its usage in defining the parameters of a modern India. Pitrabhoomi (Fatherland), jati (bloodline) and sanskriti (culture) were identified as the three principles of Hindutva, of which jati became the most critical in establishing the basis of communalism in modern India. This is because the concept implied that only those whose sacred land, sacred to their religion, lay within their pitrabhoomi (India) had the moral basis for claiming citizenship of India. The concept of jati, therefore, privileged a cultural/religious rather than a territorial concept of Indian citizenship-thereby implicating a basis of 'cultural' nationalism in India. Under it, 'Muslims, Christians, Jews, and others whose holy lands lay outside the territorial boundaries of punyabhoomi (India), were by implication excluded from both Hindutva and from their rightful claims to the citizenship of India'." The 'insiders' or those who are able to equate their land of birth with the sacred land of their religion are 'appropriate citizens', whereas the 'outsiders' or those whose Fatherland is not the same as their sacred lands are suspect in terms of their civic status and patriotism." [Runa Das, 'Postcolonial (In)Securities, the BJP and the Politics of Hindutva: Broadening the Security
Paradigm between the Realist and Anti-Nuclear/Peace Groups in India,' Third World Quarterly, Vol. 24, No. 1 (Feb., 2003), pp. 77-96]

13. "An important role is played by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a militant organization that emerged in the 1920s and has been continuously involved in communal violence against Muslims (Hansen 1999)." [Peter van der Veer, 'Religion in South Asia', Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 31 (2002), pp. 173-187]

14. "Narayan Kataria, RSS worker and senior figure in the militant Hindu Unity group (see Murphy 2001) which advertises on its website that it is "determined to get Muslims and Christians out of Bharat (India) by whatever means possible" and has a "Black List" of people critical of Hin- dutva which includes prominent figures such as the Pope…" [Prema Kurien, 'Multiculturalism, Immigrant Religion, and Diasporic Nationalism: The Development of an
American Hinduism', Social Problems, Vol. 51, No. 3 (Aug., 2004), pp. 362-385]

15. "Guruji Golwalkar and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) represented the extreme version of Hindu nationalism: The non-Hindu peoples in Hindustan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence Hindu religion, must en- tertain no idea but those of glorification of the Hindu race and culture, i.e., they must not only give up their attitude of intolerance and ungratefulness towards this land and its age-old traditions but must also cultivate the positive attitude of love and devotion instead-in a word they must cease to be foreigners, or may stay in this country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privilege, far less any preferential treatment-not even citizens' rights." [Yogendra K. Malik and Dhirendra K. Vajpeyi, 'The Rise of Hindu Militancy: India's Secular Democracy at Risk', Asian Survey, Vol. 29, No. 3 (Mar., 1989), pp. 308-325]

16. "Militant communal organizations such as the Shiva Sena, the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) and the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHS) have become highly popular among the Hindu masses. According to one leading Indian journal, "the Hindu militancy is menacing and growing in in- tensity. The message being hammered home is the same: for too long, the minorities have been appeased and pampered while the majority has been restrained from asserting what it holds to be the only basis for unifying the country-Hindu nationalism."24 The intensifying conflict between Hindus and non-Hindus has grave implications for relations between Hindus and Muslims in India and for India's relations with Pakistan." [Maya Chadda. 'India and the United States: Why Detente Won't Happen', Asian Survey, Vol. 26, No. 10 (Oct., 1986), pp. 1118-1136]

17. "The author's critique of the RSS is built around the organisation's core trait, which according to him, is 'fascism'. Exclusionary nationalism based on cultural chauvinism that is intolerant towards those considered beyond the pale of the 'Hindu' nation is an integral part of the world-view of RSS. Moreover, propaganda built around specific myths and symbolisms, as also an overemphasis on particular notions of heroism (for instance, the myth of rashtrapurusha Rama), has a centrality in the RSS' sensibility. Fascist politics abhors democratic politics based on individual freedoms and as such the values of pluralism, tolerance and individualism, though it can take on the pretence of a democratic player in a democracy till the time it has established firm control over state institutions. It prioritises public over private as also the collective over individual in a homogenising project where a well orchestrated community is geared to a 'national' cause in highly centralised-hierarchised structures where decisions are taken top-down. Propaganda and indoctrination of the majority community go along with repression and terror of the minorities. The shishu mandirs and vidya bharatis and other cultural and educational fronts help in disseminating a fascist mindset among a wider public. This mindset is then reinforced by calculated acts of violence against Muslims and Christians. Moreover, the parivar's majoritarian politics uses the democratic state institutions as a vehicle for constituting a permanent-fixed majority, another clear indication of fascist tendencies." [Manjari Katju, 'Convincing Message: A review of The RSS and the BJP: A Division of Labour by A. G. Noorani', Social Scientist, Vol. 29, No. 1/2 (Jan. – Feb., 2001), pp. 84-87]

18. "The author quotes Nehru (a statement which I repeat here for its contemporary relevance) who said, 'When the minority communities are communal, you can see that and understand it. But the communalism of a majority community is apt to be taken for natio
nalism'. Accordingly, the RSS and the BJP, as Noorani aptly describes, are 'innately communal' but claim to be 'nationalists'(p. xi). The author directly engages, in a head-on and scathing manner, with the Sangh parivar's ideology and style of politics to which he claims 'deceit and deception' are integral (p. 10)." [Manjari Katju, 'Convincing Message: A review of The RSS and the BJP: A Division of Labour by A. G. Noorani', Social Scientist, Vol. 29, No. 1/2 (Jan. – Feb., 2001), pp. 84-87]

19. "The RSS uses popular sentiments, such as favoring the protection of cows, to create a mass politi- cal movement whose program centers on gaining acceptance for the idea that being an Indian citizen means being a Hindu. The latter, in turn, means having the blood of people originating in the land that is now called India. Hinduism is not identified with any set of religious beliefs by the group. RSS's enemies are foreign invaders (especially Muslims), the Westernized elite, and those who resist the unification of all Hindus into a single movement. Among the numerous organizations that RSS cadre helped to organize is a woman's group that affirms women's traditional roles." [Joseph B. Tamney, Review: Part IV: "Accounting for South Asian Fundamentalisms" – Accounting for Fundamentalisms: The Dynamic Character of Movements by Martin E. Marty ; R. Scott Appleby, Review of Religious Research, Vol. 37, No. 4 (Jun., 1996), pp. 368-369]

20. "Hindu fundamentalism appeals to those who fear the masses and who want to legitimize social inequality (p. 603). RSS attracts especially middle class young men who feel left out of India's progress. Similarly Veer identifies the VHP with the middle class." [Joseph B. Tamney, Review: Part IV: "Accounting for South Asian Fundamentalisms" – Accounting for Fundamentalisms: The Dynamic Character of Movements by Martin E. Marty ; R. Scott Appleby, Review of Religious Research, Vol. 37, No. 4 (Jun., 1996), pp. 368-369]

21. "Hansen observes that RSS and BJP leaders are eager to have their version of Hindu nationalism accepted within the world political forum and thus be recognized as "respected members" of the family of nations that persists as a "sublime object of desire among even the most parochial nationalists" (p. 234)." [Mark Juergensmeyer, 'Review of The Saffron Wave: Democracy and Hindu Nationalism in Modern India by Thomas Blom Hansen', History of Religions, Vol. 41, No. 1 (Aug., 2001), pp. 84-86]

22. "M. S. Golwakar, one of the founding fathers of the right-wing RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh), makes the case for Hindutva being cultural nationalism, which basically means that the nation-state of India is meant only for Hindus. This is at great vari- ance with the more inclusive philosophy of the Congress Party, which has ruled India for most of the period since independence. Thus the pe- culiar brand of RSS nationalism was never really anti-colonial as much as it was anti-minority (anti-Muslim, in particular). According to Aijaz Ahmed, "what Golwalkar means is that the real Indian nation is com- posed of Hindus exclusively; that Hindu cultural nationalism, which seeks to create in India not a secular polity but a Hindu Rashtra (nation), is the authentic form of Indian nationalism; that the secular, multi-de- nominational nationalism which seeks to be wider and more inclusive is in fact anti-Hindu treachery, since it denies the superiority of Hindu ex- clusivist claim to the whole of this territory, where others may live only in so far as they accept the superiority of the Hindu race." A. Ahmed, Lineages of the Present (New Delhi: Tulika, 1996), p. 274." [Arvind Narrain, 'The Articulation of Rights around Sexuality and Health: Subaltern Queer Cultures in India in the Era of Hindutva', Health and Human Rights, Vol. 7, No. 2, Sexuality, Human Rights, and Health (2004), pp. 142-164]

23. "Ahamad (1969) has recently argued that Gandhi's identification with Hindu- ism and Hindu motifs, taken over later by many of Gandhi's disciples and fol- lowers, was one reason why the Indian Muslims could never take Indian secular- ism too seriously. The Muslims, however, were not the only structural base that developed counter-charisma toward Gandhi. Another such base was created in the extremist and orthodox Hindu circles of northern India represented politically by the Hindu Mahasabha and the RSS (the Rashtriya Sevak Sangha). Their com- plaint against Gandhi was the mirror opposite of that of the Muslims: he was considered too partial and sympathetic to Muslim sentiments and political de- mands. This organized wing of Hindu chauvinism saw in Gandhi a threat and a challenge to their political convictions and designs. In fact, one member of the RSS (an extremist Hindu paramilitary unit), Nathuram Godse, assassinated him soon after one of his fasts for Hindu-Muslim unity had ended; he, it is claimed, thought that with Gandhi eliminated, the path would be open "for the establish- ment of a secular state in the true sense of the word" (Godse, n.d.). Another of the conspirators, Naryan Apte, according to Payne, was boasting to another con- spirator on his way to the assassination "of the great changes his small organiza- tion would soon bring about" (1969:623)." [R. S. Perinbanayagam, 'The Dialectics of Charisma', The Sociological Quarterly, Vol. 12, No. 3 (Summer, 1971), pp. 387-402]

24. "'The RSS line is very clear. It is a supra-party, paramilitary organisation which wants take over the state and nation and establish an authoritarian regime in the manner of Nazi leaders,' wrote the idologue and leader of the Janata Party, Madhua Limayae, in an article in Sunday on 10 June 1979 – just before the Janata government in Delhi fell because it would not formally sever connections with the RSS. Limaya was only echoing something which Gandhi has said long ago. According to his secretary Pyarelal, Gandhi had described the RSS as a 'communal body with a totalitarian outlook' and compared them to the Nazis and Fascists." [M.J. Akbar, India: The Seige Within, Delhi: Roli Books, 2003, p.305]

Awareness and complicity of RSS in the murder of Gandhi
1. All India Christian Council article

2. "the anti-Mahasabha/RSS backlash in New Delhi following Gandhi's murder by an RSS maverick, Nathuram Godse, in January 1948. As details of the ethnic cleansing programme in Mewat began to filter through to Delhi, the Nehru government grew by stages alarmed, angry and ashamed. These recriminations were further fuelled by rumours and circumstantial evidence that Khare and possibly the two maharajas had given shelter to Godse and his fellow conspirators as they travelled north on their mission to murder the Mahatma" … "The inquiry did, however, make clear that Godse had plenty of supporters in both Alwar and Bharatpur. After Gandhi's death the RSS was declared an unlawful organization."[Ian Copland, 'The Further Shores of Partition: Ethnic Cleansing in Rajasthan 1947', Past and Present, No. 160 (Aug., 1998), pp. 203-239]

"The assassination ofM. K. Gandhi in 1948 for being soft on Muslims by a former RSS member and an active proponent of Hindu nationalism" [Sucheta Mazumdar, Women on the March: Right-Wing Mobilization in Contemporary India, Feminist Review, No. 49, Feminist Politics: Colonial/Postcolonial Worlds (Spring, 1995), pp. 1-28]

4. "Nanaji Deshmukh, a leading Hindutva ideologist, in a document entitled 'Moments of soul searching', dated 8 November 1984 and circulated by the Hindu supremacist organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (National Volunteer Force-RSS) soon after Indira Gandhi's assassination, gives an indication of the line of revisionist rethinking ('soul searching') on the part of the Hindutva forces. He writes, 'on January 30,1948 a Hindu fanatic who was a Marathi and had no relation with the RSS, rather was a bitter critic of the Sangh, committed unfortunate killing of Mahatma Gandhi… .We ourselves saw how selfish elements, who were well acquainted with this incident, deliberately declared a murderer to be a member of the RSS and also spread the rumour that the RSS people were celebrating throughout the country death of Mahatma Gandhi, and thus they succeeded in diverting the love and the feelings of loss and hurt in the hearts of people for Gandhi.' This document has been reproduced in full in S Islam, Undoing India. The RSS Way, Delhi: Media House, 2002, pp 53 – 60. It is worth noting here, in passing, that in this document, Deshmukh endorses Rajiv Gandhi, Mrs Gandhi's son, unhesitatingly: 'he [Rajiv] is entitled to get full cooperation and sympathy from the countrymen, though they may belong to any language, religion, caste or political belief.. .so that he can take the country to real prosperous unity and glory’ (ibid, p 60). A similar revisionist view is discernible in an interview given by Prof Rajendra Singh, a former RSS chief, to Outlook magazine (19 January 1998) published from Delhi. In this interview he makes a mild criticism of Godse by characterising him as a well intentioned nationalist whose killing of Mahatma Gandhi was the wrong method to achieve his goals. To the question ‘What is your opinion about Nathuram Godse who killed Gandhi?’ Prof Singh replied, ‘Godse was motivated by [the philosophy of] Akhand Bharat. Uske mantavya achhe thhe par usne achhe uddeshya ke liye galat method istemal kiye [His intention was good but he used the wrong methods]'. This interview has been reproduced in Communalism Combat, 11(100), August 2004, p 19" [Pritam Singh, 'Hindu Bias in India's 'Secular' Constitution: Probing Flaws in the Instruments of Governance,' Third World Quarterly, Vol. 26, No. 6 (2005), pp. 909-926]

5. "Gopal Godse lives in a tiny, two-room apartment in Pune… Gopal Godse served 18 years in prison for his role in Gandhi's murder. Today at 83, he is the last surviving member of the group that planned it. …

Mr. GOPAL GODSE (Gandhi Assassin): We assassinated him because in our view he was harmful to the nation. In India, we at least desired it should be a Hindu state where openly the government will have one faith and that is Hindu faith. And that was not done. In that case, we say, Gandhi was a traitor. …

SULLIVAN: …Nathuram Godse and another plotter, Norayan Apte, were hanged for the crime in 1949. Both Godse and his brother were members of the RSS, a militaristic Hindu organization influenced by German Fascism in the 1930s. Hindu nationalist groups like the RSS were briefly banned following Gandhi's assassination. .. Many of its members would agree with Gopal Godse that India makes far too many concessions to its Muslim minority at the price of the majority Hindu population." [Profile: Last surviving conspirator in the plot to assassinate Mahatma Gandhi.(1:00-2:00 PM)(Broadcast transcript). Weekend Edition Saturday (July 12, 2003)(736 words) ]

GODSE'S BROTHER ADMITS RSS ROLE:

This is very important: http://www.truthofgujarat.com/orphaning-swami-aseemanand-nathuram-godse-typical-tales-disownment-rss/

Role in demolishing the Babri Masjid

1. "One of the central motifs of the Ayodhya conflict is a focus on India's Mughal legacy. The soldier and diarist Babur, founder of the Mughal imperium, is thought to have built the mosque at Ayodhya. Until the 1940s Mus- lims and Hindus usually tolerated and accom- modated one another's prayers and rituals at the site, just as they did in comparable locali- ties elsewhere. But in 1949, when the country was still convulsed by the aftermath of the Hindu-Muslim massacres that accompanied Independence and Partition, the Hindu- supremacist RSS organization began to publi- cize the claim that the god Ram had come to one of their adherents in a dream and de- manded exclusive control of his birthplace. Devotees then proclaimed the miraculous dis- covery of a sacred image of the god inside the Babri mosque. To ward off trouble, the au- thorities closed the site to all worshipers." [Susan Bayly, 'History and the Fundamentalists: India after the Ayodhya Crisis, Bulletin of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Vol. 46, No. 7 (Apr., 1993), pp. 7-26]

2. "On the night of December 22/23 1949, a statue of Rama miraculously appeared in the mosque, which since the violence of parti- tion had been guarded by armed watchmen. Just before the "apparition," Muslim graves had been desecrated and Hindu nationalists had staged a continuous nine-day reading of Tulsidas's Ramcharitmanas.86 The Hin- dus interpreted the event as testimony that Rama was directing them after independence to reclaim the center of the nation. The Muslims in- terpreted the event as an attempt to defile their mosque. It was only with great difficulty that the army and police were able to quell the ensuing riots. In the wake of these riots, leaders from both communities initiated litigation to reassert their claims to the site and the right of entrance which had been closed to both Hindus and Muslims immediately after the violence. The commissioner of Faizabad, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, ordered the district magistrate to remove the image from the mosque. However, the magistrate who was a supporter of the RSS chose to retire rather than follow the order of his superior. Since 1949, the image of Rama has remained in the mosque. In 1950, a branch of the RSS in Ayodhya was able to secure legal permission to perform puja for the image within the Babri Masjid once a year. Subsequently, they also or- ganized uninterrupted devotional singing at the mosque's gate."[Roger Friedland and Richard Hecht, 'The Bodies of Nations: A Comparative Study of Religious Violence in Jerusalem and Ayodhya, History of Religions, Vol. 38, No. 2 (Nov., 1998), pp. 101-149]

2a. "Thousands of volunteers, organized by the RSS and VHP, descended on the mosque and were met by Muslim opponents; several days of violence ensued, with death tol s reaching into the thousands (Basu et al. 1 993). In the weeks that followed, riots occurred in other major Indian cities. Moreover, for several months prior to the destruction of the mosque, the RSS and its affiliates had fueled communal antagonisms, systematically inciting smaller-scale confronta- tions throughout India and promoting, through the mass media, the idea that Hindus were a majority at risk. The gains of Hindu nationalism have also been evident in the growth of the BJP's electoral base in the northern states comprising the Hindi belt." [Mary Hancock, 'Hindu Culture for an Indian Nation: Gender, Politics, and Elite Identity in Urban South India' American Ethnologist, Vol. 22, No. 4 (Nov., 1995), pp. 907-926]

3. "I990-I99I saw an unprecedented assault on the city of Ayodhya by thousands of Hindus led by L. K. Advani and spurred to action by the militant rhetoric of organizations such as the RSS (India Today, November 15, I990: I0-14, 19-2I; India Today, December 31, 1990: 34-6)." [FROM Joseph S. Alter, 'Somatic Nationalism: Indian Wrestling and Militant Hinduism,' Modern Asian Studies, Vol. 28, No. 3 (Jul., 1994), pp. 557-588

3. "Shortly before noon on Sunday, December 6, some 40,000 kar sevaks of the RSS youth movement Bajrang Dal began to filter through the cordons of military police who offered little or no resistance. They were led by a throng of sadhus wearing saffron bandanas, many carrying the trishuls, others carrying sledgehammers, and shouting "Jai Sri Ram" (Victory to Lord Ram). Wave upon wave of Hindu holy men and kar se- vaks brandishing clubs, iron pipes, and swords pushed through the police and army lines, trampling the steel fences and barbed wire. Some groups among the throng of people surrounding the mosque chanted "Atom bomb, atom bomb!" and others "Powerhouse, powerhouse!" Once inside the enclave, a specially trained force of some 1,200 kar sevaks climbed to the mosque's domes and began smashing through its ceilings with ham- mers. In less than six hours the mob tore down the mosque brick by brick using shovels, pickaxes, and their bare hands until nothing remained. Four Hindus fell to their deaths and 600 were seriously injured as segments of the ceilings and walls collapsed on them. That night, kar sevaks entered the Muslim quarter of the city, killed ten Muslims, and razed nearly one hundred houses. Others built a temporary temple on the site of the destroyed mosque. Their building continued into the next day. In the evening of December 7, the kar sevaks began to leave on specially arranged trains and buses, and the army moved in to take control of the temple site in the early hours of December 8." [Roger Friedland and Richard Hecht, 'The Bodies of Nations: A Comparative Study of Religious Violence in Jerusalem and Ayodhya, History of Religions, Vol. 38, No. 2 (Nov., 1998), pp. 101-149]

4. "A climactic point in this culture of coercion was reached on 6 December, 1992, with the demolition of the Babri Mosque. Not only was the identification of the exact birth place of Rama advertised to be a matter of 'anubhav', but the call for its destruction in the preceding months was projected as being 'janadesh', a people's mandate coming from the grassroots. Then at the moment when the mosque was demolished, according to a number of first-hand reports, the RSS boudhik pramukh, said with satisfaction: 'Today's events prove once again that history cannot be directed. History happens'. An unrepentant Kalyan Singh, according to the video-tape of his speech during his Calcutta visit, announced that a structure of such proportions could only be brought down because the bhaktas were possessed by divine power." [Malini Bhattacharya, 'Women in Dark Times: Gender, Culture and Politics,' Social Scientist, Vol. 22, No. 3/4 (Mar. – Apr., 1994), pp. 3-15]

RSS involvement in communal riots
1. "There is overwhelming evidence to suggest that the RSS has consistently played a role in organizing and inciting communal violence. In Aligarh, for instance, there was unconcealed cooperation between the RSS, the police and the local and district admini- stration. Navman, who had close links with the RSS and was reported to have engineered the riots, secured passes and transport to facilitate the movement of prospective rioters. Navman was arrested and released later at the behest of the Chief Minister. The role of communal organizations in fomenting communal trouble has been established by various commissions of enquiry. For instance, the report of enquiry into Tellicherry disturbances (1971) found that communal cordiality was broken only when RSS entered district politics by setting up their units. The strident anti-Muslim propaganda threw the Muslims into the lap of communal organizations which prepared the ground for the communal conflicts" [Zoya Khaliq Hasan, 'Communalism and Communal Violence in India', Social Scientist, Vol. 10, No. 2 (Feb., 1982), pp. 25-39]

2. "in celebration of Anant Chaturdashi (a festival dedicated to the reawakening of Lord Vishnu after his annual sleep during the monsoon months), was taken out by Hindus and routed through several predominantly Muslim neighborhoods in the city. This procession, which involved some 10,000 participants and witnesses, was organized (as it traditionally has been) by many of the city's akhadas (gymnasia for wrestling and other martial arts involving weapons) (Rajasthan Patrika 1989a). Because of their emphasis on physical training and self-discipline many members of these akhadas in recent years had affiliated themselves with the RSS. Eyewitnesses record that anti-Muslim slogans, such as "Hindustan mein rahna hai to Hindu bankar rahna hoga" [If you want to live in India you have to live like Hindus] and “Babar ki santanun ko Hindustan mem nahim rehne denge” [We will not let the progeny of Babar live in India], were raised as the procession passed through Muslim areas (Engineer 1989:2704)." [Norbert Peabody,'Inchoate in Kota? Contesting Authority Through a North Indian Pageant-Play, American Ethnologist, Vol. 24, No. 3 (Aug., 1997), pp. 559-584]

3. "RSS and VHP men roamed through the town spreading rumors that Muslims in Bartaan were raping, kidnapping, and murdering Hindu women." [Amrita Basu, Why Local Riots Are Not Simply Local: Collective Violence and the State in Bijnor, India 1988-1993, Theory and Society, Vol. 24, No. 1 (Feb., 1995), pp. 35-78]

4. "The biggest danger to the BJP-led government continues to be from members of the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS) family (the Sangh Parivar), who are likely to continue to test the limits of governance. Attacks on Christians in Gujarat and the mur- der of an Australian missionary in Orissa, as well as attempts to shape spe- cific aspects of the education curricula, exemplify the dangers posed by BJP family members." [Devesh Kapur. 'India in 1999', Asian Survey, Vol. 40, No. 1, A Survey of Asia in 1999 (Jan. – Feb., 2000), pp. 195-207 ]

5. "The Raghubir Dayal Commission of enquiry and the Madan Commission criticized political parties for exploiting communal feeling and ministers for interfering with local administration or making statements which undermined the efforts of the government.3 6 The Aligarh riots are replete with instances of RSS and police collaboration aided by certain ministers in the UP government. The UP government could not prevent the recurrence of riots in Aligarh because it lacked the requisite political will to take action against erring officials and politicians who were respon- sible for the communal violence." [Zoya Khaliq Hasan, 'Communalism and Communal Violence in India', Social Scientist, Vol. 10, No. 2 (Feb., 1982), pp. 25-39]

6. "Oct. 2, 2008–BHUBANESWAR — Kandhamal police have finally arrested 35 people for instigating communal clashes in the district. Of them, there are activists of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.

The attack in Rudangia area on Tuesday, where a woman was hacked to death and 12 injured, triggered the police action. Kandhamal district police chief Praveen Kumar told HT: "We have made 35 arrests in the last 24 hours. Indefinite curfew was imposed in nine places."

Though Kumar did not comment on the affiliations of those arrested, sources said there was sufficient evidence to prove that some of them are from the RSS and VHP."[RSS, VHP men among 35 held in Kandhamal, Hindustan Times (New Delhi, India) (Oct 2, 2008)]

7. "Jan 24, 2007 Malappuram: For the fourth day yesterday tension gripped this town and its environs in Malappuram district following a fresh attack carried out by suspected activists of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, seriously injuring a man named Kunjhali, police sources said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An uneasy calm had been prevailing in the district since the killing of an RSS volunteer, Ravi, here on January 20. The same night, another RSS man received injuries in an attack allegedly carried out by a six-member gang, suspected to be workers of a Muslim outfit, National Development Front (NDF).

Following the incidents, the RSS, the militant wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), had called for a shutdown in the district on Sunday and some of its activists allegedly waylaid a passer-by belonging to the minority community and attacked him. " [Malappuram district tense after fresh attack by RSS, Gulf News (Jan 24, 2007)]

GOOD news on communal front:
1. "July 10, 2005. New Delhi, July 10 (PTI) Believe it or not! Activists of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), an organisation known for its strong views on majority rights in India recently rescued 80 Christian priests trapped in an accident in the dense forests of Sambalpur district in East India's Orissa state and even donated blood to save their lives.

A marriage party comprising 90 Christian priests was on its way in a truck from Jamankeri village to Goudpil in the state when it met with an accident in which 10 of them died on the spot and 80 others were seriously injured, said a report in the latest issue of RSS mouthpiece 'Organiser'.

As the Priests looked for help in the dense forests, an RSS activist heard their shouts and managed to mobilise 50 Sangh volunteers to help them.

"The Pastors were rescued and admitted to a nearby hospital, 45 kms from the site, in that dark night," the report said disclosing that the Swayamsewaks not only provided the injured medicines and food but "donated their own blood"to the pastors.

The weekly quoted Bishop Samal as saying, "these boys of RSS have given us a new life. We are grateful to them. May God bless them".

"We have not done anything much. What we have done has been done from the humanitarian point of view. All of us are human beings. All are children of God," it quoted B B Nanda, RSS state Secretary as saying.

The RSS has often been criticised by Christian organisations for targeting Christian missionaries in the tribal areas, who the RSS says are bringing about religious conversions among the tribals. " [RSS to rescue of Christian priests. PTI – The Press Trust of India Ltd. (July 10, 2005)]

RSS role in post-partition massacres of Muslims
1. As a former Alwar Army captain told Shail Mayaram in 1993: I was the ADC to HH Tej Singh. We were with the RSS. It had been decided to clear the state of Muslims. The orders came from [the Congress Home Minister] Sardar [Vallabhbhai] Patel. He spoke to HH on the hot line. The killings of Hindus at Noakhali [in Bengal] and Punjab had to be avenged. We called it the ‘Clearing Up campaign'(safaya) All the Meos from Firozepur Jhirka down were to be cleared and sent to Pakistan [and] their lands taken over …." [Ian Copland, 'The Further Shores of Partition: Ethnic Cleansing in Rajasthan 1947', Past and Present, No. 160 (Aug., 1998), pp. 203-239]

RSS opposition to those who condemned the Ayodhya demolition
1. "Shekhawat absorbed a splinter group of fourteen MLAs from the Janata Dal under the leadership of Digvijay Singh and all fourteen were given BJP tickets from their constituencies in the elections the following year (Jaffrelot 1996:518). As Jenkins reports (1994), such moves infuriated the more orthodox "RSS faction" of the party under the leadership of Lalit Kishor Chaturvedi" [Norbert Peabody,'Inchoate in Kota? Contesting Authority Through a North Indian Pageant-Play, American Ethnologist, Vol. 24, No. 3 (Aug., 1997), pp. 559-584]

2. “And here is a factual report jointly submitted by ‘two foreigners who visited the subcontinent and were commissioned for this purpose by the Governments of India and Pakistan:-

‘On the morning of November 5, it was announced by beat of drum in Jammu city, in the name of His Highness the Maharaja, and that all Muslims must immediately leave the state and that, in fact, Pakistan had asked for them. They were instructed to assemble at the parade ground in Jammu. Conducted from there to police lines, they were searched, deprived of most of their belongings and loaded on motor lorry convoys. They were told they would be sent to Suchetgarh but instead the convoys took the Kathua Road and halted at Mawa, where the passengers were told to get down.

‘At Mawa, the lorry drivers, who was Sikhs and armed to the teeth, removed all the young women and from the convoys and began to attack the remainder. The Kashmir State troops looked on indifferently while the mobs of Sikhs and Hindus were killing the Muslims.

‘Out of the four thousand Muslims, who had left Jammu, only nine hundred managed to reach Sialkot, in Pakistan.

‘A convoy of seventy trucks, containing most of the respectable Muslim families of Jammu city left for Suchetgarh on November 6. A few miles out of the city, the trucks were halted and were attacked armed jathas of Sikhs and State troops and volunteers of the Rashtrya Swayam Sewak Sangh.’ [this report continues in Aziz Beg, Captive Kashmir, Lahore: Allied Business Corporation, 1957, p.32-33]

Note: I have no idea whether these are entirely true, but it is something that must be investigated. More importantly, it is important to know that this is the information people in Pakistan read about (this particular book is not banned in Pakistan or elsewhere in the world, only in India), and form their opinion of the Hindus who claim to be tolerant. Perceptions matter a lot. The reality is that most Muslims do not see at least some Hindus in a charitable and noble light that they like to paint themselves in. I suspect that this particular genocide of Jammu muslims did happen in some form or manner, but I’d like to trace out the facts through further reading.

Bigotry being propagaged in villages across India
1. "The RSS has started village-level educational units that enable teachers well-versed in the ideology of Hindutva to live with and instruct minority communities about their nation, heritage, and civilization. It is estimated that there are at least 2.4 million pupils and 80,000 teachers in these Vidya Bharati schools run by the RSS-VHP coalition. And "much of the text being taught" in such schools "is designed to promote bigotry and religious fanaticism in the name of inculcating knowledge of [Indian/Hindu] culture in the younger generation." (The Asian Age (28 August 2000) 3) – from Sathianathan Clarke, Hindutva, Religious and Ethnocultural Minorities, and Indian-Christian Theology, The Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 95, No. 2 (Apr., 2002), pp. 197-226.

Strong discouragement to free thougth and questions
1. "In an aggressively Hindu manual entitled Lathi shiksha (n.d.) Mohan Lal emphasizes the discipline required of the trainee… “There is no strength in individuality. Strength is only achieved once that individual falls into line and obeys orders.” [Joseph S. Alter, ‘Somatic Nationalism: Indian Wrestling and Militant Hinduism, Modern Asian Studies, Vol. 28, No. 3 (Jul., 1994), pp. 557-588]

Connivance and promotion of caste system
1. "Although 'hierarchy' and 'discrimination' are criticized by Golwalkar, for example, the idea that people are born into a particular
occupation seems to be tacitly accepted: . .. [T]he distinctions in the social order did not imply any discrimination of big or small, high or low, among its constituents. On the other hand, the Gita tells us that the individual who does his assigned duties in life in a spirit of selfless service only worships Gods through such performance (Golwalkar 1966: I07, in Andersen and Damle 1987: 8i, emphasis added). … [T]he leadership of the organization remains distinctly Brahmin (Andersen and Damle 1987: 45).” [Joseph S. Alter, ‘Somatic Nationalism: Indian Wrestling and Militant Hinduism, Modern Asian Studies, Vol. 28, No. 3 (Jul., 1994), pp. 557-588]

2. "Following the elite, upper-caste base of anushilan, the initial RSS volunteers were Nagpur Brahmins." [Milind Wakankar, 'Body, Crowd, Identity: Genealogy of a Hindu Nationalist Ascetics, Social Text, No. 45 (Winter, 1995), pp. 45-73]

One good news on the subject of casteism:
4. "NEW DELHI: Ideological chalk and cheese shared dais when firebrand Dalit poet Namdeo Dhasal and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief K Sudarshan came together at a book release function in the Capital on Wednesday.

The internationally renowned poet and Dalit leader is the founder president of Maharashtra's Dalit Panther that has traditionally been at odds with the RSS. The Dalit Panther has for long looked upon the RSS as representing the Brahmanical order. Ironically, Dhasal released a RSS book on Dalit pain at the function." [Dalit leader buries the hatchet with RSS. The Times of India (Sept 1, 2006)]

3. "NEW DELHI: Following up on its radical call last year to train and appoint Dalits as priests in Hindu temples, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has severely condemned the barring of Dalits from a temple in Orissa recently.

An year-end editorial in the Sangh mouthpiece Panchjanya termed as unfortunate the discriminatory attitude of temple authorities at the Jagannath temple in Kerdagarh saying it was "shameful that even in 2006 there are temples where Dalits are disallowed Even God will desert the temple that Dalits cannot enter." [RSS rips into ban on Dalits entering temples. The Times of India (Jan 4, 2007)]

Provocative depiction of Muslims that forms the basis of violence
1. "The RSS maintains that Muslim men engage in "riots, rapes, looting, raping and all sorts of orgies" as they seek to undermine the Hindu nation (BT 1980, 234-35)." [Paola Bacchetta, ‘When the (Hindu) Nation Exiles Its Queers’, Social Text, No. 61, Out Front: Lesbians, Gays, and the Struggle for Workplace Rights (Winter, 1999), pp. 141-166]. BT = M. S. Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts (Bangalore, India: Vikrama Prakashan, 1966; Bangalore, India: Sahitya Sindhu Prakashana, 1980 and 1996).

Attempt to impose Hindi on everyone in India
1. "Feb. 17–PUNE — At a time when regional political parties are raking up the chauvinistic sentiments through language, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has come out openly against English.

RSS chief KS Sudarshan on Sunday said that the time has come to launch a movement against English, which actually is redundant.

Addressing RSS workers in Pune, Sudarshan said that countrymen should have one common language besides a local one.

"Since Hindi is most spoken language in India, it should be treated as common medium of instruction while people should also speak in their local language. However, English has no relevance in the country and, therefore, we must all stop sending our children to convent schools." [English has no relevance in our country: RSS chief, Hindustan Times (New Delhi, India) (Feb 17, 2009)]

Internecine killings between CPM and RSS

1. "The eye-for-an-eye battle between the two cadre-based organisations, the CPM and RSS, has claimed more than 100 lives over the past decade. Both camps nurture villages and killer squads. Even the police fear to enter party-controlled villages. And in some areas, bomb-making is like a cottage industry. The CPM says it's targeted for protecting the minorities while the RSS-BJP combine says it is not allowed to function freely." [Kanpur erupts again, 2 dead, Hindustan Times (New Delhi, India) (Jan 19, 2009)]

2."3 April 2008 PUNE: The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) members clashed in Pune on Wednesday.

The incident place took place near the CPM office. CPM leaders have strongly condemned the incident. [CPM, RSS clash in Pune, The Times of India (April 3, 2008)]

BOOKS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joseph A. Curran, Militant Hinduism in Indian Politics: A Study of the RSS, New York, 1951.

Walter K. Anderson and Shridhar D. Damle, The Brotherhood in Saffron: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Hindu Revivalism (Boulder, Colo.: Westview, 1987) / (Boulder, Colo: Westview Press, 1986).

THOMAS BLOM HANSEN, The Saffron Wave: Democracy and Hindu Nationalism in Modern India. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1999. Pp. 293.

A.G. Noorani, The RSS and the BJP: A Division of Labour, New Delhi, Left World Books, 2000.

Profile: Last surviving conspirator in the plot to assassinate Mahatma Gandhi.(1:00-2:00 PM)(Broadcast transcript). Weekend Edition Saturday (July 12, 2003)(736 words)

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