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Friday, October 29, 2010

Sangh Parivar: Cultural Nationalism, Hardline Hindutva or Terrorism?

If persons linked to the Sangh Parivar were involved in planning and executing the terrorist attack on Ajmer Dargah, a Sufi shrine that symbolises the unique blend of Hindu-Muslim culture that evolved in India over a period of centuries, it should send the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in a serious introspective mode.

Denial, blame game or terming it a political move won't help. It is very clear that RSS' activists, workers, pracharaks and even godmen have been involved in series of attacks on Muslim shrines including mosque, Islamic gatherings, Muslim-dominated pockets and other places.

The chief conspirators even include Sadhus [or Sants] like the absconding Terror Swami Aseemanand who allegedly planned the attacks or Dayanand Pandey who is in jail. In case of Pragya Thakur, the Parivar first defended her and later disowned her.

Even if a majority of Sangh Parivar activists join the group due to their belief in cultural nationalism, somewhere there is a tendency to drift towards fanaticism which later takes them to anti-national activities and subsequently towards terrorism. If a 'patriotic' organisation gives birth to such individuals, shouldn't this be a cause of worry for Nagpur-based mandarins?

So if there were some Muslims involved in terrorism, there are now several Hindus and that too from a rashtravadi or 'nationalist' organisation. So isn't it more serious for RSS that the nation-builders are turning the destructors?

When Samir Kulkarni's name appeared, the RSS leaders said that he was a hardliner and that was the reason that he had been expelled. But the fact remains that he had been associated with RSS for long. Soon names began appearing one after the other.

Sunil Joshi, Ramji Kalsangra, Devendra Gupta, Sandeep Dange, Rakesh Dhawade, Lokesh Sharma et al. Either it's rogue elements of Bajrang Dal, Sadhus linked to VHP, shooters like Sudhakar Rao Maratha or ideologues like Indresh, the RSS can no longer shun its responsibility.

If it has evaded terror tag, the reason is that the Parivar has expanded hugely in the last couple of decades. It has over a hundred active branches working in almost all sections and it has managed to get sympathisers in almost all walks of life.

But this is no longer enough to keep its name clean. The growing number of fanatics in Sangh Parivar and its affiliate groups should be a cause of concern for the group. The top leaders now express surprise at the development though they must be aware of the trend.

Forget blasts or terrorist attacks, leave aside VHP's rioting in Gujarat or anti-Christian violene in Karnataka & Orissa, even ignore the role of the RSS prior to independence and the charges on it during Mahatma Gandhi's killings, there are enough cases even other wise to prove the involvement of its cadre in subversive activities.

In 1992, the death of a Sangh Parivar worker during blast in the VHP office in Neemuch where bombs were being assembled, is hardly mentioned in media. But many would recall the blast during bomb-making in Kanpur when two Bajrang Dal workers had died a couple of years back.

Or for that matter the blast in Tamil Nadu's Tenkasi. With the arrest of three RSS workers, the TN police had cracked the case and said that the aim was to spark communal rioting. See story in The Hindu. The modus operandi was similar in parts of Malwa and Maharashtra.

Likewise in Nanded, the police had recovered fake beards and skullcaps from the house of RSS worker. This case was closed but reopened later by ATS under Hemant Karkare. Later during Malegaon and Modasa blasts also the motorcycle with Islamic stickers was placed deliberately to give a false impression that Muslim youths were behind the blast.

Besides, organisations ranging from Sanatan Sanstha to Abhinav Bharat who were alleged involved in blasts in Goa, Modasa, Thane, Nanded, Parbhani, Ajmer, Mecca Masjid at Hyderabad, Samjhata Express and a host of other places, are ideologically close to Sangh Parivar with RSS activists' role found in these cases.

What next? Will RSS take a drastic action? With such a huge cadre, it can do a lot of good ranging from anti-corruption drives to forging inter-religious harmony. Why is it letting its cadre go astray and turn anti-national?

[Photos courtesy: Dalip Singh's cover page story in Mail Today and Poornima Joshi's story 'RSS to disown activists if terror links are proved']


Archana said...

That's right. I personally feel all extremist organisations, including the RSS should be banned and their leaders who have engaged in criminal activities should be severely punished.

There should be no space for religious extremism - of all religious affiliations - in a secular democracy in the name of so-called political correctness which does nothing but promote religious extremism and discord in society.

Jughead said...

Great article. Just loved it.

Netrikkan said...

RSS is a big 'oxymoron'!It calls itself a "nationalist" organisation
but is out to propagate Hindutva and Hindu rRashtra only!
Like the bed bug it bites and escapes under the protective cover of their own govts.
Twice it was banned.It ha penerated in every department of the Govt.
Ere long they themselves will realise that they were wrong and hence change over.
Pandit Upadhyyaya's "Integral Humanism" was replaced bymystifying
"Cultural nationalsm".Now that word has lost its magic!

Archana said...

Their political clout is dying now. they don't represent the Hindus and never represented Hinduism, which has always accepted all religious ideas as valid.

To define Hinduism in a particular, straight-jacketed form as the only true form itself is wrong because Hinduism is nothing if not pluralistic.

indscribe said...

@ Archana Ji: True. All forms of fundamentalism, either Muslim or Hindu, are equally abominable and should be treated like criminal acts.

@ Jughead, Netrkkan: Thanks for your comments.

Anonymous said...

RSS is a true nationalist organisation and no one can accuse such an organization of terrorism.

Zeeshan said...

Good article.... this is what is the first thought. However a couple of facts are left to be set in perspective: a) Terrorism is not only when some bombs where set off, RSS from its very inception has terrorize millions across the nation. You can easy find its members involvements in thousands of riots that have occurred in 70-80 years of its existence. These riots were against every body who don't find them selfs amongst religious majority of the country. b) If you go through the history of this particular "parivar" you will see to it that it was never nationalist, was no where in India's struggle of independence and is no where in India's struggle of food, house, hygiene, education, etc.. What it was always, is only and only an Anti Muslim and Anti Christian organization, and this is the reputation it is living up to marvelously!!

Anonymous said...

I hope you do a piece on the increased activities of fundamentalists in parts of Kerala and TN.

Also, with the entire focus being trained on the "Hindu Terror", wonder what is happening to probe of the other few major blasts in the country like Ahmedabad, multiple blasts in Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Jaipur etc. The media has completely silent on those probes. 2 years ago it was all about SIMI, now its all about "Saffron Terror".

Is it just politics or a genuine attempt to wipe out roots of terror from the Indian society?

Also if I remember correctly, everytime a muslim youth was detained in connection to a blast, there used to be a hue and cry that the person is innocent and police is harassing the minority community. Have you heard one voice in the media about the youth arrested in relation to "saffron terror"? Till date politicians keep visitng Azamgarh to meet the parents of the terrorists killed in Delhi, has anyone visited the parents of Sunil Joshi?

I hope you publish the comment.

indscribe said...

Dear Anon, I wish you had mentioned your name also. Anyway. The blasts which you mentioned and others, in all these cases the arrested persons are in jail and the case is on. The charge-sheet was long ago produced and they would be sentenced.

The cases which we are now talking about are now progressing. The difference is that except Batla House encounter, no where any mainstream Muslim politician said that the pesons were wrongly arrested.

However, in Pragyat Thakur's case, even BJP chief LK Advani did his best to defend her. In all cases of arrests of Malegaon and Ajmer blast accused, the supporters of the accused even filed cases against police teams that went to arrest them.

In case of Muslim suspects, Bar Councils refused to defend the accused and termed them 'aatanki' even before trial or even if once a person's name was thrown in investigation.

Tell me does any media group label Aseemanand a 'terrorist'? In this case Muslims may feel that everyone is sympathetic to the Terror Swami.

In case of RSS, it is a very strong organisation and claims to be a patriotic group but if its members go this extent, it is even more surprising.

See, the problem is that there are lunatics on both sides and if the investigation has unfairly caught anyone, courts are definitely going to deliver justice.

jay said...

Enough with this religious differences. Who cares, humanity is the biggest religion. Even though Islam is 'foreign' religion to india & it may have come with violence but Indian muslims ARE INDIAN NOW. They r not centuries old muslim invaders. they r not outsiders.They r son of the soil, no less or more indian than anybody else.im not muslim, i dont care if my fellow indian is of whatever religion. As long as ppl will put their religion before their country these problems will never go away. I hate all these organizations made on the basis of religion. This Rss, shiv sena, simi etc r just bunch of GUNDAS. AND we have bakwaas govt & system. jab tak paani sir key upar sey naa jaey, inkey kaan mein joo nahin sarkati.These hindu sant preachers(PLENTY OF THEM), these muslims preachers(like Dr.Zakir)should use there skills for the benefits of humanity, not for sitting on the couches & giving lectures or a medical doctor giving religious lecture; telling what is 'shirk','not acceptable', 'kufar' who are u talk on god's behalf? go clean streets, feed hungry beggers, & help ppl anyway u can. Who care which ever religion u belong to. Every child is born atheist, we give them religion "oh lucky baccha hai, hindu/muslim/sikh/christian born hua hai" & we carry that religion blindly forever & fight over it passionately.I dont mean to disrespect any religion but all this god business to me is all a concept. Since we humans dont know what happens after death or who made this universe, we invented this 'god' & how funny is that we humans speak for god, how he wants things on earth, how u can get to heaven etc etc, who cares. I hope u put up my comment :)