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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']