RSS is a very slimy organisation. It claims that it is a ‘cultural’ organisation and has got nothing to do with politics. Its declared objective is to ‘carry the nation to the pinnacle of glory’ and ‘bring to life the all-round glory and greatness of our Hindu Rashtra’. With these objectives, it dabbles with elections, decides on the heads of various levels of government wherever it is possible and influences how those governments need to go about their work. With the election of every BJP government, it feeds on the State power and uses it to further increase its strength and spread its tentacles. It is now in this phase of making hay, while the sun is shining.
The RSS does not enroll any members and hence has not got the need to maintain any records. A measure of its strength is the number of ‘shakhas’ it conducts in various localities across the country. According to its official figures, RSS currently runs 57,000 shakhas throughout the country. This is certainly a historic high. But, it should be remembered here that when the BJP was in office at the centre between 1998-2004, the number of RSS shakhas rose to around 51,000 (2004). Similarly the education institutes run by its offshoots like the Vidya Bharati too have increased exponentially. As the BJP lost power, the RSS too lost its luminosity and its numbers dwindled, falling to a low of around 35,000. With the BJP out of power for the subsequent decade after having tasted power, RSS began to lay plans for regaining its access to State power and worked systematically according to a plan.
Subramanian Swamy, the maverick right-wing politician explained the functioning of the RSS succinctly in an article written in the Frontline, though way back in 2000: “the RSS has drawn up a game plan which has three components...The first component of the game plan is to discredit the RSS' opponents but protect its converts...The second component of the RSS game plan is to shake public confidence in every institution that can circumscribe or act as a speed-breaker for the RSS juggernaut...The third component of the RSS game plan is to ready the blueprints for implementing the agenda”.
It is with this same strategy that the RSS began preparations for 2014, but adjusting them with the lessons it had learnt from its earlier experiences. It started with the declaration of hardcore ‘Hindutvavadi’ Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate of the BJP and followed it up with increasing the number of shakhas. All these efforts increased the number of RSS shakhas to 41,000 by 2014. It is only after the recapture of the seat of central government that the RSS started to regain its spread and reached the present numbers. The past two years saw a spurt in the number of shakhas. This clearly shows that the proximity and lure of power is playing an important role in the spread of RSS.
RSS in reality, is an organisation of extreme opportunism and a ‘bunch of lies’. As an organisation it was founded in 1925. If it was really interested in the well-being of Indians, it would have participated in the struggle for independence. It discouraged its members from participating in the 1930-31 Salt Satyagraha. MS Golwalkar who succeeded Hedgewar, himself records a conversation detailing this episode. Similarly, during Quit India movement it had given in writing to the British government that it would not participate in the movement, earning plaudits from the police: “the Sangh has scrupulously kept itself within the law, and in particular, has refrained from taking part in the disturbances that broke out in August 1942”.
Even after independence, it openly expressed its opposition to the national flag in an editorial in its official mouthpiece Organiser: “The word ‘three’, is in itself an evil, and a flag having three colours will certainly produce a very bad psychological effect and is injurious to a country”. So the RSS wanted the national flag to “never be respected and owned by the Hindus”. Similarly, it had declared its disavowal of the Indian constitution stating that it does not contain the tenets of Manusmriti. This is the real history of the RSS (not to speak of its role in the death of Gandhiji), which is hell-bent on teaching nationalism, patriotism and sacrifice to our country people and youth in particular.
The people of our country are inherently secular, tolerant and patriotic. Reminding them a little bit of our glorious history and the role of RSS (or rather the lack of any), will shatter the myths that it is trying to weave around itself.
A recent survey on the aspirations, attitudes and anxieties of the youth done by the CSDS (2017) points to the fact that when questioned about their identities, 51 percent of the youth replied that they are ‘most proud of being Indian’. Only 14 percent claimed their religious identity, while 13 percent claimed their caste identity. The campaign and spread of RSS can be countered by emphasising on this Indianness of the youth and explaining its true sense by counterposing it with the ‘false nationality’ concept of the RSS.
Unemployment and economic inequalities are the concerns for nearly 40 percent of the youth, according to the study. 65 percent of the youth prefer a government job and 33 percent of the youth accord greatest priority to securing a permanent job, even over a job that earns them a fat pay-cheque. Importantly, nearly 48 percent of the youth are in support of the reservations enshrined in the Indian constitution. All these concerns of the youth are an anathema to the RSS and the government it steers from the back seat. Exposing the RSS on these anti-people, anti-youth economic policies of the RSS and BJP will help in checkmating them.
In the last two decades, the study shows that interest towards politics among the youth had increased by over 14 percent. 51 percent of them are showing interest in politics, though the degree of their interest varies. Only 20 percent had expressed their liking for the politics of BJP, which means 80 percent of the youth are against it. It is this vast segment of the youth who are against the BJP and the brand of hatred promoted by the RSS that should be tapped by the Left and democratic forces. It is this humongous section that will stand up and resist the venom spread by the BJP, when they are approached and encouraged.
75 percent of the students surveyed are for student unions, which shows their willingness to have a democratic and organised representative body. Nearly 23 percent of the youth are active in various farmer organisations, while 20 percent are active in trade unions. These statistics show the eagerness of the youth to take up socio-economic issues afflicting the society and work in organisations. It is upon us to make good use their willingness to organise.
53 percent of the youth today feel that there is growing intolerance in the country. They are feeling suffocated about the denial of their right to express their opinions freely and debate. The youth, who by nature are freedom loving and daring to question, will stand against the RSS when it stands exposed as responsible for this attack on basic human rights and stifling debate in this great country.
The present situation in our country hence provides us with umpteen opportunities for expansion and resist the forces that are responsible for the growing economic inequalities and intolerance. The current situation is ripe for exposing the true colours of the RSS and the BJP. Youth are ready to listen and act. Now it is upon us to act.
Act, we should, with honesty, sincerity, dedication and NOW.