October 13, 2019

RSS Chief’s Fascistic Talk

THE Vijayadashami address of the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has revealed glimpses of the fascistic ideology which permeates the RSS. The RSS chief took exception to incidents of mob killings being termed as “lynchings”. He said “By branding such incidents by words such as ‘lynching’, denoting traditions which were alien to Bharat and belong elsewhere, efforts are underway to defame our country and the entire Hindu society and create fear among the so-called minority communities”.

This single sentence exposes the doublespeak and rabidly communal outlook of the RSS. At one stroke he denies that mob lynchings are taking place. The term lynching has no territorial-cultural connotation; it is a term used for any mob attack leading to killing. Further, in his speech Bhagwat alleges that any effort to condemn lynching is an attempt to defame the entire Hindu society. He does not even acknowledge that minority communities have been targeted for lynchings by cow vigilantes. In his speech, he asserts that such incidents are not one-sided and he does not even recognise minority communities by labelling them as “so-called”.

That scores of people have died due to mob lynchings is something which led the Supreme Court of India in July 2018 to condemn lynchings as “horrendous acts of mobocracy”. The Supreme Court set out preventive and remedial measures. It asked parliament to come up with an anti-lynching law to tackle cow vigilantism and lynch mobs.

The RSS chief has actually challenged the existence of mob lynchings by terming it as an attempt to defame Hindu society and the country. According to him, some “incidents have been deliberately fabricated while some others have been published in a distorted manner”. Moreover, contrary to what the Supreme Court says, he maintains that the present laws are adequate to deal with such incidents.

With such an outlook, it is not surprising that the ruling RSS/BJP combine have ignored the Supreme Court’s directions in the matter. The Modi government is not prepared to bring an anti-lynching legislation in parliament nor are the directions for speedy investigations and trial by special courts of mob lynchings cases been taken up earnestly by the state governments concerned.

According to Bhagwat, a conspiracy is being hatched, to “defame” the country and Hindus by raising the bogey of lynchings. It is from such distorted thinking that a letter to the prime minister by 49 prominent citizens, artists and intellectuals has been viewed as seditious and an FIR lodged against them.

The RSS chief has loudly proclaimed that the Sangh considers “the identity of the nation, social identity of all of us and the identity of the country’s nature” as that of “Bharat is Hindustan, Hindu rashtra”. He reiterates that all Bharatiyas are Hindus and falls back on the stock RSS talk that “There is an orchestrated effort to malign the Hindu society and Hindutva through a number of baseless and slanderous allegations”. He resurrects the RSS’s idea of one nation, one language, one culture by talking about our language (swbasha), our attire (swabhoosha) and our culture (swasanskriti).

After espousing this Hindutva vision, Bhagwat proceeds to deal with another aspect of the current situation – the fusion of Hindutva and corporate capital. He endorses the Modi government’s aggressive wooing of foreign capital and privatisation drive. He states that FDI in several sectors and disinvestment of public sector enterprises are necessary to “strengthen the economy”. Of course, this is followed by the usual clap-trap about self-reliance and swadeshi. However, this cannot hide the fact that the RSS is fully with the BJP government’s neo-liberal policies. The invitation to foreign companies to exploit the coal resources of the country, the decision to sell off defence production cannot by any stretch of imagination be called self-reliance.  

Being the main driving force behind Hindutva authoritarianism, Bhagwat has lauded the steps taken by the Modi government to abolish Article 370 of the constitution and dismantling of the state of Jammu & Kashmir. Federalism has no place in the RSS view of Akhand Bharat.

The RSS chief’s address exemplifies the rightwing consolidation that has taken place in the country and points to the fresh assaults that are forthcoming on democracy, secularism, people’s livelihood and fundamental rights.

(October 9, 2019)