(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
Indian Express has two voices which do not like RSS or BJP or Hindu resurgence in India. You scroll down articles of either Christophe Jaffrelot or Ashutosh Varshney and get the drift. Jaffrelot is more scholarly and dense; Varshney more sound and less substance. Both are present in Indian Express of today, dominating two separate pages.
Jaffrelot is the crudest today than he has perhaps ever been in his long association with the Indian Express. All the veneers of scholarly nuances are out of the window. What remains is a pen-pusher who is unsure of his dwindling influence over the readers or his promoters. The crux of his agenda is that lynchings is orchestrated by the present dispensation who appear in different garbs at different times: RSS, its affiliates, BJP etc. He terms it the “deep state.” Everything that’s wrong with Modi’s India—the “cruelty” against Muslims and Dalits—is part of a larger design. In his view, India is a theocratic state in the making.
To Jaffrelot’s misfortune, Varshney has a detailed interview on Page 25 with Waltern Andersen who has a new book, “The RSS: A view to the inside” in the market. It completely debunks Jaffrelot’s argument that RSS and its affiliates are the “deep state” in India. Indeed, Varshney couldn’t have done a better service to RSS or BJP with this interview (a must read, I say).
Now Varshney must not have bargained for it but the Andersen interview is a validation of RSS. All Indian Express could do was to pick a comment as headline: “A battle between Hindutva and Hinduism is coming.” I will reserve dwelling on this headline in the end: I promise the irony in it would have you doubling up in uncontrollable laughter.
The interview first establishes the credentials of Andersen: the only scholar to have observed the RSS for five decades. Then Varshney rolls out the questions which reflect his own venom:
- What about RSS chief MS Golwalkar and his book, “We, our nationhood defined.”
- For Savarkar, Muslims and Christians born in India were not Indians/Hindus
- What pledge pracharaks take? Can they marry? (An answer hopefully which would nail Modi, himself was a pracharak)
- RSS influences state and its’ policies
- What is RSS views on Modi’s economics
- RSS is committed to promotion of Hindi as language
- What is RSS view on ideal Hindu women, and divorce
- The RSS relationship with Muslims
- How does RSS integrate lower caste? What is RSS views on Ambedkar who was anti-Hindu?
You would agree these are the questions which reflect the entire gamut on RSS; the basis of the misinformation campaign which writers of the ilk of Jaffrelot and Varshney spread with impunity. And now look at how Andersen replies to this mal-propaganda.
- “We, our nationhood defined” I later learnt was not his (Golwalkar’s) book;
- Savarkar, as you know, was an atheist (while you were told he was a hardcore Hindu zealot!). For MD Deoras everybody born in India was Hindu. He was against caste system and untouchability; non-Brahmans could be pracharaks;
- They (pracharaks) take ascetic pledge; some do marry. It’s a casteless Hindu monastic order;
- That’s inevitable since you have to deal with government in all spheres, all activities. Government is all pervasive in India. But Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) is opposed to FDI; while Modi is all for it;
- Demonetisation and GST directly hurts their (RSS) base. But RSS has not passed a resolution against it;
- It can not and it does not (promote Hindi). RSS schools teach their pupils in their mother tongue; RSS could not have simultaneously sought a rise in India’s national strength and continued its strident attacks on English;
- Wife and mother have ideal role in society; but they also idolize Rani ki Jhansi. Both images have existed;
- When Deoras invited Muslims to join the RSS, he did argue that Muslims were mostly India-born, and therefore Indian;
And now to the final question (RSS on lower caste and Ambedkar); its’ answer on which Indian Express has based its headline: “A battle between Hindutva and Hinduism is coming.”
Andersen explains: “There have been Dalits and OBC pracharaks, including the OBC Narendra Modi…Ambedkar is now a hero…Hindutva emphasizes one-ness of Hindus; (Hinduism is more rigid, by inference). Hence there will be a battle between Hindutva and Hinduism.”
Did you get the joke? This definition of Hindutva and Hinduism completely turns on the head what the likes of Shashi Tharoor and Digvijay Singh have been drumming in our ears. That “I-am-a-Hindu-but-have-a-distaste-for-Hindutva.” In their view Hindutva is reactionary and violent. But as Andersen tells us, Hindutva implies inclusiveness of all!!!
That’s why I say identify these jokers. Identify the agenda they have. Identify the mistruths they spread. The “farragos” and “whatabouteries.” And save this piece as evidence when the next misinformation campaign against RSS and BJP is served inside the pages of your newspapers.
(P.S: let me imagine a scenario: “What did you do mate,” Jaffrelot to Varshney on phone, “and to my `deep state’ theory.”)
I laughed my guts out when I saw this piece in Indian Express on Thursday by Shamsul Islam. I had predicted it was coming in an OpIndia piece a week before. So predictable are these “intellectuals” and their “media platforms” that seriously, you can earn the reputation of a clairvoyant, build up an army of faithfuls who might even call you a Prophet one day!
Just to make sure the message goes across, I also used other platforms, such as my personal website and other nationally and internationally-run forums. I wanted to expose this cottage-industry of RSS-bashers. Call-out the exact lines and arguments they would put forth to denigrate RSS and its leaders, especially MS Golwalkar and KB Hedgewar. That invasive Communist ideology of liars who preach others on their stance in Freedom Struggle even though they themselves were OFFICIALLY against the Quit India Movement! No less than a former Chief Minister of Kerala, VS Achutanandan, was sacked as a CPM politburo member for suggesting blood donation camp for Indian soldiers during the 1962 India-China War. His pro-India line was declared anti-party by Communists.
Now, I took care to look at the articles Shamsul Islam has written and Indian Express has published in all these years. Of his 10 articles in Indian Express in last three years, all but one have been rants against Hedgewar or Golwalkar. Seriously! That’s how creative this former lecturer of Political Science is. He has been turned into a kind of RSS-shaming brand by Indian Express, as have the other Left-leaning outlets who cater to his garbage, such as CounterCurrents, and Caravan Daily.
To begin with, should we fight the message or the messenger? Yes of course, the message. And that’s what OpIndia has done in recent past: Create a catalogue of aspersions this gang casts at Hedgewar or Golwalkar; RSS or Savarkar and then offer an Essential Guide to nail these pre-scheduled minefields of lies.
So next time, you are confronted with lies on Hedgewar, Golwalkar and Savarkar just revisit these Essential Guides. You won’t have to look any further to smother the hood of the serpent. You could then confront such writers or their platforms, such as Indian Express, and force them to be accountable. And laugh your guts out—as I am doing right now.
In case you are short on inclination or time; and couldn’t care less about any religion or ideology, just poke this question on the face of these liars, just one this question: Why don’t they ever mention Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya of RSS and his Integral Humanism? And the fact that every BJP member is required to swear by his name?
Their silence would be your answer. And perhaps a few rupees saved from buying your indoctrinating newspaper.