By Akash Shukla
In one-of-a-kind initiative, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) suggested on continuing dialogue with our neighbours, particularly with Pakistan.
This caused uproar among many rational scribes, secular thinkers and political analysts. As believed to be a staunch Hindu proponent, RSS extended its support to Modi government at the end of the just concluded three-day marathon ‘Samanvaya Baithak’ in New Delhi.
The intellectuals are less disturbed and more perturbed as the RSS referred to Pakistan and Bangladesh as ‘brothers’ in the extended South Asian family. They have reaffirmed the stance and want Modi government to resume dialogue to sort out issues between the two.
RSS Sahsarkaryawah Dattatreya Hosabale said Pakistan and other neighbours were “formed out of the same body that is India” and that there was a “need to discuss how to improve relations with people related historically and geographically vis-a-vis India’s neighbours”.
All and sundry hailed RSS for taking a stance of solidarity between two nations; but at the same time it also sparks off an intellectual debate. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), adopted RSS ideology officially in 1989, but the latter’s views by far have been verging on the extreme.
Sighting Wiki on the same and I quote: “It has been criticised as an extremist organisation and as a paramilitary group. It has also been criticised when its members participated in anti-Muslim violence and has since formed militant wing Bajrang Dal.”
The apparent contention is change in ideology that appears to be more of a transition than radical transformation. RSS donning a secular cap has come as a shocker to many-a-intellectual.
Nipping the pervasive animosity and acrimony between the two neighbours in the bud, Hosabale said: “such things happen in a family… between brothers but one should move on and work for improving relationship.”
Now to consider it merely as a change of heart for RSS would be naive for any level-headed individual. Forging alliances on the global front has always been on Modi’s agenda. To a great extent, RSS did not subscribe to these endeavours when it came to Indo-Pak ties. Cross-border terrorism and ceasefire violations have shaped the India-on-Pak views majorly. RSS, till now, has been pretty staunch about it. But, this turn over a new leaf for RSS has somewhat sprung a pleasant surprise locally and globally.
Here is how RSS chooses to justify its newly-found stance
Hosabale explained this with a parallel in Mahabharata where Kauravas and Pandavas were brothers and the efforts were made to establish the order and peace between them for the ‘greater good’.
He said: “India is part of South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and has filial cultural relations with neighbouring countries, namely, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan or Bangladesh. It was one body which was divided to form Pakistan and Bangladesh. It is natural and justified to accept that people living there are part of the same family.”
Since the perceived stance of RSS, till now, on Muslim issue in India was different, this new suggestion has definitely raised many-a-eyebrow among the Hindutvavadis.
RSS believes in the concept of Akhand Bharat. Talks with Pakistan, therefore, would not find any takers within the RSS at any point of time, they believed. RSS-inspired organisations observe ‘Akhand Bharat Diwas’ to sustain and recollect the memories of partition so that the dream of ‘Akhand Bharat’ can be realised. But, those who know and have followed RSS closely are aware of the truth that this suggestion is not a digression but actually resorting to their original ideology.
The idea was propelled by late MS Golwalkar alias Sri Guruji, who gained recognition for his strong views against the bifurcation of motherland many years ago.
In an interaction with the mediapersons in New Delhi in April 1966, Golwalkar said: “We were one in the past. Because of some unfortunate developments, we have become two. Let us become one again. That will solve the problem.” On similar lines, his successor late Balasaheb Devras voiced on normalising ties with Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The 1857 War of Independence was fought by Muslims and Hindus jointly as Indians. Religion never came in the way. Many moulvis and sadhus spread the message of freedom to the soldiers and common men alike, inspiring them to sacrifice for the freedom for the motherland. The unfortunate divide between the two communities resulted in tragic partition of the country causing huge devastation of human lives and material property.
At present when India has a government that is run by people fully entrenched in the Hindutva ideology, the efforts to normalise relations were initiated by the Prime Minister right from his swearing-in ceremony.
Strained relations with Pakistan await a desperate repair. The RSS suggestion, therefore, has come at a proper time. It would help clear the air between the two nations and ensure support to the government to pursue the rightly-envisioned approach towards Pakistan.