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Dear Irfan Habib, RSS is like Muslim League, not ISIS

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Eminent historian Irfan Habib stoked a controversy recently by equating right-wing outfit Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) with the terrorist group ISIS.

“Intellectually, there is not much difference between RSS and ISIS,” he said while addressing a convention organized by agitating writers, filmmakers and intellectuals, who are miffed with the reports of growing ‘religious intolerance’ in the country.

This, I believe, is an incorrect and injudicious comparison. For the RSS, unlike ISIS, is not out on the roads beheading people for their ideologies, stoning them to death and burning them alive in order to spread its tentacles around the world. Needless to mention, the barbarity of the savage ISIS knows no bounds. Therefore, to suggest that both the outfits are similar is ridiculous to say the least.

The correct comparison, therefore, would be between the RSS and the Muslim League, two ideologies that sit on the far right of India’s political spectrum. They are two sides of the same coin, seeking Hindu and Muslim supremacy.

Likewise, some BJP leaders’ controversial remarks in recent days reek of nothing but immense hatred for a particular community. While Kailash Vijayvargiya said that Shah Rukh Khan’s heart was in Pakistan, Yogi Adityanath equated him with 26/11 Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed.

No prizes for guessing whether these irresponsible statements will end up uniting Indians or dividing them.

The problem with most of us is that we do not think before speaking and forget that excercising an economy of words is a virtue. When we compare RSS with ISIS or attack fellow countrymen for no fault of their own, it pushes us further towards the abyss of darkness. It is to be noted that Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), the political wing of the RSS, secured a major victory in 2014 Lok Sabha polls and currently has a stable government at the Centre led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

There are as many as 13 states in India where it either rules the roost or shares the power with other regional parties. RSS, like ISIS, is not a banned organization. Although following the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948, a ban was imposed on the outfit by the government, yet it was soon lifted in view of a lack of sufficient evidence showing its involvement in the former’s murder. RSS has over 50,000 Shakhas (branches) across the country.

The organizational network of the RSS, which claims to be a nationalist organization, is virtually unparalleled. For instance, in the last one year alone, it has established over 6,000 shakhas where its workers gather every day and discuss issues faced by the nation.

The correct comparison, therefore, would be between the RSS and the Muslim League, two ideologies that sit on the far right of India’s political spectrum. The Muslim League, led by Muhammed Ali Jinnah, was a communal outfit seeking a separate country for Muslims and a division of India along the lines of religion.

“Hindus and Muslims cannot live together and are two nations,” was the two-nation theory based on which the League fought its sanguine political battle for ‘Pakistan – the land of the pure’ and eventually secured it causing unprecedented and irreparable damage to India’s unity.

When I think of the Muslims League, my mind dwells upon the ‘Great Calcutta Killings’ that took place on August 16, 1946 which served to catalyse into violence the rivalry of India’s Hindu and Muslim communities. It was Jinnah’s ‘Direct Action Day’, to prove to Britain and the Congress Party that India’s Muslims were prepared ‘to get Pakistan for themselves by “Direct Action” if necessary’.

‘We shall have India divided,’ Jinnah had vowed, ‘or we shall have India destroyed.’

Never, in all its violent history, had Calcutta (now Kolkata) known 24 hours as savage, as packed with human viciousness as this one. By the time the slaughter was over, the great city belonged to the vultures. The League’s violence continued till it achieved the partition of India in the name of religion and created a country where minorities have almost no rights today.

The RSS and the Muslim League were two sides of the same coin, seeking Hindu and Muslim supremacy. Cadres of both the outfits were allegedly involved in the mass murders and rapes during and after the cataclysmic partition. When the Congress party was fighting for India’s independence, these two outfits were allegedly collaborating with the British.

One of the prominent leaders who influenced and shaped the ideology of the RSS was Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. Tushar Gandhi, the great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi in his book ‘Let’s Kill Gandhi’, writes that Savarkar was the first Indian leader to publicly say that India could never be a united country; at the Ahmedabad convention of the Hindu Mahasabha, he stated that there are two Indias – a Hindu Rashtra and a Muslim nation. This was much before Jinnah’s Muslim League voiced the demand for Pakistan.

It was Savarkar who had, in 1931, first mooted the idea of forming a Hindu Sangathana, a militant Hindu organization. It was he who had, in 1942, mooted the idea of forming a Hindu Rashtra Dal – members of which would be the storm troopers of the Hindu Mahasabha.

Savarkar wanted to be the leader of the Hindu Rashtra and did not care for what the Muslims did with their Pakistan. Jinnah had similar thoughts. He wanted a Muslim Pakistan which would have nothing to do with India.

Only one man could stop them – Mohandas K Gandhi.

Savarkar and Jinnah hated him for this. Verily, the former was one of the accused of the murder of Gandhiji. However, the leader was later acquitted of all the charges in this regard. In a nutshell, the communal ideologies of both the RSS and the Muslim League are the very antithesis of the idea of a pluralistic, liberal India. They are more like each other.

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The above comparison shows that BJP is not only trying to steal the credit of previously launched schemes by Congress party by just repackaging them as new schemes

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A lot of BJP supporters claim that government led by Narendra Modi has launched several schemes for the development of nation in the last four years. What they failed to acknowledge that Narendra Modi has done nothing else than repackaging and renaming the previous schemes started by Congress and took their credit to his name. Shocked, aren’t you? In the last four years, Modi government has failed to develop any original ideas. So in order to appear like the government is working, they have renamed various successfully running schemes started by Congress party to fool people of the nation into believing that BJP has launched numerous schemes in the country. If you find this fact hard to believe, here is the list of s Modi government schemes that are nothing but altered name previously running schemes in the nation:

Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana

Originally Basic Savings Bank Deposit Account (BSDBA)

The (BSBDA) scheme was launched in August 2012 according to RBI which provided facility of no minimum balance required to maintain the bank account and avail all the banking services. The number of withdrawals were however limited to 4 per month. The Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) is nothing else than a wrap up on BSDAB scheme adding Rs 1 lakh of accident insurance, overdraft facility up to Rs 5,000 and a life insurance of Rs 30,000 to previous BSDAB accounts.

Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yojana (BBBPY)

Originally National Girl Child Day programmes

BJP
The government has initiated a lot of programmes to bring about a change in the attitude of people and stop these kinds of social evils. Wikimedia Commons

According to a report of Centre for Development and Human Rights presented in 2016, the girl child education programme listed under the BBBPY scheme is nothing but the repackaging of older Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan started by Congress.

The act of similar repackaging of scheme can be found in BBBPY’s programme to improve child sex ratio and reduce the dropout rates of school girls. These programmes were already available under Congress party’s Dhanalakshmi and Sabla schemes.

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

Originally Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan

One of the major Modi government schemes, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched in September 2014 is nothing but restructured result of Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan scheme which was started by Congress in April 2012.

Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan was also a renamed scheme by Congress party which was originally introduced as Central Rural Sanitation Programme by Congress in 1986.

Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana

Originally Indira Awaas Yojana

Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana, BJP
‘Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana ‘ is an initiative by Government of India in which affordable housing will be provided to the urban poor.

According to a parliamentary standing committee report, it is found that the most anticipated Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojna by Narendra Modi nothing by rechristened format of Indira Awaas Yojana. The funny fact about the renaming of this scheme is that several web pages of Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana still open as Indira Awaas Yojana documents.

Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana

Originally Rajiv Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana

According to an information release by government on 23rd July 2015, the Rajiv Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana stated by Congress is merged under the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana launched by BJP with no significant changes.

Soil Health Card scheme

Originally National Project on Management of Soil Health and Fertility

According to the Outcome Budget 2015-16 of the agriculture and cooperation department, a soil health card was included in the scheme of National Project on Management of Soil Health and Fertility. The similar soil cards were also issued by Congress under the National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture.

 

Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana, BJP
The aim of this scheme is to form 10,000 clusters over the next three years and bring about five lakh acres of agricultural area under organic farming to develop agricultural activity in the country

 

Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana

Originally Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana and other programmes

The lack of creativity and insight in Modi government schemes can be seen in its Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana which is nothing but the fusion of some existing components which are amalgamated together as a cluster based programme. This fact was reported in the Outcome Budget 2015-16 of the agriculture and cooperation department.

Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Yojana

Originally Jan Aushadhi scheme

The Jan Aushadhi scheme was developed by Congress to supply unbranded medicines at reduced prices. This scheme was executed on 23 April 2008 and the first store under this scheme was established on 25 November 2008. According to an statement issued by Loksabh on 144th March 2017, the Jan Aushadhi Scheme is renamed as Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana.

Make in iIndia, BJP
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Make In India

Originally National Manufacturing Policy

The funny part about BJP copying this scheme from Congress National Manufacturing policy is that they forget the remove the information of previous policy in the new website of Make In India scheme. The broken download link redirects to the 2011 older policy document of year 2011.

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The above comparison shows that BJP is not only trying to steal the credit of previously launched schemes by Congress party by just repackaging them as new schemes, but the BJP lacks credibility and insight required to develop new schemes necessary for the development of the nations. Some other Modi government schemes that were actually the brain child of Narendra Modi and BJP part resulted in drastic disaster in nation. GST and demonetisation are two biggest examples of such failed Modi government policies.