It is well-known that Congress president Rahul Gandhi shares no love for the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh(RSS). But a lesser known fact is that the RSS, contrary to the common perception, doesn't hate either the Congress Party or its president.
The answer to why RSS doesn't hate Rahul Gandhi, despite the latter's all-out attacks on it, lies in Sangh's ideology, past record and thought process of the RSS’ leadership that has evolved over a period of 93-long-years.
The RSS has worked with political leaders and political parties across the spectrum in the post-Independence era. Ironically, the current Congress leadership, in a bid to mount offensive against the RSS, is ignoring its own history where many Congress leaders have worked closely with the RSS on several issues.
The most recent example is the movement to build a Ram Temple at Ayodhya. It was a Congress stalwart Dau Dayal Khanna who had floated the idea of launching this movement in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh at a public meeting organised by Hindu Jagran Manch. Khanna, in fact, presented the resolution to rebuild temples not only at Ayodhya but also at Mathura and Kashi (Varanasi).
Khanna was a much respected Congress leader from Uttar Pradesh and had been a cabinet minister in the Congress government led by Chandrabhanu Gupta. Khanna was the first general secretary of Shri Ram Janam Bhoomi Mukti Yagya Samiti, which was formed in 1984 to spearhead the movement.
Going back a little, one finds that an event which provided the backdrop of the Ram Temple movement in fact happened in 1981 when large number of Dalits converted to Islam at Meenakshipuram in Tamil Nadu. The RSS launched a nationwide movement to create awareness to stop ‘conversions of Hindus.’ To drive this movement an organisation by the name of Virat Hindu Samaj was set up. Karan Singh, a Senior Congress leader and a former Union minister in Indira Gandhi's Cabinet in 1970s was appointed its president. And the organising secretary of Virat Hindu Samaj was none other than Ashok Singhal, who, at that times, was Delhi RSS Prant Pracharak (Pracharak is a volunteer who works full time for the organisation in the RSS. He remains unmarried and devotes his life for the organisational work.)
Singhal, later, played a key role in building the Ram Temple movement after he was moved to Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
It is a matter of record that Virat Hindu Samaj organised a massive Virat Hindu Sammelan in Delhi, which was attended by more than 5 lakh people. This led to a debate in the Parliament, where there was a broad consensus that such conversions are detrimental for the society.
Last but not the least, one of the basic tenets of the RSS' ideology is that all the members of the society can be categorised into two sections, one section comprises those who have joined the RSS and the other section comprises those who would ultimately join the RSS. So no one in the society is an enemy for the RSS including Rahul Gandhi and the rest of the Congress leadership.
It was further clarified in September, 2018, when the RSS organised an outreach programme where the present Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat addressed an audience of people all walks of the society. Most of them had never had a brush with the RSS.
One of the questions which came up during the Q&A session was, "If there is no relation between the RSS and the politics, then why the organising secretaries in the BJP come from RSS everytime? Has the RSS ever supported any other political party or organisation?"
Bhagwat replied: "Whoever asks for the organising secretary, Sangh gives them. So far no one else has asked for it. When they will, we will think about it. If (their) cause is good, we would definitely give. Because in the course of 93 years, we have not supported any party but we have supported a policy. The advantage of our supporting a policy is that as our strength increases, the political parties also get the benefit. Those who can take the benefit, take it and those who cannot are left behind. During Emergency , our policy was to oppose it but we did not think that (Bharatiya) Jansangha should benefit from it. There were people like Babu Jagjivan Ram, SM Joshi, NG Gore. There was Gopalan ji from CPM. Everyone got the benefit. The swayamsevaks worked for everyone. There was only one election in which we were supporting the policy of Ram Temple and only BJP was in favour of that so the BJP reaped the benefit. Even the parties who had an alliance with the BJP too got the benefit. So we support the policy. We haven't worked for a political party and we won't do it. Now because of our work, if they get benefitted, then it is for them to think, how they can make the most of it. They are the ones who do politics, not us."
Bhagwat's reply, as mentioned above, clarifies the RSS’ stand on politics, political parties and elections most appropriately, making it clear why detractors of the RSS hate it, but why RSS doesn’t hate its detractors.
The author is CEO of Vishwa Samvad Kendra
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Updated Date: Apr 06, 2019 16:34:58 IST