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Understanding RSS :: Book Review

Free Thinker *



Normally I refrain from any kind of book review because I don't have the patience to read the entire text. If I don't go through the entire book I won't be able to do full justice to the author while reviewing his work. But when the author gives a copy of his publication with love and humility I feel like flipping through the whole book and poke out a few words on it.

"Understanding RSS" is a book authored by the RSS ideologue Dr. Rakesh Sinha, who is now a Member of Parliament ; and it is a HAR-ANAND publication . I know the writer for the last 10 years or so; in fact I was first introduced to him in his India Policy Foundation (IPF) office by one of my friends who is an active member of both BJP and RSS. On many occasions we sat together and discussed national and state issues over cups of tea. When I smiled he knew that I didn't subscribe to his views.

While handing over me the book, he told me to go through the 'Introduction' and the 'Forward' to get the idea of the entire book. I did that and I also had gone through some of the chapters/ articles like "90 years of RSS" (last one), "Sangh Parivar and the Muslims", Hindu Rashtra Reflects

Inclusion, "Not Theocracy", "All the RSS men" , "Hindutva and its Naysayers", "Nationalism Redefined" and so on. I must say Rakesh Sinha has done a good job even though most of the contents are his articles already published in well known newspapers and magazines.

"The RSS invitation to intellectuals and politicians of different ideological and political shades to understand the organization's perspective of the nation has triggered consternation among those who deride the organization and its philosophy as a negation of the Idea of India". This book is a sincere attempt to make the intellectuals and intelligentsia understand the RSS in the right perspective.

Rakesh Sinha may not like the use of the jargons like glasnost and perestroika. However we can feel that there is a shift in the ideological moorings of the Organization. The 3 days (September 17 to 19 2018) lecture series of Mohan Bhagwat the present Sarsanghchalak at Vigyan bhavan ( as reflected in pages 56/57).

Many editorials had written about the Organization as it changes its shades. Rakesh Siinha did not deny that. But he says, "In more than nine decades, RSS has developed and fortified its ground to define the idea of India.

Its prolonged and sincere engagement with cultural nationalism is certainly not exclusionary and it has no negative ramification on the nation and her destiny". The idea of Hindutva includes everyone. Its egalitarian goal of "one well, one temple (one house of God), and one mortuary "will never be compromised.

Rakesh Sinha has done some good research and serious study about the organization and its ideology. His hard work is visible when the he came out with the confidential communication ( now opened) between Nehru , the then Prime Minister and Sardar Patel , the then Home Minister in connection with the investigation of Mahatma Gandhi's assassination . Nehru kept on expressing his resentment against the investigating agencies which according to him were not corroborating to the conspiracy theory.

Nehru wrote to Patel….More and more I have come to the conclusion that Bapu's murder was not an isolated business but a part of a much wider campaign chiefly by RSS. Patel in his reply to Nehru on Feb 27, 1948 , refuted the conspiracy theory….. "I have kept myself almost in daily touch with the progress of the investigation regarding Bapu's assassination case. I devote a large part of my evening to discussing with Sanjevi the day's progress and giving instructions to him on any points that arise. All the main accused have given long and detailed statements of their activities. In one case, the statement extends to ninety typed pages. From their statements, it is quite clear that no part of the conspiracy took part in Delhi…it also clearly emerges from these statements that the RSS was not involved in it at all."

He further wrote in the same letter, " the RSS have undoubtedly other sins to answer for, but not for this one".. Hindu Rashtra according to RSS ideologue "represents non theocratic concept of cultural foundation of the nation which embodies civilization in its womb. There is no nation except India which coincides with and I a carrier of a civilization. Therefore Hindu Rashtra is an adjective which is not merely a literary or self satisfying terminology but unfolds a mission to regain strength, a role in the world order and leading a renaissance for 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam" ( world is a family).

When Pranab Babu came , can Didi, Bahinji, Yechury , Raja and others be far behind. RSS has certainly grown from half- pants to long- pants. 'Hindutva is not possible without Muslims' , I love it. When Communism (China/Russia) is now driven by the market forces can RSS remain sitting idle with its old belts in its centenary decade? Sorry, these are beyond the book. Frankly speaking this book gives us a very vivid picture of RSS vis-à-vis its history, activities and ideology – nation comes first. This book is truly – RSS in a beautiful nutshell.


* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted 08 November, 2018 .


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