What opponents of RSS need to understand
Shamsul Islam, made some serious allegations on RSS in his 29th March’s blog titled, “RSS must discard its anti-democratic-secular India agenda”. He not only misinterpreted the facts but made factual incorrections also. While teaching Indianness to the RSS, he himself seems to have forgotten it. Out of many false claims he made, here I will like to discuss about RSS’s absence from national movement and insult of national flag.
At no point of time the Indian national movement was a monopoly of any single ideology or group. It drew participants from many sectors and of diverse view-points. These participants had different conceptions of India in their mind and at some of the issues they were diametrically opposite to each other. The only thing which bounded them was desire of independence. Even the Congress which – under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru and with the help of communist historians – tried its best to appropriate the national movement was actually like an umbrella organization under which men and women adhering to diverse and sometimes conflicting ideologies lived in coexistence—from the Socialists and the Communists in the Left to radical nationalists, and on to the conservative Right.[i] Here soon after the independence the conflicts emerged not only regarding the leadership but also about the India which they wanted to be.[ii]
For those who believe that nation building and fighting for the national independence is only about political movement, I want to point out that the nation is not a political entity only.[iii] The problem with the communists and Nehruvian historians is that they seem to have forgotten even Mahatma Gandhi. For Mahatma, nationalism was not so much aimed at the creation of nation-state; he rarely talked about an Indian nation. For him nationalism was patriotism not in defense of nation but a moral order derived from ancestral loyalty and communal integrity. His mission was to recreate the sense of an Indian civilization, regenerating its people and creating the condition for an autonomous moral growth.[iv] Now if we test the participation of organizations on theses parameters no one will have even an iota of doubt that when it comes to recreate the sense of Indian civilization or moral order derived from ancestors, RSS contributed more than any other organization.
As far as the role of Communists is concerned we must not forget that these puppets of Comintern kept no stone unturned in support of British government during the Second World War. Following Harry Pollitt’s letter to Comintern they not only opposed Quit India Movement but took money from the British Government to help them in mobilizing public support for the war. The hatred towards communist in the common people was so high that there happened attacks on the communist leaders in and after math of Quit India Movement[v].
Coming to the second allegation about Indian Flag. Here, I want to point that comments expressing disapprobation or criticism of the Constitution or of the Indian National Flag or of any measures of the Government with a view to obtain an amendment of the Constitution of India or an alteration of the Indian National Flag by lawful means does not constitute an offence.[vi] We all know that there were many diverse views regarding the design of flag, and what we finally adopted was not the first choice of every person and organisation. Shamsul Islam misunderstood the difference between design of flag and flag itself.
People who are surprised with the success of RSS family – it is not only the BJP, but other affiliated organisations as well – makes the mistake of taking India as a political entity only. They forget not only what Rabindranath Tagore said that history of India cannot be learnt with the records of kings and wars[vii] but also Aurbindo, who wrote “the master idea that has governed the life, culture, social ideals of the Indian people has been the seeking of man for his true spiritual self and the use of life — subject to a necessary evolution first of his lower physical, vital and mental nature — as a frame and means for that discovery and for man’s ascent from the ignorant natural into the spiritual existence.”[viii]
[ii] Guha Ramchangdra 2007, India After Gandhi, chapter 6 Ideas of India.
[iii] Smith Anthony D. 1971, Theories of Nationalism, Duckworth, p- 22
[iv] Tonnesson Stein and Hans Antlov 1996, Asian Forms of the Nation, Nordic Institute of Asian Studies,p-28
[vii] Rabindranath Tagore 1917, Nationalism
[viii] Aurobindo Ghosh, The renaissance in India, p.397