Patriotism, Religion and Ideology of RSS

Ram Puniyani
January 7, 2021

Word ‘anti-National’ has been more in vogue form last few years. Simply put all those who are criticizing the RSS and its progeny are labeled as anti-National. As fountainhead of Hindu Nationalism RSS is becoming stronger, it has been trying to link patriotism and religion. While hailing Hindus for their loyalty to this nation, the subtle hints are being circulated about Muslims in particular that they are more loyal to Pakistan. In cleverly worded articulation, (HT Jan 02, 2020) the chief of RSS, Mohan Bhagwat said that Hindus are patriotic by nature due to their religion.  He also twists a sentence of Gandhi to state that Gandhi’s patriotism had its origin in Hindu religion, “All Indians worship motherland. But Gandhi said my patriotism comes from my religion. So if you are a Hindu then you will be an automatic patriot. You may be an unconscious Hindu, you may need awakening, but a Hindu will never be anti-India.”

Before analyzing the subtle hints hidden in this formulation let’s understand that when RSS began, its major ideologue M.S. Golwalkar was forthright in praising the Nazis and recommended the treatment for Muslims and Christians (Foreign religions, according to RSS) on the lines which were used by Nazis for Jews. Now from last few decades as RSS is becoming more powerful through it multiple organizations like BJP, VHP, ABVP, Vanvasis Kalyan Ashram, and through its infiltration into different wings of state, media and education, it is using more subtle language, while communicating the same  Hindu nationalist ideology. The meaning and content remains the same, which Golwalkar had outlined in ‘We or Our Nationhood Defined’, but the presentation is well decorated, subtle to the extent of confusing many in the society.

As far as Gandhi is concerned, for him religion was a personal matter. He did call himself as sanatani Hindu, but his Hinduism was liberal and inclusive. His religion had more to do with moral values. He derived his spiritual strength from all the religions, "I consider myself as good a Muslim as I am a Hindu and for that matter, I regard myself as equally good a Christian or a Parsi". (Harijan, May 25 197, page 164). There is respect and inclusivity for people of other religions in his practice of Hinduism. This is in total contrast to exclusivist, narrow understanding and practice of Hinduism of RSS, which is continuously raking up issues to frighten and intimidate people of other religions. As Gandhi’s practice of his religion was liberal and inclusive he could lead the people of different religions in the struggle against British rule.

He also did not connect up religion and nationality or for that matter to patriotism. In that sense patriotism, love for one’s country and countrymen, is not rooted in the religion but in the ‘Nationhood’ which is not an outcome of religion for that matter. His use of word religion has two levels. One is the popular notion of customs, identity, faith etc. and second the morality inherent in the teachings of religion. Though he is very clear that morality is the core of religions, the likes of RSS or for that matter even the Muslim communalists (Muslim League etc.) take his use of the word purely at the level of rituals, holy places etc. only.

The ideologues, who are a part of Hindu nationalist outlook, close to RSS mindset, are burning the midnight oil to dig fragments of sentences, not only from Gandhi and other national icons to present as if the values of these makers of ‘India as a nation’ had ideas similar to that of RSS. In the process they retain the RSS ideology while trying to get more legitimacy by showing their similarity to the great icons of India’s freedom movement and the process of ‘India as a nation in the making’.

So now the formulation is that Hindus are naturally patriots, they can’t be anti national. The other side of this is that the nationalism and patriotism of those belonging to other religions is suspect, subject to certification by those who have a monopoly of being patriots and nationalists, those claiming to represent Hindus.

This totally bypasses the great contributions of Muslims and Christians in making of modern India. Where do you place the millions of Muslims who followed Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad who stood not only against British rule but also against the concept of partition of India? Where do you place the likes of Shibli Nomani, Hasrat Mohani, and Ashfaqullah Khan? How do you value the contribution of Allahbaksh who was instrumental in organizing the conference of Muslims to oppose the resolution for separate Pakistan by Mohammad Ali Jinnah? There were innumerable organizations formed by Muslims who rubbed shoulders with participants in the struggle for freedom movement.

In Independent India people of all religions have contributed with equal zeal in making of modern India, in all the fields of industry, education, sports, culture and what have you. Are they not patriots or nationalists?

On the other side this formulation of Mr. Bhagwat is a clever defense of the one trained in its shakhas who murdered Gandhi, Nathuram Godse. How do we label those who participated and led in demolition of Babri Mosque, which was called as a crime by the Supreme Court? As per Bhagwat do acts of killing of Gandhi, Kalburgi, Dabholkar, Gauri Lankesh and Govind Pansare fall in the category of patriotic acts? Where do so many Hindus involved in spying, smuggling, black marketing etc. are to be placed?

Interestingly as RSS is making a show of paying respect to Gandhi, at the same time its trained pracharaks and fellow ideologues and many of its affiliated organizations are openly paying respect to Nathuram Godse. This Gandhi anniversary tweets praising Godse were aplenty, mostly from Hindus. That just shows the ideological manipulation capability of the multithreaded hydra, RSS. Only such an organization can simultaneously make the show of paying obeisance to Gandhi while quietly enhancing the ideology which led to his murder.

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News Network
August 6,2022

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Mangaluru, Aug 6: In memory of Mohammed Fazil, 23, who was hacked to death in Surathkal on July 28 by communal hatemongers, the Blood Helpline Karnataka (BHK) will be organising four blood donation camps on August 7 in the Dakshina Kannada.

The blood donation camps will be organised at Puttur, Ullal, Ammunje and Ulaibettu. The BHK aims to collect more than 500 units of blood through the four camps to be held in the district.

According to Ifaz Bannur, administrator of BHK, Mohammed Fazil was also a member of the organisation. “He was our member and he had donated blood 14 times during his life. In addition, he was also helping the forum to organise blood donation camps in various parts of Surathkal and other surrounding areas,” he said.

About BHK

BHK was launched on August 8, 2016 by a group of friends through a WhatsApp group with the theme ‘Let us become blood relatives’, to reach out to people in case there was a requirement for blood.

BHK was officially registered in 2017. Now, there are over 50 administrations functioning through 45 WhatsApp groups with over 5,000 volunteers.

The 50 administrations are 50 working members, who engage in organising blood donation camps in various parts of the district and also outside the district.

In addition, the forum has a wide-member base of more than 7,000 volunteers on Facebook.

Over the past six years, BHK has organised 203 blood donation camps in Mangaluru, Sullia, Puttur, Belthangady, Moodbidri, Udupi, Chikkamagaluru, Manipal, Madikeri, Raichur, Kalaburagi, Mysuru, Vijayapura, Shivamogga, Hassan, and Bengaluru and has collected 11,612 units of blood so far.

Along with blood donation camps, the forum has 2,383 volunteers who directly visit the hospitals in case of emergencies to donate blood. During the Covid-19 pandemic, as many as 672 volunteers donated blood to the blood banks in the district, said Ifaz.

In fact, Fazil’s father Ummar Farooq, in his complaint to the police, had also informed how his son was living in harmony with all people in the region and had even donated blood several times in the past to save lives, irrespective of caste and religion. 

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News Network
August 9,2022

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Break-ups and alliances are not new for Janata Dal (United) chief and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, who has once again ended alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party after the Bihar opposition — Congress, RJD and Left — declared open support for him. 

A look at Kumar’s allies over the years and his blow hot, blow cold equation with the BJP:

1989: In the initial years in Janata Dal, Kumar backed Lalu Prasad as leader of the opposition in Bihar Assembly in 1989.

1994: Kumar fell out with Prasad, floated the Samata Party with George Fernandes.

1996: Kumar joined hands with the BJP and was a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee cabinet. Then Janata Dal president Sharad Yadav and Lalu Prasad had a spat and the latter broke away and formed the RJD

2000: Kumar was first elected to office, however, he resigned days after he took oath. NDA and allies had 151 seats, Prasad’s RJD had 159, both falling short of the required 163 seats.

2003: The Samata Party merged with Sharad Yadav’s Janata Dal, while continuing its alliance with the BJP. The Janata Dal (United) was formed, with Kumar at the helm.

2005: Kumar’s JD(U), in alliance with the BJP, came back to power as an NDA member, ending the “Lalu era”.

2010: Kumar’s party swept back to power along with ally, the BJP, and he again became the CM.

2013: He snapped his party’s 17-year-old ties with the BJP in 2013, when Narendra Modi was anointed the BJP’s campaign committee chief for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. After parting ways with the BJP, he won a trust vote with support from the Congress, but stepped down in 2014, owning moral responsibility for the JD(U)’s tally of two in the Lok Sabha elections.

In less than a year, Kumar was back as the chief minister, pushing out his rebel protégé Jitan Ram Manjhi with support from the RJD and the Congress.

2017: The Grand Alliance of the JD(U), Congress and RJD won the 2017 assembly polls, but collapsed in just two years, as Kumar insisted that Lalu’s son and deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav, whose name had cropped up in a money laundering case when RJD supremo was the railway minister, “come clear" on the issue.

He broke the alliance, resigned as the chief minister as the RJD refused to budge, only to be back in the office in less than 24 hours with the BJP’s support.

2022: He joined hands with the RJD again, breaking ties with the BJP.

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News Network
August 6,2022

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Mangaluru, Aug 6: A 15-year-old boy who was being treated at a hospital in Mangaluru after his fall from an apartment building at Boluvaru in Puttur, succumbed to injuries today morning. 

The deceased has been identified as Sushan Rai, son of Manohar Rai, retired manager of Padmunja branch of Canara Bank and president of Boluvaru Shri Durgaparameshwari Malaraya Sparivara Kshethra.

He was a Class 9 student of Sudana residential school. He is survived by his father Manohar Rai, mother Sudha M Rai and brother Sohan Rai.

It is learnt that instead of returning home from school on August 5, Sushan went to the apartment building. 

A CCTV footage shows Sushan entering the premises of the apartment building at 4.20 pm. Within minutes he fell from the 5th floor of the building. His school bag was found on the 5th floor.

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