₹2.5 lakh RSS course to ‘train’ future leaders

The nine-month course would be held at the sprawling 15-acre campus of Rambhau Mhalgi Probodhini on the outskirts of Mumbai

 Photo by Ramesh Pathania/Mint via Getty Images  
Photo by Ramesh Pathania/Mint via Getty Images

Abid Shah

To shape tomorrow’s leaders the Sangh Parivar has a plan. A nine-month long course will commence in August this year in an academy, which was founded by a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) pracharak and former MP, the late Rambhau Mhalgi. The post graduate course at the Indian Institute of Democratic Leadership in Thane in Maharashtra will focus on leadership, politics and governance, and 40 graduates from different streams can be a part of this course.

A prospectus for the new course was released last month by Union Minister for Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar at Delhi’s Constitution Club in the presence of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, former Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi, BJP general secretary P Murlidhar Rao, who looks after the party’s training cell, and Professor Amita Singh from Jawaharlal Nehru University’s (JNU) Centre for the Study of Law and Governance.

“Politics is considered to be the last resort of scoundrels and this is a misconception about politics which has to change and Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini (RMP) has taken the right step in this direction,” said Javedekar. He also bemoaned that there weren’t such courses in public affairs when he was a student.

The course will be divided in three semesters. And the last or third semester would include a month-long internship. The course would be held at the sprawling 15-acre campus of RMP-run Indian Institute of Democratic Leadership (IIDL) on the outskirts of Mumbai.

“Each student will have to pay ₹2.5 lakh for the nine-month residential course. The course would include both classroom instructions and field visits,” says Ravi Pokharna, RMP’s spokesperson in Delhi.

A BJP Vice President, Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, is the Academy’s Vice President and this new course is believed to be his brainchild. The Academy, which used to run only a week-long training workshops focused at activism and public affairs to train small groups initially, has grown into a formidable right-wing think tank that now also devotes itself to research and publication. It was greatly helped in its expansion by the BJP leader, the late Pramod Mahajan.

The saffron stamp that the course is bound to have was unmistakably palpable at launch of the course. And, strangely, a party, which boasts to have enrolled tens of millions of members to swell its ranks will train only 40-odd people to turn them into leaders of the future.

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