Why PM Modi gets away by saying Hindus are first class citizens 

A riveting panel discussion following the launch of AG Noorani’s book, “ Why RSS Is A menace to India” on Tuesday raised disturbing questions

Photo courtesy: Sudhanva Deshpande
Photo courtesy: Sudhanva Deshpande
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NH Web Desk

“Asking RSS to not be communal is like asking the Pope to be revolutionary,” quipped lawyer and columnist A G Noorani, whose book ‘RSS: A Menace To India’ published by Leftword Books was released in the capital on Tuesday.

“Many people ask ‘Why can’t the BJP leave RSS?’, but BJP is the political arm of the RSS and BJP can’t leave the RSS. The Hindu Maha Sabha established the RSS as its spear-arm,” says Noorani.

Former Vice President and career diplomat Hamid Ansari , who was present at the launch, agreed. “The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has promoted Hindutva as a concept of cultural revitalization and political mobilisation, which seeks to subjugate ethnic pluralities. This has generated social violence by its adherents,” he pointed out.

“It is a denial of all that the freedom struggle stood for, the negation of the reality of a plural society, a device for erasing the richness and diversity of our land,” he went on to add.

Pointing to the RSS prayer, he said the oath administered to everyone calls upon the volunteers to work for “the greatness of Bharatvarsh by fostering the growth of the Hindu religion, society and culture. This means that the focus is only on the 80% of those who profess to be Hindus.”

Agreeing with Noorani, journalist and commentator Siddharth Varadarajan said, “RSS is ruling India. Let’s make no bones about it. It is an organisation which calls itself a cultural entity but no one has any idea about its membership, structure and finances. They have exploited every loophole to keep its finances opaque.”

Varadarajan reminded everyone that the RSS’ might have removed the controversial parts from its second Sarsanghchalak MS Golwalkar’s book Bunch of Thoughts, but their central theme was there for everyone to hear when Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke at Wardha.

“Are Muslims and minorities not legitimate citizens? It was a blatant violation of Section 123 of the Representation of People’s Act. Opposition is not raising it. This allows Modi to get away by saying that Hindus are first class citizens,” Varadarajan emphasised.

“What is amazing is that at no stage has the RSS hidden what it is. People may turn a blind eye to its ideologies, but they have been open about themselves. The Prime Minister has spent his entire life in the RSS. He went to their schools, was a card-carrying Swayamsevak and you can see it in his ideology too.

“Getting rid of this point is a long-term project,” contended novelist Githa Hariharan, who was a part of the panel.

Varadarajan pointed out that in addition to being communal, RSS has penetrated and infiltrated every arm of the system – politics, defence forces, judiciary.

Even the Delhi police had jitters when Leftword Books was organising an event to launch the book said publisher Sudhanva Deshpande.

“We received several calls from Delhi Police. They asked us if we had permission from the Election Commission. We’ve asked why, when this has no political party involved, no candidate, no political leader as speaker. They had no answer. It was clearly an attempt to intimidate and harass. This level of surveillance is disturbing,” said Deshpande.

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