Herald View: What can Mohan Bhagwat say after 'his' government blames everyone else ?
Coming from people who have revelled and thrived on negativity and done little else than finger-pointing, the advice on positivity is rich
Coming from people who have revelled and thrived on negativity and done little else than finger-pointing, the advice was rich. This is no time for blaming and shaming, said RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat at a lecture on ‘positivity unlimited’. There is a lot of negativity around us, he declared, and the country must stand united like a rock to face the calamity it faces. In passing, the RSS chief philosophised that those who have died in the pandemic have been ‘freed’ from their worldly worries but the ones who have survived must look to the future with hope and with confidence. There were other pearls of wisdom. Life and death are part of an eternal cycle, Britain’s wartime prime minister Winston Churchill did not lose confidence in the face of death, darkness and destruction; and even Indian mythology, he recalled, inspired people to keep churning for the elixir or nectar even after the churning yielded poison. Referring to the deadly second wave of the coronavirus, after the Prime Minister had claimed victory and boasted of having saved humanity as recently as in January this year, Bhagwat sweepingly said that everybody was guilty of dropping their guard.
In an even more telling comment, the RSS chief declared, “If we start getting depressed about every other report about 4-5 deaths every day of people whom we do not even know, it would lead to disaster,” while exhorting Indians to remain united. He had no word of advice for the Government and Union ministers, who spent the last one year in mocking the opposition, brushing aside experts’ warnings and claiming that India’s record in fighting the pandemic was the best in the world. Public memory is short but some would still remember the Union Cabinet prostrating before Bhagwat in 2015, ostensibly to present their report card. While the RSS chief may have dropped the pretension of being above the government and an ‘extra constitutional authority’, the RSS and its ‘Pracharaks’ are undoubtedly in the drivers’ seats in the government even now. But the pandemic has finally stripped the RSS of its idle boast of being the world’s largest NGO with an ‘army of volunteers’.
Mohan Bhagwat was anointed as the third most powerful man in the country in a list of 100 most powerful Indians brought out by The Indian Express barely a few months ago. It came as no surprise, therefore, when the newspaper carried the RSS chief’s platitudes as ‘news’ and splashed it on the front page as a lead story. What did come as surprise, however, was the acrobatics by political pundits in analysing and interpreting his ‘message’.
While some pundits saw in the lecture a rebuke and a warning to the government, others laboured with the explanation that RSS was no longer in control of the government, that it was the government which controlled the RSS now. While the first narrative credited RSS with its ears to ground for picking up rumblings of discontent, the second narrative claimed that Bhagwat is the weakest Sarsanghchalak in a long time and that his number two, who is close to the Prime Minister, now called the shots. In reality RSS is as clueless as the government. Both revel in grand visions but have neither the ability nor the inclination to work for solutions. Or else why would RSS karyakartas fan out, the day after Bhagwat spoke of the need for scientific temperament, to blow conch shells and stoke smoke to drive away the virus?