RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s outreach to Muslims a bid to sow confusion ahead of polls

The RSS chief’s decision to visit a mosque and a madrasa was a manifestation of the right-wing organisation’s hypocrisy and opportunism in the run up to the next phase of state Assembly polls

Representative Image
Representative Image

Arun Srivastava

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is not known for working towards communal harmony in the country. The Maharashtrian Brahmin leadership of the RSS, in fact, strives to give a concrete shape to their basic idea of a ‘Hindu Rashtra’, to achieve which they regularly demonise Muslims, Dalits and backwards.

The sudden outreach of its chief Mohan Bhagwat to the Muslims in the form of his visit to a mosque and a madrasa, then, had at least two major components. First, it was a well-planned move to resuscitate the declining control of the right-wing ecosystem on the political narrative of the country, and second, it aimed to create confusion amongst the Muslims in the run up to the poll season in the country.

His move also aims at sending the message across to the Muslims, liberal, centrist and secular elements of the country that the saffron leaders firmly believe in the democratic system. What is democracy if not a dialogue?

But this outreach gives rise to a question whether the dialogue was real and honest in true sense and spirit.

The Muslims relied on Bhagwat in the belief that he can bring about a real change in the social scene of this country. It appears that he responded, but the results are yet to be seen.

Indians have only one ‘Rashtra Pita’, in Mahatma Gandhi. But for the first time, a Muslim clergy used that title for Bhagwat, making it the first time that a RSS chief was made to stand by the side of Mahatma. Does it imply that there is a concerted move to resurrect Savarkar as the true hero, which some RSS and BJP leaders have been striving for, and exonerating RSS of the charges of not being nationalist by supporting the Britishers?

Even a politically naïve person knows that the RSS and BJP have no love and respect for the minorities, especially Muslims. From the day an individual joins the RSS, he is fed with hatred towards them. In this backdrop, it would be sheer childish to expect RSS to befriend them.

The RSS and the BJP lack the basic idea and perception to restructuring the Indian polity in a positive manner. If they had this thinking entrenched in their mind, they would not have alienated the farmers, workers, students, and certain religious and regional minorities.

It would not be unfair to say that the RSS outreach to Muslims clearly manifests its hypocrisy and opportunism.

Bhagwat has never once during the Modi rule spoken against lynching of Muslims or pulled up BJP leaders for patronising the mercenaries involved in it. He has always provided ideological and political cover to these elements.

The BJP governments in UP and Assam, which are full of Sangh functionaries, have been busy maligning madrasas. The BJP leaders openly accuse them of being the ‘breeding premises of terrorists’. Was it a coincidence that when Bhagwat was trying to win over the trust of the Muslims, the offices of the People Front of India, a Muslim organisation allegedly involved in promoting terrorism and terrorist philosophy, were raided across the country in a most blatant manner?

Bhagwat suggested that students at madrasas should also read the Quran and Bible along with the Bhagwad Geeta. Whether the same is reciprocated in the Sishu Mandirs of RSS is to be seen.

RSS functionaries termed Bhagwat’s visit to a mosque and madrasa as a step towards ending “conflicts between communities” and a call to Muslims to feel and act like Indians. Does not this imply that RSS functionaries do not treat them as Indians?

Bhagwat cannot deny that his initiative was simply aimed at meeting the political and electoral concerns of the RSS and does not reflect any change of heart or deviation from the communal ideology.

It would be futile to expect that the RSS would bring about an attitudinal change in its outlook and perception of the minorities, Dalits and Muslims.

(IPA Service)

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