India’s Religious Diversity & RSS

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India's Religious Diversity & RSS
India's Religious Diversity & RSS

The RSS is India’s most prominent proponent of Hindutva — Hindu-ness and the idea that India should be a “Hindu nation.” The group’s mission statement describes it as “firmly rooted in genuine nationalism” and decries an “erosion of the nation’s integrity in the name of secularism” and “endless appeasement of the Muslim population.” “The Hindus have been treated as second-order citizens by successive governments,” it says. “Expressed in the simplest terms, the ideal of the [RSS] is to carry the nation to the pinnacle of glory, through organizing the entire society and ensuring protection of Hindu Dharma.” (Dharma is a Sanskrit word used to describe Hindu religion, its culture and its entire worldview and system of living.)

Today, many members interpret that as a mission to bring Hindu scripture into Indian law and strip Indian Muslims of equal rights, or even expel them. The RSS was founded as an organization in 1922.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India has been described as the political face of the RSS. RSS is to BJP what Schutzstaffel (SS) was to the Nazi party in Germany. The difference being that SS under Himmler was subordinate to the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP) under Hitler. In India, BJP draws inspiration from, and takes instructions from the RSS. Golwalkar, the second sarsanghchalak—chief—of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, who held the post between 1940 and 1973, remains one of the most influential figures in the RSS’s history. We, published in 1939 under his name, played a key part in making him a prominent figure within the RSS and was considered the first systematic explication of the Sangh’s ideology. Taking inspiration from Adolf Hitler, it asserted that India belongs to Hindus and that the country’s minorities should be treated along the lines of the Nazis’ treatment of the Jews. The book inextricably tied the RSS to the fascist ideology of Nazi Germany. Hindu fascism is what RSS has pursued, to achieve the overall national objective for a Hindu Rashtra. Importantly, the Nazi salutations and Nazi symbolism have been an integral part of the RSS structure.

RSS ideologues describe Islam as “an evil religion”, which promotes an “evil ideology.” The RSS firmly rejected the Constitution of India when it was passed on November 26, 1949. Its leadership has since been making statements critical of the national flag and the national anthem of India. Apart from being secretive in its working, which it prefers without publicity because of reasons of strategy, RSS is also one of the most feared organizations in India. As such, crimes against humanity committed by the RSS, remain undiscussed, and are mostly downplayed.

The RSS attained early notoriety when one of its activists (or an ex-member, as some claim) Nathuram Godse, assassinated Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the Father of the Nation of India on January 30, 1948. Godse committed this act of terror to punish Gandhi for what he perceived as Gandhi’s “leanings” towards the minorities, especially Muslims. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who joined the organization when he was eight years old, is an active member of RSS. As is the case with most of his cabinet ministers and close civil and military advisers. RSS is “the mother party” of all essential Hindu fundamentalist organizations in India. It includes Vishva Hindu Parishad, Shiv Sena, and Bharatiya Jana Sangh. RSS has set up thousands of Shaakhaas (Hindu madrassas) all over the country.

The RSS has since its inception participated in the following attacks on religious minorities in India: In August 1946, a large number of Bengali Muslims were massacred in Calcutta. More than 200,000 Muslim men, women, and children were mercilessly massacred in the State of Hyderabad in 1948. A large number of RSS workers were involved in these acts of terror. •RSS terrorists, in collaboration with security personnel of the Maharajah of Kashmir, butchered more than 200,000 Muslim men, women, and children in Kashmir in 1947-1948. Dressed in the uniform of the Pakistan Army, widespread atrocities, especially rapes, were committed by RSS terrorists in East Pakistan in 1971. Close to 10,000 Muslims were massacred in just three days in Gujarat in 2002 by RSS activists, on specific orders of the then Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi. Reports indicate that RSS activists dressed in the uniform of the Indian Army, are involved in the ongoing Indian atrocities against the Muslim populace in Indian occupied Kashmir

The RSS ideology has inspired many perpetrators. In a rather chilling interview in 1993 with ‘Time Magazine’, the RSS allied Hindu fundamentalist party Shiv Sena Supremo, Bal Thackeray, commented: “There is nothing wrong if Muslims are treated as Jews in Nazi Germany… if you take Mein Kampf and remove the word ‘Jew ‘and put in its place the word ‘Muslim’, that is what I believe in”.

The Times newspaper reported in the summer of 2019 that extremist Hindu groups in India have been offering “money, food and alcohol to mobs to kill Christians and to destroy their homes.” The allegations followed the British government’s refusal to grant visas to the members of the Hindu radical groups, as they were “linked to the worst anti-Christian violence in India since Partition.” Earlier, Graham Stains, an Australian missionary, was burnt to death along with his two sons in Orissa, by the RSS inspired Hindu mob. While neo-Nazi websites in Europe declare Hitler as the “reincarnation” of Hindu God Vishnu, some in India, especially RSS activists, have emblazoned Adolf Hitler as “India’s Swastika God.” Slogans of “Hail Shree Ram; Hail Hitler”, have frequently been raised at RSS gatherings. Since Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister in 2014, Muslim persecution has increased manifold. The RSS leadership has publicly announced the conversion of all Muslims and Christians in India to Hinduism. They have even set deadlines.

Modi’s ascent to power is bound to weaken the ideological foundations of India. Understandably, Indians are worried. The recent abrogation of the articles on Kashmir is bound to have long term repercussions. The interests of the People’s Republic of China in the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, are at stake. And, Beijing knows that RSS hates China. India’s 1962 humiliation has been unpalatable for the RSS. How can one ignore the view that RSS is the largest terrorist organization in the world, with its political arm BJP, relentlessly implementing the RSS agenda of Hindu fascism! As mentioned earlier, the accusations of terror against RSS have not emanated from Islamabad, but from Hindu analysts in India. Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), which was originally organized as a political wing of RSS, officially adopted the Hindutva ideology in 1989; ever since it has diligently been pursuing radical Hindu nationalist policies in India. Within 3 years after formally adhering to Hindutva ideology, BJP, along with other Hindu nationalist parties in India, succeeded in mobilizing the Hindu extremists to demolish the historical Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in 1992.

Some have attempted to unravel the RSS beast by labeling it the “tyranny of the majority”. This is an oversimplification. It is the culmination of unashamed fascism that has been engineered through chicanery and skullduggery over decades. Narendra Modi sitting atop this fascist brigade is merely the face of the movement. What drives this fascism mill is a horde of actors from karsevaks to corporate powers who are doctoring fictional narratives to mull the majority Hindus into the Hindutva mainstream. The creation of a Hindu Rashtra is progressing at a brisk pace in substance, if not in form. India’s pluralism never envisioned a marriage between the church and the state. Worse, for the first time in its history, India is progressing down the self-destructive path where the church will be used to divide the state. India needs to be scared. Very scared.

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