Why Pranab Mukherjee accepted Invitation to be Chief Guest at RSS headquarter?
Source :NewsBharati   Date :11-Jun-2018

Former Rashtrapati and staunch Congressman Pranab Mkherjee offering floral tributes to the Samadhi of second RSS Saresancghchalak M S Golwalkar alias Sri Guruji on June 7, 2018

Let us first understand that Pranab Mukherjee is a very shrewd politician of over fifty years of very active public life in politics. In fact he had expected to be chosen by the Sonia-Rahul Gandhi duet, the whole and sole of Congress, to head the central government in 2004 CE, particularly when there was no Nehru-Gandhi family heir, qualified enough, to occupy the top post. Instead however Man Mohan Singh as an unknown entity in politics was chosen to lead the country. He must have felt slighted and did not enjoy their confidence. However he still joined the cabinet and worked as the trouble shooter – the sankat mochan - in the UPA I and II governments led by Man Mohan Singh. But he must have felt humiliated for sure. Yet he did not want to move away from power. It was also to avoid hara-kiri but to count time to get right opportunity to bounce back. It was also to camouflage the inner desire and show that he was a committed worker and Gandhi pariwar bhakta.

Meghnad Desai the weekly columnist, commented on the subject in Indian Express on Sunday the 10th June thus :

“Revenge, they say, is a dish best eaten cold. Do not react immediately when you are humiliated. Wait patiently for your turn. Your time will come when you will be able to wreak revenge for the slights you have suffered. In the meantime be meek and obedient. Just wait.

Desai also narrates that Mukherjee did expect to be sworn-in as acting prime minister following Indira Gandhi’s death. He was constitutionally right but the ‘First Family’ does not care for constitutionality. It is interested in power at any cost. He was thus expelled from Congress. But he came back later to serve the ‘First Family’ faithfully. He was slighted on some other occasions as well. He returned and served Congress but perhaps with injury from inside and under suspicion from the ‘First Family’.

To assuage all his hurt feelings and in view of his advanced age and, as it suited as the best choice of ‘First Family’, he was promoted to occupy the top-most post as ‘Rashtrapati’ as a nominee of Congress. He is therefore apparently a Congressman for certain. But fact remains that he was always seen with suspicion by the ‘First Family’. Did he accept the post of Rashtrapati under pressure of Congress high command? Perhaps he felt that at the fag end of his political career it suited him most. His becoming Rashtrapati did not mean that he had to toe the line set forth by the First Family in toto disregarding his personal convictions and national interests. That is the reason how he managed well with Narendra Modi of the BJP as prime minister without any unpleasant utterances in media. That fact raised his esteem in the eyes of public. Had he toed the high command line in toto, in troubling Modi, it would have meant that he did not have any conviction of his own about national/social life, even as Rashtrapati, in spite of being intelligent, creative and capable. It is true that average Congressman drinks water from the ‘First-Family’ member’s palms only, simply because he has no personality of his own in politics. He draws his strength from First Family only. He mortgages his intelligence and creativity, of whatever significance, to that family and should feel happy at whatever crumb is thrown at him by way of share of power. But Mukherjee was fair bit different even as Congressman, for sure.


Hence Mukherjee did not belong to the category of sycophants of the first family in Congress? At the fag end of his life, as Rashtrapati, when nothing more was to be achieved he must have become an independent nationalist. That is the reason why he entertained RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat at the Rashtrapati Bhawan twice when RSS is anathema to the Congress. He continued this interaction even after demitting the office of Rashtrapati. This is an additional indication of his assessing the national/social life quite independently and not as old Congressman through the lenses of interests of Congress. His accepting the invitation to address the passing out parade of the Third Year Training camp program at RSS Headquarter in Nagpur on 7th June, is good indication that he does have his own independent assessment and therefore convictions of the Indian polity in general and Congress per se in particular, on almost every major issue. Having been Rashtrapati, who is supposed to be above party politics, might have taught him the need to have independent assessment of everything related to Indian polity, as it would certainly raise his political stature.

He knew well that he would be criticized at his decision in accepting the invitation of the RSS and more so from the Congress and its allies. It did happen that way only. A hue and cry was made by the Congress at the instance of Sonia-Rahul duet against him to withdraw his acceptance of the invitation. He however did not yield. Then they finally used their Brahmastra in the form of appeal from his daughter Sharmishta to father to concede to the Congress wishes and not make it a prestige issue. Yet Mukherjee did not heed. It certainly would damage her career in Congress.

How deep must have been his anger against the ‘First Family’? Had he heeded those requests he would have lost his prestige in Indian polity. But Mukherjee went ahead and attended the function of RSS at Nagpur. As expected almost a whole week the Congress and its projected allies in near future, like Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Marxists, Communists, Trinamool Congress and others carried out a tirade against his visit. These people never carried tirade against even the terrorists at the same level. To that extent they treat RSS-pariwar as entirely untouchable on any account in spite of the fact that stalwarts right from Nehru and Indira Gandhi did have good contact with the RSS. Many of the stalwarts publicly pleaded him either to cancel the visit or alternatively speak the Congress version of the truth on the face of the RSS. It is strange that people much junior to him in Congress wanted to guide Mukherjee as what he should speak. If he were to speak totally against the RSS on its platform, as was suggested, where was the need to accept its invitation in the first place? Public decency demands this adequate courtesy must be shown to the host. Mukherjee knew that what he would speak there was less important but more important was his presence sharing the dais with Mohan Bhagwat. It did work that way only.


To understand the mind of Mukherjee one must stand in his shoes and then think how he analyzed whole of the situation, why he accepted the invitation of RSS and fulfilled the request against so much opposition from all over India. He was all out to rewrite the history, particularly of the RSS. The logic behind it may be as follows:

He must have been pained to see the way immature Rahul was made the president of All India Congress Committee as if it had nothing to do with national welfare. More appalling might have been Rahul’s toeing the Marxists line in interpreting the political events and reacting to them at the instance of Sitaram Yechuri with the hope of forming grand alliance of opposition parties for 2019 general Lok Sabha election. Being Bengali, Mukherjee must have clear vision of the Marxists’ rule for over three decades in Bengal and how it destroyed the developmental work over there once and for all time. He must also be conversant with the rule of Mamata Banerji in spoiling the Hindu-Muslim harmony by not allowing celebration of the Hindu festivals. As an ex-Rashtrapati he feels that it is his responsibility to guide the nation properly and not in any way out of electoral considerations, more so at this age.

All these happenings must have made Mukherjee to think afresh about national welfare particularly when he has personally nothing to gain from it. It must have led him to ponder over the national need vis-à-vis the leadership of Congress and also of the RSS. The continuous outburst of Rahul against the RSS might have irked him as well. It amounted to total breakdown of dialogue between two major powers in the Indian polity and their looking at each other as almost enemy. Where would he have aired his views in national interests? Any personal outburst in public would not have attracted the attention his visit to RSS headquarter at Nagpur did. In this respect he imagined it correctly. He was all out to rewrite the history, particularly of the RSS by his visit and go down in history as true nationalist. That is why he made up his mind to speak the truth in as palpable a manner and in words as carefully chosen as possible for him and finally on the subject as dear to the nation. This is basically the reason why he accepted invitation from Mohan Bhagwat to attend and address the RSS trainees.

It was a well thought out design on the part of Mukherjee. It was no emotional burst, for sure. That is also the reason he did not heed to so many attempts carried out clandestinely and openly from the second level Congress bosses, at the instance of the Sonia-Rahul Gandhi duet, to dissuade him from going to Nagpur. He is not an average Congressman to obey their suggestions/clandestine orders to reject anything in way between to please the Congress high command. It was all over the day he became Rashtrapati. It exhibits his determination to speak the truth under the guise of address at Nagpur RSS. That is why he agreed to visit Hedgewar’s house. That irked the Congress most. By staying on course he raised his own personality and esteem in the eyes of public. It only indicates that Mukherjee well designed his visit and completed it in most intelligent way by his describing Hedgewar as True Son of Mother India in the visitor’s book and addressing the rally on the subject of national welfare only. In his speech he essentially advised Congress and their possible allies to shed off its untouchability towards the RSS in the interests of India. In a way he took revenge on Gandhi family to the extent possible.

Influence of RSS

His Nagpur visit was preceded by two earlier meetings of Mohan Bhagwat with Pranabda in Rashtrapati Bhawan itself and two more visits after he demitted the highest office. The discussions that took place between them in all these four visits must have satisfied Mukherjee about some basic beliefs of the RSS, its emphasis on character building in national interests, its social service orientation. Bhagwat must have satisfied him at least some extent about its core belief that this is a Hindu rashtra because of its cultural ethos and its continuity till the present in an uninterrupted way and history of fighting the invaders to preserve the same. If there was not even broad agreement between the two about the nation and its history Mukherjee would not have agreed to visit Nagpur. It must have also convinced him that the path the Congress has lately taken particularly toeing the Communist line on almost all major issues is moving the Congress in a wrong direction which is detrimental to Congress and to national interests. Having been at least partly convinced he chose to speak on the subject of nation, nationality and patriotism on which the Congress holds exactly diametrically opposite view.


Look carefully at the address given by Mukherjee at the RSS headquarter in Nagpur. At the outset itself he told the gathering that he was going to speak on nation, nationality and patriotism only. This subject is most dear to the RSS and its convictions in this respect are its very foundation. It must have been the extract of their earlier meetings. The Congress line after getting independence has been very clear that they were going to create a new nation-state, on the lines of European nation-states, in India. It automatically disconnected the modern India from its five thousand year old roots in the form of Hindu ethos. Where was the necessity to connect modern India to its past history, notwithstanding its gloriousness, as Congress (mostly Nehru) felt then? This line was emphasized by all the successive Congress governments until to date. It is equally emphasized by the leftists of all shades to wipe out the past glorious connection of India and thereby wipe out along-with the Hindu ethos forever from India. But rejuvenation of independent India, based on the age-old Hindu ethos is the basic belief and foundation of the RSS. His meetings with Bhagwat must have convinced him, at least to some extent, that it is fundamentally wrong direction of national progress and needs course correction, particularly of the Congress. That is why he emphasized in his speech that India is not nation-state based on religion, language, region, kingdom, etc. but it has a glorious history, at least for the last two thousand and five hundred years. But for power, Congress was going hand-in-glove with the leftists in this wrong direction and appeasing the minorities to any extent. With maturity it might have dawned on Mukherjee that this Congress line is detrimental to India’s survival and progress.


But where to air the new understanding and thereby give warning to the Congress, must have also been the worry of Mukherjee as a true Congressman as well as one above politics. Had he discussed this with Sonia-Rahul Gandhi duet, they would have branded him as having gone mad at such late stage in life. He must have also feared that his fate would have been like Man Mohan Singh when Rahul torn apart the bill-papers related to debarring of convicted persons from contesting elections. He very intelligently picked up the RSS headquarter to air his inner and true views as much clearly as was possible. He spoke at length how our polity has been evolved in the last five thousand years (in reality since the Ved-Upanishadic days) but more particularly after the establishment of Mourya empire all over India. He talked high about Mourya dynasty. He talked high about how we responded the challenges of all the invaders right up to the British and how we assimilated them in our society. That is why we have such a long legacy and basis of nationalism that is devoid of religion, language, and kingdom and so on. This is the same line toed by the RSS but put only in different words and with differential emphasis. He clearly digressed from the age-old Congress line on nationalism. In other words he is against the idea of India being a new nation-state. Again it is the basic belief of the RSS.

Basic difference

The Indian polity is vertically divided into two halves on the basis of nationhood in India. The RSS-pariwar believes that India has always been a nation all along, known earlier as Bharat and now as India. It was colonized, subjugated, though only partly, here and there but finally it was liberated again and again. In 1947 CE it was liberated from British to become independent again. On the contrary all other political parties, including those run by families consider that a new nation-state was born on getting independence from British. It has nothing to do with the old Hindu history and therefore Hindu ethos that have come down uninterruptedly until the present.

Mukherjee moved away from the Congress belief with respect to nation, nationality and patriotism and, got more close to what the RSS pleads. Mukherjee must have felt that it is in national interests.

Mukherjee stressed that in our cultural perceptions vasudhaiva kutumbkam, unity in diversity, yearning for knowledge and so on are dominant. This is the basic narrative of the RSS often to describe the Hindu nation.

He stressed the need for dialogue amongst divergent views. It is the very thing that Congress opposes stoutly. It considers the RSS as untouchable political entity. Mukherjee hits at Congress on this point. The forces represented by Congress keep on hammering that dialogue must be held even with terrorists to find some possible solution of J and K state. But in the same breath they stoutly refuse to talk with the RSS; they consider it politically untouchable on any account. Strange contradictions indeed!

On the whole and between the lines Mukherjee talked what the RSS has been hammering all these more than ninety years with only difference in the narratives used by the RSS and now by Mukherjee. The moment one talks of five thousand years of India’s history it is established as a cultural nation and not as a nation-state as in Europe. In a way Mukherjee agreed with the view of the RSS. Hats must be off to Mohan Bhagwat for bringing a great leader like Mukherjee close to RSS.

TV Debate

Nobody on the TV debate on 7th June noticed the subtle difference in approach of Mukherjee as earlier Congress worker and Mukherjee as addressing the RSS meeting. The Congress spokesperson ignorantly felt happy that Mukherjee showed mirror to the RSS. In fact the mirror was intended and shown to the Congress to understand the wrong ways they are moving on and for so long and more particularly under the leadership of Sonia-Rahul duet. The Congress must bridge divergent views through dialogues only, notwithstanding the gap and diversions in the perceptions. This is the hidden message or indication to Congress to wake up in the interests of nation. No sane person, more so like Mukherjee, would go anywhere to defame the host. It is not considered as good behavior. Hence Mukherjee visited Nagpur with clear mind and intention to show mirror to those who needed it - the Congresss. The national problems are not going to be solved by accusing each other as terrorists. Everybody has derived own meaning from the visit of Mukherjee’s visit to Nagpur as is the practice in present day Indian polity. It is merely political selfishness and nothing else. The real meaning has to be drawn in national interests only. Will Congress look at the mirror shown by their earlier leader very intelligently?