‘Takeaways’ from Pranab Mukherjee’s speech at the RSS training camp
Source :NewsBharati   Date :22-Jun-2018


The historic visit of ex-Rashtrapati, a Congressman to the core, at the RSS training camp at Nagpur on June 7, 2018 provided an event for media, both print and electronic to discuss it in four different phases. First, Mukherjee accepted the invitation from Mohan Bhagwat, the RSS chief, to attend the function. Two, when he refused to bow down to pressures including that of his daughter to cancel the visit. Three, in visiting Hedgewar’s house and writing in the visitor’s book depicting Hedgewar as the ‘A great son of Mother India’. Finally speaking at the function and choosing right subject(s) befitting the occasion.

A legitimate question can now be asked by anyone as to what are the ‘takeaways’ from his entire visit programme. Spokepersons of the Congress, the left and other RSS baiter’s comments were either futile or they unnecessarily gave prestige to the RSS. In a way they legitimized the visit. Alternatively did it in reality showed mirror to the RSS? It needs to be probed further.

Mukherjee spoke of nation, patriotism and nationalism as the main theme of his speech. He also insisted that there must be a dialogue between even the extreme ideology followers for the evolution of healthy democracy. In spite of differences in perceptions all those who worked hard for the uplift of nation must be duly honoured. He believed in the principle “vade vade jayate tatvabodhaha” as propounded in Hindu ethos since times immemorial.

As far as his ideas on nation, nationality and patriotism are concerned there was nothing new to the RSS as it agreed with him for drawing inspiration from the early history, particularly since establishment of Mourya Empire, for unifying India administratively and politically. Both appeared to believe in India being not like the nation-state based on religion, kingdom, constitution and piece of land but India as a nation is based on its history and culture and safeguarded it by fighting the invaders all through. In that sense he showed mirror to the Congress to look inwards and mend its perceptions about our nation. In one recent article in Indian Express Kapil Sibbal proudly proclaimed that Indian nationhood is based on citizenship. It amounts to using the kingdom or in recent days state as the basis of nation. No scientific scrutiny can stand such an utter non-sense. He better read books on political science and get his perceptions corrected or ponder over what Mukherjee said at Nagpur.

Hence this perception of our nation was widely different from what the Congress believed, particularly after Nehru became prime minister in 1947 CE after independence. That is why Nehru vouched to crush the RSS ideology on the floor of the Lok Sabha as being anti-national. To that Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, as president of newly formed Bharatiya Jana Sangha, and in opposition, had retorted his own desire to crush that crushing mentality of Nehru, as it did not fit in well in democracy to talk of crushing the ideology of the opposition. But the Congress got it cultivated in the form of crushing the opposition since then and that is the reason it does not tolerate any contrary view to theirs. It uses all the power at its disposal to achieve it. Nehru had developed several such utopian principles to become world leader. He was then at his zenith and did not bother to listen to others since he believed in his version of national interests as the absolute truth. But he was shaken out of his dreams by the defeat of Indian forces at the hands of Chinese forces in 1962 CE. He thus came on the ground. He invited Guruji-Golwalkar, the then chief of the RSS, for discussion, forgetting what he had said about the RSS earlier. The meeting was fruitful and had decided to meet again. Nehru invited the RSS troop in their uniform to parade along with the other official troops on 26th Jan. 1963 on Rajpath. RSS did participate in that parade. This is the only exception in the last seventy years that a troop of any non-governmental agency ever participated in the official parade of the republic day parade.

Lal Bahadur Shashtri had no grudge against the RSS. He was true son of the soil. On the occasion of war with Pakistan in 1965 he invited Golwalkar to participate in the all-party meet to evolve agreed strategy of war. Golwalkar was then busy in his routine tour around Sangli in Maharashtra. Shashtri asked him to cut short the tour to participate as his presence was considered by him as imperative. The RSS swayamsevaks had then managed the traffic of Delhi for several days. The earlier animosity between Congress and the RSS had thus withered away.

Indira Gandhi as prime minister helped in all possible ways to erect the famous Vivekananda Memorial at Kanyakumari designed and built by RSS-pariwar. But she got furious with the RSS because of its support to JP movement against her autocratic rule. She expected everyone to fall in line. She branded the RSS as CIA agent, not once but many times. She imposed emergency mainly to ban and put RSS workers behind bars, along with leaders of all opposition parties. Finally she was defeated in Lok Sabha elections in 1977 CE and lost her premiership. She got back is another matter. But the seeds of animosity between RSS and Congress were sown.

Rajiv Gandhi got unprecedented majority in Lok Sabha elections in 1984 CE because of sympathy wave after Indira Gandhi’s murder. The BJP’s strength was reduced to just two members. There was no threat to him from RSS or the BJP. He allowed opening of door of the Ram Janma Bhumi temple for worship to Hindus. He also allowed the Foundation Stone Laying Ceremony for the grand Ram temple at Ayoddhya. It was all to please the Hindus. He was killed by the LTTE terrorist group. There was no heir of the Nehru-Gandhi family then eligible enough to assume the leadership of Congress. Hence Narsimharao was made prime minister of the minority Congress government. He along with home minister Shankarrao Chavan and defence minister Sharad Pawar turned their eyes away when the disputed structure at Ayodhya was being razed. They could have easily prevented the destruction but they did not want to stop it is a fact of life. Hence there was not much of animosity between the RSS and the Congress more or less after the murder of Indira Gandhi till Sonia Gandhi became the Congress president.

In 1998 A B Vajpeyee became prime minister of NDA and Congress was then headed by Sitaram Kesari. But the sycophants in Congress persuaded Sonia to become the Congress president. As she assumed it by unceremoniously throwing away Kesari the animosity between Congress and BJP got slowly cultivated to help Sonia to manage Congress. Vajpeyee was defeated in Lok Sabha elections of 2004 CE and Sonia was to become the prime minister of UPA formed thereafter. Here some BJP leaders behaved most unlike their normal character. Sushma Swaraj vouched that if Sonia became prime minister she would remove all hairs from her head (mundan). There were some other problems as well due to her foreign origin in her becoming the prime minister. That prevented her from occupying the seat of prime minister. She instead installed an unknown entity in the form of Man Mohan Singh, totally as her puppet, to head the government and she drum-beated her of having relinquished that post on her own and sacrificed for the good of the country. She must have then decided to crush BJP at any cost. She ruled India by proxy for ten years with front face of Man Mohan Singh. She appointed Ahmed Patel as her political advisor and that added oil to the fire between the RSS and the Congress. BJP vociferously carried out propaganda against the corruption of Robert Vadra, Sonia’s son-in law and many of the ministers. She must have gone mad at this adverse propaganda and therefore advised the ministers and the Congress leaders to blame the RSS pariwar’s activities as ‘saffron terror’ without any proof. In the Lok Sabha election of 2014 CE Narendra Modi the prime minister designate of BJP, whom Sonia had earlier blamed as trader of death (mout ka soudagar), campaigned to wipe out the Congress from India (Congress-mukta Bharat). Then her son Rahul in the form of vice-president of Congress went ahead to blame that saffron terror was worse than the usual Muslim terror. The animosity between Congress and the BJP continuously increased. When Rahul became president of Congress he went ahead to counter the BJP in all possible ways. Now the situation is such that they are not on talking terms on any issue of national importance. Congress deliberately takes the opposite stand to that of the BJP’s, irrespective of its national interests.

Under such circumstances when Rahul is relying more on the left and taking clues from Sitaram Yechuri, there seems to be no point of meeting between Congress and BJP or RSS-pariwar. It is at this crucial juncture that Mukherjee as an elderly and matured statesman and ex-Rashtrapati felt the need for dialogue between the main two parties on the political scene, namely the BJP and the Congress. The RSS was in dialogue with him at least on four different occasions, twice when he was Rashtrapati and twice after his demitting the office. There was no problem for dialogue between him and Mohan Bhagwat in spite of his being a true Congressman. But there was no dialogue between BJP and Congress even in smoothly running the parliament. He sincerely felt the need for the same in national interests, notwithstanding his humiliation earlier at the hands of Congress leaders over three generations.

 

In the RSS, right from the individual shakha level adhikaris to the highest level in the RSS, it is in their nature to contact and discuss many different things of national importance and of mutual interests with workers and outsiders as a routine practice. Hence dialogue is in their genes. The founder of the RSS, Dr. Hedgewar had cultivated this habit right from the beginning. That is why they have the post of sampark pramukh in place at various levels. Mukherjee must have experienced it from his meetings with Mohan Bhagwat. He must have felt the necessity of the same between Congress and BJP, as a whole, in national interests. He therefore stressed in his speech the necessity for dialogue even between extreme ideologies in national interests as it is the very soul of democracy. By identifying the Congress, with long and glorious history, with only one single family, lot of damage has already been done to the Indian polity. It has inspired several other families to have their own family political parties. Many have ruled the respective provinces. He had thus already experienced the drawbacks of First Family carrying out the affairs of the Congress under the façade of democracy. He wanted to convey the importance of dialogue at all levels and between different ideologies as well.

The socialists dislike the style of the RSS when its workers keep on meeting others and trying to develop bridges of friendliness with everyone without any discrimination. Golwalkar had very good bond of friendship with Ram Manohar Lohia. That is how SVD governments were formed in Hindi belt in 1967 CE and in which even communist were a constituent. They do not understand that their abhorrence for such friendship have finally reduced them to a bunch of self-styled intellectuals without any followers. That finally made themselves irrelevant in Indian polity.

Mukherjee advised for dialogue under any circumstances, anywhere and anytime as it is the very foundation of democracy, notwithstanding the ideological or behavioural gap between any two. According to him this is the basis of democracy. If this spirit is destroyed democracy may be in danger. When the RSS is prepared for dialogue and the Congress refusing it is tantamount to destruction of democracy. By tying the Congress to one family they have already endangered democracy in India. They are copied by many more is worst infection.

It is true that the emphasis on dialogue is getting reduced at the lower rung of the RSS organization needs to be taken as alarm signal. Those who refuse for dialogue on any account are often not confident about their own position in the dispute. They fall victim to ego, self-confidence and the like.

There is a study circle known as Dyanayoddha, in Nagpur, that carries out lectures one every week. This has been going on now for more than a decade. Anybody can speak on any subject there without any hesitation provided it is a well-studied talk. Nobody objects to the contents of such talks. The only condition is that the speaker must answer questions from the audience and also stand comments from the audience on the concerned subject without any hegemonistic attitude. It is in reality a dialogue carried out peacefully, in a disciplined way, to understand the reality about anything.

Hence more important takeaway from Mukherjee’s speech was not his views on nation, nationality and patriotism but his emphasis on necessity of dialogue between diverse political ideologies at any cost. There is no alternative to it in a democratic setup. In the post-independence period this has deteriorated to a large extent and its place is taken over by bickering and animosities between various groups. That is the reason why Mukherjee chose to speak on this important topic in best democratic interests. If the Congress spokepersons still feel that Mukherjee showed mirror to the RSS in his speech, it is the travesty of truth in its extreme and in fact and, if at all, he in reality wanted to show the mirror to the Congress, the leftists and the like and not to the RSS because he knew that RSS was keen for dialogue. The visit of Mukherjee to Nagpur was preceded by meetings between him and Bhagwat and that had convinced him of the necessity of dialogue even in extreme ideologies for the good of nation.

Practice is the best example than mere precept, so they say. By entering into dialogue with Mohan Bhagwat, Mukherjee paved the way for dialogue by his own example. The take-away for media is to take it on their shoulders to help dialogue between any two or more groups in national interests. The RSS never abhors dialogue with anyone no matter how extreme is its ideology when compared to that of its own. Those who incessantly insist for dialogue with even the terrorists must respond affirmatively for exchange of views with the RSS in all earnestness.