A brilliant article on a report carried by the Times of India (becoming better known as TOIlet paper of India)
The Secretive RSS
Article by Ratan Sharda
( A comment by Times of India in today's (23 Mar 2009) report about the new Sarsanghchalakof RSS, triggered off this article.)
My morning began as usual with freshening up myself with No. 1 newspaper of the world, Times of India accompanying to the wash room. I was stumped to find the RSS change of guard as the lead story. What’s gone wrong with the guys? Where had my familiar and comforting news about IPL and incest and violence related staple news?And how come a communal outfit got the top billing? I am yet to fathom this secret. But, I was surprised by the expert comment of TOI that RSS was a secretive organization. I reflected very hard on these comments by the most responsible newspaper of India (or the world). It won’t make a comment lightly on such an issue of national importance. I went back over my years or rather decades of association with RSS and tried to make sense of this comment. As a hapless citizen of India ensnared by RSS in his tender young age secretly through simple Indian games which were on the verge of extinction and a secret to our west educated elite intellectuals, maybe I never realized the secretive nature of RSS. So, I tried to day past regression analysis of self vis a vis RSS. I remembered the dubiousness of RSS recruitment. The simple looking fun loving teacher in RSS shakha had never told me that I was being initiated to a Hindu outfit which believed in Hindu consolidation and nor did he tell me that I would be taught the virtues (liabilities in today’s world) of high moral values and discipline without me realizing all this. All this happened so unknowingly to me.
Yes, now I could slowly comprehend the import of the wise words of TOI.May be the commands were designed in Sanskrit – an archaic and communal language so they could be kept a secret from people who wanted to study RSS?Why ofcourse, even the daily prayer the motherland was in Sanskrit. Naturally, our journalists couldn’t understand it and thought it was a Nazi exhortation to kill non-Hindus and talk of superiority of Hindus? Luckily, I was explained the meaning of this prayer. A simple booklet about it was available off the shelf from RSS promoted book shop. As it turns out the prayer glorified our motherland and reminds us of doing our best to work hard for the motherland for its all round progress.
Why this secretiveness I wonder now? Perhaps, we could have had it in English.I realize now that we had quaint names for simple activities. Like calling snacking together in team as ‘Chandan’. I am told, that the police got fooled by this secretiveness and went hunting for this guy ‘Chandan’ to arrest him after the first RSS ban in 1948. I had my own experience of this secretiveness when the police came calling to arrest my elder brother, who had been active years back in his youth and had moved to Surat by then, after the ban in 1975 during the glory days of emergency but failed to arrest me though I was a young activist giving trouble to police by being part of a team that organized ‘satyagrah’ every week in our college! Yes, we should have updated the volunteer list of police regularly.
As I grew up and got some responsible positions in RSS, I tried to remove the veil of secrecy by inviting press to various programmes of RSS. I used to feel quite let down when hardly any press person turned up for our programmes like festivals and camps etc. Generally, the English press reporters would simply forget the event by the evening probably with more interesting evening activities and the news would never get printed. If at all it got covered the inspiring speeches would be missing and so would be the stirring photographs of massive disciplined drills and parades.
I remember seeing a single photograph of RSS swayamsevaks taking bath on common taps in a camp with a cryptic line describing this chore, without any reference to the fact that the camp was being attended by nearly 10,000 RSS volunteers and had such a meticulous planning and organization that it would be envy of any organization. No indiscipline, no looting of stalls on way etc. etc.! Who is interested in such a boring organization.
Same fate awaited massive rallies of RSS or its associate organizations anywhere in India . I recall a massive Hindu mahasammelan that RSS associated organizations held in Mangalore just last week. Ofcourse it escaped the eyes of the so called National press as no one was beaten up nor was there any arson. May be if the volunteers had behaved abominably with some people the veil of secrecy over RSS could be ripped off.
I am aware, as a part of the young team of RSS workers during emergency, that the majority of people arrested during emergency were RSS workers. Not only that, but nearly 90% of satyagrahis who fought against emergency were from Sangh parivar. ( COMMENT: OF COURSE!! THE 'SECULARISTS' WERE COWERING IN THEIR RAT-HOLES!! THAT'S NEHRUVIAN SECULARISM!!).
But, all this was done so diabolically secretively that our thought leaders never got to know about this secret. They didn’t even study police records to find who were arrested and kept in jails for months, spoiling careers and businesses of thousands of RSS and associated activists. When new born Janata Party had no cadres or organization, RSS provided a readymade organization and cadres to fight elections and defeat the fascist Congress ideology. This secret was unraveled when our dear socialist friends tasted the fruits of power on the shoulders of young people like us and then tore apart the dreams of venerable leaders like Jai Prakash.
May be, what upsets the critics is the secret of the success of RSS. How does it manage to organize such massive numbers without any publicity machinery or media relations? May be, RSS should share the biggest secret of this success. May be it is mutual love and trust and bonding between its members, the nurturing of young workers by sheer love and training by seniors by examples of their own selfless and simple lives, rather than by lectures, the selfless love for the motherland, burning desire to do something for the society.
I am still thinking all this over and trying to unravel the secret.As I think over, I realized that the veil of secrecy has been thrown around RSS by the press itself. It thinks that by closing its eyes to the biggest voluntary organization in the world and not letting people know about its contributions to the society. May be in its own judgemental wisdom it has decided to be the prosecutor and the jury and decided that RSS work must be kept a secret from the society so the harm can be kept to the minimum.