Ram Madhav expressed true Sangh Parivar position, BJP needn’t clarify

Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay | 28 Dec 2015 01:59 PM
Bharatiya Janata Party general secretary, Ram Madhav’s, views on Akhand Bharat may be politically inopportune but is ideological consistent. It is ill-timed because coming at the end of the year which has witnessed great conflict over deteriorating inter-community relations, mentioning the desirability of merger of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan as one country is akin to putting the pot on the boil after a short period of relative quietude. Madhav’s statement is ideologically consistent because the basic definition of nationhood as expounded by founders and early leaders of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh continues to be upheld by all contemporary leaders in RSS, BJP and all affiliated organisations.


In fact, among people who could have been instructed to issue the clarification, MJ Akbar is among the least appropriate. It is also probably unfair for him to be tasked with such a burden. Madhav after all has far longer years in the saffron fold and as official spokesperson for the RSS for close to a decade, correctly interpreted the views of the organisation for ordinary people and media alike. In contrast, Akbar is a neo-convert to the Modi fold (not saffron fold) for questionable reasons after having spent several decades repudiating the politics of Sangh Parivar.


Like it or not, Madhav’s performance on Al Jazeera’s Head to Head programme was exemplary in presenting the viewpoint of the RSS. One can disagree with him, as this writer does on all issues, but this is the RSS uncovered.


[caption id="attachment_266203" align="alignnone" width="575"] Ram Madhav[/caption]


The host of the show is a Muslim journalist and when pressed on how the RSS, BJP and government intended to proceed in resolving the Kashmir issue, Madhav got exasperated. “Have patience…We want peace,” he starts and adds, “You worry about many more things that are happening. Your ISIS can catch hold of nuclear weapons”.


The operative part in this is ‘Your ISIS’! In the textual construction of the RSS, the ISIS is the ‘belonging’ of every Muslim or each one of them, is personally responsible and / or a supporter of ISIS.


Madhav also says that for religious minorities to live safely in India, they must win the “goodwill of the majority”. It is only when he is asked sharply whether Hindus should also behave similarly in areas where they are not the majority that Madhav says: “It’s not about Muslims winning the goodwill of Hindus alone – it is the other way also. If you are in small number, if you feel threatened, have the goodwill of the majority in your area… You have goodwill and good relations, that’s what we mean.” Constitutionally enshrined equal rights may go to hell!


Well aware that a statement like India consists of only one culture – clearly Hindu – and one people would provoke the audience and secure eyeballs in equal measure, Madhav was just clever with words. There is no doubt that the RSS viewpoint is not for a pluralistic India but for a hegemonic form of nation where Hindus dominate others.


A similar viewpoint has been articulated by almost every leader of the RSS. The official viewpoint of the RSS has also been elaborated by its spokespersons who contended that Madhav’s statement was more about cultural nationalism rather than politics and that Akhand Bharat meant that Islamic countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh acknowledge pre-Islamic Hindu cultural roots, not political merger.


This is clever quibbling – Madhav after all said the countries in the sub-continent had gone their ways just 60 years ago and that if “again, through popular goodwill, (they) come together, Akhand Bharat will be created… As an RSS member I also hold…onto that view”.


Cultural nationalism is the cornerstone of the Sangh Parivar’s politics as in the words of Madhav, “Muslims, Christians and Communists... are challenges … no internal threats; internal challenges, yes.” Challenge for what, one may ask?


Akhand Bharat is an integral idea of the Hindutva worldview. Akbar and RSS spokesmen may have clarified the statement for reasons of realpolitik. But Madhav has reflected the true viewpoint of the RSS and its affiliates. This includes all leaders of the BJP who are from the RSS originally. This group of leaders also includes Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Atal Bihari Vajpayee may have tactically accepted the sovereign status of Pakistan at Lahore. But all leaders of the Sangh Parivar have been adept at separating the avowed position from their primary viewpoint.


(Modi biographer and journalist, the writer’s latest book is Sikhs: The Untold Agony of 1984. Email: nilanjan.mukhopadhyay@gmail.com)
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