Progress of RSS ominous

Progress of RSS ominous

I find the followers of secular ideology as fanatic as others. There was a furore over the visit of BJP president Amit Shah to my residence a few days ago. Criticism poured in over telephone and email. And all that they said was, “you should not have allowed him to visit you.”

I want to put the record straight. A couple of days before Shah’s visit, a few activists came to my house. We were together in the Jayaprakash Narayan movement. They asked me if I had any objection to meeting Shah at my residence. I told them that anybody could come to my house.

I feel that my ideology of not mixing religion with politics is probably the best and we should not wear beliefs on our sleeves. One should not be afraid of sharing thoughts with people who are staunchly opposed to you. Ideological differences should not preclude dialogue. After all, democracy is all about discussion and debate.

Mahatma Gandhi talked to Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, and even visited his residence to persuade him not to insist on Partition. When it happened, he observed that he had failed to convince Jinnah. There was no bitterness in his thought. Gandhi, in fact, went on a fast for 21 days on what he called “purification.” The lesson is that we should not hesitate to sit across the table to iron out our differences.

I must admit that my opinion about Amit Shah was that of a person emitting fire and brimstone. But I was completely bowled over by his courtesy and politeness, clear thought process and perception and, above all, possessing an affable temperament. He was anxious to convince me, even though he knew my philosophy was opposite to his and that of the BJP.

He said he was six years old when he started going to the RSS shakas.  I could see the pride in his eyes when he said this. Indeed, he has been through the grind at Nagpur. It has been a long haul for Shah but he has ultimately emerged as party president.

India is at a crossroads. The followers of Hindutva want to capture power and oust the principle of togetherness without religion coming in the way. I partly touched on this topic with Amit Shah. He said that the BJP develops an area comprehensively when it takes over. My observation was that in the process, the mosques also get demolished. He refused to be provoked and responded saying that development depended on the deputy commissioner of the area.

The two main points on which Shah dwelt during his meeting with me were caste and Partition. He said that the socialists ended up in caste politics and that Ram Manohar Lohia, the founder, underlined caste all the time. That is probably the reason, according to me, why they were able to capture power only in states in the initial years and not at the Centre. Shah also emphasised that the present set of leaders of different parties were following the same path.

Strange, those who believe in the ideology of development for all should get divided on the betterment of certain groups when they come to power. This is understandable at the state level. But they do not get over their divisive politics even when they come to power at the Centre. The ruling BJP is one example. They have 20 states under their rule and the party has employed different tactics and methods in different states to capture power.

Even the Congress, the oldest party with a secular outlook, is no longer the organisation that it used to be. It has no leader and has resorted to parochial politics. Rahul Gandhi will have a hard time in 2019 when he would have pitted himself against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been able to expand the BJP south of the Vindhyas. The Karnataka example is before the country.

Amit Shah, talking on Partition, said that “if we had waited”, the Indian subcontinent would not have got divided. Shah is wrong on this issue. Clement Atlee, the British prime minister who announced the end of their rule, had fixed June 6, 1948, as the date when they would leave India as either one country or more. But, Partition took place in mid-August in 1947, at least 10 months before the deadline set by Atlee.

When I asked Lord Mountbatten why Partition was effected earlier than June 1948, he said he could not hold the country together. He regretted the death of millions of people in the process. However, he justified on the plea that it could not be helped. So, what Shah thought was contrary to the events as they ultimately unfolded.

When I told Lord Mountbatten that he was responsible for the death of people during Partition, he said that he had saved the lives of two million people when he diverted to Kolkata the food ships meant for his troops in South Asia. Before the Almighty, he would swear that he had saved as many people from starvation.   

Shah’s remark had a tinge of disappointment. But his party does not seem to have learnt any lesson. It is trying to impose a Hindutva rule of sorts even when the BJP realises that 17 crore Muslims are against what the party is attempting to do. And one thing which Shah and his party should remember is that India has a secular constitution. Whoever rules the country should follow it in letter and spirit.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be happening. The RSS is spreading all over and, in the process, extinguishing the identity of others. The BJP needs it because it has no cadre of its own. Whatever the reason, the rule of RSS is forbidding.