The three day RSS’ Future of Bharat Conclave comes in at a time when a large section of Hindus are facing trying time in the country they live in. The recent events and the way they have unfolded give the masses a hapless feeling of being in this country rather than give them the pride in the Nationalism that RSS speaks of. The recent Bhima Koregaon incident an upper caste violence against Dalit assertion and arrest of human right activists on false charges, flogging of Dalits in Una. Recent killing of Dalits and backward class in Sharanpur and other cities in UP and Bihar carried out by upper caste Thakurs. Rapes of lower caste women in hindi heartland states and protecting the upper caste rapists (like in Unnao) by destroying evidence, arrest of young ‘hindu’ boys in JNU by framing charges of sloganing Breaking India are just some incidents that Hindus are facing today in urban streets, upcoming cities and villages to speak of.
So one can see that there is a complete dichotomy of what is on the ground and the vision conclave of RSS where the Sarsanghchalak Dr Mohan Bhagwat says that ‘Hindutva binds us together and our vision of Hindutva is not to oppose or demean anyone’. Most will argue that these incidents are a law and order problem governance problem, but when RSS functionaries are in position of power in every government institution and when RSS claims to be the ideological parent of BJP the questions do arise.
What really will make RSS’ vision worthy of consideration in today’s time is -how it brings in Hinduism and Hindutva together. RSS has from earlier on has talked of equality but it has never really fought for social justice, will it do so today? Will RSS leaders spell out an action plan of how the lower castes get the sense of belonging to Hinduism? What really is the vision of RSS for those who are atheists and for those who shun all practices of Hinduism to escape its narrowness (who are being offlate reviled as urban naxals) and for those who question many facets of Hinduism and its questionable practices? What vision does the RSS have for the economic divide that is growing with great intensity as India climbs up the economic ladder? What is the vision for those who are unable to climb up the economic ladder thereby being pushing to poverty and debt? What about those who are being forced to give up their land for natural resources development or for other projects pushing them in the hands of Naxalites?
RSS had faced a few difficult moments in the mid 80’s when dalit conversion to Christianity and Islam had rocked the Indian social landscape. It was then the RSS Sarsanghchalak Balasaheb Deoras mooted the idea of bringing in the fold the Muslims and Christians stating that these are actually Hindus who due to socio economic reasons had to face conversion. Bring them back in the Hindu fold was his idea of extending the RSS to lower castes and other religions.
Today when lynchings are taking place of adults and young children (Mohammad Akhlaq, Junaid, Pehlu Khan incident) what vision does the RSS stand come with? Are strictures of food and ‘Cow is holier than humans of other religion ethos’ the vision of living in Bharat going forward? Dr Bhagwat will have to answer many contemporary and far reaching questions if RSS has to be relevant for all those inhabitants of Bharat today. Does RSS really believe in equality and does not beleive in demeaning others is something that has to be felt on the ground. Every Hindu and other inhabitants of this country are watching carefully how RSS will carry out the vision into reality.
(By Bhagyashree Pande, views expressed are personal)