An executive editor of a prominent national channel met me on my way to Nagpur and I was surprised at his excitement at covering the Vijayadashami speech of the RSS Sarsanghchalak. All prominent news channels, including the BBC, were in Nagpur to cover the Vijayadashami programme. The magnitude of RSS’ influence on politics, society and culture can no longer be ignored, and it is imperative that the old conventional parameters of defining the Sangh be changed.
Doordarshan, too, telecast Mohanji Bhagwat’s speech, infuriating a section of the “intelligentsia” who are congenital RSS-baiters. For them the very term RSS symbolises fascism, communalism, anti-minorityism and all such adjectives available in the dictionary. It is not their fault; they’ve been born and groomed in an intellectual climate sworn to anti-RSSism. It is difficult, therefore, for them to accept the RSS as a legitimate body.
Post-Independence intellectual discourse has been a victim of infantile disorder, according utterly misplaced importance to perception rather than facts. This is a discourse that denies space to an organisation whose impact on society, culture and politics has been growing phenomenally — thousands of its people have been engaged in the task of nation building leaving home and hearths. When the Nehru government launched its food campaign in the early 1950s, the then food secretary approached the Prime Minister for permission to solicit RSS cooperation, and the Sangh cooperated wholeheartedly. Nehru’s ban on the Sangh and subsequent repression could not deter it from cooperating with the government for the people’s cause. Nehru realised the Sangh’s worth more than once in his life. The 1962 humiliation and his earlier experience with the RSS during the period made him invite the Sangh to the Republic Day parade in 1963.
The contents of Dr. Bhagwat’s speech call for revision of both the theory and practice of the concept of modernity and market-oriented values of life and policies. It is one of post-independent Bharat’s best speeches. Unfortunately, instead of debating its content, all secularists have done is to debate the container!Dr. Bhagwat’s last Vijayadashami speech was a clarion call to ensure 100 per cent voting. The RSS vowed to liberate the country from its democratic deficit and succeeded. Dr. Bhagwat represents no mere letterhead organisation, but one with the biggest social base with dynamic social action. It is instructive that even Maoists do not target RSS activities in tribal belts. The obvious reason is their organic popularity. The nation wants to listen to Dr. Bhagwat, follow his advice and act according to his appeal. The Bharatiya media must recognise the unmistakable message — the Nehruvian idea and era have come to an end. Night is not prolonged by even a minute simply because some choose to be in deliberate slumber.
(The writer Rakesh Sinha is the Hon. Director of India Policy Foundation)