Sangh Pari­var & New Agenda for Gov­er­nance

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

In a his­tor­i­cal turn, an ide­o­log­i­cal or­gan­i­sa­tion de­rided to the ex­tent of il­le­git­i­macy has re-emerged as a po­ten­tial rul­ing one. The as­cen­dency of BJP and Naren­dra Modi to power is not the mere re­place­ment of one set of po­lit­i­cal elites by another. This ide­o­log­i­cal meta­mor­pho­sis is cer­tain to af­fect the so­cial phi­los­o­phy, eco­nomic per­spec­tives and cul­tural poli­cies of the In­dian state. This would be markedly dif­fer­ent from the past ex­pe­ri­ence of BJP in power. Its 1996-2004 stint at the Cen­tre was through a coali­tion. The con­tem­po­rary shift con­veys the pos­si­bil­i­ties and po­ten­tial­i­ties of sub­stan­tive trans­for­ma­tion. For the first time, RSS has sys­tem­at­i­cally worked with zeal to bring de­sired change. Its pri­mary ob­jec­tive has been to de­feat hol­low and pro­pa­ganda-based pol­i­tics of anti-RSSism.

The Sangh faced its big­gest post-in­de­pen­dence dilemma when Janata Party lead­ers raised the ‘dual mem­ber­ship’ is­sue. Then RSS chief Balasa­heb Deoras in an in­ter­view to The Il­lus­trated Weekly of In­dia (March12,1978)wasquite­dis­mis­sive of Sangh-baiters. He said, “All per­verted peo­ple who are our haters, who have jaun­diced eye to­wards the Sangh or who have sangh pho­bia, flocked to­gether. So I am not go­ing to take them se­ri­ously.” The RSS chief meet­ing BJP’s prime min­is­te­rial can­di­date Naren­dra Modi or party chief Ra­j­nath Singh might ap­pear odd to some, but not un­usual in the Sangh Pari­var. The RSS does not be­lieve that cul­tural pre­dis­po­si­tion negates pol i t i c al or e c onomic rol e s. Gov­er­nance can be durable and pur­pose­ful only if it en­joys un­bro­ken crit­i­cal di­a­logue with the less priv­i­leged in the re­source chain. The Sangh firmly be­lieves that it is non­po­lit­i­cal con­struc­tive ac­tivism on ground that pre­pares the pro­pi­tious ground for ide­o­log­i­cal trans­for­ma­tion of the na­tional mood. The Sangh has borne state ons l a u g h t , wi t h u n r e l e n t i n g Nehru­vian hos­til­ity to it dic­tat­ing the nar­ra­tive. It strug­gled to re­gain le­git­i­macy in later years, com­pounded by fad­ing lib­eral na­tion­al­ists and Marx­ist-Nehru­vian hege­mony, the ma­jor ob­sta­cle to RSS re­gain­ing space in pub­lic dis­course. Yet, the Sangh has enor­mous so­cial cap­i­tal in the form of decades of ar­du­ous work among In­dia’s pro­le­tari­ats, trib­als, Dal­its and slum dwellers. His­tory is now turn­ing a cir­cle and the po­lit­i­cal wing of RSS has emerged as the dom­i­nant po­lit­i­cal force. It would be too early to sup­plant — to use Ra­jni Kothari’s phrase — Congress sys­tem by the saf­fron sys­tem. But the RSS mis­sion does not end or even pause with as­cen­dency to power.

Crit­ics of RSS them­selves de­fine its ide­ol­ogy and then crit­i­cise it ac­cord­ing to con­ve­nience. The big­gest ex­am­ple is the term and con­cept of Hindu Rash­tra. The term and con­cept Hindu Rash­tra re­mains dear to the RSS; cur­rent chief Mo­han Bhagwat said “ev­ery­thing can be com­pro­mised exce pt Hindu Rash­tra”. This, in the Sangh’s nar­ra­tive is not a theo­cratic con­cept, thoughits­de­trac­tor­shave­been­prop­a­gat­ingso.Hin­duis­mis­no­taSemitic nor static faith. It is an ad­jec­tive of In­dian na­tion­al­ism coter­mi­nous with a civil­i­sa­tion and cul­ture. How­ever,some­times,theinad­e­quate in­tel­lec­tual pre­sen­ta­tion of its lit­er­a­ture pro­vides grist to its crit­ics.

It is es­sen­tial to achieve equi­lib­rium be­tween gov­er­nance, peo­ple’s as­pi­ra­tions and long-term na­tional in­ter­ests. The Sangh’s macro agenda shapes its in­ter­ven­tion and role in keep­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tion and peo­ple or­gan­i­cally linked. When lib­er­al­i­sa­tion made in­roads dur­ing the NDA govern­ment, it was Dat­topant Then­gadi who op­posed it; an in­ter­ven­tion por­trayed by many as a Va­j­payee ver­sus Then­gadi stand­off, but­pri­mar­ilyanide­o­log­i­calquestby the Sangh. Modi as the PM is ex­pected to com­bine cul­tural progress with ma­te­rial ad­vance­ment. RSS will act as an ob­server and the peo­ple’s ad­vo­cate. Non-RSS forces are suf­fer­ing from ide­o­log­i­cal paral­y­sis and they feel­com­fortwith­the­p­olem­i­cal­claim ‘endof ide­ol­ogy’.RSS’undi­min­ished stress on ide­ol­ogy pains all those whose in­tel­lec­tual lazi­ness made In­dian­dis­coursewest-cen­tricwhether on econ­omy or cul­ture.

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