Posts Tagged ‘Mohan Bhagwat’

CHURUMURI POLL: Should RSS be banned again?

8 February 2014

The release of audio tapes and transcripts of four interviews conducted by a journalist of the monthly magazine, The Caravan, which show the terror-attack accused Swami Aseemanand in conversation with the RSS sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat in 2005, virtually implicating him in targetting civilians, once again show the twice-banned “national voluntary organisation” in disgraceful light.

“In the last two interviews, Aseemanand repeated that his terrorist acts were sanctioned by the highest levels of the RSS—all the way up to Mohan Bhagwat, the current RSS chief, who was the organisation’s general secretary at the time,” reads a press release. “It is very important that it be done. But you should not link it to the Sangh.”

While BJP and RSS spokespersons have questioned the veracity of the tapes and the ethicality of the journalist managing to enter the jail where Assemanand is lodged to record the interviews, they do not detract from the elephant in the room: the alleged involvement of RSS functionaries in attacks of terrorism, raising the spectre of “Saffron Terror” with the intent of political mobilisation.

For some the tapes will only confirm their worst fears: that the RSS, which was banned (by then home minister Vallabhbhai Patel, no less) after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948 and the demolition of the Babri masjid in 1992, is upto no good. That such an organisation should be playing a quite conspicuous role in shaping the future and fortunes of BJP in circa 2014 will please them even less.

Many others, though, will suspect the timing of the release of the tapes on the eve of a general election, and the rather candid admissions of a terror-accused who over the last three years seems to have somehow forgot to spill the beans to his custodians in jail and interrogators in court.

Obviously, the charges are still a long way from being proved. But if they are, on the strength of mounting evidence—Colonel Shrikant Purohit, Sadhvi Pragya Singh, Indresh Kumar—should the RSS be banned a third time? And if Narendra Modi, whose installation as the BJP’s  “prime ministerial candidate” was one of the RSS’s biggest successes last year, does end up becoming PM, will his government have the guts or the objectivity to take such a tough call?

Also read: Should the RSS be banned—part I?

Will an RSS-run BJP be more vicious in future?

How Karnataka is becoming Gujarat of South

Where would Narendra Modi be without the UPA?

19 January 2013

The veteran editor Sunanda K. Datta-Ray in The Telegraph:

Narendra Modi is the UPA’s creation. Despite his vigorous self-projection and the propaganda, both strident and sophisticated, of acolytes, he would never have been considered prime ministerial material but for what Azim Premji called a “complete breakdown in public governance across the board” under the UPA….

“Just as a young woman slapped Mohan Bhagwat, Congress needs to slap down Modi’s pretensions, not to save Rahul Gandhi’s career but to save the secular democratic polity that alone can hold India together in a harmonious union worth living in.

“The only way it can do so is by attending to the “widespread governance deficit in almost every sphere of national activity covering government, business and institutions” that Premji, Deepak Parekh and others highlighted in their letter to the prime minister. Their assessment that “the biggest issue corroding the fabric of our nation is corruption” cannot have been news to Manmohan Singh.

“The decision by 83 senior retired bureaucrats to move the Supreme Court over the decline in administrative services was another warning of the “urgent need to depoliticize management of transfers, postings, inquiries, promotions, reward, punishment and disciplinary matters relating to civil servants”, to quote one of the petitioners, T.S.R. Subramanian, a former cabinet secretary.

“All this assumes crucial importance because the economic dynamo of Manmohan Singh’s dreams is running out of steam. There is already talk abroad that the “I” in BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) should denote Indonesia. Prices, especially of food, are soaring. Despite a contrived market boom, India is plagued by high current account and fiscal deficits. The new one-rupee coin invites contempt….

“A nation with 200 million Muslims cannot be ruled by someone whose ascent recalls the Kampfzeit (time of struggle) that assailed Germany when military defeat, diplomatic humiliation and economic catastrophe (with a loaf of bread costing 80 billion marks) led to the death of public decency.”

Read the full column: Laughing up his sleeve

Also read: Narendra Modi cannot be the face of India’

‘Why Narendra Modi will never be India’s PM’

Why our silly middle-class loves Narendra Modi

Does our ‘sanskriti’ sanction regressive MCPs?

11 January 2013

The journalist and author Sandipan Deb in Mint:

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said that rape happens in India, not Bharat. Let us be charitable. Let us assume that by Bharat-India he was not referring to the rural-urban divide that is now the media’s fashionable metaphor. Let us assume that by Bharat, he meant our ancient sanskriti, and by India, he is talking about all of us corrupted by Western culture. But this is so naïve an interpretation that it beggars belief.

Our puranas and epics are chock-a-block with tales of lusty gods and wildly libidinous heroes. Consider Indra, king of the gods. Overcome with lust (not an uncommon occurrence for him), he made love to Ahalya, wife of Rishi Gautama, pretending to be the rishi, and was trying to sneak off when the irate husband caught up with him and cursed him with a thousand vaginas on his body—sahasrayoni.

Later, after much pleading, he turned the vaginas into eyes. Ahalya, though innocent, received no such pardon. Gautama turned her into stone, and thus she remained till she was touched by the foot of the great god Rama, whose treatment of his wife was certainly rather dubious.

Krishna actively encouraged his friend Arjuna to kidnap Krishna’s sister Subhadra; in fact, in the days of the Mahabharata, kidnapping a woman seems to have been the norm for Kshatriya wooing: think of Bhishma abducting Amba, Ambika and Ambalika for his two step-brothers. And, of course, we fondly tell our children about the teenage Krishna hiding the clothes of the gopinis while they bathed, and returning them only when they came out of the lake, helpless and naked. But then gods are allowed these acts of venal sexual harassment.

Let’s face it, our popular culture even to this day is deeply influenced by regressive and chauvinistic attitudes that our sanskriti glorified. The men in our mythologies were certainly as recklessly randy—if not randier—than anyone thought up by the West.

And let’s not talk about the deification of the mother.

Kunti does not know what her sons have brought home, and asks them to share the booty equally. The five dutiful men then happily sleep with Draupadi, who had given her heart to Arjuna. And such is our ethical system that Draupadi dies early on the long trek to Heaven: her sin being that though she had five husbands, she loved Arjuna more than the others.

(Former managing editor of Outlook* magazine and founder-editor of Open, Sandipan Deb is the author of The Last War, a retelling of the Mahabharata set in the Mumbai underworld)

Read the full column: Fruits of a regressive culture

Also read: Ramayana, Upanishads and the Delhi gangrape

Vacuous media sleazeballs moralizing on Mohan Bhagwat

POLL: Has RSS shown Narendra Modi his place?

12 November 2012

The RSS ideologue M.G. Vaidya has kicked off a big storm in the BJP teacup ahead of the Gujarat elections, by alleging that Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi was behind the recent campaign of vilification against the party president Nitin Gadkari, which culminated in a demand for Gadkari’s removal from the post by the renowned lawyer and BJP member of Parliament, Ram Jethmalani, and his lawyer-son Mahesh Jethmalani.

On his blog, Vaidya writes:

“Needle of suspicion in the campaign against BJP president Nitin Gadkari points to Gujarat BJP and Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Ram Jethmalani had in one breath said he is seeking the resignation of Gadkari and that he also wanted to see Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister in 2014.”

In many ways, what Vaidya says is not particularly new; Modi’s alleged involvement (and of his lackeys) in hurling allegations at Gadkari over his business dealings through the media has been gossip in the political corridors and television studios in Delhi for days now. After all, Jethmalani senior (who represents the former minister of state for home, Amit Shah, in the encounter cases) was given a Rajya Sabha seat at the behest of Modi.

But the backroom buzz has been given a certificate of authenticity with Vaidya putting it on record and then reiterating it, although the BJP has been at pains to reject the insinuation. However, since nothing in the RSS happens without a pattern, Vaidya going public with his allegation at this juncture poses several questions:

Is the RSS conveying its displeasure of Modi’s tactics and his overweening ambition to occupy the national stage? Was Gadkari retained as BJP chief last week (after another RSS ideologue S. Gurumurthy gave a clean chit) largely to show Modi his place? Did Modi mount a subversive attack on Gadkari in the full knowledge that if Gadkari finished his first term or got a second term (as the party’s consitution now allows), he could prove a hurdle in his path given the backing he enjoys from the RSS?

More importantly, does Modi’s ascension look less assured even if he wins a third term, as he is slated to? And, if he is rebuffed in his prime ministerial ambitions should NDA get a majority, could Modi (as B.S. Yediyurappa aide and the president of his soon-to-be-formed party, Dhananjay Kumar, has said on TV) break away and form his own party as Yediyurappa is threatening to do?

And, does the recent turn of events indicate the kind of polarising figure Narendra Modi will be if he graduates to Delhi?


Cartoon: courtesy R. Prasad/ Mail Today

If Ambani, Tendulkar, Shah Rukh aren’t safe…?

2 February 2010

The overcooked chickens of divisive politics are coming home to roost on the streets of Bombay for the cooks, chefs and cleaners who were dishing it out for decades.

As Bal Thackeray‘s Shiv Sena mounts a “Mumbai for Maharashtrians” campaign, as Raj Thackeray says jobs should only be given to those who were born in that State”, urbs prima in Indus is being kickedwhere it hurts by those acting in the name of its sons and daughters, fathers and mothers.

With the Bihar elections around the corner, the “cultural organisation” RSS suddenly wakes up and says its cadres have been instructed to “protect” Hindi-speaking north Indians in Bombay. The RSS’ new sarsangchalak Mohan Bhagwat twirls his moustache to say “language, caste, sub-castes, groups, tribes can be different but all are sons of India”, hoping that nobody notices that he deftly, deviously left “religion” out of his list.

Suddenly, the new BJP chief Nitin Gadkari, whose party has been in bed with the Shiv Sena for nearly two decades, says he will speak to the RSS and make a statement. And then, because the Bihar elections (where the party is in bed with the JD(U)) are around the corner, finds the strength to say “the strength of India’s unity in diversity is achieved only when all identities converge into a larger national identity of Indianness”.

Meanwhile, the Congress whose chief minister Ashok Chavan statement on the domicile status of taxi drivers kicked off the latest round of pathetic parochialism, finds some voice. Home minister P. Chidambaram calls “Mumbai for Maharashtrians” a pernicious theory. Rahul Gandhi declares India is for Indians.

But ponder this:  if the three biggest icons of Indian industry, sport and cinema—Mukesh Ambani, Sachin Tendulkar and Shah Rukh Khan—aren’t safe from the provincial parasites pillaging into the carcass of a once-great cosmopolis, can a poor pani puri seller from Patna (or Chennapatna) be?

Cartoons: courtesy Prasad Radhakrishnan/ Mail Today and E.P. Unny/ The Indian Express

Also read: CHURUMURI POLL: Free to work anywhere?

Is the Indian Republic, at 60, crumbling?

Who does the chief minister owe allegiance to?

23 November 2009

Depending on who you would like to believe, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is either a noble, benign, cultural organisation of volunteers, straining every sinew to strengthen the moral and spiritual fibre of the country; doing backbreaking relief and rehabilitation work whilst providing health and education to the needy.


Or, it is a sinister, fanatical, militant, communal, Hindu nationalist organisation inciting hate and spewing venom at the minorities, while seeking to dictate and direct the political, economic, and cultural discourse through its various subsidiaries, in ways and means better unseen than seen.

The word “fascist” is loosely and routinely, but not unjustly, used to describe its activities.

Using wikipedia, both sides will helpfully produce certificates to bolster their claims. Nevertheless, neither side can deny that this “cultural organisation” has been banned not once, not twice but thrice for slightly uncultural activities in India’s 62 years of independence—and may well on the way to a fourth.

Although the RSS likes to think it is not a political organisation and is not interested in politics—its founder M.S. Golwalkar had a professed hatred for politics, and likened it to a “woman of the multitude” i.e. prostitute—recent events including the RSS sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat‘s farcical attempts to decide the BJP’s future course, show that the RSS is anything but political.

Even so, does it behove of a democratically elected chief minister of a State who has taken oath under the Cosntitution of India, as the very seriously beleaguered B.S. Yediyurappa happens to be, does it behove of a demcoratically elected chief minister of a State to take the salute of an organisation which does not believe in the Constitution of India?

Or to be visibly falling at the feet of extra-constitutional authorities at the helm of the RSS who do not?

Obviously, Yediyurappa, like so many of his cabinet colleagues, is an RSS member and there may be nothing wrong in being respectful to your parent organsiation. Still, in the many testy matters involving the RSS and the BJP-ruled State, do pictures like these really give you the impression that the “State” would get precedence over the RSS in his (or his colleagues’) books?

Photographs: Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa strikes the RSS salute at a public meeting of sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat at the palace grounds in Bangalore on Sunday (top); below, the belaguered CM reaches for the toes of a sangh leader (Karnataka Photo News).

Also read: Will an RSS-run BJP be more vicious in future?

Let there be no doubt, tail doesn’t wag the dog

A picture for the personal albums of the sangh

Let there be no doubt: tail doesn’t wag the dog

16 November 2009


Does a “cultural” organisation like the RSS interfere in the affairs of a political outfit like the BJP?

As Nitin Gadkari, an unknown Maharashtrian of unknown leadership skills, prepares to ascend the gaddi, because of his geographical proximity to Nagpur and because the RSS sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat has decreed the next BJP chief will come from outside Delhi, is the question any longer moot?

Cartoon: courtesy Surendra/ The Hindu

Also read: Will an RSS-run BJP be more vicious in future?

A picture for the personal albums of the sangh

‘The only out for the BJP now is to split’


A picture for the personal albums of the sangh

30 October 2009

mohan bhagwat

A picture tells a thousand words; in this case it encapsulates the hopes of a billion.

The sarsanghchalak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Mohanrao Bhagwat, delivers his thundering addres to a near-empty audience in Delhi on Thursday. A photograph that must be framed and hung at the personal library of Arun Shourie, who only recently wanted the the RSS to take over the BJP.


S. Prasannarajan in India Today:

“Still trapped in the wreckage of two general election defeats, they [the BJP] seem to have no idea about the aspirations and attitudes of 21st century India. They have lost the culture war as well as the economic war—the two wars the Right has been fighting in most democracies. It invariably loses the culture war and wins the economy.

“The BJP still lives in a distant yesterday which is part mythology, part history, part nostalgia, and party fantasy. It doesn’t have the audacity to be truly “right” in the marketplace. And it doesn’t have the imagination to be creative in the social arana either.”

Photograph: courtesy The Indian Express

Also read: ‘Brand’ blow to Bhagwat

For the BJP, is the pen mightier than the trishul?

13 September 2009

PRITAM SENGUPTA writes from New Delhi: Four months after the “nasty jolt” in the 2009 general election (RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat‘s description of the debacle), the BJP continues to be in a flap over the role of “friendly journalists” in its defeat—and after.

Twice the party’s resident intellectual “for all matters requiring an IQ of 60”, Arun Shourie has trained his guns at the “Gang of Six”, once at the party’s national executive meeting and then in his NDTV interview with Indian Express editor Shekhar Gupta .

On top of that, the “accused” journalists have been at each other throats unabashedly.

Now, the BJP’s official party mouthpiece Kamal Sandesh, edited by Prabhat Jha, a former journalist, has weighed in on “‘friendly journalists’, who cannot remain ‘insider’ for too long”, adding that the access and respect the journalists enjoy with senior leaders of the party causes envy among party workers.

An editorial in the journal makes the following points, according to The Pioneer, the Delhi daily edited and owned by Chandan Mitra, a Rajya Sabha member nominated by the BJP:

“There are journalists who wish that BJP should run as per their whims. Any person — journalist included — has a right to offer advice and opinion but how can it be that a political party should follow, without exception, the diktats of some journalists. If that doesn’t happen, the political organisation turns bad in their considered opinion….

“A scenario in which journalists should turn a tool in the hands of an individual politician does not augur well for either of the two. Our effort should be to create a healthy balance in which neither the journalist is a weapon in the hands of a politician nor should the latter have to act as a shield for journalists….

“It is true that it is their duty to report but the questions remains: how, when and where. This is a matter that these wielders of the pen should ponder over. They have to ensure that in the process of the performance this onerous duty to present the ideology to the nation, mutual confidence, faith and respect does not fall a casualty.

“We do understand that journalism cannot be a synonym for bosom friendship between a journalist and a politician. Yet, we have to stand firm at our respective post of duty.”

Read the full article: BJP laments stab by ‘insider journalists’

Also read: Who are the journalists running, ruining BJP?

Don’t laugh: do journalists make good politicians?

The sad and pathetic decline of Arun Shourie

How come no one saw the worm turn?

How Chandan Mitra has his halwa and hogs it too

Advani: Prime minister maybe, but not a good sub

CHURUMURI POLL: Is the BJP in total disarray?

19 August 2009

The Jinnah Jinx has hit the BJP once again. First L.K. Advani found himself very nearly ostracised from the saffron brotherhood for comments he made during a visit to Pakistan. Now, former defence and finance minister Jaswant Singh has been expelled from the party for his comments on Jinnah.

Is the BJP right in expelling Singh? Or is this just a smokescreen to take attention away from the deliberations of the chintan baithak? Is the expulsion of Singh a sign of a democratic party that believes in “debate”?

With Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha not invited to the introspection in Shimla because of their criticism of the leadership, with Vasundhara Raje Scindia being asked to resign for the poll defeat (while Advani and Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley stay on), with various state units pulling in different directions, with the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat issuing grand pronouncements on the way forward, is the BJP in total disarray?

Also read: CHURUMURI POLL: Will the BJP ever come to power?

The only person to blame for BJP defeat is L.K. Advani

BJP defeat is a defeat of BJP brand of journalism

‘Fitting finale of five years of foolish opposition’

‘Only a vertical split in the BJP can save the BJP’

17 June 2009

The BJP has been getting plenty of free, unsolicited advice—much of it well deserved, almost all of it well earned—on what it needs to do to rebuild its house washed away by the electoral tsunami: Dump Hindutva; stop peddling hate; don’t ignore Muslims; don’t ignore Christians; get fresh faces; think 21st century, not 12th….

As the party’s top guns observe a “majority” version of Moharram, happily flagellating themselves in public, these are delightful times for pseudo-secular aka pseudo-sickular aka p-sec elements who were getting plenty of free, unsolicited advice on how Akhand the India that is Bharat should be.

Professor Jyotirmaya Sharma of the University of Hyderabad, author of Terrifying Vision: Golwalkar, RSS and India, goes one step further in Mail Today and says the BJP has to “perforce split”:

“The only way for the party to solve [its] ideological confusions is to split.

“Those who still turn their face towards Nagpur and the Mahal and Reshembaugh localities of that city can go their way, while those who have despaired of khakhi shorts and dandas as well as the unlovely, deep and dark corridors of the RSS headquarters in Nagpur can get together to build a new political force within Indian politics.

“Indian democracy is strong and generous enough to accommodate yet another proliferation of parties, though it would be interesting to speculate what the party flags and symbols of these two parties would be, were the BJP to split vertically.

“A prospective split will also for ever solve the festering leadership crisis within the party, something that seems impossible at the moment. An RSS brokered truce on the leadership question is hardly the solution and is bound to cause secondaries in the future.

“The BJP must help Mohan Bhagwat go down in history as the last sarsanghchalak who presided over something called the Sangh Parivar.”

Read the full article: Split is the only option