A Dialogue with Sangh

By The Editor: Siddharth Sehgal

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS or Sangh, as its commonly known, in a rare gesture opened its doors to the world and invited intellectuals, academicians, journalists, diplomats, bureaucrats and prominent citizens alike to discuss its past, present and future. Even critics of Sangh accept that the organization, no matter what the odds or who’s in power has always stayed relevant to political and social discourse of this country.

First, I’d say it’s unfortunate that opposition parties chose to stay away from the event; in today’s politics, votes take precedence over discussion & debate. One may not like RSS but one can’t simply ignore it and that’s where I think Congress and Communists parties are at a loss by not engaging with their Ideological opponents. Mr. Mohan Bhagwat, the 6th and current head of the RSS, elaborated upon the philosophy and ideas of the organization and his views gave the glimpse of a Sangh that is willing to adapt and evolve with changing times. On some Issues such as inclusion of Muslims in vision of Hindutva or accepting that ‘Bunch of Thoughts’, at least some parts of it, may not be applicable in today’s context or the definition of the word Hindu in a broader national framework signifies a forward looking approach. Many writers have claimed that this liberal stance is being propagated with 2019 elections in mind, well that may or may not be true but I think the message will go far beyond 2019. At regular intervals in the past, RSS have interacted with thinkers, intellectuals and notable citizens from minority communities and this stance can be seen as a continuation of that dialogue.

While Sangh’s stand in this conclave showed flexibility on lot of positions but on a whole set of topics such as Ram Temple, cow protection and religious conversions they have chosen to follow traditional line, it’s a conservative organization after all. What I find particularly interesting is Sangh’s stance on contentious subject of caste divisions, education and reservation. This view is particularly intriguing because despite the willingness on Sangh’s part to address the misuse of reservation system there is zero political will to see it through. Even BJP, whose ministerial ranks were falling all over each other at the event, will not risk its vote bank to level the playing field. Similarly in the current divisive atmosphere when caste based rifts are wide open, Sangh and its Karyakartas will have to put in a lot of effort to bridge the gap.

The problem of this country is that good intentions don’t materialize into political reality. Nevertheless, engagements like these are a rare welcome, opportunity and even rarer are the occasions when you’d hear it right from the top.


One Comment

  1. O K R Sivagnanam

    Vote bank politics doesn’t serve the dictates of Democracy, with the resultant widening gap between the haves and have-nots!
    Good intentions conceived may be relevant if and only if the powers-that-be are ready to make them materialised, lest they become mere rhetoric!

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