Mumbai

‘RSS working on new aggressive brand of Hindutva’

Urgent need to counter it, say former members of organisation’s cultural wing

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its ancillary arms are working on a new brand of Hindutva that is aggressive in nature, and there is an urgent need to counter it, said Pune University professor Swati Dyahadroy and Ambedkarite author Bhanwar Meghwanshi.

They were speaking at the session on ‘Cultural Politics of the RSS’ and its expanse in modern times at the Mumbai Collective on Saturday. The speakers said male and female identity within this new brand of Hindutva is antithetical to the idea of being submissive.

Ms. Dyahadroy said the Rashtra Sevika Samiti, the women’s wing of the RSS, is working on building India’s own aggressive feminist movement. She said, “The women of the samiti are being taught a new brand of Indian feminism and its practices that are to be applied on a daily basis. The idea of this feminism is rooted not in the liberation of women but stree shakti [power].”

Ms. Dyahadroy added that the male identity projected by the RSS has also become more masculine over the years. “Look at how they have been projecting lord Ram with just a bow and arrow in their literature. Earlier, we saw Ram in pictures with Sita or another female figure. That has completely stopped post the Babri [Masjid] demolition, when the RSS started promoting a new aggressive brand of Hindutva.”

Both Ms. Dyahadroy and Mr. Meghwanshi, who have worked in the cultural wing of the RSS, said the organisation’s ultimate aim is to be a spiritual adviser to the king, alluding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “The idea of seva [service] is at the core of their philosophy. That is why Mr. Modi calls himself Pradhan Sevak and not Pradhan Mantri. Ultimately, it will not matter whether Mr. Modi or Amit Shah is the next Prime Minister of India. They will all go and surrender the crown at the feet of the RSS sarsanghchalak,” said Mr. Meghwanshi, who participated in the RSS’s first kar seva as a teenager in Rajasthan. He later got disillusioned with the RSS ideology and embraced Ambedkarite philosophy.

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Printable version | Apr 1, 2020 7:45:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/rss-working-on-new-aggressive-brand-of-hindutva/article30716769.ece

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