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Bhagwat speech a sign of things to come?

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat at the concluding session of an RSS training camp at Reshimbag in Nagpur on June 2, 2022.

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat at the concluding session of an RSS training camp at Reshimbag in Nagpur on June 2, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

On the face of it, Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat’s declaration, that the organisation had made an exception in the case of the Ramjanmabhoomi movement in Ayodhya to plunge into the movement and lead it, is something he has said before, but the his speech on Thursday where he states that there is “no need to look for Shivlings in every Masjid” is a line that the RSS and the BJP seem to have agreed on.

Three days before Mr. Bhagwat’s address at the concluding ceremony of the RSS Tritiya Varg (third year training), BJP president J.P. Nadda had said much the same thing — that the issue of Gyanvapi was to be settled via courts or the Constitution. Mr. Nadda had also pointed out that after the Palampur resolution of 1989, when the BJP decided to back the Ramjanmabhoomi movement, there had been “no other resolutions” for other such issues.

According to senior sources in the RSS, the line that not every scab over the wounds of identity politics needs to picked afresh, was more or less agreed on during the Haridwar Chintan Shivir held during the first week of April.  At that time, the Gyanvapi controversy had not erupted, and the discussion on identity politics etc. was in the context of the Dharam Sansad incident that had happened in Haridwar earlier.

Hindu mindedness

“At that meeting there were intense discussions over the role of the RSS, over issues that were being raised, polarisation between communities, and it was felt that the RSS need not get into every fissure on the body politic. Woh Astitva ke yuddh ki stithi nahin rahi [that earlier existential war-like situation does not exist]. Now, even Opposition leaders like Rahul Gandhi and Mamata Banerjee have to proclaim their Hindu identity in an overt manner, and a Hindu mindedness in the larger public exists,” said a source present at the meeting and privy to discussions.

“The situation, from where the RSS was present in civil society but absent from State institutions and State patronage networks no longer exists, and to keep behaving in an agitational manner would appear to be unseemly bullying, and encourage more polarisation among communities anyway not inclined towards the Sangh, which is not desirable,” said the source.  There were certain hardliners who opposed this stance of a distance between such issues and the RSS, but the moderates carried the day, as of now. In the RSS, however, “samaj” or civil society’s attitude can lead to a change of heart, and that could happen too.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2022 12:05:09 pm |