Ill-informed attack on RSS

published on November 6, 2010
Prafull Goradia – Daily Pioneer

Politicians who accuse the RSS of ‘terrorism’ have got their facts all wrong. Zakir Hussain famously said that Muslims should learn mutual love, cooperation and organisation-building from RSS. Even Jawaharlal Nehru praised the Sangh’s spirit of revolution. Maligning the RSS is a recent phenomenon to appease extremist elements in the Muslim community

The attempt by Congress leaders to deflect attention from corruption by seeking to tar the image of the RSS does not come as a surprise. For long years, self-styled secular politicians have criticized the RSS as a communal organisation. Few of the critics take the trouble to find out what precisely it stands for. Since the run-up to the 1957 general election, the RSS has been widely used as a whipping boy to convince the Muslims that the critic is a secularist. With the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election, not far away, the odd prominent but ignorant politician has gone to the extent of calling it a terrorist set-up like the banned SIMI whose many members are now known to operate under the label of Indian Mujahideen. They have claimed responsibility for the 2008 blasts at Ahmedabad, Jaipur and New Delhi.

True, Jawaharlal Nehru was critical of the RSS most of his political life except after the 1962 China war. He then said that “given the spirit, even the Lathi could successfully face the bomb”. He especially invited an RSS contingent to participate in the Republic Day Parade of 1963!

On November 3, 1977 at Patna, at the RSS training camp, Jaya Prakash Narayan said: “I have great expectation from this revolutionary organisation which has taken up the challenge of creating a new India. I have welcomed your venture whole-heartedly.”

On November 20, 1949, Zakir Hussain told a Milad Mahfil in Monghyr, “the allegations and hatred against the Muslims are wholly false. Muslims should learn the lesson of mutual love, cooperation and organisation from RSS.”

Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, then Vice Chancellor, Banaras Hindu University, happened to take a delegation of foreign dignitaries to an RSS shakha which continued to be conducted despite the heavy rain. The visitors were immensely pleased and Radhakrishnan was impressed to meet research scholars, lecturers, graduate and postgraduate students participating in the shakha.

Above all, Gandhiji first visited an RSS camp on December 24, 1934 at Wardha along with Mira Behn and Mahadev Desai. On watching the parade organised in his honour, he said: “I am tremendously pleased. Nowhere in the country have I seen such a spectacle.” He was much impressed with the absence of caste differences including that of untouchability. He readily vacated his tent for Keshav Hedgewar and at the end of his visit, he declared that he saw no shortcomings in what he saw of the RSS. “From all points of view you are doing excellent work. If there is any shortcoming at all it is that this organisation does not admit people of other religions”. By the next day, Hedgewar had arrived in Wardha and he responded to Gandhiji’s invitation and answered all questions and clarified whatever issues about the organisation that were raised.

All these are opinions and incidents expressed and witnessed with different leaders of society. They reflect the perception of the RSS outside the Sangh parivar over the decades. It is equally important to get a glimpse of what the various law Courts have adjudicated in the cases filed by citizens against Government orders. Hereunder follow a gist of several judgements, reported by Sahitya Sindhu Prakashana, Bangalore, 3rd Edition, 2000.

Since Independence, the Congress Governments, from time to time, barred the entry of persons into Government service who were at any time associated with the RSS. All those victimised by the Government had approached the courts and in all cases the state orders were set aside.

Between 1955 and 1993, 15 cases were decided by various courts. Of these, verdicts in respect of 13 were delivered by High Courts, one by the Unlawful Activities Tribunal and one by the Supreme Court in 1983. The earliest case was decided by the High Court of Madhya Bharat at Indore in 1955. The services of a Government clerk were terminated as he was alleged to be a member of the RSS. The Court held that the order was contrary to Article 311(2) of the Constitution of India and it was quashed. In 1959, Guru Golwalkar was convicted by the Session Judge of Darbhanga (Bihar) for having delivered a speech which promoted enmity between different religious communities. On the contrary, the Court held that the ingredients of the offence under Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code had not been established and the conviction was set aside.

In 1961, a sub-Postmaster at Nagpur was suspended for being associated with the RSS. His participation was considered prejudicial to national security. The Court inter-alia observed that the RSS was not considered subversive. The notice was quashed by the court.

In 1980, the State of Madhya Pradesh went in appeal to the Supreme Court against the judgement of the High Court which had held that the order of termination served on Ramashankar Raghuvanshi, a teacher employed in a Municipal School, was against the provisions of Article 311 of the Constitution and quashed it. The termination had been ordered because Ramashankar had earlier taken part in RSS activities. The apex court dismissed the special leave petition. While dismissing the State petition Justice Chinnappa Reddy had observed that neither the RSS nor the Jan Sangh is involved in any subversive or other illegal activity.

In December, 1992, the Central Government constituted a Tribunal to decide whether or not there is a sufficient cause for declaring Rashtriya Swaymsewak Sangh, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal to be unlawful. The Chairman observed that the Central Government had mainly relied on the evidence showing that the VHP and the Dal are front organisations of RSS. The Tribunal held that there appears to be no material to prove the grounds mentioned. The Chairman cancelled the declaration made by the Government.

Does not the aforesaid prove the boundless ignorance of the politicians who have compared the RSS with SIMI? And their lack of education which allowed them to make such a defamatory statement without checking the facts? What must worry us is that such politicians happen to wield a great deal of influence in our public life.

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