Maligning the RSS

via The Pioneer Edit Desk published on October 7, 2010

Rahul Gandhi should have known better

It is shocking, to say the least, that the Congress general secretary should have equated the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh to the Students’ Islamic Movement of India during a Press conference in Bhopal on Wednesday. It was a gratuitous comment that need not have been made or elaborated upon; the heir apparent to the masnad of Delhi should have known better than to say, “I know only that both SIMI and the RSS are fanatical and hold fundamentalist views.” By saying so, he has placed on display his appalling ignorance of both organisations as also of the nation’s history and its current affairs. Irrespective of whether or not one subscribes to the RSS’s philosophy or worldview, few would make bold to suggest that it is an organisation wedded to anti-national activities. Close to a century its pracharaks and cadre have dedicated their lives to the service of the nation and its people. Whenever and wherever there has been a natural disaster, the RSS’s cadre have waded in to assist the civil administration, most recently in the aftermath of the super-cyclone in Odisha. It was the RSS that sent in its cadre to salvage the bodies of victims after two planes collided mid-air a short distance from Delhi: All the dead were Muslims. In remote areas and dense forests where the Government is yet to send in its officials, the RSS runs schools and development programmes for tribals. Despite its track record, the RSS continues to be vilified and maligned by pseudo-secularists: It has been banned thrice since independence, but on each occasion the ban had to be lifted as it failed to pass judicial scrutiny. But these details are obviously unknown to Mr Rahul Gandhi; he is equally unaware of the fact that his great grandfather invited the RSS to participate in the Republic Day parade of 1963 for its unstinted assistance to the Government during the 1962 war with China. No other non-Government organisation has been extended this privilege. In sharp contrast, SIMI has been banned for its role in seditious and terrorist activities; many of its members are in jail. Further comment is not needed.

What merits comment is the remarkable similarity between the outrageous comments of Mr Rahul Gandhi and those of another Congress general secretary, Mr Digvijay Singh, who takes particular delight in extolling the virtues of criminals and exonerating them of their ghastly crimes simply because they happen to be Muslims. The abuse that Mr Singh heaps on the RSS is of a piece with his perverse politics of pandering to communal forces; he brazenly indulges in defamatory statements and in the process denigrates and maligns Hindus as a community. Thrown out of power and denied the loaves and fishes of office by the people of Madhya Pradesh, he has lost all sense of decorum and balance. It would not be incorrect to presume that he got Mr Rahul Gandhi to repeat, parrot-like, the vile language that comes naturally to him, while in Bhopal, to derive cheap satisfaction from the belief that he had hit back at the organisation that facilitated his eviction from the Chief Minister’s office. Little does he realise that he is seen as no more than an object of pity and ridicule. It’s a shame Mr Rahul Gandhi chose to fall prey to Mr Singh’s wiles.

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