oppn parties Bhagwat's Dussehra Speech: The RSS Returns To Its Prejudiced Views

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  • Special DG (Training) in CRPF, S N Shrivastava, appointed special commissioner (law & order) in Delhi Police in order to quell the violence. He is also expected to take over as chief of Delhi police once Amulya Patnaik's term ends on February 29
  • Curfew and shoot at sight orders reportedly in force in some areas, but Delhi Police HQ does not issue a notice for the same
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  • Mobs in Delhi target journalists, check them for religious identity and snatch equipment
  • 13 people deal until now in one of the worst spells of violence in Delhi
  • Violence in Delhi shows no signs of abating with fresh areas in the north-eastern part of the capital coming under its grip
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  • The Bihar assembly passes a resolution to stick to the old NPR form, making it the first NDA state to do so
  • Arms deal for advanced helicopters, worth $3bn, signed with the US, but the trade deal remains elusive
  • Trump says he has a good equation with Pak PM Imran Khan and assures India that Pakistan is working to reduce cross border terrorism
  • Trump once again offers to mediate in the Kashmir issue
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  • US President Donald Trump says PM Modi wants religious freedom for all
  • US President Donald Trump lands in Ahmedabad, received at the airport by Prime Minister Modi
  • US President Donald Trump to land in India today
Continuing violence in Delhi takes the sheen off the visit by US President Donald Trump
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Bhagwat's Dussehra Speech: The RSS Returns To Its Prejudiced Views

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.

Mohan Bhagwat, the RSS chief, in his annual speech on Vijayadashami this year, returned to the dogmatic approach of the organization, shedding the flexibility he had displayed in his speech last year. This may be due to the spectacular mandate received by the NDA in its second term earlier this year. The RSS must be buoyed by the fact that the sympathetic government in Delhi will allow it to push its agenda and get things done according to its wishes.

Although Bhagwat commended the government for abrogating Article 370 (something for which the RSS has been fighting since the last 70 years and had influenced the BJP to put it in the party manifesto) and conceded that FDI and divestment were necessary tools to fight the recessionary trends in the economy, the rest of his speech, outlining the stand of the RSS on various political, economic and social issues facing the nation, was full of biases and blinkered vision.

For instance, Bhagwat was of the opinion that the country was being defamed for some small incidents (chutput ghatnas, in his words). He was referring to incidents of mob lynching against minorities and Dalits. He said that lynching was a foreign concept and had no place in India's cultural ethos or its society. But surprisingly, he did not condemn the acts where people are being targeted for their religion, caste, food and dress habits or in the name of protecting the cow, among other things.

The RSS chief should know that those were not small incidents. Before the Prime Minister spoke out against them and the party perhaps warned the hundreds of RSS off-spring organizations whose members indulge in such acts that they will not be tolerated, mob lynching was almost becoming a profession. From Gujarat to Bihar and Haryana to Telangana, people were being hounded and murdered or forced to commit suicide. Such sectarian violence has the power to destroy the nation by making enemies out of friends and pushing growth to the sidelines.

Another disturbing thread in his speech was that of carrying forward the themes of swadeshi, swavalamban and swanirbharta to include swabhasha (indigenous language), swabhoosa (indigenous attire) and swasankskriti (indigenous culture). Bhagwat must realize that India is a country of multiple and diverse languages, attires and cultures and the country has proudly maintained unity in diversity. Any attempt to force something down the throats of the people, in the name of a Hindu Rashtra or otherwise, will backfire and only help the nation's enemies. India works because of its diversity and bringing oneness to everything will destroy the very idea of India. Hence, the RSS must keep its prejudices to itself.