Mohan Bhagwat sang an alien tune on Sunday. Maybe, just maybe, the RSS Sarsanghachalak had an epiphany, a sudden, enlightening experience, when he called for the expulsion of Hindu values without scientific basis!
This is a clean break from tradition, an unimaginable change of heart and mind from one of India’s most hardened Hindu! Perhaps, that’s why this theory stands on shaky ground. Deeply entrenched value systems don’t dissolve so easily, on their own.
That’s why this one’s more promising.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi summons Bhagwat to 7, Race Course Road. They share pleasantries, discuss national affairs over tea, and in the end, just when Bhagwat is adjusting his starched ‘Khaki shorts’, and prepares to leave, Modi shares his ‘Mann ki Baat’, and I am para-phrasing.
“Bhagwatji, I am the leader of India. The country has elected me to govern. Right under your nose, extremist Hindus are hijacking my ‘initiatives’. BJP has had close association with RSS, but remember, times have changed.
“Wake up and smell the coffee, Bhagwatji… Life is no longer about religion and its various tentacles. People have different needs today. Organisations like RSS must improvise if they are to remain relevant in the 21st century.
“Your initiatives like ‘Ghar Wapsi” will no longer be entertained. If a Hindu wants to become a Muslim or a Christian, RSS should not have a problem. It is none of their business. The decision to convert is the individual’s. You cry foul when data shows Hindus are shrinking in number. You fear Muslims will one day outnumber the Hindus…. You are a mature man, do you really think that will ever happen? Is that how weak your belief in the healthy survival of Hindus is?
“Hindus constitute about 80% of the population, Muslims only around 18% . India will always be Hindu-heavy, please don’t overburden yourself with this issue, and certainly don’t go about finding solutions to it.
“Very humbly, just do your job, which is to engage in charity and helping educate the Hindu society through its various platforms.
Mohan Bhagwat staggers, looks on with horror, and tries to find his feet. Modi holds him, steadies him, and walks him to the door.
“No hard feelings, Bhagwatji.” With those closing remarks, Modi may have triggered the beginning of the end of RSS’ influence on BJP.
Whatever be the reason behind RSS chief’s new philosophy, it’s a welcome development. The dark and dangerous ways of the RSS has always had the potential to derail Modi’s ‘Sabka saath, sabka vikas’ agenda. It has already suffered grievously because of impulsive, out-of-line, and polarising actions by the RSS.
It is the world’s largest voluntary non-governmental organisation. And because BJP finds its genesis in RSS, the organisation has traditionally believed it has stranglehold over the BJP, whether in Government or in the opposition.
That belief has been shaken, and it is very likely that it happened because of the combination of both – Bhagwat experiencing a paradigm shift in his thinking, and Modi’s zero tolerance towards extremist elements, even if they happened to belong to the venerable RSS.