Akhand Bharat is misread as a political programme of party or government

Let me reiterate that the Akhand Bharat doctrine is a cultural and people-centric idea. I was not even remotely suggesting that we should redraw the boundaries of our countries.

Written by Ram Madhav | Updated: December 29, 2015 2:22 pm
Ram madhav, ram madhav comments, ram madhav news, ram madhav akhand bharat, ram madhav rss, bjp rss, rss news, bjp rss news, india news, latest news Ram Madhav, BJP National General Secretary. (Express photo by Ravi Kanojia)

“Ekah Shabdah Samyagjnatah Suprayuktah Loke Swarge cha Kamdhuk Bhavati” — one word used at the right time and right context will come in handy in this life and beyond.

This Patanjali sutra aptly applies to the controversy over my views on Akhand Bharat. Something that was stated and restated several times before by several people in the Parivar became an issue only because it came at a time when Indo-Pak ties were in for a path-breaking initiative by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

I did an interview for Al Jazeera on December 7. A question was put to me about the Akhand Bharat map in the Nagpur headquarters of the RSS. Like on many other occasions, I answered that the RSS had held the view that one day there would be a reunion of all the three parts through popular will and consent. I also made it clear twice that it wouldn’t be through armies or aggression but only through popular goodwill. All that it meant was that it would be a people’s reunion at the cultural and societal level.

Coincidentally, the airing of the interview happened on the very day PM Modi had made an important visit to Lahore to greet Nawaz Sharif and his family. In a tweet I said the following about that visit: “PM Modiji’s sudden stopover at Lahore to greet Pak PM Nawaz Sharif is a much needed departure from protocol-driven politics between the two countries. Like leaders of EU, Asean and even countries in our neighbourhood leaders of India and Pakistan too needed to inject informality in their relations. What better day than the birthday of Atalji for this path-breaking departure.”

I feel sad that my interview was used to diminish the importance of the PM’s path-breaking gesture. We in politics need to look at the immediate — at the most, the next three, four, or five years. Some of us who have imbibed the generational vision of the RSS tend to get trapped in political incorrectness.

Let me reiterate that the Akhand Bharat doctrine is a cultural and people-centric idea. I was not even remotely suggesting that we should redraw the boundaries of our countries. But I do notice great eagerness and urge among the people in all the three countries for greater engagement and interaction. In fact, more than me, it is the seculars and mombattiwallas who have been highlighting this urge by talking about open borders and organising candle-light demonstrations at the Wagah border.

The Partition of 1947 has created a political divide. Who was responsible for it, is a historical debate. In his book, Guilty Men of India’s Partition, Lohia held the three main players — the British, Congress and Muslim League — responsible for it. Later historians have argued about others too.

Speaking about the acceptance of Partition by the Congress, Nehru told Leonard Mosley in 1960: “The truth is that we were tired men and we were getting on in years too. Few of us could stand the prospect of going to prison again and if we had stood out for a united India as we wished it, prison obviously awaited us. We saw the fires burning in the Punjab and heard every day of the killings. The plan for Partition offered a way out and we took it”.

However, was Partition also a divide of the people? In the heat of it, probably a large number of people on both sides got emotionally identified with the new political identity. That political identity will continue to remain. But there is another broader identity of a society that has lived on for millennia as one. Eminent historian Ayesha Jalal, in her book on Manto and Partition, eloquently highlights this dilemma by invoking the idea of a “cultural nation”. “… the extent to which the contours of the cultural nation, creatively and broadly construed, do not map neatly onto the limited boundaries of the political nation”.

In fact, Saadat Hasan Manto, one of the best storytellers of the 20th century, was among those on the Pakistan side who had never reconciled with the idea of the people splitting. One of his Partition stories that Jalal refers to was “Toba Tek Singh” in which the non-Muslim patients of a mental asylum in Lahore agitatedly await relocation to India because of their religious affiliation. “Portraying the inmates to be of sounder mind than those making the decisions for their removal, Manto deftly questioned the wisdom of Partition and the sheer madness it had let loose”, comments Jalal.

That being the case, can we come together as people? Can we cherish the historical, civilisational reality that we had been one people with a shared history for millennia? When I said “through popular goodwill and consent”, this is what I meant.

When Jesus was made to stand before Pontius Pilate for trial, he asked the accusers to define their words first so that there is no confusion in the arguments. That is probably the case with Akhand Bharat too.

In the early ’60s, socialist and Jana Sangh leaders, Ram Manohar Lohia and Deendayal Upadhyaya, came closer to each other. Dr Lohia told Deendayalji that the Jana Sangh’s and RSS’s belief in the concept of “Akhand Bharat” put Muslims in Pakistan at unease and posed a hurdle in the progress of Indo-Pak relations. Lohia said: “Many Pakistanis believe that if the Jana Sangh came to power in New Delhi, it would forcibly reunify Pakistan with India.” Deendayalji replied: “We have no such intentions. And we are willing to put to rest Pakistani people’s concerns on this score.” Out of those interactions between the two was born the idea of an India Pakistan Federation.

As pointed out by BJP spokespersons, Atalji, during his historic bus yatra in 1999, made it categorically clear that India and Pakistan are two sovereign nations.

I and many like me strongly hold the view that the coming together of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh as people, on the basis of mutual goodwill and shared common historical ties, is a very important step to overcome our strained political relations.

I am anguished that my essentially ideological position has been misconstrued to be the political programme of my party or the government of the day.

The writer is national general secretary, BJP, and director, India Foundation.

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App now

  1. P
    prashant
    Jan 31, 2016 at 7:18 pm
    Svach city aur kisan ko kam kimat me compost khat milne keliye aideas hai
    Reply
    1. M
      mohan
      Jan 1, 2016 at 2:11 pm
      As a prelude to the Akhanda bharat, why not the countries, India, Pak, Bangladesh, sikkim, bhutan, nepal consent on a common currency?
      Reply
      1. M
        mohan
        Jan 1, 2016 at 2:22 pm
        If the arch rivals in political dogmas ,the two Germanies can re-unite, why not these Asian countries? Also, if the European countries can develop the currency Euro , why not the Asian countries develop one?
        Reply
        1. C
          Copy_that
          Dec 29, 2015 at 9:15 am
          G conspiracy of brutal disinformation to fool people to believe that brahmins are not against Muslims. In fact BRAHMINS ARE THE ONLY RACE THAT IS SILENTLY INSTIGATING REAL HINDUS AGAINST MUSLIMS TO SIT BACK AND WATCH THEM BURN EACH OTHER. ALL A BUILTUP FOR RAM(Adult male SHEEP) TEMPLE. Be informed, this time though REAL HINDUS are going to taste brahmin blood!!!!
          Reply
          1. H
            Haradhan Mandal
            Dec 30, 2015 at 7:48 am
            The concept and the SPIRIT of 'Akhand Bharat' is borrowed from what the British achieved for themselves by colonizing a vast geography from Iran to Myanmar (and from Kashmir to Srilanka) - and putting it under one SINGLE administrative head who was called the Viceroy. Closest the 'sangh' can/could achieve (of that 'Akhand Bharat') is EMULATE the uniform (and the lathi) of one of their LOWLY one in the administration ( that is the dress of the police constable of the British Govt) and make it their 'signature' dress. The spirit of 'Akhand Bharat' is in making the inner peace and in making peace with the rise and rising aspiration of all others in the Bharat first. It is in making space for all others.
            Reply
            1. M
              MyTake
              Dec 29, 2015 at 10:29 pm
              Misplaced and misread religions have failed the world. Or should one say irreligious ego in the name of religion is the cause of all problems. If anything businesses have united the world more than religion. So for time being better to concentrate on economics to save what ever religion is still around before "religion" by itself and on its own destroys the world.
              Reply
              1. S
                Shall
                Dec 29, 2015 at 3:59 pm
                "Anil" is it?
                Reply
                1. K
                  K SHESHU
                  Dec 29, 2015 at 7:11 am
                  If such ideas of the co-existence of neighbouring countries and all religions emanate from influential personalities, this would be a welcome development and a new year gift!
                  Reply
                  1. A
                    ams
                    Dec 29, 2015 at 11:10 pm
                    Any stupid statement made by a chaddi should be forgiven. Jai ho Namo ki!
                    Reply
                    1. A
                      Ajay Sunder
                      Dec 29, 2015 at 4:18 am
                      When would you learn to just shut up? We have enough challenges in this country. Let us concentrate on these rather than listen to all the rubbish that you talk.
                      Reply
                      1. A
                        anil
                        Dec 29, 2015 at 3:07 pm
                        You would have the balls to face me and make this statement. If you do , we can set up a time and date..
                        Reply
                        1. A
                          Anil Sharma
                          Dec 29, 2015 at 10:47 pm
                          Ram, how did you get a job with such low IQ? Who did you bribe?
                          Reply
                          1. K
                            Kris
                            Dec 29, 2015 at 6:28 am
                            Some time back our beloved former president APJ Abdul Kalam had advocated the possibility of a borderless Indian or South Asian sub continent where people can travel and do business freely. So, there is nothing in wrong in advocating a united sub continent as it existed before parion without compromising the characteristics of each country. However, both stan and Bangladesh should declare themselves as secular democracies as a pre condition. Given the current problems being faced by several Islamic countries, a vast majority of the citizens of these two countries will finally opt for a union of South Asian countries (more like EU) without disturbing the territories held by each of them. This will save a lot of money for these countries which are currently being used for defense and security. India being a far more developed country compared to the other two, these two countries can take advantage of the facilities available in India, especially on technology, medical treatment, education etc. Moreover, tourism in all the 3 countries will get a tremendous boost as people are able to travel freely.
                            Reply
                            1. A
                              Archpagan
                              Dec 29, 2015 at 2:24 pm
                              It seems that some RSS man has sodomized you, sorry.
                              Reply
                              1. A
                                Archpagan
                                Dec 29, 2015 at 2:34 pm
                                Status of the slaves were far worse in other societies. People marginalized under new mode of production will always be oppressed. The so-called caste oppression was actually exploitation of firm laborers by the landlord who could belong to any caste, . Yes, 95% of entire potion were dependent on agriculture before 1947. So, it's blatant lie to theorize that lower castes were not permitted to choose a profession of his choice.
                                Reply
                                1. A
                                  Arun
                                  Dec 30, 2015 at 4:01 pm
                                  Islam will never meet its end in the world and especially in India. Communist are also not finished. They have decent representation in Parliament.
                                  Reply
                                  1. A
                                    arc
                                    Dec 29, 2015 at 6:29 am
                                    Eat your humble pie. Fun to watch a prized trying to wriggle out by blaming others. The fact is RSS and other sanghi s never lifted a finger to free India from british rule. And now you guys blame the people who gave shape voice and m to that struggle. And you guys call yourself nationalists. Essentiially, RSS and is miscarriage BJP are cowards. Like the mullas of stan who belive their history began with the Turkish rulers, you guys want to obliterate everything that is non-Hindu, eg, our Buddhist past, our Christian links and of course our vast muslim connection. Wahabi Hindus, that's what you guys are, as was rightly pointed out at the Jaipur litfest. .
                                    Reply
                                    1. A
                                      author
                                      Dec 30, 2015 at 7:46 am
                                      Frankly I am upset at the PM as he rules by instilling fear verse getting respect. The world generally does not take such people seriously. He may be able to scare the Indian citizens but he cannot do that outside India. That having been said - yes I also find this comment stupid and am personally hurt by its insensitivity. Am third generation from a family of refugees and this MP does not say if we would be returned our properties, lives that were lost during the riots that engulfed parion. Otherwise it rubbing salt to the wounds due to our lost history and heritage.
                                      Reply
                                      1. A
                                        author
                                        Dec 30, 2015 at 7:45 am
                                        Rana you are a courageous journalist but du to what ever reasons you have a anti Modi stand. I do not want to go into the pros and cons of that. Frankly I am upset at the PM as he rules by instilling fear verse getting respect. The world generally does not take such people seriously. He may be able to scare the Indian citizens but he cannot do that outside India. That having been said - yes I also find this comment stupid and am personally hurt by its insensitivity. Am third generation from a family of refugees and this MP does not say if we would be returned our properties, lives that were lost during the riots that engulfed parion. Otherwise it rubbing salt to the wounds due to our lost history and heritage.
                                        Reply
                                        1. B
                                          babablacksheep
                                          Dec 29, 2015 at 6:43 pm
                                          RSS recognises that Hindus and Muslims are twins but yet have so much prejudice and hatred.
                                          Reply
                                          1. S
                                            sb
                                            Dec 29, 2015 at 6:58 am
                                            Nice article. RSS is and has been doing exemplary work in society for the poor , making them strong and nationalistic. The RSS actively does service in case of any natural disasters and is working continuously to unite society and dilute caste and other sectarian barriers which exists in society. The RSS is also evolving and trying to bring together Muslims under Muslim Rashtriya Manch , unity among Hindus and Muslims , and a strong and resurgent India. Its true the other side of the political spectrum towards left hate the RSS, because they have been doing exactly the opposite. That is to exploit the religious and caste barriers between people in society to be in power. So , its quite natural that the Congress, Left, AAP and many other regional parties will dub RSS as communal.
                                            Reply
                                            1. Load More Comments