A family gets together

RSS-BJP relationship is unique. It cannot be understood by existing models

Written by Ram Madhav | Published:September 15, 2015 12:00 am
rss, bjp, bjp rss meet, rss bjp meet, bjp leaders meet rss, narendra modi, modi, modi rss, rss modi, modi rss meet, rss modi meet, bjp rss meeting, rss bjp meeting, mdi rss meeting, rss modi meeting, modi news, bjp news, rss news, india news, indian express, editorials RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat (centre) greets Home Minister and BJP leader Rajnath Singh during a function in Delhi. (PTI Photo, File)

The recent three-day meet of the leaders of the RSS and its affiliates has generated a lot of curiosity and controversy. The presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several of his cabinet colleagues invited extra attention and ill-informed criticism.

The RSS is a big and popular organisation. Hence, the attention and curiosity are understandable. But is the criticism warranted? Can’t organisations interact with governments in a democracy? In fact, the PM and ministers meet members of social, cultural and business organisations almost a daily routine. Then why an objection in this case?

In the eyes of some critics, the RSS is an extra-constitutional authority wielding unwholesome control over the BJP. The PM’s and BJP’s association with the RSS is well-known. The Sangh Parivar, a family of organisations, is essentially an ideological parivar.

Meetings between the RSS and BJP leaderships are not new. Moreover, this wasn’t the first time such a meeting has taken place. During the previous NDA regime too, one such three-day meeting was held in 2003. Then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee and several ministers, including L.K. Advani and M.M. Joshi, were present. That meeting had also generated a lot of curiosity. The only difference between then and now is the vehemence.

The RSS has clarified this time that the meeting was not called to review the performance of the government, nor were ministers asked to submit report cards. The RSS leadership took extra care to ensure that the meeting didn’t turn into a forum to discuss the performance of the government. Bhaiyyaji Joshi, the RSS general secretary, had categorically told the functionaries that the objective of the meet was not to discuss the government’s functioning. The programme was structured in such a way that the ministers would speak only at the end of each session, so that the discussion didn’t turn into a review of the ministries.

Yet, some critics went to the ridiculous extent of invoking the Official Secrets Act against participating ministers. It is flabbergasting. Ministers attend so many meetings. They go home every evening and share a meal with family and friends. Does it mean they are violating the Official Secrets Act? Every party holds meetings internally and with groups affiliated to it. Ministers and prime ministers attend these meetings. It can be a working committee meeting or a meeting of the women’s wing or the youth wing or something else. Does it mean they are carrying official files to these meetings?

I am tempted to question the behaviour of the critics themselves. The Congress has a notorious history of extra-constitutionalism. During UPA 1’s rule, the joke was that the country had three PMs — the PM, a super PM at 10 Janpath, and the CPM. During UPA 2, the country got rid of the CPM while the super PM continued to call the shots. The more we go back in history, the uglier the extra-constitutional activity becomes.

Congress members themselves have written about how the extra-constitutional authority wielded unquestionable powers in those days. Let me quote what Natwar Singh, a senior Congress leader, wrote in India Today in February 2014: “My diary entry of May 13, 1995 reads: P.V. ‘Where are you, come over.’ I arrived at 7 Race Course Road at 8.40 pm. Around 9 pm P.V. walked in. He did not sit down. The normally imperturbable P.V. appeared flummoxed and agitated: ‘I have just received her letter to me?’ I said I had not seen it. The two were apparently having an epistolary war regarding the trial of Rajiv Gandhi’s assassins. What P.V. said next was so unexpected that I was dumbfounded. ‘I cannot take her on. I could. I don’t want to. What does she expect me to do?’ ‘Why don’t you see her?’ I said. ‘How often do I see her? It is a question of my self-respect. Her attitude is affecting my health. How many times do I have to be insulted’…”

Sonia Gandhi was not even the Congress president at that time. In fact, P.V. Narasimha Rao was. The hatred of this extra-constitutional authority, for Rao, was so deep-rooted that when Rao passed away, his body was not even allowed into the Congress party headquarters. It was kept at the gates for just 20 minutes “to pay homage”. He was not allowed a cremation in Delhi. Rao happens to be the only PM for whom there is no memorial in Delhi. Even Sanjay Gandhi has one.

Returning to the RSS-BJP equation, it is important to understand the relationship in perspective. Walter Andersen, co-author of the book The Brotherhood in Saffron, had once made an interesting comment: “The RSS is very difficult to understand and very easy to misunderstand.”

There are two distinct models in the world with respect to the management of a political party. One is the British Labour party model, where the labour unions used to guide the party leadership. Two, there is the Communist Party of China model, in which the party controls everything, including the government, labour unions, cultural bodies, etc. Looking at the RSS from the point of view of either of these models will be a mistake.

The RSS model is unique. It has a Parivar of 40-plus organisations. The RSS is their ideological fountainhead. Contrary to perception, the RSS neither controls nor commands them. In a very Indian familial way, they come together occasionally to discuss and exchange notes. There are a few issues that are dear to the RSS’s heart — national security (that includes Kashmir and the Northeast), economy (especially in the light of Swadeshi), social harmony (that deals with SC and ST welfare issues) and education (with focus on values, etc).

These issues form the core agenda in all such meetings. BJP leaders, whether in power or out of it, attend these meetings essentially to share their views on these issues. The recent meeting was no different. The ministers did share their views. Did it satisfy all the organisations? That’s difficult to say, since 100 per cent satisfaction is never possible.

But yes, as someone who has seen so many such meetings in the past, I can confidently say that the ideological family went home content with the general direction of the country under the new government. That is probably the best news for this government — a thumbs-up at home.

The writer is the BJP’s national general secretary and director, India Foundation

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

  1. H
    Haradhan Mandal
    Sep 15, 2015 at 7:39 am
    I have heard it so many times on TV and read it so many times from the RSS spokesperson that RSS is not a political organization, it is a 'cultural' organization, it does not meddle or interfere in politics, or in the politics of, a political party (- and BJP included in the list).
    Reply
    1. T
      TIHAEwale
      Sep 15, 2015 at 11:50 am
      All these years Ram Madhav and others of his ilk wanted Congress President and PM should be two individuals so when Sonia hi accepted the dual authority model Madhav and likes blamed PM is an employee reporting to Party President. Less said about PVN it is better he allowed the demolition of Babri Masjid by hobnobbing with Uma, Kalyan, Murli, Lalkrishna etc
      Reply
      1. A
        adf
        Sep 15, 2015 at 6:09 pm
        After a long time, some sensible article in IE.
        Reply
        1. N
          Naim Naqvi
          Sep 15, 2015 at 5:58 pm
          A baseless defense of an illicit relationship by a confused RSS minion who had made a mess in Kashmir initially about BJP-MUFTI COALTION and finally gave up. Lilke all RSS loud mouths he is also a damp squib. Nothing new - sheer blathering.
          Reply
          1. A
            Anuradha Kalhan
            Sep 15, 2015 at 2:11 pm
            A very comprehensive proof and defense of the life line between RSS and the present government.
            Reply
            1. B
              Brahm Gaur
              Sep 15, 2015 at 6:06 am
              Dear Author thanks for clarifying. Congress always comes hard on the government as if it had met a terrorist organization. I can see the comments by some pro congress people and pay special attention to their language. People understand how good RSS is? Its the Congress who once banned RSS. They just want to beat the drums of their so called secular stand. It is nothing but a show off.
              Reply
              1. B
                buffet
                Sep 15, 2015 at 5:27 am
                PVN Sir was insulted by that bi atch. Your Modi has no gu ts. Should have thrown her and entire family in j ail and exe cuted for t reason, c orruption, lo oting india's wealth, dis integrating india (ap divison).
                Reply
                1. M
                  Manik Dey
                  Sep 15, 2015 at 8:10 am
                  Bharat Mata ki Jai
                  Reply
                  1. K
                    Kiranbabu naidu
                    Sep 15, 2015 at 9:06 am
                    Good article,,,,PM did right thing to attend RSS meeting ,,,,,,,becoz its a open secret BJP formed from RSS,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,all the BJP leaders are RSS members,,,,,,,,,,,including PM,,,,,,every indian must understand that RSS is a patriotich organisation,,,,,,,,,,,becoz of RSS,,,,, INDIA strong,,,,, ,,,,,otherwise CONGRESS party easily give up KASHMIR to PAK,,,,,,,,,,,,,,W NORTH EAST TO CHINA,,,,,,WEST BENGAL TO BANGLADESH,,,,, people must recognise RSS contribution in CHINA war,,,,,,,,,,,,RSS saved GOA from portugese,,,,,,,,,,,support RSS means saving INDIA
                    Reply
                    1. G
                      G M
                      Sep 15, 2015 at 11:32 am
                      R.S.S. is mother of all organisation which are dedicated to certain narrow minded selfserviant goal. Ram Madhav engaging us in cover up exercise. Wrong doings of rightists can be neutralised by equal and apposite leftists.It's a wake up call time for communists. Capitalism with it's negativity is at it's peake. People are attracted towards AAP, RESERVATION and who so ever comes with a short cut idea for parity for parity starved majority. Communist has all the packege inbuilt to offer. Only proper awairness mechanism have to evolve. Communists have to replicate every thing of Sangh Parivar as a Communist Parivar having several sister organisation with multiple office bearers is a attractive recipe for parity starved people of Indian majority. To negotiate the communist failure allegation , we have to say it was U.S.'s capitalist's ( bribed to Gurbachov) conspiracy and nothing else. So it is now or never for Communist and country and people. The sooner the better.
                      Reply
                      1. I
                        iftiindian
                        Sep 15, 2015 at 2:35 pm
                        What a joke you have cracked Mr.Madhav a sanghi crook who always keep looking where the vice president Hamid Ansari goes and where doesn't go. Now come to BJP and Sangh relation and government ministers reporting their performances to RSS Boss to get certificate. Mr.Madhav you must understand that elected members are supposed to report to parliament not to privat organisation and any individual. You have every right to criticise Sonia or Manmohan for interface by extra consutional body or individual but it doesn't give you the right to do same thing while in government. You have listed some of the purpose of the Sangh one of these is that promoting social harmony, how hilarious is that! Since when RSS promote harmony can you give any example since its inception? On the contrary it has begotten 40 organisations to break the fabric of social harmony which used to be the one of the ets and strength of India.and you know your first apostle of harmony was Nathu Godse who killed Mahatma hi and the organisations begotten by RSS busy in committing communal terrorism day in and day out.
                        Reply
                        1. I
                          indian
                          Sep 15, 2015 at 4:12 pm
                          RSS seems to change its character very easily - sometimes it is a cultural organisation, sometimes a NGO, sometimes a political mentor - but always uming only it knows what is best for the nation.
                          Reply
                          1. G
                            George Cruz
                            Sep 15, 2015 at 8:58 am
                            This is an excellent article which highlights the issues that are dear to the RSS’s heart — National security (that includes Kashmir and the Northeast), economy (especially in the light of Swadeshi), social harmony (that deals with SC and ST welfare issues) and education (with focus on values, etc).
                            Reply
                            1. J
                              JM
                              Sep 17, 2015 at 1:15 am
                              madhav you can say what you want. You can keep saying what you want for the next 3.5 years till your govt's fuse is pulled by the people of India.
                              Reply
                              1. B
                                BharatK
                                Sep 15, 2015 at 4:57 pm
                                Good job, Shri Ram Mathav. Please write more often. The RSS have every right to councel the govt, they are part of this nation. There are crores of RSS volunteers and crores of supporters. Are not they citizens of Bharat/India? RSS-bashing, Hindu-bashing, BJP-bashing, Sadhu-bashing are the lucrative busness of sikulars Congress, commmunist, and sikular media. More they bash Hindus, RSS, BJP, Sadhus, more Hindus awaken. So keep up the bashing business.
                                Reply
                                1. J
                                  J
                                  Sep 15, 2015 at 6:13 pm
                                  Excellent article.
                                  Reply
                                  1. K
                                    Kapil
                                    Sep 15, 2015 at 12:33 pm
                                    Sonia controlling Man-Mohan is antinational but RSS controlling Modi is good for the country because RSS is a patriotic organisation which now has started giving a certificate in patriotism and delivers justice with its Senas if you go morally astray. Way to go! With complete majority, these marginalised 'Hindu' leaders have now got a voice and print. Every time i hear them, I feel we should have a centralised Hindu leadership with a capable Guru leading us rather then these ad-hoc bhakts.
                                    Reply
                                    1. K
                                      kewalchand
                                      Sep 15, 2015 at 9:23 pm
                                      HOLY BIBLE God inspired Bible recommanded eating the flesh of one's loved ones. In the 28th chapter of Deuteronomy it is said," And thou shalt eat yhe flesh of thy sons and daughters. The flesh of children, the tender and delicate women among you" the book of jeremiah chapter 19, it is said, "And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat everyone, the flesh of his friend." In Mathew chapter 10 Jesus Christ says, " I came not to send peace, but sword. I came to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother , and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law." : “When the Missionaries arrived, the Africans had the land and the Missionaries had the Bible. They taught how to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened them, they had the land and we had the Bible” Jomo Kenyatta, First kenyan president. Dear Christian " YEH DIL MANGE MORE?"
                                      Reply
                                      1. K
                                        khaja
                                        Sep 15, 2015 at 3:57 pm
                                        Neither unique nor brotherhood, just a sugar coated poison from the well trained Madhav. A clear message what layman understand is his sympathy with PV, because their kaki caste in a guise of secular man for so long and worked for them as PM. so anyone can understand Madhav's cry for PV. But the w world knew that the most irresponsible PM ever had for Great Nation is PV, under his supervision in a broad daylight Goons of RSS demolished Babri Masjid in front of Indian Army. Anyhow, its not an acheivment at all for either PV or for RSS. Day will come the 1.3 bln people will makes them to exile elsewhere.
                                        Reply
                                        1. A
                                          Ananth
                                          Sep 15, 2015 at 4:27 pm
                                          Ram Madhav is putting in a weak defence. There is a section of people who have been working overtime for the past more than 6 decades to deride anything and everything that is connected with 'Hindus' be that their religion or culture or way of living or their aspirations. Media has extended full cooperation to this section and continues to do so. Now that people have woken up to this campaign there is no necessity to exhibit tolerance towards such a section which has been spearheading the country into adopting debauched way of life. In the name of reforms or rationality they have only directed everything against 'Hindus' alone. Now that an alternative is being adopted they are crying foul and trying to prey on the fears of people or at least creating one. RSS may have to reform and refine their approach to many things to get the Nation going. But that doesn't have to include a soft approach to this section. They should be aggressively confronted and the damage done to the country so far by them fully exposed.
                                          Reply
                                          1. A
                                            Ananth
                                            Sep 15, 2015 at 4:40 pm
                                            So the yardstick is the religion and blaming somebody for his birth and not for his achievements. He made the mistake of redeeming the couWntry from having begging bowls for ever. So surely that was his fault. with this kind of atude who will exile where will soon be known. Why are the people from Syria seeking refuge elsewhere. Only those who are sleeping can be made to awake and not those who feign to sleep. that is the way of the world
                                            Reply
                                            1. Load More Comments