In a bid to make the most of the BJP’s emergence at the Centre and in states, the RSS has expanded its publicity machinery by launching its news service, Hindusthan Samachar, in almost 10 more languages. Significantly, the service, launched by RSS leader S S Apte in 1948, is being expanded keeping in mind the states where BJP wants to expand its footprint. The new languages include Malayalam, Bengali and Assamese.
“We have decided to expand keeping in view the new scenario, in which India as a nation has become stronger (since the NDA came to power at the Centre),” said Lakshmi Narayan Bhala, patron, Hindusthan Samachar.
According to sources, it also intends to start a separate branch to provide video footage to electronic media.
Bhala said the news service, which is entirely web-based, is now available in English, Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Gujarati, Assamese, Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi, Sindhi and Nepali. “We publish some items in Sanskrit, too,” he said. The service would soon be available in Telugu, Urdu and Oriya as well.
“The agency will provide all kinds of news — on politics, economics, crime, films, sports and other events…We will try to give maximum coverage to all events in these fields,” Bhala said. The agency, which has 300 newspapers as subscribers, has 150 regular employees and 500 stringers.
Bhala says the funds to run the service come from the subscription fee.
While Doordarshan and All India Radio already subscribe to the service, other government offices and agencies are expected to follow suit. According to its website, the Bihar government started subscribing to the Hindusthan Samachar in 1951, the Nepal Radio in 1953, DD in 1964 and AIR in 1968. The news service was closed in 1975 during the Emergency. It was restored after the Emergency, but stopped functioning in 1986 “due to unavoidable reasons”, says Bhala. It was resumed again in 2001.
Bhala conceded that the recent expansion is linked to the BJP’s electoral victories. “Ideologically we (the RSS and the BJP) are on the same platform. But we do not take it for granted because they have to speak in a political language,” he said. The choice of languages is significant since the BJP has declared its plan to try and come to power in West Bengal, Assam and Kerala.