He called upon all progressive organisations to set aside all their differences and work towards “unmasking the designs of regressive forces trying to impose Varnashrama Dharma on India”
Syed Ali Mujtaba | Clarion India
A new book on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) titled “RSS Aala, Agala” (RSS- The Depth and Breadth) by a prominent Kannada writer, Devanur Mahadeva, which takes a critical look at the ideology of the RSS, warns of the dangers the outfit poses to the Constitution and Federalism in India.
The author identifies three ideological planks of the RSS that it wants to impose on the country through its political wing, the BJP. The first submission the author makes in the book is that the RSS is in disagreement with the Constitution of India and replaces it with a constitution that may have its own vision document.
The RSS on January 1, 1993, published a white paper that denounces the constitution of India and called it “anti-Hindu.” They rejected the Indian Constitution on the ground that the it is foreign-oriented, and hence needs to be discarded completely.
The saffron outfit also disagrees with the Constitution because it favours federalism. The RSS, on the contrary, likes to see India as a totalitarian state where states will serve only symbolic purposes.
The author feels there are a series of developments that is taking place under the BJP rule that indicates the banality of the Indian constitution and the federal character of the Indian Union.
The second submission the author makes is that the RSS wants to impose the Varnashrama Dharma and Manusmriti code on whole of India. While Varnashrama Dharma is about the duties a Hindu should fulfill depending on his/her stage in life and within the caste hierarchy, Manusmriti is a treatise that contains ideas as to how a Hindu society should be organised. The author calls the majority of RSS members ‘Manuvaadis.’
The third submission of the author is the imposition of the supremacy of the Aryan race on the whole of India. This in other words means the supremacy of Brahmins as they are Aryas (the enlightened) and it also means the supremacy of the Hindu people over other religious groups in India. The author says, “Bhagavad Gita is an instrument of slavery.”
Mr. Mahadeva wrote in the preface, “This book is an attempt to “critically observe the true nature and objective of RSS.” He says he has made an attempt to present to people “the difference in the perception of the RSS organization and its true colors”.
The author gives examples like the recent textbook revision and the Anti-conversion Bill as steps towards imposing these three ideological paradigms of the RSS on society. He asserts that the real control of India is at the hands of those sitting at the RSS headquarters in Nagpur.
He called upon all progressive organisations to set aside all their differences and work towards “unmasking the designs of regressive forces trying to impose Varnashrama Dharma on India.”
The book has a separate chapter on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and calls him “Utsav Murthy” (Celebration Deity). This expression is self-explanatory as the Indian Prime Minister believes in event creation where he has to be at the centre of the event and where he alone grabs the attention of the camera frame and shares it with none.
The content of the book has generated controversy because the clouds of Hindutva are hovering over the country and particularly Karnataka. The book has become a pain in the neck for Hindutva forces. These elements are calling the book propaganda stuff and questioning the timing of the book which is coming at a time when the Karnataka Assembly elections are due in 2023. They are talking about banning the book and lodging a case against the author Devanur Mahadeva. Those supporting the author have called the book an expression of free speech.
As a result of the controversial nature of the book, it has become a talking point mostly among the youth. The popularity of the book among the youth who are buying it in record numbers gives a ray of hope that the idea of India is still alive, if not kicking.
The book “RSS: Aala Mattu Agala” is a slim booklet, of just 72 pages. Priced at just Rs 40, the book has so far, sold over 40,000 copies. Industry insiders say the book may even cross the one lakh mark in the coming months. The record sale of the book has brought smiles on the face of the publishers who were sulking due to lack of apathy towards buying and reading a printed book.
The book has also reinvented the publishing model in Kannada, creating a new enthusiasm in the sector, which had taken a beating during the pandemic over the last two years. It has six publishers who initially printed 9,000 copies. Gauri Media Trust, named after the slain journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh is also one of the publishers. All copies are sold out and publishers are publishing the book on a large scale. The book is also set for multiple translations. It is now made ready for translation into five languages: Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Hindi, and English.
Commenting on his book, the author, Devanur Mahadeva, said, “My inner conscience was in a dilemma, and I decided to pacify it by expressing it, and that’s why I decided to write the book – “RSS Aala, Agala” (RSS- The Depth and Breadth).
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org