The Doordarshan telecast of Mohan Bhagwat’s traditional Vijayadashami address has triggered a mini ‘outrage’ in certain political and intellectual quarters. The government has been pilloried for ‘using majoritarianism’. Those crying murder include cricket writer-turned-historian Ramchandra Guha, whose origins—both ideological and political—lie in anti-RSSism, patronised by a system that practised intellectual fascism.
Formed in 1925, RSS has grown in ideological and physical reach. Intriguingly, the discourse has centred only on RSS as a body, rather than its ideology. But every negative practice carries some positive aspects. The anti-RSS untouchability turned it into an idea whose reach has exceeded its organisational boundaries, something the secularists fail to comprehend.
The outrage at DD’s telecast of Bhagwat’s speech reflects secularists’ twin agony. First, the Sarsanghchalak’s speech carried messages transcending geographical and ideological limits. He raised fundamental questions—erosion of values in life, growing consumerism and its side-effects like deconstruction of the family. Sociological metamorphosis of this degenerative kind is today a world worry. Be it former British PM John Major or Japanese leadership of the 80s and 90s, all had earlier cautioned their societies against becoming individualistic and mechanical and neglecting family.
Bhagwat touched the hearts of common people who find a sea of difference between what they heard from him and the Sangh’s image the patronised intellectuals and media projected. This is uncomfortable for such propagandist intellectuals. Their de-legitimisation, if people begin judging from their own intellect rather than the eyes and ears of durbar intellectuals like Guha, is worrying. People like Guha serve the cause of non-BJP parties, enjoying their patronage in return. Most JNU and Delhi University’s social science faculties, at least till the 90s, were directly or indirectly linked to the Communist parties and Nehruvian ideology. They are anything but independent intellectuals.
Where were these worthies when every second day DD news and private channels aired concocted malice against RSS for its alleged involvement in terrorism? It is this crowd that legitimises such concoction. It is sheer bankruptcy to compare Bhagwat with the Christian clergy or imams. Intellectuals of the Mutual Appreciation Club have blatantly used government agencies, whether DD news or National Book Trust, to promote their ideological siblings. Are these ‘intellectuals’ unaware of the fact that not less than 80 consultants were appointed in Doordarshan by the erstwhile UPA regime with hefty salaries? Most, if not all, belong to the same ‘secularist’ fraternity. Doordarshan has to be professional; if it wants to survive, it has to adhere to the market and the parameters of independent news telecasting.
The RSS’ Vijayadashami function was telecast by prominent private channels. Were they afraid of the Sangh? Most of them are known for their anti-RSS bias. DD acted professionally; morally and legally justified. The same DD news, just before the elections, edited Modi’s interview, deleting some of its parts, obviously upon 10 Janpath’s orders. No ‘intellectual’ then raised the issue of ethics or autonomy.
Bhagwat’s speech is significant from another dimension too. He cautioned the nation against Chinese attempts to destabilise India’s economy by using the tool of dumping. A survey reveals that the maximum negative impact of Chinese dumping is on Muslim artisans and traders. Bhagwat redefined Swadeshi in the present context. Chinese goods, like British goods in 1907, are the curse of the Indian economy. Bhagwat has not opposed legitimate trade between the two countries, but only illegitimate economic activity. The Sangh’s appeal against China naturally angers a section of ‘intellectuals’ who are obliged to Beijing. RSS, however, represents the India of over 10,000 years; not the India after 1947, or the immediate future of five years, but of posterity.
Sinha is Hony. Director of India Policy Foundation