NEW DELHI: History is but a story of a few men. If the Congress thrived on the legacy of Nehru and Gandhi, the BJP is reviving its own set of icons to make people aware of its nationalist ideology.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday released an anthology on writings of Sangh ideologue Nanaji Deshmukh. The grand old man of the saffron family who died at the age of 93 in 2010 is best known as one of the founders of Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJP’s previous avatar), one of first anti-Congress outfits, and for his social and political activism.
Modi recalled his association with Nanaji and his contribution to the country’s polity. “With his superior organisational skills, he was able to change the history of India. While he was in jail during Emergency, he was the only one in favour of contesting elections. He used to send letters to people outside. He created such an atmosphere that history turned out differently.” The Prime Minister took time out of his hectic elections schedule to release the book. “Nanaji even used to work outside Sangh procedures...after reading these books, people can know how Sangh expanded,” Modi added.
Nanaji’s six-volume work—Viraat Purush—was released in a packed Vigyan Bhawan auditorium, in a function attended by RSS functionary Dattatreya Hosabale.
A day earlier Vice President Hamid Ansari along with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat released the first-ever international edition of Encyclopaedia of Hinduism brought out by a private body, India Heritage Research Foundation.
The encyclopedia compiled by experts drawn from various fields took over 25 years to complete. It has been brought by spiritual leader Swami Chidanand Saraswati. Bhagwat said the encyclopaedia will not only help the Indians staying abroad learn about Hinduism, but should also be used by Indians to learn about the religion.
After the BJP government took over, there has been an increase in the number of books on saffron ideology and Hinduism being released.
Earlier, Bhagwat had released three books on castes written by BJP spokesperson Vijay Shonkar Shastri on September 29; Baba Ramdev had released MSME minister Kalraj Mishra’s book Hindutva: Ek Jeevan Shaili; RSS functionary Krishna Gopal had released a book on Mahabharata, written by Suryakant Bali on August 30.
Though most of these book launches were private functions, the presence of Union ministers have ensured better brand recall value.
Modi has been carefully choosing the timings of his actions. Earlier during the day he launched Sansad Gram Yojana, a scheme where an MP will adopt one village for development on Nanaji’s birth anniversary. It was also anti-corruption icon J P Narayan’s birth anniversary.
Similarly, his address on radio coincided with Vijay Dashami, which not only carries a symbolic value but also happened to be RSS’ foundation day. From releasing books to naming schemes, BJP government has been building its own iconography.
Modi has already announced that 2015 will be celebrated as the birth centenary year of Deendayal Upadhyaya to propagate his ideology of integral humanism.
Even Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced several schemes named after Hindutva icons Upadhyaya, Syama Prasad Mookerjee and Madan Mohan Malviya.