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 Bhartiya Jana Sangh (the 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 in 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 PM took out time from 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. After the BJP Government took over, there has been an increase in the number of books on nationalist ideology and Hinduism being released.
On Friday, RSS vice president Hamid Ansari, along with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, had released the first-ever international edition of ‘Encyclopaedia of Hinduism’, brought out by a private body, India Heritage Research Foundation. Bhagwat said the encyclopaedia would not only help the NRIs learn about Hinduism, but could also be used by the Indians to learn about the religion.
The Encyclopedia, compiled by experts drawn from various fields, took over 25 years to complete. It has been brought by Swami Chidanand Saraswati, a spiritual leader.
On September 29, Bhagwat had released three books on castes written by BJP spokesperson Vijay Shonkar Shastri; Baba Ramdev had released Minister for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises Kalraj Mishra’s book on 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 ensured better brand recall value.
Modi has been carefully choosing the timings of his actions. Earlieron Saturday, he launched ‘Sansad Gram Yojna’, a scheme where an MP will adopt a village for development, on Nanaji’s birth anniversary. It was also anti-corruption icon J P Narayan’s birth anniversary. Similarly, Modi’s address on radio coincided with Vijay Dashmi, which not only carries a symbolic value, but also happen to be the RSS’ foundation day. From releasing books to naming schemes, the 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.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also announced several schemes named after Hindutva icons -- Upadhyaya, Shyama Prasad Mookerjee and Madan Mohan Malviya.