NEW DELHI: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has decided to embark upon a major global outreach to break free from the ‘image-trap’ of being a Hindu supremacist organisation.
An elaborate plan has been chalked out for an intensive interaction and engagement with political leaders, academics, authors, mediapersons and influencers, besides partnering with think tanks and research organisations to organise conferences and symposiums to project RSS as a nationalistic organisation engaged in social work and working for ‘Indian cultural renaissance’ and ‘national reconstruction’.
As per the decision taken by the top leadership, but not yet made public, 50 countries have been identified across Americas, Africa and Asia.
A team, comprising former diplomats, academics, politicians and Sangh pracharaks belonging to a large number Indian and overseas affiliates of the RSS, is proposed to be set up to “counter the canards” and carry out this image-building exercise, according to sources in the RSS.
The RSS decision has come close to, and seems influenced by, a virtual conference of unprecedented scale, co-sponsored by departments of over 50 top US universities, including Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Cornell, New York University, and Northwestern University, and supported by scholars from Columbia University, John Hopkins University, UC Berkeley, UCLA, others on the rise of Hindutva.
Participants at the three-day conference titled ‘Dismantling Global Hindutva’ held in September this year described Hindutva as a political ideology that privileges a cult of personality and authoritarian leadership and that the core belief of the RSS’ Hindutva is that “India’s national identity should be synonymous with a Hindu identity.”
Bhagwat’s pitch on Muslims
At the core of the RSS counter will be showcasing the “progressive moderation” and “universal theme” of its chief Mohan Bhagwat’s two recent messages. One, “The DNA of all Indians is the same irrespective of religion,” and two, “If anyone says that Muslims should not stay in India then he is not a Hindu.”