May 28, 2005

Is RSS a Terrorist Organization? (Ram Puniyani)

(Issues in Secular Politics - May 2005 II)

Is RSS a Terrorist Organization?

by Ram Puniyani

Terrorism has been witnessed as a horrific phenomenon,
more so in the current times. What is terrorism itself
is a matter of debate at one level and at another the
definition of terrorism changes from person to person,
group to group and country to country.

One does not know as to what criterion the US based
Terrorism Research Center, the US think tank on this
issue, has used but it has gone on to label RSS, the
patriarch of Hindutva organizations, BJP, VHP,
Bajarang dal etc., as a terrorist outfit. RSS shares
this category with other organizations defamed in
different parts of the World as terrorists like Al
Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, Hamas etc. Sangh's (RSS
progeny) own definition and understanding of
terrorists has been summed up by RSS pracharak
(propagator) and current Gujarat Chief Minister,
Narendra Modi in the sentence, "All Muslims are not
terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims!" How come
a Muslim baiter organization itself has been so

It seems from amongst the various definitions floating
around about terrorism, the one stating, killing of
innocent persons for political goals, seems to be the
one followed by this center. It goes without saying
that in this definition generally states are not
included. Lately some states have been called as
terrorist states and BJP had been urging upon US to
declare Pakistan as a terrorist state. Some states
have been listed as terrorists by US itself. We will
not go on to discuss the violence of the state and its
goals, which is quite a complex phenomenon. We will
also not touch upon the bias exercised by those
defining terrorism. In a limited way we follow the
definition, killing of innocents for political goals,
we will try to see whether the assessment of US based
center is true.

It is important to concede here that terrorism emerges
from ideology of groups with specific goals. It is
also important to realize that all those who
manufacture this goal and ideology, which leads to
violence are terrorists or rather they are the real
one's. And if the blame is to be apportioned, they
should be held more responsible before the finger is
pointed to those who use sword, bullets or AK 47 or
who pilot the plane to ram into WTC or the like.

No doubt the RSS pracharks will never even go to pick
up arms, to kill anybody personally. Even in RSS
shakhas training is given only for wielding lathis,
batons. Of course keeping with times RSS progeny
Bajarang dal and Durga vahini have begun to give
training in the use of firearms and VHP is
distributing knives, disguised as trishuls in
thousands, but in RSS shakhas these are no no. Apart
from the lathi wielding the other part of the training
is bauddhik (intellectual). This training is based on
the spread of hatred for minorities, hatred for
secular and democratic values. It goes on to say that
in this nation of Hindus, others, Muslims and
Christians are aliens, also that Communists, Muslims
and Christians are internal threat to Hindu nation.

The venom of hate is tailor made for each community.
Muslims are equated to yavan snakes. Prof Bipan
Chandra narrates his experience in listening to the
shakha training. While on a morning walk he overheard
the young boys attending the shakha being told that
Muslims are like snakes. It is easier to kill a young
snake rather than the grown up one. The message of
this ëintellectual' exercise is too clear. The
inspiration and methods of Hate are picked up from the
Nazi Germany. RSS ideologue Golwalkar articulated it,
"German race pride has now become topic of the day.
To keep up the purity of nation and its culture,
Germany shocked the world by her purging the country
of Semitic races-the Jews. National pride at its
highest has been manifested here. Germany has also
shown how well-neigh impossible it is for races and
cultures having differences going to the root, to be
assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for
us in Hindustan to learn and profit by." (M.S.
Golwalkar, We or Our Nationhood defined, Nagpur 1938

One wondered whether RSS really means it. But to one's
utter shock one was told by a senior RSS ideologue
that if a person of the stature of Gandhi could not
solve the ëMuslim problem', what can the present small
genre of pseudo secularists achieve! As per him (and
apparently as per RSS) there is a single solution to
this problem, what one knows as the "Final Solution"!
This hate ideology, which is drilled in the heads of
young recruits is the base on which the foundation of
communal violence comes up. The RSS's ideology's
outcome first got manifested in Godse's murdering of
Gandhi. Of course RSS never owned the fact that Godse
was trained by RSS and was RSS pracharak before he
decided to join Hindu Mahasabha. His brother Gopal
Godse maintained in different interviews that they
(his brother Nathuram and he himself) had never left
RSS. Most of the inquiry commission reports on the
communal violence (Justice Reddy, Vithayathil,
Venugopal, Madon and others) have shown irrefutably
that their has been a role of some organization
affiliated to or floated by a pracharak of RSS, which
has played crucial role in the violence. The strategy
is very clever, RSS trains and leaves volunteers who
carry on the RSS work, advantage is that the blame of
riots can never come directly on the RSS.

One recalls that after the defeat in 1937 elections,
Muslim League and Hindu Mahsabha stepped up their Hate
other campaigns as they could not win the elections on
the appeal of their religion. RSS was also part of
hate other campaign stepped up at this time. These
poisonous seeds of hatred were dormant and are bearing
the poisonous fruits more so after the decade of 1980.
This hate other ideology passes through different
conveyor belts and its final stop is that where the
poor gullible sections take up arms, intoxicated by
the opium of hate ideology which is laced in the
language of religion for desired effect.

Every terrorist outfit has its own agenda. Al Qaeda
was trained by CIA via Pakistan to throw away the
Socialist Russia's occupation of Afghanistan. LTTE is
a reaction the Sinahala domination of Tamils,
Khalistainis were the expression of deeper
dissatisfaction of Sikh masses on economic and ethnic
grounds, ULFA again is the expression ethnic problem
handled in an insensitive way and so on and so forth.
RSS and Muslim League in pre-partition times were the
expression of the fears of feudal elements that their
norms and values are under threat in the wake of
modern education, industrialization and the values of
Liberty, Equality and fraternity becoming the major
ideology of the struggling masses. The same fear,
existential anxiety, of another middle classes has got
crystallized in the politics of RSS. And this is the
coming up of dalits and women demanding social and
gender justice themselves. Whatever is the deeper
societal agenda, RSS methods and mechanisms of action
do give rise to the VHPs, Bajarang dals and Durga
Vahinis. It is probably this deeper understanding of
the dynamics of RSS functioning which must have
prompted the research center to label it as a
terrorist organization.

RSS training is on twin tracks. One is the physical
one, games and all that. The second is the bauddhik
one. It is the latter which motivates its progeny to
incite people to take up arms and kill the ëother',
the ëenemy' in the ruthless fashion. The anatomy of a
riot, violence, is very interesting and complex both
at the same time. How the average dalit, adivasi,
worker with empty stomach and non existent future is
mobilized as the foot soldier of RSS agenda, is
something social scientists have to explain. RSS
pracharak may be at the same time sitting and giving a
quiet discourse on Hindu values, Hindu rashtra while
RSS ideology will grip the section of population to
unleash violence, to kill the innocents. It does
achieve the political goal of consolidation of section
of Hindus behind RSS; it does make them come back to
power or to consolidate their power. The definition
with which we began was killing of innocents for power
or political agenda is terrorism. And that's precisely
what RSS work does.

The only point of overt confusion some times can be
that unlike Osama, or the AK 47 weilding terrorist in
parts of the World, RSS volunteer will appear to be
the apostle of quietness. And this is the wiliest and
cleverest part of RSS operation. To achieve its goal,
to get the minorities beaten and killed without taking
up the arms oneself. The violence is leased out by
clever social and psychological manipulation. In that
sense AK 47 may miss the target but a mind poisoned
and initiated by Hate ideology propagated by RSS will
come out as violence some time or the other, here or
there, it's just a question of time. Culture, the
cloak of cultural organization is the most cleverly
disguised cover for the terrorist goals of this
organization. This terrorist outfit kills many birds
in a single stone, the birds being minorities and
weaker sections of society. But of course there will
be much noise that the name of RSS should be taken off
from the list of this research center. In case of RSS,
this outfits' culture is the terror for large sections
of minorities and weaker sections of society in India.