New Delhi: A long-term solution to incidents of rape and other crimes against women lies in the family system that can “discipline the hormonal surges and the vagaries of the minds of young people”, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has said.
It has also expressed concern about the increasing number of divorce cases in India and blamed them on the “westernisation” of people, especially the educated class.
These views of the RSS, the ideological patron of the ruling BJP, come in a book titled ‘The RSS: Roadmaps for the 21st Century‘, written by Sunil Ambekar, the national organising secretary of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the Sangh’s student wing.
Published by Rupa Publications, the book will be launched by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on 1 October, Tuesday.
Here are some ‘insights’ from the book.
On ‘rape capital’ Delhi
The book points to the “global media” claim that Delhi is “the rape capital of the world”, and says statistics do not support the statement.
“The UK’s crime rate against women is 36.44/lakh and the US’ is 35.85/lakh while India is at 5.7/lakh, according to the data sources from United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC),” the book says.
Saying that India has to demonstrate “high levels of virtue”, it urges families to perform their role of guardianship efficiently. “The Sangh calls upon society to strengthen the family system through inculcation of proper values to prevent crimes. This alone is the long-term solution. Only a close-knit family can discipline the hormonal surges and the vagaries of the minds of young people and give them a certain direction,” the author writes.
Terming divorce one of the few “flaws” that have emerged within Indian families and society, the book expresses concern over the increasing number of broken marriages in the country.
“…Beginning of this disturbing trend (divorce) is now being witnessed in India as well. Those who call themselves ‘modern’ often present family as a structure of bondage, or as a leash that encumbers freedom,” the author states.
“Not surprisingly then, some problems have arisen in India. Although the divorce rate is still less than 1 per cent, big cities steeped in Westernisation are reporting a spike,” he adds.
The increase in the number of divorces is being reflected “particularly among the educated classes, which are exposed to Western concepts in a big measure”.
“Other social issues, too, have cropped up, like abandoned, illegitimate children, sending elderly parents to old-age homes, live-in relationships and dysfunctional marriages,” it says.
The book also weighs in on feminists and feminism, and says the Sangh believes in the equality of women. It acknowledges that women have had to suffer “grave attacks”, but says feminism failed when it was imported as a diagnostic tool to assess the situation in the Indian context.
One of the reasons it failed was due to its “fault-line approach and a fundamental alteration in the idea of Indian womanhood”, says Ambekar.
“For them, the nature-defined role of women as mothers and carers was a model of femininity based on a patriarchal past, like cages associated with a gendered identity,” he adds.
“Feminism is the language of male oppression and class struggle and it shows no flexibility to account for diverse experiences…. The hippie culture of the West in the 60s and 70s became the coda of this stream of thought,” the book says.
Ambekar goes on to say that Indian women felt uneasy with the Western feminist thinkers and their tropes and “whatever pretensions it had as an academic discipline soon degenerated into a fad and reckless lifestyle choices”.
“Unfortunately, this has taken hold among certain sections of our society and university campuses, where feminist paraphernalia of Woodstock symbolisms are considered as rites of passage for being considered progressive,” he adds.
On live-in relationships
Live-in relationships, the book says, are much discussed these days because couples want to stay together and get to know each other before getting married. However, it says, the system has led to “huge social questions”.
“What about the children who are begotten out of wedlock. What happens when these relationships fall apart owing to disputes and attendant complications,” Ambekar asks. “There are no answers.”
At the same time, the book says, the Sangh believes that “inter-caste marriages should not become a flashpoint” and if two people want to get married, their parents should bless the union.
On Ram Janmabhoomi
The contentious Ram temple issue also finds a mention in the book as the author reiterates the RSS’ commitment to its construction.
“Lord Ram’s temple at his birthplace in Ayodhya was desecrated by invading Mughal hordes. Archaeology proves it,” Ambekar says. “Hence, a magnificent Ram temple at the janmasthan, his birthplace is Ayodhya, is of paramount importance.”
“It should be constructed within the constitutional framework; the contestation over land rights is being argued before the courts and the Hindu society has waited patiently,” he adds.
Ambekar then claims that Muslims “draw their ancestry from Lord Ram” as well. “This is a historical fact. It is historical forgetfulness, which has made them disassociate themselves from this lineage,” he says.
Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it
India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.
But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.
ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.