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Four years of Narendra Modi have not just failed India’s middle class but also the RSS

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The disappointment of the RSS goes beyond Article 370, Uniform Civil Code, Ram Mandir or differences in economic policy.

The unhappiness of traders, farmers, minorities, Dalits and the unemployed with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah, have been discussed widely.

But one of the government’s biggest, but least debated failures, is its inability to fulfil the aspirations of its ideological parent, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS). The organisation lent enormous support to the BJP before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, not just to ensure a political victory for the party but also for itself to be strengthened.

The disappointment of the RSS goes beyond Article 370, Uniform Civil Code, Ram Mandir or the differences in economic policy, over which the RSS leaders have criticised BJP’s decisions several times.

The real problem between the BJP and RSS is much deeper. When the BJP came to power in 2014 on the agenda of development, the RSS too pinned its hope on a progressive roadmap for safeguarding Hinduism. The issue of religious conversion is at the heart of the work that many of the RSS outfits engaged in. A major factor for religious conversions in tribal areas and the northeast is the quality service provided by Christian missionaries. RSS members have often said that the Indian state has failed to provide quality education, healthcare and other services, ceding ground to the missionaries’ activities. The missionaries went on to build schools of superb quality, beating most other private schools in vast parts of the country. The schools and hospitals they opened in the jungles of Jharkhand and in the northeastern states boosted religious conversions.

Functionaries of the RSS realised long ago that the only legitimate way to counter this was for either the state to provide basic amenities to people or for the Sangh to take over the mandate and compete in the provision of services.

This is where the RSS expected the Modi-led BJP government to help.

The RSS runs several volunteer organisations and NGOs in the field of education, healthcare and livelihood. Seva Bharati, an NGO established by RSS Sarsanghachalak Balasaheb Deoras in 1979 has actively been working among the most socio-economically marginalised sections of society. The RSS-backed Vidya Bharati operates the largest network of private schools in the country and has been running schools since 1977. Despite operating over 12,000 schools like Saraswati Shishu Mandir and Saraswati Vidya Mandir, they have failed to have widespread impact. This is because of the huge gap in the quality of services delivered and the available funds between the missionary-run institutions and the Sangh.

Modi himself commented on the inferior quality of Sangh-backed institutions and expressed his desire for better quality Vidya Bharati schools when he addressed a conclave of principals of schools run by Vidya Bharati Akhil Bharatiya Shiksha Sansthan in early 2016.

To compete with the quality of other private institutions, a large section of the RSS had hoped that the Modi government would help them with funding with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds and through government schemes. Both BJP and RSS members spoke about setting up Sangh-backed model schools and hospitals in every district of India. The presence of people like Wipro chairman Azim Premji at Rashtriya Sewa Sangam, a conclave of NGOs convened by the RSS in 2015, seemed to be a step in this direction. A meeting between Ratan Tata and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat to discuss social work initiatives also raised people’s expectations. Unfortunately for the Sangh, not much materialised after these meetings.

The hope for such measures was alive well into 2017. But now even the conversations around this issue have disappeared in the RSS-BJP circles. In the polarised run-up to the 2019 election, there is little hope of such positive agenda ever returning to the hearts and minds of RSS karyakartas.

It’s becoming increasingly clear now that the BJP’s political agenda has dwarfed any positive agenda that the RSS had developed in the run-up to the 2014 elections. Instead of strengthening its own institutions, the goal has become to demonise Muslims and Christians so that a unified Hindu vote bank can be built. This is the true failure of Modi-Shah.

Shivam Shankar Singh handled data analytics for the BJP’s poll campaigns in the northeast, is a 2015-16 Legislative Assistants to Members of Parliament (LAMP) Fellow, and an alumnus of University of Michigan, where he studied economics.

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  1. There is another white skin intellectual around.
    The writer is well advised to go through his detailed research on RSS well documented in “RSS – A VIEW TO THE INSIDE”.

  2. Modi has made too many mistakes to venture a comeback ….his biggest drawback lies in his temperament. His foolishly arrogant stance has cost him very dear and today he stands totally exposed as an arrogant boastful man , who’s narcissism leads him to dismiss every would be challenger contemptously .
    The same self congratulatory habit prevents him from seeing his own flaws and those same flaws will now come back to bite him in this election year.
    The truth is that in the last 50 yrs no PM has been so intensely disliked as NaMo.
    His achievements total close to a cypher…most of the touted wins are photo ops and propaganda, crony capitalism has been taken to new blatant shameless heights, the one achievement that can be credited to this Govt is the Bankruptcy Law which now in hind sight was more to please his rich friends than to do the nation any good altho it has benefitted many businesses and will continue to do so.
    Other than that all he can be “credited” with is the spread of divisions and insane hatred .This man has dingle handedly taken India back 500 when every state fought another and we were just a bunch of diff tribes and castes and religions constantly fighting one another….the credit for all this goes only and only to Narendra Modi and Amit Shah.
    RSS has done a huge wrong to India and now the onus is on them to right this …..they created this man , now it is up to them to reel him in.

  3. Both RSS and BJP are support cronny capitalism. It is cristal clear from the fact that our proud PM said that he does not hesitate to stand with capitalists. He doesn’t represent poor, deprived and labour. Both organisations are against equality. justice, inclusion.








  5. RSS is fundamentally incorrect in it’s outlook. It wants to create schools and other institutions to counter conversions whereas the goal should have been to create schools that provide modern education and cultivate a progressive , rational outlook in the students .

  6. Prof PK Sharma, Freelance Journalist,Barnala(Punjab)

    Ironically, the fact cannot be denied that a golden opportunity that did come Mr.Narendra Modi’s way by chance was frittered away whereas he could have delivered on selective issues and in the process could have gone in for slow and steady public confidence building measures !

    With absolute majority in his bag, he should have taken two state welfare concepts of affordable quality education and affordable health care system under hand as the top most priorities in the first instance !

    He opened different fronts recklessly and swiftly not bothering to justify any one of them. Demonetisation was his biggest flop show and blunder which resulted in many pitfalls ! More than one hundred loss of lives, common people subjected to untold hardships and miseries and loss of employment instead of generation of new jobs and employment ! Ultimately, the unearthing of black money drive
    alluded NaMo ‘s scheme of things ! The GST decision too did not yield desired results as it was ill-planned,ill-conceived and ill-executed decision. The handling of insurgency and trans border terrorism and foreign policy too left much to be desired !

    Moreover, whatever decision he took was taken as a populist measure eyeing second term in the office ! No doubt, his ploys, rhetorics and eloquence did work wonders during the election campaign of 2014 Lok Sabha Polls ! But now on the contrary, he stands miserably
    exposed because ground realities present a dismal picture resulting in to a public trust deficit and credibility crisis !

    Then he never took any pains to solicit opposition parties’ cooperation to work cordially and smoothly to govern the nation! Ensuring consensus and common opinion in issues of vital national importance in running the nation could have made things easier for him,
    He resorted to the path of conflict and confrontation which went a long way in vitiating the atmosphere in the country !

    Now it is too late to make amends ! NaMo is himself to blame for this sad state of affairs none else at all !

    Prof PK Sharma,Freelance Journalist
    Pom Anm Nest,Barnala (Punjab)

  7. The ultimate solution is to accept a model such as “RASTRIYA GARIB SASHKTIKATAN YOJNA FUND which enables each of 11crore poor family to get minimum Rs 6LAC guarantee fund and RUPEES 5000 per month pension through a unique combination of CSR Ammendment to link the fund with 10%EQUITY of Corporates by economic viable benefits to corporates , eg Reduction in corporate tax, long term capital gain tax etc. and Black Money in Assets Transactions through “POVERTY UNMULAN BOND S” of 10year with 2%interest as In Gold Bond. It can take off with 11crore poor families list already prepared. All Insurance Premiums for Mediclaim, Natural Calamity loss, education fees can be sourced from the fund after 6lac Threshold value of the fund is reached (with Government help+Savings of family).
    Joint membership of Related FAMILIES can avail as big as 60lac Guarantee fund for starting SME, HIGH TECH FARMING ETC
    Kashmir and Naxal violence can end with peace condition attached for activation of fund to the area.
    Farmers suicide problems and loans waiver issues are solved.
    When Government and Corporates can not sustain high Salary Bill, Solution to Unemployment is only possible through this RGSY GUARANTEE FUND Article by Jagdip Merchant, Cocontestant with Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and Atalvihari Bajpaiji in Gujarat. More details on Google

  8. Each important stakeholder would have different expectations from the government, judge its achievements differently as well. However, the major expectation from this government was a realistic, achievable version of Achhe Din. Eight per cent economic growth – not created by statistical sleight of hand -, which would have required deep economic reforms, as well as decisive action on several fronts like NPAs in the banking system. A conscious effort to maintain social harmony. On foreign relations, the recent magisterial column by a senior journalist shows how little has been achieved. Keeping the institutions of democracy safe and robust. Harmonising different political parties in pursuit of genuine cooperative federalism. A lot more could have been achieved, with such a decisive mandate.

  9. I think the proportion of Christians in India’s population – about 1.5% – has barely budged since independence. Nor did British rule give it a huge push.

  10. This is true that this RSS is different from what was before 2014. Because this RSS must take the responsibility of wrong deeds of this government. This Government is responsible for dirting the RSS by all possible way. There is no easy way of cleaning like Ganga. Once ex Sur SanghChalak Late Shri Kup. S. Sudarshan personally told me that RSS is like a Ganga River and any one who takes a dip washes off sins. As a result of dirty policies and politics the RSS has become dirty like Ganga.

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