Saturday, 2 July, 2022
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Rahul Gandhi is right: India’s RSS is a lot like the Muslim Brotherhood

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But what has the Congress done to counter it all these years? 

Founded in Egypt in 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood is an Islamist organisation. It differs from jihadist organisations like al-Qaeda and ISIS in that it does not seek a violent revolution across borders to establish a Muslim ummah. Instead, the Muslim Brotherhood is okay with both democracy and the nation-state.

The central idea of the Muslim Brotherhood is to work with and through society, spreading its ideology among people. This will, in due course, help it capture state institutions through perfectly democratic means and then establish a theocratic state.

Rahul Gandhi was thus not wrong when he compared Muslim Brotherhood to India’s Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS). Speaking in London, Rahul said, “RSS is trying to change the nature of India. Other parties haven’t tried to capture India’s institutions. RSS’ idea is similar to the idea of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab world… And the idea is that one ideology should run through every single institution; one idea should crush all other ideas.”

Also read: How many light bulbs does it take to change Rahul Gandhi?

Clarifying his statement to a news agency, Gandhi said, “Both organisations were founded in 1920s, both organisations view the electoral process as a means to capture. Muslim Brotherhood was banned after Anwar Sadat’s assassination, and the RSS too was banned after Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination. Women are not allowed in either of these organisations. So, there are tremendous similarities between both the organisations.”

Striking similarities

The similarities in their outlook and strategies are actually striking. They both have the same objective: uniting people on the lines of the majority religious group and establishing the hegemony of that religious group over society and state alike.

Both Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and the RSS organise men for social action that is actually political. If the RSS runs shakhas, the MB runs sports clubs. Both run schools and do social service.

They both think long-term, ground up. They both seek to change hearts and minds in favour of their ideology. The MB’s strategy of “tarbiyya” (preaching and educating) sounds similar to that of the RSS, which spreads its message through shakhas and the Saraswati Shishu Mandirs alike. Both seek to change the outlook of individuals, then families, and subsequently of society at large.

They have both been banned off and on, although the MB has been banned far more often. Both the RSS and the MB show great flexibility, allying with liberals and secularists today, taking to violence tomorrow, and then shunning violence for mainstream acceptance.

There are differences, of course. The RSS did not participate in the Indian freedom movement, whereas the MB got quickly drawn into the Egyptian freedom movement against British colonial rule. For the MB, getting Egypt rid of the British rule was part of its anti-Western agenda, which continues even today. Yet, the RSS was also shaped by the colonial experience. The RSS website states the British “attempted to subvert the Hindu mind”. According to the RSS, British colonial rule used English education to indoctrinate Hindus into thinking that they were a “dying race” needed to be saved by Westernisation. This feeling of a colonial assault on religious identity is shared between the MB and the RSS.

Also readThe hypocrisy of Rahul Gandhi invoking Guru Nanak in front of NRIs in Berlin

Both the MB and the RSS have been accused of using violence as a political means, especially against religious minorities. Both deny the charges and are seen as taking recourse to plausible deniability.

Their outlook towards religious minorities is similar. Both present religious minorities as having extra privileges, appeased by the secularists, and a threat to the religious majority to whom the nation rightfully belongs. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, for instance, feels that the country’s Coptic Christians should pay a jizya tax since they are exempt from compulsory military service.

The MB also regularly doubts if the religious minorities are patriotic. Like the RSS, the MB is accused of fanning the fire of hate against religious minorities. Both love conspiracy theories.

Political proxies

When Sardar Patel lifted the ban on the RSS, he made them promise they won’t participate in politics. So, the RSS claims to be a cultural organisation, but it by-passed this problem by creating a political front, the Jana Sangh, which later became the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Similarly, religious groups were barred from contesting elections in Egypt until 2011. To bypass this, the Muslim Brotherhood created a political front, the Freedom and Justice Party, which first claimed it wouldn’t contest elections but then it did.

As a result, Mohamed Morsi became the first democratically elected president of Egypt in 2012. A year later, the army removed him in a military coup amid widespread protests. The protests were on economic issues but also against the “Brotherhoodisation” of Egypt – the increasing Islamisation of the country and the government, and the MB’s capture of state institutions.

This is again similar to how the RSS puts its own people into institutions big and small when the BJP comes to power, seeking the dominance of its ideology on state and society.

Also read: If Rahul Gandhi can be cornered for 1984, why not Narendra Modi for 2002?

The RSS’ commitment to democracy and fundamental rights is often doubted, although it claims to believe in democracy. Similarly, many fear that the Muslim Brotherhood will give up its commitment to democracy once it captures power. After all, their slogan is “Islam is the solution” and they openly seek to establish Sharia, or Islamic law. This is similar to how the RSS wants to make India a ‘Hindu Rashtra’, while claiming to be committed to the Constitution of India, which is inherently non-religious and secular.

What did Congress do?

Rahul is right in comparing the MB to the RSS, but he also needs to explain what his party has done to counter the RSS’s slow Hindutvaisation of Indian society. For 10 years, Rahul’s party ruled at the Centre, but what did it do? His father, Rajiv Gandhi, and then the next Congress prime minister Narasimha Rao gave in to the RSS-BJP blackmail in Ayodhya. Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee, former President of India, recently went to the RSS headquarters and described RSS founder Keshav Baliram Hedgewar as a “great son of Mother India”.

Maybe Rahul could learn some lessons from Egypt’s crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood, or perhaps it’s too late for that since the RSS’ political front, the BJP, has managed to establish complete political hegemony.

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  1. When the author says that the MB doesn’t have a violent ideology, his appalling lack of knowledge of the history of the MB gets brutally exposed. The MB is a murderous and violent politico islamist movement that uses democracy as a smokescreen to propagate its more nefarious designs like ethnic cleansing of Shias, Chistians and anyone who doesn’t conform to a monochrome interpretation of Sunni Islam. The MB calls for the violent overthrow of all monarchies in the Islamic world. The MB ran a terror machine in Syria in the 70s for close to 7 years befor the Hafeez Al Assad goverment crushed them in 1982 in Hama. Which world does Shivam Vij live in??

  2. The Print is an ideology driven mouthpiece and its writings are obiviously non objective.
    Print misses the basics i.e
    1) Hindus have never ruled over others and have no expansionist gene in their blood. Rather they have been slaves for more than nine centuries. They lived a cowardly life and it is only after independence that with increased education they have learnt the value of self respect and of Equality.
    Thus Hindus Ethnic Cleansing perperated by Muslims in Kashmir Valley is sending shivers in their spine and the very idea of India as a Secular state is threatened. This reaction is for restoration of Equality and their self respect. Hindus can never think of trampling rights of anyone unlike others.

    • Fanatics among Hindus are no different from their counterparts in other communities. Unlike mainstream Hindus, they continue to trample rights of others and bring shame to Hinduism in the name of “Hindu Heet”. They are the biggest enemies of Hindus than any other group.

  3. नीम हकीम खतरे जान, ,,, Little knowledge dangerous more.

    लेखक का प्रयास ऐसा ही है,लगता यही है कि सस्ती लोकप्रियता पाने के लिए उत्साहित होकर चाटुकारिता की बेहतरीन ढोंग का प्रदर्शन ।
    एक नारा लगता है , चम्पू कहता है ,आगे बढ़ो,हम तुम्हारे साथ है,किराये की भीड़ वहीं दोहराती है। प्रिंट,और इलेक्ट्रॉनिक मीडिया पर आज कल इसी की भरमार है।
    लेखक महोदय को एक फायदा शायद मिल जाये,जैसा पिछले कई सालों से दिखाई पड़ रहा है।
    बहुत से पत्रकार और कालम लिखने वाले इस तरह के प्रयास से राजनीति में आते हैं

    मध्य पूर्व और भारतीय उपमहाद्वीप में बहुत असमानताये है, जिनका प्रभाव वहां के समाज,और अन्य हिस्सों पर पड़ता है, अधिक विवरण के लिए स्थान का अभाव है, वरना जन-मानस के लिये विस्तार से इस पर साक्ष्यों सहित विवेचना देते। मध्य पूर्व से उत्पन्न मूसा और ईशा सदियों से अपनी चौधराहट के लिये लड़ते रहे,आज भी वही हाल है,केवल स्थिती बदल गयी है।
    तुलनात्मक अध्ययन मनन करने के पश्चात कालम लिखते, अच्छा होता! यह ऐसा ही है जैसा महाराणा प्रताप के उपर अकबर को उनके दरबारी और फिर कम्युनिस्ट इतिहासकार दिखाते और लिखते रहे।

  4. I agree with Shivam Vij, he is right – RSS is a lot like Muslim Brotherhood only if he accepts that he is a lot like Kumar Ketkar and ‘The Print’ is a lot like ‘National Herald’.

  5. 1. RSS claims to be a non-political organisation. It is well-known that through a number of non government institutions, often referred to as ‘Sangh Pariwar’, RSS has rapidly expanded its sphere of activities and influence in all parts of our country. 2. What is the ‘Mission and Vision Statement” of RSS? Website of RSS says that ‘Bharat or India must stand before the world as a self-confident, resurgent and mighty nation.’ No one may find anything wrong with this objective. What then is the objectionable part of RSS activities? Those opposed to RSS may say that for RSS, democracy is not an essential attribute or characteristic of a ‘self-confident, resurgent and mighty’ Bharat. Can it then be argued that for RSS, freedom to express views and act accordingly is not a fundamental freedom? Perhaps thinking is that such freedom comes in way of building a mighty Bharat as RSS sees it. From this perspective, can one prove that RSS is anti-democracy? 4. Question then is whether Congress and other anti-BJP parties would be in a position to fight RSS ideology and politics of BJP on basis of their so-called secular credentials. Answer to this is not simple. My observation is that if anti-BJP parties are concerned about future of secular democracy in our country, it won’t be easy for them to politically counter RSS ideology & politics of BJP on basis of their weak secular foundations. They have to rethink their strategies and work hard to convince voters that they will indeed protect interests of all sections of society, take firm steps against corruption and make efforts to build a resurgent nation which is entirely different from that perceived by RSS.

  6. ‘Both the MB and the RSS have been accused of using violence as a political means’
    ‘They have both been banned off and on’
    ‘The RSS’ commitment to democracy and fundamental rights is often doubted’ (similar to MB)
    These are some of the reasons why the writer thinks RSS is similar to MB, that shows the mediocrity of analysis. If you are looking for meaningful analysis delving into the ideology, organisation and activities of the organisation, you will be disappointed. Superficial similarities can exist between many socio cultural organisations, understanding the ideology and their impact on people will reveal the difference. There is a reason RSS can create men like Vajpayee, Modi and Manohar Parrikar. The writer should have done more research, this article is full of superficial similarities which are mostly irrelevant and some factually incorrect.

  7. So is the Christian-brotherhood too, they too have the similar thoughts. But RSS never takes on its ideology with violence, inducements and conversion tactics. Another difference is that unlike others, RSS never talks about world domination and rather restricts itself withing India.

    • Sangh Parivar is hydra-headed, multi-armed and multi-tongued. While one organization of the Parivar may claim to be tolerant / secular / working for peace and harmony within communities, another will bay for blood for not following their narrow idea of Hinduism. And all such different units coexist under one central command.

  8. The author ought to know that RSS as a cultural organisation is not into politics and saves culture of the country from being diluted with conversions and every anti majority backlash. We see this secular liberals like author attack anything hindu these days, like Diwali crackers or Rakshabandhan thread. If RSS was not these these people would have made our country another volony for the ford foundations of the world

    • Few corrections. Secular Hindu liberals attack anything that is “Hindu extremism” which harms the Hindu society and abuses its tolerant culture.

  9. There is heaven and hell difference between Hinduism and Mohammedanism, which is demonstrated by the fact that an overly devout Hindu is a mendicant living on alms while an overly devout Mohammedan is a jehadi baying for infidel blood. Similarly, RSS can never be mirror image of a Mohammedan organization.

    • Poor understanding! Are gau terrorists, bomb-making Sanatan Sadhaks or fanatics of Abhinav Bharat, Sriram Sene, Bajrang Dal, VHP, Yuva Vahini, Shiv Pratishthan, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti etc or some hard-liner Sadhu-Sadhvi-Yogis overly devout Mohammedan jehadis who are baying for infidel blood?

  10. शानदार विवरण दिया गया है।सच में हम धर्म,कट्टर राष्ट्रवाद के नाम पर कहीं मानसिक गुलामी में न फंस जाएं।हमें सजग रहना होगा।मैं खुद और मेरे कई क्लासफेलो गांव की शासकीय स्कूल में पढ़कर शानदार इंजीनियरिंग कालेज से पढ़कर आगे बढ़ा हूँ।

  11. No. I don’t agree. There are many dissimilarities between the two. I may just point out only one. The current head of MB is imprisoned and facing many charges including murder. In one case he was convicted and faced death sentence. This has now been reduced to life imprisonment by the Grand Mufti of Egypt. No Sarsanghchalak of the RSS, including Mr. Bhagwat has ever faced any criminal allegation, forget heinous charges such as murder. It seems that the author of this article has made a perfunctory research.

    • Where do you live? Are you feigning ignorance or actually completely stupid? Heard of the criminal charges against Narendra Modi? Against Amit Shah? Against Yogi Adityanath?

      • Please read carefully, before you comment. I wrote that no ‘Sarsanghchalak’ has faced any criminal action. Sarsanghchalak means head of RSS. Mr. Bhagwat is currently the Sarsanghchalak of RSS. Post-independence, the country has been ruled mostly by the Congress and yet no head of the RSS has faced any criminal charges so far. Furthermore, even if one assumes that BJP and Modi could lose in 2019, this may not affect the RSS. It has learnt to survive without political power. But what happens if the Congress fares poorly in 2019. Will the dynasty survive?

        • Check with Swami Aseemanand and likes to know about tacit support and involvement of ‘Sarsanghchalak’ in terror and criminal activities. This is in addition to ideological, man-power and financial support to all fringe fanatic organisations to spread hatred and riots. It’s another thing that no govt has guts to charge him for these activities. Same way as Pakistan cannot keep terrorist Hafiz Saeed locked for too long.
          Furthermore, it does not matter if Congress or its dynasty survive or not. Secularism will survive irrespective of Congress and mainstream Hindus will claim their space back from Hindu fringe fanatics like RSS.

  12. Just a shit comparison, sir, go to the rural parts of india where this congress govt is not able to provide good education to children you can see how greatly saraswati sishu vidya mandir is shaping their future.

    • RSS a paramilitary force? You must be mistaken with ISIS, LeT, JeM, HM, Taliban, etc. Never seen or heard about RSS carrying AKs and committing suicide attacks though.

  13. Stupid print stupid article, muslim fanatics are fighting among themselves and also a nuisance to whole world and peace. No way RSS any where close.

  14. Stop endorsing political agenda
    See they act with military without discrimination for all sects of society. In Kerala , a state of minorities. Why hindus don’t have right to form group?

    • Why do you say “Kerala, a state of minorities”? Are Hindus who form the 55% of population of Kerala not Hindus? Hindus have been ruling in Kerala along with like-minded people from other communities. It’s only the “fundamentalist Hindu fringe” that feels the need to form a group separate from other Hindus to push their regressive agenda!

  15. Women are not banned from the Muslim Brotherhood group. Also, in the current Egyptian legal system Christians are not exempt from the military service.

    • Even in RSS women are not banned. As matter of fact, BJP govt’s defense Minister, Foreign Minister & HRD Minister are Women.

      This Article seems a propaganda article for Congress.

  16. This article is biased. I am not going into how, at the last part of freedom struggle all genuine leaders were sidelined by opportunists, neither am I going to elaborate how in the name of Gandhi, Congress hijacked all credit of independence for political gains and all good leaders were ruthlessly suppressed to highlight only one family of questionable integrity so that the all-engulfing utterly corrupt Congress politicians could plunder the treasury of hard earned tax money contributed by hard working citizens, 85% of whom are Hindus. After a long time India has been able to throw away the chains inflicted upon her by these Congress politicians and their allies. No one is as adept at infiltrating institutions as Corrupt Congress. So it’s natural that they must be sterilized, freeing them of Congress infestation. Indians have awakened at long last. A Congress Mukt Bharat is in sight now. Bharat Mata ki Jai. Victory be to Mother India.

  17. In the same process why the Church and masjid has been left out… both actively involved in politics…and control the institutions… we Hindus have suffered for long with out having a strong organization… RSS has completed that requirement…

    • Poor understanding! It’s secular “Hindus” who had been leading the politics and have controlled the nation’s institutions all the while. It’s only the fundamentalist Hindu fringe who felt alienated as they rightly deserved! Please don’t portray it as “sufferings of all Hindus”.

    • when Owaisis are spewing venom at Hindus and Joshaw Project is implemented with great zeal and zest, there must be someone to protect the Hindus and Hinduism. If RSS is growing, the minorities are responsible for that

      • Owaisis and Joshuans do not matter in India. The real fight is between mainstream Hindus (who are largely secular) and fringe fanatics among Hindus like RSS. RSS uses Owaisis and Joshuans as dummy targets to create their space and radicalize Hinduism.

  18. feel pity on auther, I am from sraswati shishu vidya mandir..and you have mentioned this school in bad context..send your kids there to judge anything..your kids will change your mind too but in right direction..

  19. Excellent comparison. I don’t know whether MB has control over ruling party in Egypt, but here RSS man is now PM of India and the political wing has full control over the government. Sonia Gandhi who was often called defacto PM at least was elected by people more than once, RSS has no such record excepting their members are infiltrated in various government bodies which includes now country’s custodian Bank

    • Very good analysis but in my opinion RSS is much worse than MB because they don’t have the fringe groups supporting rape of innocent girls or lynching in the name of eating beef or biriyani.

  20. How much you people have been paid to popularize the silly thoughts of Rahul Gandhi. How can you even imagine of Rahul Gandhi handling the affairs of our India. Please have some mercy on your country.

  21. Very happy to read that Shri Rahul Gandhi and Shri Sitaram Yechury are likely to be invited to Nagpur, to attend a lecture by Dr Mohan Bhagwat. They should go, as Shri Pranab Mukherjee did. There are political and ideological differences, which should be discussed and debated. No untouchability, no demonisation of one’s opponents. The RSS itself, as an almost hundred year organisation, must evolve, reflecting the changing aspirations of – especially – India’s young, consider the sort of education and economic policies India requires to become a prosperous nation. The role of women and the minorities in society are two important issues that it might wish to address.

  22. Nature of India must change. For last one thousand years we had become pro slavery and forgotten to fight for our right. We have forgotten the advice of Krishna to Arjuna. When Rahul Gandhi says that NRIs got us the freedom and Gandhi’s Non violence was the main instrument he forgets the sacrifice of Native Indian like Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose. We Natives fought all those years but there were more Guptas and Rahuls who worked against our Main Philosophy of fighting for our right. Begging for our rights is not the core philosophy of this land

    • Ironically both Bhagat Singh and Subhash were beleivers of communists, the card you play whenever anybody opposes the government. Subhash also did not support Hagdewad.

    • Really true .This pappu even doesn’t know that Rss is having it’s own women wing-rashtriya sevika samiti just like ramakrishna mission having a different organization for women- sarada mission.Will this pappu now tell that rk mission is an extremist organization.One should not speak without having complete knowledge about anything.

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