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Gandhi surrendered to extremist and jihadi elements among Muslims: RSS leader Vaidya

In an article in Organiser, Manmohan Vaidya writes RSS always admired Gandhi but 'disagreed' with his 'surrender' to the 'extremist and Jihadi elements'.

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New Delhi: On a day RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat sought to align the Hindutva force with Mahatma Gandhi, an article in the organisation’s mouthpiece said the leader had surrendered to the “extremist and Jihadi elements among the Muslim community”.

The article in Organiser said the Sangh “disagreed” with this “surrender”, though it always “admired” Gandhi’s efforts towards building mass support for India’s freedom struggle.

“Despite disagreeing with him and his surrender to the extremist and Jihadi elements among the Muslim community, the RSS has always admired his efforts to broaden the public support for Bharat’s freedom struggle through simple means like Charkha and easily acceptable method like Satyagraha and considered this as his greatness,” RSS joint general secretary Manmohan Vaidya wrote in Organiser on the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhi.

On Wednesday, Bhagwat wrote an article in Hindustan Times titled Emulating the Mahatma’s vision. Bhagwat emphasised Gandhi’s visit to a Sangh shakha during Partition days in a seeming effort to link the Mahatma with the history of RSS — the organisation had been banned after Gandhi’s assassination on 30 January 1948.

“Gandhiji expressed his joy over the discipline of the Sangh swayamsevaks and the complete absence of the divisive feelings of caste and creed in them,” he wrote, adding that Gandhi stood for social equality and harmony and translated his vision into action.

Bhagwat’s article was reproduced in Organiser, which also carried Vaidya’s piece — titled The Sangh keeps Gandhiji’s ideals alive — on the same day.

Also read: India’s a Hindu Rashtra, will remain so even if only 1 person calls himself Hindu: Bhagwat

Gandhi vs Godse

Writing about the man known as ‘father of the nation’, Manmohan Vaidya pointed to the debate over Gandhi and his assassin Nathuram Godse started by former Congress president Rahul Gandhi ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

Without explicitly mentioning Rahul, Vaidya said those who follow the Gandhian ideology never take the name of Godse.

“During the election campaign for Lok Sabha elections this year, the leader of a political party proclaimed that the vote this time around would be a choice between Gandhi and Godse. Those who follow Gandhian ideology pay special attention to their utterances and never take the name of Godse. I have participated in many such discussions on Gandhi ji in the Sangh but never heard Godse mentioned,” wrote Vaidya.

He added, “It is indeed ironical that those whose actions and policies are in direct opposition to the Mahatma’s life and legacy, who rely on falsehood and violence as a political weapon, seek to use his name insincerely for narrow political gains.”

During an address to party workers in March, Rahul had said, “You have to decide, do you want Gandhi’s India or Godse’s India? On one hand, there is love, brotherhood, on the other is hate, fear.”

Weeks later, during the election campaign, BJP MP from Bhopal Pragya Singh Thakur stoked a controversy calling the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi a “patriot”. The comment invited widespread condemnation and was picked up by the opposition, forcing the BJP to ask Singh for explanation.

RSS and Gandhi

In a scathing attack on the opposition in his article, Manmohan Vaidya said the RSS has kept Gandhi’s ideals alive through its work, while others remember him only when elections are around the corner.

“The Sangh has kept Gandhi ji’s ideals alive through its work on rural development, organic farming, cow-conservation and protection, social equality and harmony, imparting education in one’s own language and swadeshi economy and lifestyle and shall continue to do so. That is more than can be said for those who only remember him when elections are around the corner,” wrote Vaidya.

The RSS joint general secretary also said people often make presumptions about the organisation’s relationship with Gandhi without having complete knowledge of the subject.

“Even so-called scholars rarely attempt a holistic study of the subject before writing their commentary. More often than not their study is selective and drawn from material authored with a specific ideological perspective,” he added.

Showering praises on Gandhi’s insistence on constructive ideas like gram swaraj, swadeshi, cow protection and the abolition of untouchability, Vaidya said, “His affinity and perseverance for the eternal Hindu thought is undeniable. His value-based life was an inspiration for the youth of this country for dedicating their lives in the national service.”

RSS founder K.B. Hedgewar served two rigorous prison sentences as he was an active participant in Gandhi-led Non-Cooperation and Civil Disobedience Movements, Vaidya added.

“When Mahatma Gandhi was sentenced to six years imprisonment on March 18, 1922, the 18th of every month was celebrated as Gandhi Day. Whilst Gandhi ji was in prison, some of his self-professed followers were serving their own interests in the name of patriotism,” he wrote.

He also highlighted that Gandhi attended a winter RSS camp in 1934 while staying at industrialist Jamnalal Bajaj’s Wardha residence and had a dialogue with the Swayamsevaks.

On hearing about Gandhi’s death in 1948, then RSS chief M.S. Golwalkar had sent a condolence telegram to Devdas Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Vallabhbhai Patel, wrote Vaidya, adding that “Guruji” issued instructions to swayamsevaks to suspend all activities for 13 days in memory of the Mahatma.

Also read: RSS roadmap for 21st century India — rewrite history, ‘Indianise’ education, museum revamp


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