New Delhi: Rewriting history, reconstructing narratives surrounding Indians going abroad and revamping museums across the nation — the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s roadmap for the 21st century India entails this and more.
At a high-profile event in the national capital Tuesday, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat will release a new book which presents, for the first time, the organisation’s roadmap and vision for every sector in the country.
The book, titled The RSS: Roadmaps for the 21st Century, has been authored by Sunil Ambekar, senior RSS pracharak and organising secretary of the Sangh-backed student organisation Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad.
Several Union ministers as well as top RSS and BJP leaders are expected to attend the event at the Ambedkar International Centre, which could prove to be a defining moment in the Sangh’s journey.
Plans for education
Among its other ideas, the book presents a detailed roadmap for completely revamping the education sector by ‘Indianising’ it — a subject dear to the RSS, and which has often drawn fierce criticism from its detractors.
According to Sunil Ambekar, this roadmap “has four components, of which three are academic in nature and scope and one is agitational and legal”.
“…first is to identify and isolate falsehoods and misrepresentations, second is the inclusion of important events, developments and personalities with the weightage that they deserve; the third is the reclamation of the Indian history through University researches; and the fourth is that many times, perverse imagination masquerades as historical-literary works,” writes Ambekar.
In the book, he also clearly lists out the expectations from key research bodies in India.
“Bodies like Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) and the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) should shed light on Indian methodologies, to give currency to the works of genuine historians who have plodded through the facts. It should re-examine history writing that has been based on prejudices, distortions and manipulations. Remedial action must be taken,” he adds.
Tapping Indians living abroad
Sunil Ambekar’s new book also reveals how the RSS is looking to tap the potential of the Indians living abroad and build a new narrative about the relationship between India and the rest of the world.
The Sangh feels that Indians have been deliberately shown as a community that lagged behind even as other countries progressed.
“…India had a well developed mercantile class engaged in overseas trade. Whereas what has been projected is that Indians were inert and did not travel due to caste taboos… India had a robust merchant and naval fleet…” writes the RSS leader.
He also reveals the RSS strategy to counter the existing narrative, mentioning “various swayamsevaks who work in the history departments of different universities are scrutinizing these trends”.
“The purpose is to document the real history of India in elaborate detail. For far too long, invalid views, speculative distortions, unfounded opinions and colonial prejudices have occupied the history establishment in India,” he writes.
India needs several new museums to show the “real history” of the country, believes the RSS.
But it also wants existing museums to be turned around completely as several important aspects about the lives of national heroes — like Shivaji, Maharana Pratap, Chanakya, Chandragupta Maurya and the freedom fighters imprisoned in Andaman jails — have been completely ignored.
Writing about the revamp plans, Ambekar describes the RSS vision in his book: “The revamp of existing museums is necessary as many untold histories have to be made known. The past has to be narrated with factual accuracy. Crucial more lessons must be illuminated to instill self-esteem and a sense of purpose. Institutions of this genre must serve as a guide for the vision of a future (sic).”
Emphasising the need for new museums, Ambekar adds, “New museums are required in India for disseminating knowledge about India’s immense contribution to the civilizational development of the world.”
The writer is CEO of Indraprastha Vishwa Samvad Kendra. He has authored two books on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. The views expressed are personal.