How Rahul Gandhi ‘defied’ Gandhi & Ambedkar: What Hindu Right press focused on this week

ThePrint’s round-up of how pro-Hindutva media covered and commented on news and topical issues over the past few days.

Illustration: Manisha Yadav | ThePrint
Illustration: Manisha Yadav | ThePrint

New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is defying Mahatma Gandhi and Dr B.R. Ambedkar by calling India a “union of states” and not a nation, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-affiliated journal Organiser has said in an editorial in its latest issue.

During an event at the University of Cambridge in the UK last month, Rahul referred to India as a “union of states”. 

“Firstly, he was saying all this on the foreign land, that is also of the colonisers, who propagated this idea that Bharat was never a nation. His political rivalry with the Bharatiya Janata Party is understandable. Still, this mindset of demeaning Bharat as an age-old entity is intriguing,” the editorial read.

“Gandhi ji, whose name the Nehru-Gandhi family invokes to further their political agenda, was the first one to defy this narrative through his seminal work Hind Swaraj. He clearly stated that we had a national life even before the British arrived. Why did the leader, whom many Congress workers still see as a hope, try to undo what Gandhi achieved more than a century ago?” it added.

“Though the Communist ideology influenced both Nehru and Indira Gandhi, they believed that Bharat is a nation with an immemorial past,” the editorial in Organiser said, adding that it was Sonia Gandhi who “first allowed the adherents of Bharat ‘was never a nation and can never be a nation’ to define national policies”.

“Rahul Gandhi is just completing Congress’s degeneration and denationalisation process by completely defying Gandhi ji and Babasaheb Ambedkar,” it added.

Apart from criticism of Rahul for his remarks at the UK event, other issues that found mention in the Hindu Right press this past week included the completion of Modi government’s eight years in power, and a plan for the RSS to transform itself.

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‘Spirit of nationalism closely related to Hindutva’

In an article he wrote for the Hindi daily Dainik Jagran, RSS media wing chief Rajiv Tuli criticised those he said “question the idea of India as a nation”, in an apparent dig at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s “India is a union of states” remark.  

“It is a new conspiracy whose ideological thinking is derived from the Left-wing liberalism and Nehruvian-Macaulayism concept, which held that India became a nation as a product of the ‘reaction’ against British colonialism during India’s freedom struggle,” Tuli wrote. 

“The spirit of nationalism is closely related to the nature of Hindutva. These worshipers of separatism should be aware of the reality of history and should avoid distorted and fabricated versions of historical facts,” he added.

Without taking any names, Tuli wrote that “the conspiracy of the Left liberals, in collusion with the pseudo-secular forces, is to present India as not a nation, but merely a political body”.

“It is also against the model of post-Independence nationalism, which seeks to advance India’s progress as a nation, that too without harming the progress of the states,” he said.

“This issue is being deliberately pushed forward to sow the seeds of separatism and fragmentation. Not only this, his effort is to carry forward the differences between the different states and the differences between the states and the central government so that the ultimate objective of the partition of India can be achieved,” he added. 

‘Scripts already in place’

Commenting on the eighth anniversary of the Modi government, Right-leaning journalist Hari Shankar Vyas wrote in his column for Naya India that the Prime Minister’s working style is like a “line drawn in stone”. He added that demonetisation delivered the first major blow to India’s economy, which had started declining even before the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The direction that India’s politics, society and economy have received in the last eight years is like a line drawn in stone, which is not going to change. The Prime Minister’s own thinking and working style is also like a line drawn in stone. It can be assumed that 10, 15 or 20 years will pass in the same way as eight years have passed,” Vyas wrote.

“The decline in the economy of countries around the world was due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the economy of India started deteriorating due to the well-planned decision of demonetisation made long before that,” he added.

Writing that “scripts are already in place” for which way the country’s politics and society will go, Vyas wrote: “The honesty and simplicity of the ‘principal servant’ will continue to be discussed. The narrative that the opposition parties are family-oriented and corrupt, will get popularised by the raids by central agencies. Opposition leaders will be caught on charges of corruption but the corruption of the system will not end.”

He added that the formula for winning elections is to “distribute foodgrains for free, to distribute smartphones, laptops, to give Rs 500, Rs 1,000 a month in the name of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi or to dig up history and dig out the temples.”

Vyas further said that a process to “divide society on the basis of religion” has already started and will continue because not many intend to stop it. “On the contrary, efforts will go on to maintain this fire from the fuel of the power system because votes are being cooked on its flame,” he wrote.

‘Sangh is synonymous with society’

RSS leader Manmohan Vaidya, writing for Organiser, laid out a plan for how the RSS can transform itself in the new age. “Sangh is synonymous with the society and the goal should be to manifest Sangh’s vision of unifying the entire society,” he wrote.

Swayamsevaks should be more active in mingling; penetrate more sections of the society so that newer sections of the society come into contact with the Sangh, understand the Sangh, know the national ideals of the RSS, and being an integral component of society can protect Hindu Dharma, the Hindu culture and the Hindu society and remain devoted to the cause of all-round progress of the nation,” he added.

Vaidya defined the RSS’s growth in three phases — pre-Independence, post-Independence, and from the 1990s.

“Now, we are in the fourth phase of Sangh’s developmental journey. Every swayamsevak associates with the Sangh as a constituent for the all-round progress of the nation. Therefore, it is expected that every ‘earning young swayamsevak’ should actively participate and cooperate for social awakening and social change by choosing any one area for social transformation according to their interest and ability,” Vaidya wrote.

Manmohan Vaidya added: “Earning the necessary income for our families, nurturing our families and attending shakha regularly would not suffice. To invest one’s time in actively working toward the social transformation and social awakening is the definition of a Sangh worker.”

‘Trade deficit’

Ashwani Mahajan, co-convener of RSS affiliate Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, wrote in an article for Dainik Jagran about the surge in inflation and the falling value of the rupee against the dollar.  

“In India, the rate of retail inflation was recorded at 7.79 per cent in April, which is considered to be much higher than the last almost five years. The depreciating rupee can further aggravate the problem of inflation in the country,” he wrote.

“Our imports have increased phenomenally in the recent past. Although in the meantime, our exports have also reached a record level, but, due to the rapid increase in imports, our trade deficit has increased significantly. Portfolio investment in our country has also been coming in large numbers. But they have lately also withdrawn huge amounts of investment from the country.

“Not only has this affected our stock markets, the supply of dollars has also been affected,” Mahajan wrote, expressing hope that a decrease in imports may reduce the demand for the dollar.

For a long time, Mahajan wrote, “the policy of free trade has been adopted by the government and it has allowed imports on lesser import duties”.

“Due to the dumping of imports in the country by many countries, including China, our industries were adversely affected and our dependence on imports increased. Simultaneously, our trade deficit also increased in an unprecedented manner.”

‘Prisoners of party mentality’

Shankar Sharan, another Right-leaning author, wrote an article in Naya India about the RSS and its affiliates asking Hindus to “fight for themselves”, despite a government in power that is sympathetic to the RSS.

“Now, the narrative being given by the Sangh is — Hindus have to fight for their country, religion and culture. But Sangh-BJP leaders, workers did not say such things when Congress was in power. Rather, they used to show dreams of when they would have a full majority,” Sharan wrote. 

“Such campaigns are being used for other purposes. Only in keeping Hindus apprehensive, provoking, their vote being the hostage of one party. Nothing more than this. Because those running such campaigns are prisoners of party mentality,” he added.

‘Moose Wala murder shows failure of law & order’

Right-leaning author Ratan Sharda, who has done his PhD on the RSS, criticised the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Punjab for recent incidents of violence, including the death of Punjabi singer Sidhu Moose Wala.

In an article for News Bharati, Sharda wrote: “Sidhu Moose Wala’s murder may not be a political murder. But it shows the utter failure of the law-and-order machinery. The helplessness of the police for reasons unknown to most. This is a dangerous situation. It reminds me of the police force wringing their hands whenever such brazen killings took place in the last phase of militancy. Weak leadership saw Punjab Police itself acting as sitting duck for terrorists as their families were targeted.”

“The state cannot provide individual security to all the citizens. It is the duty of the state that the atmosphere should be such that criminals dare not perpetrate heinous crimes. The brazen killings in recent times tell us that, just like the 1980s, there is no fear of the law enforcing machinery,” he wrote.

(Edited by Amrtansh Arora)

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