We use cookies to provide some features and experiences in QOSHE

More information  .  Close
Aa Aa Aa
- A +

Nobody's Buying Mohan Bhagwat's Change Of Heart -By Mani Shankar Aiyar

5 59 17

Consistency has never been a virtue in the RSS. From VD Savarkar to Dr Hedgewar to 'Guru-ji' Golwalkar to Balasaheb Deoras to Mohan Bhagwat, opportunism has marked the politics of the RSS even though they have ever cleaved to a 'Hindu Rashtra' as their ideological goal. In working towards that goal, they have always favoured tactically adjusting their vocabulary and position to suit evolving situations. Bhagwat himself admitted to this when he said at the recent three-day convention of the RSS that situations evolve and the RSS' stated positions have to be adjusted to changing circumstance. At the World Hindu Congress in Chicago earlier this month, he was blunter: "Politics must be fought like politics, but do it without changing yourself".

Thus it was that having got two of his chelas to actually fire the bullets that killed two Englishmen, Savarkar then found himself caught in conspiracy charges in London and was recaptured at Marseilles, where he had escaped from the ship carrying him to trial and sentencing in India, and transported for life to the Cellular Jail in Port Blair in the Andamans. Within months, he was writing the most cringing, debasing letters to the Viceroy, declaring his loyalty to the British and begging to be released so that he could deploy his many talents on mobilizing the youth of India in the cause of the Empire. The Hindu right wing has always justified this craven submission to the colonial power as a tactic employed by Savarkar to return to the mainland, opportunism prevailing over principle.

The Brits relented and just about a decade after his incarceration, allowed him to be transferred to house arrest in Ratnagiri on condition that he abjured political activism, a condition to which he swore fealty and unflinchingly adhered to until his release in 1937 by the first elected provincial government of the composite Bombay province. Further evidence, this, of the chameleon nature of the Hindu right wing.

Savarkar was almost immediately elected President of the Hindu Mahasabha, having, technically speaking, never been a member of the RSS. But the founder of the RSS, Dr Hedgewar, credited Savarkar with being the inspiration for the adoption by the RSS of 'Hindutva', a term coined by Savarkar, as the overarching goal of his Sangh. Savarakar translated this new word into 'Hindudom' (modeled on........