Skip to main content

When RSS-Jan Sangh leaders clandestinely apologized for opposing Emergency, called Gandhi murderer "patriot"

Jay Prakash Narayan
By Our Representative
The ninth edition of "Sarthak Jalso", a unique Gujarati half-yearly journal edited by well-known writer Urvish Kothari, has brought to light how RSS cadres and the BJP's parent organization, Jan Sangh, behaved as ultra-nationalists during the Emergency days (1975-77), talked high of patriotism, but were equally quick in apologizing to the authorities about their opposition to what is considered as a dark spot of Indian democracy.
An elaborate article by Hasmukh Patel, one of the most prominent young anti-Emergency leaders and the Jay Prakash Narayan-led total revolution in Gujarat, has said that during his 11 months in jail, first in Palanpur and then in Vadodara -- where several of the prominent politicians, including former chief minister Babubhai Jashbhai Patel and Baroda dynamite case accused and former Union minister George Fernandes, were kept -- he came in direct contact several RSS-Jan Sangh leaders.
Finding them extremely polite at the personal level, though equally secretive, says Patel, who has been working with the tribals of Amirgadh-Danta area of North Gujarat for the last several decades, the RSS-Jan Sangh people would often tell him that they "would fight till the end but would never bow" to the Emergency regime, even as teaching lesson in patriotism to the fellow political prisoners of different persuasions -- Congress (O), Socialist, Marxist.
However, underlines Patel, the very same people would "clandestinely send apology letters" to the authorities, the "mathematics of which I failed to understand." While Patel did not mention who these people were, those in the jail with him from RSS-Jan Sangh included Chiman Shukla, Shankarsinh Vaghela, Ashok Bhatt, Nalin Bhatt and Vishnu Pandya.
Latest issue of Sarthak Jalso
"I asked their leaders why this? And the answer I received seemed to suggest that it was an act of  great valour", Patel says, adding, "They would tell me that they were merely adopting the strategy of Shivaji, entering the enemy's womb to destroy it. I wondered how."
In yet another fact about his days in jail during the Emergency, Patel says, "During their daily prayer meetings, they added the name of Mahatma Gandhi at the very end. Yet, they hated Gandhi. In fact, during discussions with Prakash N Shah (a well known Gujarati critic who was in the same jail), they would justify, for hours together, how Godse had done a great patriotic job by killing Gandhi."
Recalling yet another incident, says Patel, many a time so secretive were the RSS-Jan Sangh people, that, though usually frank in interacting with him, one day he found they were gossiping around about something they wouldn't like to reveal. Finally, a curious Patel caught hold of RSS' Acharya Vanikar and asked him what was it about.
"He took me aside, and murmured: 'Shh... Don't tell anyone. We have a message from Balaheb Deoras (then RSS chief). And the 'secret' message was: 'We will be victorious in the end.' I couldn't stop laughing. Such a simple message and so much of secrecy!", recalls Patel.
Hasmukh Patel
Arrested along with his life partner Manda just one day before he was to get married, Patel was set free on parole in 1976 for a week under legal pressure for wedding, which was blessed, among others, by ex-Gujarat CM Babubhai Jashbhai Patel, several Sarvodaya activists, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who reached the spot of the marriage, an Arya Samaj temple, hopping around. Modi was then RSS pracharak and was underground.
Patel's observation acquires significance in view of running controversy about questions being raised on RSS' role during the freedom movement, on one hand, and the revelation that Vinayak Savarkar (whom Modi rates as perhaps the best freedom fighter), was close to Gandhi assassin Godse and he wrote several letters to the British apologizing for opposing the Raj, on the other.

Comments

Uma Sheth said…
No surprise there - seems to be in their genes to find favour with those in power

TRENDING

Green revolution "not sustainable", Bt cotton a failure in India: MS Swaminathan

Counterview Desk
In a recent paper in the journal “Current Science”, distinguished scientist PC Kesaven and his colleague MS Swaminathan, widely regarded as the father of the Green Revolution, have argued that Bt insecticidal cotton, widely regarded as the continuation of the Green Revolution, has been a failure in India and has not provided livelihood security for mainly resource-poor, small and marginal farmers.
Sharply taking on Green Revolution, the authors say, it has not been sustainable largely because of adverse environmental and social impacts, insisting on the need to move away from the simplistic output-yield paradigm that dominates much thinking. Seeking to address the concerns about local food security and sovereignty as well as on-farm and off-farm social and ecological issues associated with the Green Revolution, they argue in favour of what they call sustainable ‘Evergreen Revolution’, based on a ‘systems approach’ and ‘ecoagriculture’.
Pointing out that Evergreen Revol…

Rejoinder: Inescapable to have Central Water Commission as strong technical body in India

By BN Navalawala*
This is with reference to Counterview Blog (December 5, 2018), "Modi govt 'shelves' water reforms report, shows 'no interest' in its recommendations", below mentioned are my comments/observations thereon:
A committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Dr. Mihir Shah, Former Member, Planning Commission, for restructuring of Central Water Commission (CWC) and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) for optimal development of water resources in the country in the backdrop of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

Some Hindu bodies in US defending BJP-RSS' divisive, violent activities: Agnivesh

Counterview Desk Last week, Washington DC saw speakers at a religious freedom roundtable, chaired by the US Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, express concern over "eroding" space for religious freedom in India. Dr Mike Ghouse, executive director, of the Center for Pluralism in Washington DC, referring to the roundtable, said in an email alert that Indian-Americans have "a moral duty to prevent India from being labeled as a Country of Particular Concern by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)".

Karnataka: NGO Akshay Patra "not sensitive" to nutrition demands of school children

Counterview Desk
Well-known civil rights organizations, Right to Food Campaign and Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, have sent a letter to the Union minister of human resource development, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, other concerned ministers and officials of the state expressing concerns regarding the mid-day meal (MDM) to school children, insisting, all contracts to the Akshay Patra for supply of MDM should be immediately terminated.

Rejoinder: Worldwide anxiety post-Fukishima is fading, slowly and steadily

By Dr KS Parthasarathy* 
EAS Sarma, former Secretary, Government of India (GoI) in a letter addressed to the Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), GoI, stated that, there has been "worldwide anxiety about the consequences of catastrophic nuclear accidents, either due to manual lapses or natural calamities" (Counterview, December 2, 2018). "In the recent years, globally, the pace of growth of nuclear power has escalated in leaps and bounds, causing a great deal of public concern and apprehension."

India's rewritten textbooks talk of demerits of democracy, praise Hitler, underrate Mughals

Counterview Desk
A detailed, 3,800-word review of the books rewritten under directions of the BJP rulers across India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014 has suggested that one of aims of the books is to instill a sense of doubt about India’s democratic polity among the country’s young minds. Reviewed in the prestigious US journal, “The New York Review of Books”, in its latest issue (December 6, 2018) by Alex Traub, the scrutiny insists, the effort has also been to paint Indian history from the angle of “Hindu triumphalism”, even as creating “Islamophobia”.

Preventing childhood deaths: India performs worse than Bangladesh, "equals" Pakistan

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released study, “The Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report 2018”, prepared by the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has identified India among 15 other countries which are still far off the mark in achieving the targets of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD).

Modi's PRO, who served previous Congress, BJP CMs in Gujarat with "equal" competence

By Rajiv Shah
A public relations officer (PRO), even as maintaining anonymity, is supposed to “manage” reputation of his or her client, reflecting the client’s views in order to influence opinion and behaviour. A PRO is also known to use, the world over, media and communication to build, maintain, manage and plan publicity strategies and campaigns, even as dealing with enquiries from the public, particularly media, organising promotional events such as press conferences, open days, exhibitions, tours and visits. A PRO is also supposed to final touches to press statements for his or client.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Proposed expansion of Karnataka N-plant "ignores" worldwide anxiety post-Fukishima

Counterview Desk
EAS Sarma, former secretary, Government of India (GoI), in a letter addressed to secretary, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), GoI, with copies to chairman, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) and chairman Karnataka Pollution Control Board, has said that radiation and environmental risks have been ignored in DAE’s proposal to set up Units 5 & 6 (2X700MWe) at Kaiga Nuclear Power Station in Karnataka.