Skip to main content

When Deoras wrote 'approvingly': Hedgewar saved him, others from Bhagat Singh's path

By Mohan Guruswamy* 

The term 'gotra' has Rigvedic origins. It originally was used to denote cattle belonging to the same cowshed, and hence to a single owner. In course of time it evolved to be equivalent to lineage. It broadly refers to people who are descendants in an unbroken male line from a common male ancestor or patriline.
Pāṇini defines gotra for grammatical purposes as 'apatyam pautraprabhrti gotram' which means "the word gotra denotes the progeny (of a sage) beginning with the son's son." Having a gotra is very essential to the being of Brahmins, who have to constantly assert it to give them legitimacy. Other caste groups too have gotras but to the Brahmin it is essential to assert social standing.
Given it's somewhat hazy antecedents as it eschewed the nationalist movement; and even collaborated with the colonial rulers as a tactic to expand and divide the notion of a common national identity for all Indians; and given its Brahminical mentality it becomes very important for it to have a gotra, or a common cowshed.
Soon after Narendra Modi became Prime Minister, construction began on building a colossal statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, India’s first Deputy Prime Minister, on an inland island called Sadhu Bet facing the Narmada Dam. Built at a cost of about Rs 3000 crore and to stand 182 meters (597 feet) tall, this Chinese made bronze statue is the tallest in the world. 
Because of the novelty and the scenic location there is no doubt that this statue would become a major place of political worship like the Rajghat and Indira Gandhi memorial in New Delhi. But beyond tourist commerce there is another reason driving for this project. It is to give the RSS a genealogy it doesn’t have.
Manufactured genealogy is recurring feature of our history. Pre-Islamic invaders from Central Asia like the Hepthalites (White Huns) and Ahir Gatae from the region extending from Bactria to present day Xinjiang conquered a good part of northern India and established kingdoms. The greatest of these invaders was Kanishka, whose realm stretched from Turfan in the Tarim Basin in Xinjiang to Pataliputra on the Gangetic Plain. Kanishka was of Turushka or Turkestani origin.
These new rulers, some of whom were Buddhists, were quickly absorbed into Hindu society and were made Agnikula Rajputs (family of the Fire God), others got more extravagant genealogies deriving from the sun and moon, hence Suryavanshi and Chandravanshi Rajputs. In this manner the integrity of the Brahminical varna system was preserved.
The Brahmin dominated RSS and Shiv Sena governments in Maharashtra have embarked on building another gigantic statue, this one of Chhatrapati Shivaji. This is not without some irony as the varna of the Marathas is even now a contested issue, some arguing for their being of the Kshatriya varna, and others for their being of Kunbi peasant origins. This issue was the subject of antagonism between the Brahmins and Marathas, dating back to the time of Shivaji.
When it was time for Shivaji’s coronation in 1674, the Brahmins of Poona baulked stating that the Bhonsles were not Kshatriyas. The legend has it that a Brahmin priest from Banaras, Gaga Bhatta, on receiving a generous payment performed the ceremony. The Chathrapati’s genealogy now showed that the Bhonsles were a branch of the highly respected Sisodias of Mewar, the Kshatriyas of the purest Rajput clan. Whatever might have been his caste antecedents, Shivaji undoubtedly was one of India’s greatest kings. His achievements didn’t need a manufactured genealogy.
The ultra nationalist RSS is still in search of a genealogy that will connect it to the nationalist movement that won India its freedom. The truth is that the contemporary writings and speeches of RSS leaders have a very different story to tell. These leaders showed little enthusiasm for the anti-British struggle. Though the founder of the RSS, Dr BR Hedgewar had an early association with the Congress and other nationalist movements like Bhagat Singh and Chandrashekhar Azad’s Hindustan Republican Association, he left it all behind to found the RSS.
He also stopped his followers from the nationalist path. In fact a later Sarsanghchalak, BR Deoras, wrote approvingly of how “Dr Hedgewar saved him and others from the path of Bhagat Singh and his comrades.” With the death of Dr Hedgewar in 1940, the RSS lost all interest in freedom. Its new leader MS Golwalkar drew inspiration from Adolf Hitler's ideology of race purity. Paradoxically Golwalkar also admired Jews for “maintaining their religion, culture and language.”
Golwalkar’s focus was on religion, racial purity and exclusion. Freedom was to be left to lesser mortals like Gandhiji and his Congress. He wanted the RSS to be involved only in “routine work.” In the words of Golwalkar:
"There is another reason for the need of always remaining involved in routine work. There is some unrest in the mind due to the situation developing in the country from time to time. There was such unrest in 1942. Before that there was the movement in 1930-31. At that time many other people had gone to Doctorji (Hedgewar). This 'delegation' requested Doctorji that this movement (Congress) will give independence and Sangh should not lag behind.
"At that time, when a gentleman told Doctorji that he was ready to go to jail, Doctorji said: 'Definitely go. But who will take care of your family then?’ That gentlemen told- 'he has sufficiently arranged resources not only to run the family expenses for two years but also to pay fines according to the requirements.' Then Doctorji said to him-'if you have fully arranged for the resources then come out to work for the Sangh for two years'."

Golwalkar’s point was crystal clear. Dharam came before Dharma.
The BJP leadership is very keen to project the RSS as a component of the freedom struggle. The BJP finds it embarrassing that the RSS -- to which the top leadership as well as the overwhelming majority of the cadre of the BJP belong -- was not a part of the freedom movement. The RSS lacks the courage to categorically state that it did not participate in the freedom struggle because its ideology prevented it from doing so.
RSS lacks courage to categorically state it didn't participate in freedom struggle because its ideology prevented it from doing so
There is the well-known concocted story of how the RSS tried to lionize Atal Behari Vajpayee's role in the 1942 movement. This ended up in a huge fiasco when it was discovered that Vajpayee actually made a confessional statement disassociating himself from the protest event at his hometown Bateshwar. In this confessional he wrote: 
“Ten or twelve persons were in the forest office. I was at a distance of 100 yards. I did not render any assistance in demolishing the government building. Thereafter, we went to our respective homes." 
Clearly this was leading nowhere.
From time to time the RSS has tried to make VD Savarkar a nationalist totem. But this project has been somewhat stillborn given Savarkar's abject entreaties to his British gaolers from time to time pledging fealty to the laat saheb. Hence the RSS is trying to attach themselves the legacy of Vallabhbhai Patel, to get a leg into the nationalist movement. They forget that it was Sardar Patel who had banned the RSS after learning that its workers were distributing sweets to celebrate Gandhiji's assassination.
In the run up to the 2014 elections Narendra Modi displayed his lack of knowledge of history or willingness to distort it by saying that the Congress Party wanted Patel to be the first PM. The fact is that Jawaharlal Nehru became the President of the Congress in 1946, after Maulana Azad was dissuaded from offering himself on the basis of the system of rotation that the Congress informally followed.
 Patel was never in the run. Given Nehru’s overwhelming popularity, even if Patel contested Nehru would have defeated him. Even the Sardar was magnanimous accepting the reality of Nehru being the overwhelming favorite of the Congress and the darling of the masses.
Both LK Advani and Narendra Modi have tried to create a fissure between Nehru and Patel. They seem to be confused between dissent and dissidence. Dissent is a genuine difference of opinion, and there were many between Nehru and Patel, as should be between two independent minded individuals. Dissidence is a result of competing ambitions.
On this Patel was clear. He wrote:
“It was, therefore, in the fitness of things that in the twilight preceding the dawn of independence he (Nehru) should have been our leading light, and that when India was faced with crises after crises, following the achievement of our freedom, he should have been the upholder of our faith and the leader of our legions.”
Patel tellingly added:
“Contrary to the impression created by some interested persons and eagerly accepted in credulous circles, we have worked together as lifelong friends and colleagues, adjusting ourselves each other’s advice as only those who have confidence in each other can.”
Now the RSS is trying to make Sardar Patel its own. In this modern version of the RSS's history it tries to give itself an indirect lineage deriving from Sardar Patel. The colossal statue is supposed to rewrite its history. But it will only end up as a parvenu wanting in patriotism when it mattered most.
But Narendra Modi won’t know all this. History is not his forte, or else he would not think that Alexander died on the west bank of the Ganges!
---
*Well known policy analyst. Source: Author's Facebook timeline

Comments

Does-not-matter said…
Factually incorrect to say that Nehru was more popular than Patel in 1946. Despite Gandhi's open support to Nehru, 12 of 15 state committees nominated Patel for party president.

TRENDING

Political consensus? Celebrations, with over 5,000 plus post-vaccine deaths in India

By Rosamma Thomas*  As India fully vaccinated nearly 20% of its population and celebrated the “milestone” of administering one billion (100 crore) Covid-19 vaccine doses, it was time to remember those who died shortly after vaccination . By October 20, 2021 Twitter handle C400T, tracking deaths reported to have occurred after receiving the Covid-19 shot in India, updated the 5,134th death.

Is sacrilege charge against Punjab Dalits any different from Pak blasphemy cases?

Lakhbir Singh, his wife By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  There is no doubt that Sikhism actually was a revolt against the Brahmanical system and superstition. Guru Granth Saheb is perhaps the only Holy Book which contains matters from different religions as well as those of various Sufi saints, including Kabir, Ravidas, Baba Farid and others. The aim of Sikhism was to create an egalitarian society, and, definitely, Punjab that way is far better than many other States in India, where violence against Dalits is rampant.

Billion vaccine doses? Devil is in details: 70% haven't got 2nd jab; numbers jacked up

By Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhury*  India has reached the one billion Covid-19 vaccinations milestone. It is indeed a great news and a big salute to the less paid ordinary health-workers in interiors of India for this feat. The government wants all of India's 944 million adults to get vaccinated this year. Around three-quarters of adults in the country of 1.3 billion people have had one shot and around 30 percent are fully vaccinated, the government says.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Uttarakhand, Kerala disaster due to policies favouring India's developmental mafia

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Two of India’s most beautiful regions where thousands of people go to watch and feel the wonders of nature are suffering because of the extremely disastrous rains and floods. The pain that the rains brought to Kerala and Uttarakhand is a warning to all of us. It's nature’s warning to us to mend our ways.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Religious mobs replicate blasphemy laws, 'threatening' liberty in a free country

Nihangs, Lakhbir Singh By Ajit Singh*   A Dalit man, Lakhbir Singh, was mercilessly beaten up and lynched to death near farmers’ protest site in the State of Haryana allegedly by Nihang Sikhs. It was alleged that he committed blasphemy by desecrating the Holy Book Guru Granth Sahib.

Shabana Azmi joins Pak physicist Hoodbhoy to condemn B'desh anti-minority violence

By Our Representative  Several well-known South Asian activists and public figures of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Maldives have expressed “deep distress” by the spate of violence and killings in Bangladesh on the occasion of Durga Puja and Vijayadashami. “Attacks on minorities are a sign of injustice and a matter of shame for any society and bring a bad name to the Government”, they said in a joint statement.

March opposes Sabarmati Ashram renovation: 'Mahatmaji had kept open for access to all'

Counterview Desk A Sevagram to Sabarmati march, which began on October 17 from Wardha (Maharashtra) and will end on October 24 in Ahmedabad (Gujarat), has demanded that the Sabarmati Ashram, the government should not impose "the fashion and glitz of a shallow modernity" at the cost of Rs 1,200 crore, in the name of renovating the Ashram founded by Gandhiji.