Skip to main content

How RSS-BJP 'persistently denigrated' Tricolour before and after Independence

By Shamsul Islam* 
RSS-BJP rulers of India have suddenly developed immense love for the Indian national flag. According to press reports under “Har Ghar Tiranga” campaign Centre facilitated hoisting of the Tricolour at 24 crore homes across the country from August 13 to 15 as part of the celebration of the 75th year of India’s independence.
Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi who long back identified himself as a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and a Hindu nationalist (Hindu nationalists are committed to replace the Tricolour with the saffron flag) changed his social media profile picture to ‘Tricolour’.
Even a chameleon would look like a minion in face of Hindutva rulers’ change of colour regarding the National Flag. To get familiar with the hypocrisy of the RSS-BJP one has just to access the archives of RSS and Hindu Mahasabha led by RSS ‘Veer’, VD Savarkar. Let us begin with the RSS.
The RSS, since its inception in 1925, has been opposed to the Tricolour as the Indian national flag. In order to be familiar with the boundless dislike that the Hindutva fraternity has had towards the national flag, one has just to access the archives of the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha led by VD Savarkar.

Some correspondence

The RSS hated anything which symbolised the united struggle of the Indian people against British rule. The case of the Tricolour is the most pertinent one. In December 1929, the Congress, at its Lahore session, called upon the people to observe January 26, every following year, as Independence Day by displaying and saluting the Tricolour (it was the flag of the national movement at that time with the charkha in the middle).
When January 26, 1930 was approaching, KB Hedgewar, as Sarsanghchalak and founder-Supremo of the RSS, instead issued a circular on January 21, 1930 to all RSS shakhas to worship the bhagwa jhanda (saffron flag) as the national flag.
Violating the national consensus, the circular asked all in charge of the Shakhas to hold a meeting of their respective swayamsevaks at 6 pm on Sunday, January 26, 1930, at the respective sanghasthans (places where shakhas are held) and offer “salutation to the National Flag, i.e., the Bhagwa Dhawaj.” [Palkar, NH (ed.), "Dr. Hedgewar: patr-roop Veyakti Darshan" (Hindi translation of Hedgewar’s letters), Archana Prakashan, Indore, 1981, p. 18.]
It must be noted that this circular has never been withdrawn.
MS Golwalkar, one of the most prominent ideologues of the RSS and top leaders while addressing a Gurupurnima gathering at the headquarters of the RSS in Nagpur on July 14, 1946, stated: “It was the saffron flag which in totality represented Bhartiya [Indian] culture. It was the embodiment of God. We firmly believe that in the end the whole nation will bow before this saffron flag.” (Golwalkar, MS, "Shri Guruji Samagr Darshan", vol. i, Bhartiye Vichar Sadhna, Nagpur, nd, p.98.)
On the eve of Independence when the ramparts of Red Fort were being readied for the hoisting of the Tricolour by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, the common man was marching with the Tricolour in every part of India and hoisting the National Flag on house tops. But, shockingly, the English organ of the RSS, "Organiser", in its issue dated August 14, 1947, denigrated the National Flag [the ‘mystery behind the bhagwa dhawaj’] with the following words:
“The people who have come to power by the kick of fate may give in our hands the Tricolour but it will never be respected and owned by Hindus. The word three is in itself an evil, and a flag having three colours will certainly produce a very bad psychological effect and is injurious to a country.”
So according to the RSS Indian National Flag was never to be respected by Hindus. It was a bad omen and injurious for the country.

An editorial

"Organiser", in an editorial (‘The Nation’s Flag’ July 17, 1947), reacting to the news that the committee of the Constituent Assembly of India on the National Flag had decided in favour of the Tricolour as the National Flag, wrote:
“We do not at all agree that the Flag ‘should be acceptable to all parties and communities in India’. This is sheer nonsense. The Flag represents the nation and there is only one nation in Hindusthan, the Hindu Nation… We cannot possibly choose a flag with a view to satisfy the desires and wishes of all the communities…We cannot order the choice of a flag as we order a tailor to make a shirt or coat for us…”
So, this was the view on the design of the Tricolour which represented the three colours symbolising freedom, equality and fraternity.

After 1947

Even after Independence, it was the RSS which refused to accept the Tricolour as the National Flag. Golwalkar, while denouncing the choice of the Tricolour as the National Flag, in an essay entitled ‘Drifting and Drifting’ in the book, Bunch of Thoughts (collection of writings/speeches of Golwalkar), wrote:
“Our leaders have set up a new flag for our country. Why did they do so? It is just a case of drifting and imitating… Ours is an ancient and great nation with a glorious past. Then, had we no flag of our own? Had we no national emblem at all these thousands of years? Undoubtedly we had. Then why this utter void, this utter vacuum in our minds?” (Golwalkar, MS, “Bunch of Thoughts”, Sahitya Sindhu Prakashan, Bangalore, 1966, pp. 237-38.)
Shockingly, RSS chief was comparing design of the Tricolour which represented three colours symbolizing, freedom, equality and fraternity with the stitching of a shirt or coat by a tailor! It was height of shamelessness, worst kind of denigration of the National Flag carrying which thousands of patriotic Indians had sacrificed their lives.

Savarkar’s hatred for Tricolour

Savarkar too refused to accept the Tricolour as the national flag. Demanding its boycott, he declared in a statement on September 22, 1941:
“So far as the flag question is concerned, the Hindus know no flag representing Hindudom as a whole than the ‘Kundalini Kripanankit’ Mahasabha flag with the ‘Om and the Swastik’ the most ancient symbols of the Hindu race and policy coming down from age to age and honoured throughout Hindusthan… Therefore, any place or function where this Pan-Hindu flag is not honoured should be boycotted by the Hindusanghatanists [members of the Hindu Mahasabha] at any rate…The Charkha-Flag in particular may very well represent a Khadi-Bhandar, but the Charkha can never symbolise and represent the spirit of the proud and ancient nation like the Hindus.” (Bhide, AS (ed), "Vinayak Damodar Savarkar’s Whirlwind Propaganda: Extracts from the President’s Diary of his Propagandist Tours Interviews from December 1937 to October 1941", na, Bombay pp. 469, 473.)
Well-known socialist leader and a leading freedom fighter, NG Goray was witness to a shocking incident in 1938 when the Hindutva cadres tore up the Tricolour and physically attacked the renowned freedom fighters. He squarely held Savarkar and Hedgewar responsible for it. According to Goray:
“Who attacked the May Day procession? Who assaulted men like Senapati Bapat and [Gajanan] Kanitkar? Who tore up the national flag? The Hindu Mahasabhaites and the Hedgewar boys did it all…They have been taught to hate the Muslims in general as Public Enemy Number 1, to hate the Congress and its flag… They have their own flag, ‘the Bhagwa’, the symbol of Maratha Supremacy.” [Congress Socialist, 14 May 1938.]
The campaign by the government of the day, i.e., “Har Ghar Tiranga”, could have had credibility had the Bhartiya Janata Party government been able to convince the RSS to discard its agenda of denigrating the Tricolour and its project of replacing the Tricolour with a saffron flag. It may be noted here that the saffron flag is part of a larger project of diluting the democratic-secular polity of India.
The patriotic Indians must demand public apology from the BJP rulers as they claim to be members of the RSS for this persistent denigration of the Tricolour. This anti-national lot must not be allowed to use our National Flag to cover-up their anti-people and anti-national agenda.
---
*Formerly with Delhi University, click here for some of Prof Islam's writings and video interviews/debates. Facebook: https://facebook.com/shamsul.islam.332. Twitter: @shamsforjustice. Blog: http://shamsforpeace.blogspot.com/. A version of this article has appeared in The Hindu

Comments

TRENDING

Whither Govt of India strategy to reduce import dependence on crude oil, natural gas?

By NS Venkataraman*  India presently imports around 80% of it’s crude oil requirement and around 50% of its natural gas requirements . As the domestic production of crude oil and natural gas are virtually stagnant and the domestic demand is increasing at around 7% per annum, India’s steadily increasing dependence on import of the vital energy source is a matter of high energy security concern. This is particularly so, since the price of crude oil and natural gas are considerably fluctuating / increasing in the global market due to geo political factors, which are beyond the control of India. India has promised to achieve zero emission by the year 2070, which mean that the level of emission has to start declining at slow and steady rate from now onwards. It is now well recognized that global emission is caused largely due to use of coal as fuel and natural gas as fuel and feedstock. While burning of coal as fuel cause emission of global warming carbon dioxide gas and sulphur

'Blatant violation' of law by Central government in making NREGA payments

By Our Representative  In September third week, NREGA workers across the country were mobilised for two day so raise their issues and submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister. Organised the NREGA Sangharsh Morcha (NSM), a collective of groups that work with NREGA labourers across the country, workers from 13 states -- Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal -- carried out Kaam Do Abhiyaan, staging demonstrations and rallies against what they called blatant violation of law by the Central government in making NREGA payments. While NREGA has had very positive impacts, it has lately become fruitless, exploiting labour, even though workers who have put in honest hard work have to wait for their wages endlessly, it was suggested.  In such a situation, there is a need to firm up NREGA implementation and end systematic corruption to ensure that workers get their basic NREGA entit

Fascism on prowl? Religious meet 'deeply pained' at silence of Church, bishops, priests

Counterview Desk  The ‘Forum of Religious for Justice and Peace’which held its 17th National Convention at the Montfort Social Institute, Hyderabad, Telangana from 22 to 24 September 2022 on the theme “Deepening our Identity as Religious: Responding to the Signs of the Times”, has expressed concern “at the deteriorating situation of our nation on every front”, especially stating, “Fascism seems to have come to stay” in India. At the same time, the convention, which took place with the participation of 60 persons from 16 states representing 20 religious congregations, in its unanimously-adopted statement added, “We have reached abysmal depths on every parameter: be it social, economic and political”, underlining, “The poor in India become poorer every day; the rich and powerful continue to profiteer at their expense and amass scandalous amounts of wealth.” Text: We, members (63 women and men Religious, from 16 states representing 20 Congregations) of the Forum of Religious for Justice

Muslim intellectuals met Bhagwat, extra-constitutional authority 'like Sanjay Gandhi'

By Shamsul Islam*  In a significant development a delegation of five Muslim intellectuals namely former chief election commissioner SY Quraishi; former senior bureaucrat Najeeb Jung; former AMU vice-chancellor and Lt Gen (retd) Zameer U Shah; politician-cum-journalist Shahid Siddiqui (presently with RLD); and businessman Saeed Shervani [Samajvadi Party] met RSS Supremo Mohan Bhagwat at RSS Delhi headquarters. The meeting was kept secret for reasons known to the participants and was held in August. According to the Muslim intellectuals the meeting held in “a very cordial” atmosphere continued for 75 minutes whereas time allotted was 30 minutes! In a post-meeting justification of the parleys Quraishi stated that their main concern was “the insecurity being increasingly felt by the Muslim community in the wake of recurring incidents of lynching of innocents, calls by Hindutva hotheads for genocide and the marginalisation of the community in almost every sphere”. This delegation consistin

Why Bose's India Gate statue suggests RSS, BJP need violence-loving ‘Hindu’ Netaji

By Prem Singh*  In a TV channel debate, a BJP spokesperson and anchor shared and served a lie that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's daughter in her letter to the Prime Minister has alleged that the Congress kept devaluing Netaji to further Gandhi's non-violence; because Netaji had taken the path of liberating the country through violence mode by forming the Azad Hind Fauj (INA). They also praised the Bombay Royal Naval Mutiny of 1946 to confirm that the country got its independence through a violent route. I stated that I have read the letter of Netaji's daughter, and there is no such allegation in it. But a lie told in the intoxication of power is bound to be blatant. Netaji's daughter Anita Bose Pfaff, even in the past, has already requested some earlier prime ministers of the country to bring back the mortal remains of her father from Japan to India. In none of the letters she has spoken about devaluation of her father’s role in the freedom movement on the basis of Gandh

'Massive concern for people': Modi seeking to turn India into global manufacturing hub

By Shankar Sharma*  The news item quoting Narendra Modi at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meet, "Want to turn India into a manufacturing hub: PM Modi at SCO Summit" should be of massive concern to our people. One can only continue to be shocked by such policies, which can be termed as ill-conceived to say the least. Without objectively considering the environmental and social impacts on our communities in the medium to long term, such policies will also result in massive economic impacts because a lack of environmental and social perspective cannot be economically attractive either. In order to become the global manufacturing hub, India will have to meet an enormous demand for energy of various kinds, and in order to meet this much energy demand the economy has to manufacture enormous number of appliances/ gadgets/ machineries (to generate and distribute commercial forms of energy such as coal, nuclear, gas, hydro, and renewable energy (RE) sources such as so

Pesticide companies' lobbying 'seriously impairing' basics of governance, regulation

Dr Narasimha Reddy Donthi*  The Indian agricultural sector is grappling with low incomes, shortage of natural resources, increasing pest incidence and low public investments in research and extension. Pest attacks are increasing. Previously unknown pests are attacking crops. Farmers, indebted as they are due to various market mechanisms, are finding it hard to protect their crop investments. Thus, farmers are pushed into the conundrum of pesticide usage by pesticide markets and companies. Pesticide usage in India is increasingly becoming a regulatory problem. Regulation has not been effective in the face of such challenges. Scientific expertise on pesticides is often subsumed in the policy tradeoffs that, in the ultimate scenario, encourage production and marketing of Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs). Expert Committee reports, which are recommending withdrawal of certain HHPs, are not being acted upon. Lobbying by pesticide companies has seriously impaired the basics of governance an

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".

Is coal import dependence of more than 50% by 2047 of any relevance to India?

By Shankar Sharma*  I have read the article " Building Resilience in India’s Power Sector " by N Vedachalam, released by the Observer Research Foundation, with a lot of interest. I expected it to provide few useful recommendations to our authorities in charting out a sustainable pathway to green energy transition much before the climate catastrophe push our communities to the precipice. But I am sorry to say that the overall discussions or the message implied in the article disappointed me. I was expecting the article, coming from an engineer with past experience in the power sector, to discuss the much needed recommendations to put the power sector on a sustainable developmental pathway. But I could notice mostly technical jargon and a lot of statistical information, which may already be available in the public domain.   The article also seems to have simply accepted what some of the official agencies seem to have indicated as inevitable for the power sector in our country;

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.