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JNU VC's link with RSS 'defies' humanism, India's anti-colonial struggle, democracy

By Shamsul Islam* 

Respected VC of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit,
I hope a recent report in one of the leading English dailies of India did not misreport you when it stated that Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Vice-Chancellor (VC), Santishree Pandit while speaking at a book launch function on September 17, 2023 at Pune where RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat was present on the dais, said: “I am proud to be a Hindu and belong to the Sangh [RSS].”
Since the above report has not been contradicted, I am not sorry to state that it was a horrible statement coming from an educationist who heads a University that stood as the 2nd best in the national rankings of 2022 and was named after the first PM of the democratic-egalitarian of Indian polity. Some important questions waiting eagerly for your answers are:
  1. You were appointed the VC of JNU for being an educationist or being a proud Hindu? If you were appointed as an Indian educationist (if it was otherwise, I seek no response) then why you need to identify your religious identity on a public platform where you participated as the VC of JNU?
  2. By declaring yourself as Hindu VC of JNU have you not divided the all-inclusive JNU fraternity of being Indian into separate religious groupings? If you are the Hindu VC then what is the identity of Sikhs, Muslims, Buddhists, Jains and Christians present as teachers, students and non-teaching employees of the University? Should they also be known as per their religious identities? Is this not what Mohammed Ali Jinnah believed and applied causing Partition?
You not only declared to be a proud Hindu but also proud to be belonging to the Sangh. I am sure by Sangh you meant RSS. Do I need to remind you that RSS since its inception hated everything which represented an all-inclusive democratic-egalitarian-secular united India/Bharat? Let me take you to a tour of RSS archives so that there is no complaint of misrepresentation.

RSS denigrated the Tricolour

As an Indian you must be familiar with the fact that the Tri-colour as the National Flag represents Indian nation. It was this flag carrying which thousands Indian patriots laid down their live as during the British rule it was crime to unfurl it in public. How much RSS hated it can be known by the following denigration of the Flag in its English organ, "Organizer", just on the eve of Independence (August 14, 1947):
“The people who have come to power by the kick of fate may give in our hands the Tricolour but it never [sic] 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.”

RSS betrayed India’s freedom struggle

The Non-cooperation Movement (1920-22) and the Quit India Movement (1942) were two great milestones in the history of the Indian Freedom Movement but RSS kept aloof not only from these but any other anti-colonial campaign. Guru Golwalkar, the most prominent ideologue of the RSS shamelessly denigrated these movements in the following words:
“Definitely there are bound to be bad results of struggle. The boys became unruly after the 1920-21 movement. It is not an attempt to throw mud at the leaders. But these are inevitable products after the struggle. The matter is that we could not properly control these results. After 1942, people often started thinking that there was no need to think of the law.” ["Shri Guruji Samagr Darshan", collected works of MS Golwalkar in Hindi in 7 volumes, vol. iv, BhartiyamVichar Sadhna, Nagpur, nd, p. 41. Hereafter referred to as SGSD.]
Thus Guru Golwalkar wanted the Indians to respect the draconian and repressive laws of the inhuman British rulers! After the 1942 Movement he further admitted:
“In 1942 also there was a strong sentiment in the hearts of many. At that time too the routine work of Sangh continued. Sangh vowed not to do anything directly. However, upheaval (uthal-puthal) in the minds of Sangh volunteers continued. Sangh is an organisation of inactive persons, their talks are useless, not only outsiders but also many of our volunteers did talk like this. They were greatly disgusted too.” [SGSD, p. 40.]
Guruji tells us that RSS did nothing directly. However, there is not a single publication or document of the RSS which throws light on what the RSS did indirectly for the Quit India Movement. During this period, in fact, its mentor, ‘Veer’ Savarkar, ran coalition governments with the Muslim League.

RSS denigrates martyrs of India’s freedom struggle

I would like to know your views on the statements of ‘Guruji’ decrying and denigrating the tradition of martyrdom following which Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekar Azad, Ashfaqullah Khan, Ram Prasad Bismil and countless other patriotic Indians laid down their lives for the independence our Motherland. Here is a passage from the chapter, ‘Martyr, great but not ideal’ from Bunch Of Thoughts, a veritable Geeta for RSS cadres such as yourself.
“There is no doubt that such men who embrace martyrdom are great heroes and their philosophy too is pre-eminently manly. They are far above the average men who meekly submit to fate and remain in fear and inaction. All the same, such persons are not held up as ideals in our society. We have not looked upon their martyrdom as the highest point of greatness to which men should aspire. For, after all, they failed in achieving their ideal, and failure implies some fatal flaw in them.” [Golwalkar, MS., “Bunch of Thoughts”, Sahitya Sindhu Prakashana, Bangalore, 1996 edition, p. 283.]
Could there be a statement more insulting to the martyrs than this? The founder of the RSS, Dr. KB Hedgewar, went one step further: “Patriotism is not only going to prison. It is not correct to be carried away by such superficial patriotism.” [CP Bhishikar, CP., “Sanghavariksh Ke Beej: Dr. Keshavrao Hedgewar”, Suruchi, 1994, p. 21.]
Don’t you feel, Madam, that if martyrs like Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev, Ashfaqullah, Chandrashekhar Azad had come in contact with the then RSS leadership, they could have been saved from giving their lives for ‘superficial patriotism’? This also must be the reason why RSS leaders or cadres did not face repression during British rule and the RSS did not produce not a single martyr during the Freedom Movement.

RSS’ hatred for democracy

You will agree with me that it is due to our democratic and egalitarian polity that you have become the administrator of the 2nd best University of India. But if Guru Golwalkar had his say it would not have been possible. Guruji hated democracy as per his following decree which he presented before a group of 1,350 top level cadres of the RSS in 1940 at the RSS Headquarters: “RSS inspired by one flag, one leader and one ideology is lighting the flame of Hindutva in each and every corner of this great land”. [SGSD, vol. I, p. 11.]
As a leading intellectual you must be familiar with the fact that decree of rule under ‘one flag, one leader and one ideology’ was also the battle cry of the Fascist and Nazi parties of Europe in the first half of 20th century. What they did to democracy is well-known to this world!

For RSS Hinduism and casteism are synonymous

Allow me to ask whether you like RSS believe that Hinduism and Casteism are one and same. The most prominent ideologue of RSS, Guru Golwalkar stated:
“The Virat Purusha, the Almighty manifesting himself...[according to Purusha Sukta] sun and moon are his eyes, the stars and the skies are created from his nabhi [navel] and Brahmin is the head, Kshatriya the hands, Vaishya the thighs and Shudra the feet. This means that the people who have this fourfold arrangement, i.e., the Hindu People, is [sic] our God. This supreme vision of Godhead is the very core of our concept of ‘nation’ and has permeated our thinking and given rise to various unique concepts of our cultural heritage. [Golwalkar, MS., “Bunch of Thoughts”, Sahitya Sindhu Prakashana, Bangalore, 1996 edition, pp. 36-37.]
For this infallible belief in casteism RSS strongly demanded that Manusmriti should replace the Indian Constitution. When the Constituent Assembly of India finalized the Constitution of India under the guidance of Dr BR Ambedkar on November 26, 1949, RSS was not happy. Its organ, Organiser, in an editorial four days later complained:
“But in our constitution there is no mention of the unique constitutional development in ancient Bharat. Manu’s Laws were written long before Lycurgus of Sparta or Solon of Persia. To this day his laws as enunciated in the Manusmriti excite the admiration of the world and elicit spontaneous obedience and conformity. But to our constitutional pundits that means nothing.” [“Organizer”, Delhi, November 30, 1949.]
I am reproducing a selection from Manusmriti for your kind reference and would like to know whether you also believe in these decrees of the Manu Code. These dehumanizing and degenerate laws, which are presented here, are self-explanatory.

Laws of Manu concerning Sudras

  • For the sake of the prosperity of the worlds (the divine one) caused the Brahmana, the Kshatriya, the Vaisya, and the Sudra to proceed from his mouth, his arm, his thighs and his feet.
  • One occupation only the lord prescribed to the Sudras, to serve meekly even these (other) three castes.
  • Once-born man (a Sudra), who insults a twice-born man with gross invective, shall have his tongue cut out; for he is of low origin.
  • If he mentions the names and castes (jati) of the (twice-born) with contumely, an iron nail, ten fingers long, shall be thrust red-hot into his mouth.
  • If he arrogantly teaches Brahmanas their duty, the king shall cause hot oil to be poured into his mouth and into his ears.
  • With whatever limb a man of a low caste does hurt to (a man of the three) highest (castes), even that limb shall be cut off; that is the teaching of Manu.
  • He who raises his hand or a stick, shall have his hand cut off; he who in anger kicks with his foot, shall have his foot cut off.
  • A low-caste man who tries to place himself on the same seat with a man of a high caste, shall be branded on his hip and be banished, or (the king) shall cause his buttock to be gashed.
  • Let him never slay a Brahmana, though he have committed all (possible) crimes; let him banish such an (offender), leaving all his property (to him) and (his body) unhurt.

Laws of Manu concerning women

  • Day and night woman must be kept in dependence by the males (of) their (families), and, if they attach themselves to sensual enjoyments, they must be kept under one’s control.
  • Her father protects (her) in childhood, her husband protects (her) in youth, and her sons protect (her) in old age; a woman is never fit for independence.
  • Women must particularly be guarded against evil inclinations, however trifling (they may appear); for, if they are not guarded, they will bring sorrow on two families.
  • Considering that the highest duty of all castes, even weak husbands (must) strive to guard their wives.
  • No man can completely guard women by force; but they can be guarded by the employment of the (following) expedients.
  • Let the (husband) employ his (wife) in the collection and expenditure of his wealth, in keeping (everything) clean, in (the fulfillment of) religious duties, in the preparation of his food, and in looking after the household utensils.
  • Women, confined in the house under trustworthy and obedient servants, are not (well) guarded; but those who of their own accord keep guard over themselves, are well guarded.
  • Women do not care for beauty, nor is their attention fixed on age; (thinking), ‘(It is enough that) he is a man,’ they give themselves to the handsome and to the ugly.
  • Through their passion for men, through their mutable temper, through their natural heartlessness, they become disloyal towards their husbands, however carefully they may be guarded in this (world).
(When creating them) Manu allotted to women (a love of their) bed, (of their) seat and (of) ornament, impure desires, wrath, dishonesty, malice, and bad conduct.
For women no (sacramental) rite (is performed) with sacred texts, thus the law is settled; women (who are) destitute of strength and destitute of (the knowledge of) Vedic texts, (are as impure as) falsehood (itself), that is a fixed rule.
Do I need to remind you that these laws are for Hindus? I would like to remind you that a copy of Manusmriti was burnt as a protest in the presence of Dr BR Ambedkar during historic Mahad agitation on December 25, 1927.

RSS celebrated assassination of Gandhiji

I hope you know that Nathuram Godse and others who conspired to kill Gandhiji, claimed to be ‘Hindu Nationalists’. They described killing as something ordained by God. RSS celebrated his killing by distributing sweets was the finding of none other than the first home minister of India, Sardar Patel. In a letter written to Golwalkar on September 11, 1948, Sardar stated:
“Organizing the Hindus and helping them is one thing but going in for revenge for its sufferings on innocent and helpless men, women and children is quite another thing…Apart from this, their opposition to the Congress, that too of such virulence, disregarding all considerations of personality, decency or decorum, created a kind of unrest among the people. All their speeches were full of communal poison. It was not necessary to spread poison in order to enthuse the Hindus and organize for their protection. As a final result of the poison, the country had to suffer the sacrifice of the invaluable life of Gandhiji. Even an iota of the sympathy of the Government, or of the people, no more remained for the RSS. In fact opposition grew. Opposition turned more severe, when the RSS men expressed joy and distributed sweets after Gandhiji’s death.” [“Justice on Trial”, RSS, Bangalore, 1962, pp. 26-28.]
Since you claim to be a proud member of the RSS, the Indian academic fraternity specially the JNU one would like to know if you are ashamed of this criminal role of RSS in the assassination of Gandhiji. You cannot be neutral on this issue.

RSS believed that South Indian Hindus belong to inferior race

You claim to be a proud Hindu and a proud member of the Sangh. You also happen to be from South India. Do you know that RSS believed that the Race Hindus of South India needed to be improved? I am reproducing a speech of Guru Golwalkar on this issue in context of Kerala Hindus. He was invited to address the students of the School of Social Science of Gujarat University on December 17, 1960. In this address, while underlying his firm belief in the Race Theory, he touched upon the issue of cross-breeding of human beings in the Indian society in history. He shamelessly stated:
“Today experiments in cross-breeding are made only on animals. But the courage to make such experiments on human beings is not shown even by the so-called modern scientist of today. If some human cross-breeding is seen today it is the result not of scientific experiments but of carnal lust. Now let us see the experiments our ancestors made in this sphere. In an effort to better the human species through cross-breeding the Namboodri Brahamanas of the North were settled in Kerala and a rule was laid down that the eldest son of a Namboodri family could marry only the daughter of Vaishya, Kashtriya or Shudra communities of Kerala. Another still more courageous rule was that the first off-spring of a married woman of any class must be fathered by a Namboodri Brahman and then she could beget children by her husband. Today this experiment will be called adultery but it was not so, as it was limited to the first child.” [MS Golwalkar cited in “Organizer”, January 2, 1961.]
Through this brazen Racist statement made not in the presence of some lumpen elements but an august gathering of leading Gujarat academics Guruji argued that Brahmans of the North (India) and specially Namboodri Brahamans, belonged to a superior race. Due to this quality, Namboodri Brahamanas were sent from the North to Kerala to improve the breed of inferior Hindus there. Interestingly, this was being argued by a person who claimed to uphold the unity of Hindus world over. 
Golwalkar as a male chauvinist believed that a Namboodri Brahman male belonging to a superior Race from the North only could improve the inferior human Race from South. For him wombs of Kerala’s Hindu women enjoyed no sanctity and were simply objects of improving breed through intercourse with Namboodri Brahamanas who in no way were related to them.
Please respond to it! Do you uphold such criminal views of Golwalkar; the most prominent ideologue of RSS?

In RSS male cadres are swayamsevaks (volunteers) but female cadres are sevikas (servants/maids)

When you declare that you are proud member of the Sangh, you must be familiar with the organizational structure of RSS (the English equivalent being national volunteer association) is an exclusive male organization. The female organization was created in 1936 with the name, Rashtr Sevika Samiti (the English equivalent being society of female servants/maids for the nation). Thus male members are all India volunteers whereas female members are female servants. It is not the only difference. The Sevikas take oath to remain faithful, modest, guard virginity and honour but no such oath is prescribed for RSS cadres.
Madam, please enlighten us about your take on this naked male chauvinistic attitude of the Sangh. You owe this explanation to the nation as a woman too! Is not it a fact that Sangh and Islamic chauvinists are two sides of the same coin so far as denigration of women is concerned?
I would end by requesting your kind self to respond to the above issues as fate of one of the best Universities and future of Indian higher education is at stake. I have relied solely on RSS archives for bringing to your kind notice the anti-humanism, anti-colonial struggle and anti- Indian democracy beliefs and actions of the Sangh. I am ready to face defamation proceedings if you find I have misquoted or reported fake RSS documents.
Edited for style. Click here for some of Prof Islam's writings and video interviews/debates. Facebook: X: @shamsforjustice.



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