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Ex-RSS supporter asks: Does Pradhan Sevak need sengol to proclaim himself Emperor?

By Rosamma Thomas* 

Bhanwar Meghwanshi’s book, ‘I Could Not be Hindu: The Story of a Dalit in the RSS’ (2020), is known to have been translated in several languages; it seeks to acquaint the readers with the fact that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has little respect for Dalits within its ranks, and why many Hindus have distanced themselves from the outfit. It insists, India is a secular nation, and must remain so to be true to the Constitution. 
Now, a new book by Lathamala, appearing in Kannada, "Hindu Rashtradedege Himseya Hejjegalu" (The Violent Path to the Hindu Rashtra), released last week, details how the scales fell from the author’s eyes after her initial engagement with the RSS.
Lathamala grew up in Arehalli village of Hassan district in Karnataka. She remembers as a child how the gentle and scholarly ‘Guruji’, the RSS leader of her village, spoke to villagers of the lives of “great” Indians, among them MS Golwalkar and VD Savarkar, besides Bhagat Singh and Swami Vivekanand. Sometimes the Guruji would express distress over the “sufferings that Hindus had undergone due to atrocities committed by Muslim rulers in the past”. Such stories made the young girl feel rage, but that was no reason to dislike her Muslim friends in the present.
Latha was not a formal member of the RSS – the organization had no women’s wing at that time. Yet, she took part in some of their activities; it was in part because of her association with the RSS that she participated in the resistance to the Emergency in 1975.
After completing her SSLC, she moved to Bangalore for higher studies. Her work with a non-governmental organization in rural development took her across Karnataka and India. Although she never associated with the RSS after moving out of Arehalli, she had never examined the ideology that influenced her as a child.
In the parliamentary elections of 2014, she cast her vote for the BJP. She was drawn to the charisma of Narendra Modi, who rose to power from humble origins. In subsequent years, however, the growing autocratic tendencies of the elected central government were too glaring to ignore, and it caused Lathamala deep discomfort.
She watched as the new Parliament building was inaugurated – on TV, the absence of the Opposition, and even the nation’s President, was glaring. In attendance was a phalanx of Hindu religious leaders. “Only the crown was missing; in the glitter of the golden sengol, the flame of democracy was extinguished. That day I started writing this account,” she writes.
She writes about the RSS, its origins, its member organizations and quotes extensively from the works of its ideologues to lay bare the inherent violence of its approach – including Savarkar’s call to ‘Hinduise all politics and militarize all Hindudom’.
A fanatically Hindu nation would exclude religious minorities and make them feel aliens in their own land
She explains the Sangh Parivar’s concept of Hindutva and the Hindu rashtra, using references to show how incongruous, dishonest and dangerous these concepts are. She writes about the use of poor young men to perpetrate violence, and how Karnataka emerged as a laboratory for the promotion of Hindutva. She martials evidence to show the undemocratic means by which the Union government is working towards the creation of the Hindu nation.
The final part of the book considers what might happen if India were to turn Hindu. A fanatically Hindu nation would exclude religious minorities and make them feel aliens in their own land, and the political discourse would shrink in breadth to accommodate only hatred. The Ram of the Hindutva project, she asserts, is a different person from the Ram of Mahatma Gandhi.
The book concludes with a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking if the Pradhan Sevak (prime servant) needed to wield the scepter (sengol), and proclaim himself Emperor. “This nation has treated all religions equally. However, under your rule people belonging to a certain religion are increasingly being subjected to violence.” 
She recalls that the Hinduism she knows has been accommodating and expansive, whereas ‘Hindutva’ creates fissures not just between people of different faiths and also between Hindus, and indeed creates tensions within families. Voices protesting the division cannot be silenced, she asserts. Truth will triumph. 
*Freelance journalist 


Nimbus said…
Rosanna Thomas is a Christian extremist
Jag Jivan said…
Mr Nimbus! Naming names is your right in a typical bhakt style. But at least write a proper spelling... It's Rosamma, not Rosanna. At least read the byline properly


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