Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh

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Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is an Indian right-wing, Hindu nationalist organisation that is widely regarded as the parent organisation of the ruling party of India, the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Quotes about Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh[edit]

  • While fascist doctrine traces all power to the political leader, the belief system of the RSS displays a marked distrust of political leadership. Indeed, there is a millennial hope in RSS literature that political power will fade away when dharma becomes the accepted norm of behaviour. However, it could be argued that the leadership principle is incorporated into RSS practice. In its blueprint of the ideal society, political power is held to be illegitimately exercised unless restrained by ‘constitutional’ sages who interpret dharma...
    There are significant differences with the European expressions of fascism that should caution one to handle the comparison carefully. In its Western expressions, fascism embodied the national will in a leader. The leadership principle is rejected by the RSS as a logical effect of Western ego-centred ideologies. The belief system of the RSS and its practice do impute a higher wisdom to individuals who have attained ‘realization’. Yet these same individuals must at least give the appearance of detachment and must not be too involved in the affairs of the world. At Golwalkar’s first monthly shraaddh (death rite), his successor praised him ‘because he [Golwalkar] was untouched by temptation for anything worldly, his mind was as pure and innocent as that of a child’. The present sarsanghchalak has stated that he personally does not possess such virtues, and that the work of the RSS is sustained by the joint efforts of the RSS cadre. Soon after founding the RSS, Hedgewar cautioned the first recruits that no man, including himself, should be honoured as the embodiment of the RSS. He decided that the flag (the bhagva dhwaj) should be recognized as its ‘living’ guru.
    The RSS does not make total claims on society. The members are not encouraged to overthrow or replace the government. Their claims are partial, and they demand primacy only in the character-building area. It has infrequently challenged government authority. When it did so, the actions were limited, and lasted only until the specific grievances were resolved. These examples were acts of civil disobedience, not revolution...
    European fascism, like other Western forms of totalitarianism, sought to destroy or to seize control of all existing centres of socio-political and economic power.58 The RSS has not abandoned the Hindu bias towards semi-autonomous social units within which a group discovers its own ethos.
    • Anderson and Damle. Brotherhood in Saffron, p 83ff, quoted in Elst, K. (2010). The saffron swastika: The notion of "Hindu fascism". p 671ff
  • Bhagva Dhwaj represents the tradition and history of the Hindus, the saints and sages from Vedic times and all heroes of Hindu history. It is the undisputable Guru of all those who call themselves Hindus.
    • Festival, Shree Vishwa Niketan, Delhi, 16-7-1999.
  • The epitaph of an RSS man will be: he was born, went to shakha, and died.
    • V.D. Savarkar. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2014). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa. p. 256
  • It was the Congress leaders who instigated mobs in 1984 and got more than 3000 people killed. I must give due credit to RSS and the BJP for showing courage and protecting helpless Sikhs during those difficult days. No less a person than Atal Bihari Vajpayee himself intervened at a couple of places to help poor taxi drivers.
    • Khushwant Singh: 'Congress (I) is the Most Communal Party', Publik Asia, 16-11-1989. , quoted in Elst, Koenraad (2002). Who is a Hindu?: Hindu revivalist views of Animism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and other offshoots of Hinduism. ISBN 978-8185990743
  • Even in a stern and hostile letter to RSS leader M.S. Golwalkar, Home Minister Vallabhbhai Patel had acknowledged: ‘In the areas where there was the need for help and organisation, the young men of the RSS protected women and children and strove much for their sake.’
    • V. Patel. About the help offered to Hindus by RSS to cover their escape to the border during the Partition of India. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2018). Why I killed the Mahatma: Uncovering Godse's defence. New Delhi : Rupa, 2018.
  • The RSS was not founded as a vehicle of some deep "identitarian" strategy, but as a simple vigilante group protecting Nagpur Hindus against Muslim rioters in the post-Khilafat tension.
    • Koenraad Elst : The Ayodhya Demolition: an Evaluation, in India., & Dasgupta, S. (1995). The Ayodhya reference: The Supreme Court judgement and commentaries.
  • To conclude..., it deserves mention that most original Western publications dealing with the Hindu Mahasabha, RSS, Jan Sangh or BJP, just don't seem to be aware of the notion that these could be fascist movements, or they reject the allegation explicitly after closer consideration. Objective outsiders are not struck by any traces of fascism in the Hindutva movements, let alone in the general thought current of anti-imperialist Hindu awakening. While one should always be vigilant for traces of totalitarianism in any ideology or movement, the obsession with fascism in the anti-Hindu rhetoric of the secularists is not the product of an analysis of the data, but of their own political compulsions.
    • Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (1991). Ayodhya and after: Issues before Hindu society.
  • But then there is the other, unrealistic face of Gandhi, the morbid face of "when slapped, turn the other cheek". Even in this extremist view of non-violence, the RSS is often a follower of Gandhi... When in ca. 1990, and again in 1996, Communist militants started killing RSS men in Kerala, the RSS was very slow to react in kind. The Islamic bomb attacks on Sangh centres in Chennai and elsewhere, the murders of BJP politicians in UP, Mumbai and elsewhere, they all have not provoked any counter-attacks. Anti-Hindu governments in Bihar and West Bengal have achieved some success in preventing the growth of sizable RSS chapters by means of ruthless intimidation and violence, all without having to fear any RSS retaliation. [Quite often, Sangh-related people tell me interesting and potentially explosive background stories about riots (and other controversial matters such as discrimination of Hindus, connivance at Bangladeshi infiltration etc.), but when I ask them for exact names, times, places, it usually turns out that they have not bothered to record anything: what would have become a credible-sounding propaganda story in the hands of A.A. Engineer remains a rumour headed for oblivion in the hands of Sangh people.] [...]
    • Elst, Koenraad. (1997) BJP vis-à-vis Hindu Resurgence
  • The RSS originated in the context of the communal tension resulting from Mahatma Gandhi's tragicomical involvement in the pan-Islamist Khilafat movement of 1920-22, culminating in the anti-Hindu pogrom known as the Moplah rebellion. Its uniform was originally that of the Indian National Congress volunteers acting as security guards in Congress conferences. Its secretive style of functioning, with avoidance of written communication and emphasis on personal meetings, was taken from the armed freedom fighters of Bengal, a movement in which founder Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar had briefly participated. Those aspects of RSS life were purely pragmatic and provisional, but Golwalkar institutionalized them more firmly.
    • Elst, Koenraad. Return of the Swastika: Hate and Hysteria versus Hindu Sanity (2007)
  • On the Hindu side then, at least the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS, "National Volunteer Corps") could qualify as "communalist"? Certainly, it is called just that by all its numerous enemies. But then, when you look through any issue of its weekly Organiser, you will find it brandishing the notion of "positive" or "genuine secularism", and denouncing "pseudo-secularism", i.e. minority communalism.
    • Elst, K. in : India's only communalist. A short biography of Sita Ram Goel [1]
  • The physical danger in writing against the temple is imaginary; by contrast, it is dangerous to uphold rather than oppose Hindu activist positions. It is a fact that throughout the 1990s, many office-bearers of the RSS, the BJP and their Tamil affiliate Hindu Munnani have been murdered; but that was more because of the demolition and other political matters than because of any statements on the historical background of the Hindu claims on Ayodhya.
    • K. Elst, Ayodhya: The Case Against the Temple (2002)
  • During the Khalistani separatist struggle in Punjab (1981–93), hundreds of RSS and BJP men were killed by the Khalistanis, yet this did not provoke a single act of retaliation, neither against the actual perpetrators nor against the Sikh community in general. On the contrary, when Congress secularists allegedly killed thousands of Sikhs in 1984, it was the Hindutva activists who went out of their way to save the Sikhs. When in the 1980s, and again from 1996 till the time of this writing, Communist militants started killing RSS men in Kerala, the RSS was very slow to react in kind. The bomb attacks on Hindutva centres in Chennai, the murders of BJP politicians in UP and Mumbai and elsewhere, have not provoked any counter-attacks. Anti-Hindu governments in Bihar and West Bengal have achieved some success in preventing the growth of sizable RSS chapters by means of ruthless intimidation and violence, all without having to fear any RSS retaliation. [...]
    • Elst, Koenraad (2018). Why I killed the Mahatma: Uncovering Godse's defence. New Delhi : Rupa, 2018.
  • Any Indian who comes with the intention to settle in Kashmir will be treated as an agent of RSS and not as a civilian and will be dealt with appropriately.
    • June 1, 2020. statement by TRF--a front of the banned Pakistani terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba--"openly" declared that "any Indian who comes with the intention to settle in Kashmir will be treated as an agent of RSS and not as a civilian and will be dealt with appropriately". [2] [3][4] [5]
  • The way in which the RSS was overwhelmed by a thousand determined youngsters on 6 December 1992 is telling: The sect is worthless in street combat. ... Its manifestations remind us more of the boy-scouts than of mass politics.
    • Gerard Heuze, Ou va l'inde moderne, p 122, also in Elst, K. (2010). The saffron swastika: The notion of "Hindu fascism". p 794
  • The realms of high culture that in more civilised countries resonate with literature, music and art are occupied in India by Bollywood and trashy TV serials. Inevitable, since mass education is such a mess that most children leave school without learning to read a storybook. Reading is so out of fashion that most small towns in India have no bookshops, most villages have no libraries and, in our bigger cities, bookshops stock mostly books and magazines written in English. So when the RSS leaders turned up in Delhi last week to tell the Minister of Human Resource Development that they wanted changes in school education, they had a point. Unfortunately, because the RSS is led by doddering old bigots and provincial intellectuals, this ‘cultural’ organisation is in no position to give the HRD Minister worthwhile advice. The RSS leaders who met the minister reportedly confined their concerns to history books that they claim portray a ‘Western’ view of history. They demanded that these books be replaced by those written by historians with an Indian view of history. They have a point, but they make it badly. [...] In the interests of 'secularism', most Indian schools and colleges provide only limited courses for the study of ancient India, Vedic Hinduism and Sanskrit literature. So the vast majority of Indian children grow up with a sense of being Indian that is restricted to a religious identity. When this gets infused with a toxic sort of nationalism, as happens in RSS educational institutions, the result is bigotry of a lethal kind.
  • “RSS is a revolutionary organisation. No other organisation in the country comes anywhere near it. It alone has the capacity to transform society, end casteism and wipe the tears from the eyes of the poor. I have great expectations from this revolutionary organisation that has taken up the challenge of creating a new India.”
    • –Shri Jai Prakash Narayan, 1977 After the emergency, on Nov.3, 1977, JP addressed a huge RSS training camp in Patna. Excerpt from that speech quoted from Ratan Sharda - RSS 360 °_ Demystifying Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-Bloomsbury India (2018)

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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