News Analysis

It Is Not Sudarshan Alone

What Sudarshan has done is not an aberration but an RSS norm, writes Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam.

Of late we have been witness to a lot of protest over and explanation of the untenable, indefensible and patently rude observations of former RSS chief K Sudarshan.

Sudarshan, a highly respected figure in the RSS, is reported to have said that Sonia Gandhi, an agent of a Roman Catholic conspiracy, got her mother-in-law, Indira Gandhi, killed.

As if this was not outlandish enough, he went on to make the offensive and foolish comment that Sonia Gandhi also got her husband, Rajiv Gandhi, killed.

On being asked for proof, he simply said he had “circumstantial evidence”, without bothering to cite even a shred of an evidence. This naturally inflamed passions, not in the Congress Party alone, but across the country.

The response is quite understandable. The RSS was forced to issue a clarification. RSS men disassociated themselves from the remarks saying Sudarshan’s remarks were not the official view of the organisation. Meanwhile, the RSS refrained from contradicting Sudarshan. That showed how sincere or serious the RSS was about the truthfulness of its leaders’ utterances.

Most commentators in the English media skirted the issue by isolating Sudarshan for criticism for the irresponsible remarks. Some went to the extent of praising Atal Behari Vajpayee as a paragon of virtue vis-à-vis Surdarshan’s irresponsibility. That comparison was a mistake, to which we will return soon.

In the noise that followed Sudarshan’s mischievous innuendo, Shekhar Gupta of the Indian Express added his own take. That was, Sudarshan hosted him for dinner, where he “disclosed” that India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, got Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, murdered.

A stunned Gupta asked Sudarshan for proof. Again Sudarshan failed to come up with any, howsoever unlikely or ridiculous.

Strangely, most commentators have tried to dismiss Sudarshan’s malicious gossip as a cranky old man’s harmless pranks. That certainly is not the case. Sudarshan is not an aberration in the RSS, but the norm; not the margin, but the mainstream. Does an organisation make an aberrant person its chief?

Sudarshan’s vicious lies are not his own, but those of the RSS. This is known to everyone except our able commentators. Spreading rumours and confounding people is part of its fascist strategy, known to anyone who cares to know.

“Sonia Gandhi got Indira Gandhi killed” canard is doing the rounds since 1984. The mischievous propaganda about “sour relations” between Pandit Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi is an RSS staple since 1947. The cranky Sudarshan’s stance on these issues is identical to that of his predecessors and his successor. He is not an aberration by any stretch of imagination.

Our learned commentators went to the extent of diagnosing BJP’s terminal sickness as emanating from its close proximity with the RSS, which promotes men like Sudarshan. They suggested that BJP should severe its ties with the parent organisation. Those suggesting this remedy will do well to know that it is not possible. In the past they severed their ties with the Janata Party and let it die rather than severe BJP’s ties with RSS and rule as a coalition partner. BJP’s policies on everything (including rumour-mongering) has been the same as those of the RSS.

The suggested remedy for BJP’s illness is to follow Atal Behari Vajpayee. The French expert on BJP-RSS, Prof. Christophe Jaffrelot says the BJP’s occasional departures from RSS hard line are merely tactical, not strategic. That is, Vajpayee remains as much the RSS man as Gadkari, his public postures of independence from RSS being inconsequential.

The difference between one RSS leader and another, or between an RSS leader and a BJP wallah, is merely that of tweedldee and tweedledum.
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