“Is the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) a hydra-headed monster?”
Eminent journalist Rajdeep Sardesai’s question to BJP general secretary Ram Madhav, on Tuesday, 7 August, set the tone for the launch of the book, ‘RSS: A View to the Inside,’ authored by Walter K Andersen and Shridhar D Damle.
The book, which comes thirty years after Andersen and Damle co-wrote ‘The Brotherhood In Saffron: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Hindu Revivalism’, talks about the paradigm shifts in the ideology and the organisational structure of the RSS.
Commenting on the allegations of being a polarising organisation and interfering in electoral politics, former RSS member Ram Madhav defended the beliefs of “Sangh Parivaar” and asserted that a RSS pracharak is not allowed to take part in day-to-day politics.
Directing his question at Ram Madhav, Sardesai further asked, “RSS is an organisation which has Swadeshi Jagran Manch which believes in social and economic populism, BJP championing for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), Kisan Manch talking about land rights, and Bajrang Dal openly espousing violence. But the RSS constantly resorts to deniability. Then what does the RSS believe in?”
‘Criminialisation of Sec 377 Should Be Looked Into’
Taking a jibe at Sardesai, Ram Madhav said, “You are scared that there is no space left for you. But I must say, you have to find your own space and nowadays you find it in homosexuality.”
However, after being countered on his remark, Madhav clarified that the RSS has begun to soften its stand on homosexuality.
“In 2009, I said that the criminalisation aspect of Section 377 should be looked into,” he said.
‘RSS is Not Patriarchal Anymore’
Ram Madhav also said RSS has become more inclusive towards women and is not a “patriarchal organisation” anymore.
This organisations, in its limbs, is inclusive of all people – men and women. There are specific activities for both men and women.Ram Madhav, BJP General Secretary
‘Making Attempts to Reach Out to Muslims’
Commenting on why the RSS’ Muslim Rashtriya Manch has not been successful in reaching out to Muslims, as effectively as they have embraced Dalits and tribals, Madhav said that the RSS has made honest attempts to reach out to Muslims.