Book Review: The RSS

The Book ‘The RSS’ is written by Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, a well known writer and journalist.

RSS and its sister organizations , known as the Sangh Parivar, is a behemoth . The Sangh Parivar runs India’s largest educational network Vidya Bharti (>12,000 schools), India’s largest trade union Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh ( > 10 Million Members), India’s largest political party BJP , India’s largest tribal organization BVKA, India’s largest Hindu Organization VHP etc

I picked up the Book as I was wanted to know more about the Sangh Parivar. However the name of the Book is the misnomer. It does not cover the history of the RSS in a chronological fashion. Instead it views RSS through the lens of a few leaders and influncers.

These leaders covered in the Book are Hedgewar, Veer Savarkar, Guruji Golwalkar, S P Mookerjee, Deendayal Upadyaya, Balasaheb Deoras, Rajmata Scindia, Vajpayee, Advani, Ashok Singhal and Bal Thackeray

Each of these leaders deserve a book in their own right and the author is unfortunately not able to do justice to the lives and times of these icons.

The Book does however give a flavour of the thinking of the RSS,its organizations, its value systems etc

John Maynard Keynes once said “Practical men who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Mad men in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.”

Similarly, in the Indian context, many of the issues which are centre stage in Indian politics- Ram Mandir, Article 370, UCC etc have their genesis in the publications /lectures of RSS leaders.

For instance , a slogan coined by S P Mookherjee in the 1950s with respect to Kashmir is still going strong today:

Ek desh mein do vidhan

Ek desh mein do nishan

Ek desh mein do pradhan

Nahin chalenge, nahin chalenge

What is striking about the RSS is its organizational strength , discipline and its single minded focus to spread it’s message.

Eknath Ranade, RSS leader had once quipped “There are two types of people- those who agree with the RSS and those who will eventually agree with the RSS”

I would recommend this Book only to those interested in Indian politics

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