Should RSS Volunteers Be Permitted To Join Government Services?



An old controversy resurfaced lately. After the alleged denial of government jobs to candidates linked to the RSS, Minister of State in the PMO, Jitendra Singh, said last week that “the central government has not issued any such order (prohibiting government staff from joining RSS activities) recently”, and “if any old order exists, we will review it.” (16 June, 2016) RSS Prachar Pramukh Manmohan Vaidya had already stated that, “Banning RSS members from joining government service; is unjust and undemocratic. Such bans hardly affect RSS work and morale of swayamsevaks.” (Indian Express 11 June 2016)

As such civil servants are banned from participating in the political organizations. RSS calls itself cultural organization, and that’s what has been used as a ruse by the state governments on couple of occasions to permit the civil servants in joining RSS. In Gujarat when this permission was granted (Jan 2000), the President on receiving the protests intervened, and the Mr. Vajpayee prevailed upon the state BJP and got this permission revoked. Later in MP Chouhan Govt. lifted the ban; thereby the government servants could join and carry on the RSS work openly (2006).

The basic premise of Indian constitution and parliamentary democracy is that the civil service should be neutral. Already RSS has infiltrated into various wings of the state apparatus by sending its trained swayamsevaks to work in different areas of bureaucracy in states as well as at Center. In addition to these elements the ‘social common sense’ is so doctored that in the times of violence a big chunk of police and other state officials aid and abet the violence against minorities, putting aside the norms of constitution and even the civic decency. Thus far many a reports on the communal carnage have indicated the role of RSS and the complicity of police and other officials in the anti minority pogroms. Such permission to the civic service opens the flood gates for the total communalization of the civil service which is the backbone of the state apparatus.

What about the argument that RSS is not a political organization; it is an organization which is cultural, committed to build a Hindu nation. This claim itself gives the game away; building a nation is a political process so how can this organization claim to be merely a cultural one? After seeing the actions of RSS and its role in the political arena, its role in dictating its political progeny, the BJP, any doubt about it’s being a cultural organization vanishes into thin air. RSS is a political organization which operates through its different progeny; some of which claim to be non political to achieve its political goal.

Initially, it was just training the political volunteers, swayamsevaks, and from 1952 it started floating the direct political organizations, first Bharatiya Jansangh and then BJP (after earlier floating Rashtra Sevika Samiti in 1936 and ABVP in 1948). It acted as controller of Janasangh and whosoever disagreed with its’ polices was removed from being the office bearer, Balraj Madhok, the President of Jana Sangh who was removed from his post for disagreeing with RSS line. Many more examples abound. Earlier in 1998 one saw it dictating the process of cabinet making, the allotment of portfolios, like wanting to have Yashwant Sinha as Finance minister, instead of Jaswant Singh. It came out openly against its’ Lal Krishna Advani, when he stated that Jinnah was a secular.

In one of the affidavits filed, miscellaneous application No 17 of 1978, two of its functionaries, Deoras and Rajendrasingh, stated, “The work of RSS is neither religious nor charitable, but its objects are cultural and patriotic as contra-distinguished religious or charitable. It is akin to political purposes, though RSS is not at present a political party as much as RSS constitution…bans active participation by the RSS as such, as a policy…Tomorrow the policy could be changed and RSS could participate even in day-to-day political activity as a political party because policy is not a permanent or irrevocable thing.”

How do we assess the nature of organizations, by their own claims or from the outcome of their activities? One has to note the claims of RSS being a cultural organization is a pure make believe. It operates in the political arena by remote control, by mechanisms which are direct as well as indirect. Its swayamsevaks have been involved in Gandhi murder, murder of Pastor Stains, demolition of Babri masjid and running of political parties. Two noteworthy incidents are one when the Jansangh component of Janata party broke away from Janata party since their double membership, of RSS and of Janata party was challenged. Also Vajpayee himself claimed with pride that he is first a swayamsevak and than the prime minister of India. Recently faced with similar criticism Home Minister Rajanath Singh said’ we are RSS’.

Different progenies of RSS have been allotted the work in diverse social arenas to be able to control the basic thought process of society, starting from Saraswati Shishu Mandir right up to RSS shakha where through the bauddhiks the indoctrination into political ideology is carried on. It does monitor all its progeny and coordinates their activities through All India Pratinidhi Sabha (All India representatives Association) which meets regularly to coordinate their activities. Its goal is political, its actions are political and its outcome is political through and through.

Even without being in power it is able to control the politics through various mechanisms. Currently through the compliant Government its agenda runs exponentially faster, the way Gujarat and many other states has demonstrated. Now its agenda is running from bottom to top and top to bottom both ways since the BJP is the ruling party at the centre. With the employees being openly participating in  RSS the divisive processes will move faster and running the administration on the lines of Indian Constitution will become all the more difficult. Despite knowing that such a provision is not legally tenable, many in the seat of power are asking for government servants be permitted to be part of RSS and vice versa.

The present opinions being articulated by RSS leaders should neither be legally permissible nor are in tune with the principles of Constitution of India.

Ram Puniyani was a professor in biomedical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, and took voluntary retirement in December 2004 to work full time for communal harmony in India. He is involved with human rights activities from last two decades.He is associated with various secular and democratic initiatives like All India Secular Forum, Center for Study of Society and Secularism and ANHAD. Response only to [email protected]

The article was first published in

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Dr Ram Puniyani

Dr Ram Puniyani was a professor in biomedical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, and took voluntary retirement in December 2004 to work full time for communal harmony in India. Email: [email protected]

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