On the 46th anniversary of the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi [June 25, 1975] we are witnessing once again the farce of RSS claiming that it opposed it with full might. It is laughable to find it boasting that RSS fought against the Emergency not due to any compulsion but as article of faith in democracy. How RSS cadres ruling India today love democracy is to be seen and believed. The Indian jails which were supposed to incarcerate anti-social elements are packed with young activists ranging from brilliant school/university students (large number of them being girls) to senior citizens in 70s and 80s with serious ailments. According to a reputed world study “India’s score fell from a peak of 7.92 in 2014 to 6.61 in 2020 and its global ranking slipped from 27th (in 2014) to 53rd as a result of democratic backsliding” under the current RSS-BJP regime.[i]

In fact, totalitarianism is in the veins of RSS cadres who are fond of IRON MEN. Democracy and RSS are antithetical is not what critics of the Hindutva politics highlight but is what the most prominent ideologue of the RSS, MS Golwalkar, also known as ‘Guru of Hate’ [whom PM Modi credits for grooming him into a political leader] decreed while addressing the 1350 top level cadres of the RSS in 1940 declared,

“RSS inspired by one flag, one leader and one ideology is lighting the flame of Hindutva in each and every corner of this great land.”[ii]

We must evaluate the RSS claim of fighting the Emergency with the contemporary RSS documents. The 3rd Supremo of RSS, Madhukar Dattatraya Deoras wrote the first letter of praise to Indira Gandhi within two months of the imposition of Emergency. It was the time when state terror was running amok. In letter dated, August 22, 1975 he began with the following praise of Indira:

“I heard your address to the nation which you delivered on August 15, 1975 from Red Fort on radio in jail [Yervada jail] with attention. Your address was timely and balanced so I decided to write to you”.[iii]

Indira Gandhi did not respond to it. So Deoras wrote another letter to Indira on November 10, 1975. He began his letter with congratulating her on being cleared by the Supreme Court of disqualification which was ordered by the Allahabad High Court,

“All the five Justices of the Supreme Court have declared your election constitutional, heartiest greetings for it.”

It is to be noted that opposition was firmly of the opinion that this judgment was ‘managed’ by the Congress. In the course of the letter he declared that

“RSS has been named in context of Jaiprakash Narayan’s movement. The government has also connected RSS with Gujarat movement and Bihar movement without any reason…Sangh has no relation with these movements…”[iv]

Since Indira Gandhi did not respond to this letter too, RSS chief got hold of Vinoba Bhave who supported the Emergency religiously and was a favourite of Indira Gandhi. In a letter dated January 12, 1976, Deoras  begged that Acharya should suggest the way that ban on RSS was removed.[v]  Since Acharya too did not respond to Deoras letter, the latter in another communication without date desperately wrote:

“According to press reports respected PM [Indira Gandhi] is going to meet you at Pavnar Ashram on January 24. At that time there will be discussion about the present condition of the country. I beg you to try to remove the wrong assumptions of PM about RSS so that ban on RSS is lifted and RSS members are released from jails. We are looking forward for the times when RSS and its members are able to contribute to the plans of progress which are being run in all the fields under the leadership of PM.”[vi]

[All these letters in Hindi are reproduced from a publication of the RSS at the end of this article.]

Balraj Madhok, a senior ideologue of the RSS who died as pracharak [whole-timer] of RSS in 2016 in his autobiography without mincing words wrote that Sarsanghchalak Deoras was fond of good living and when was held under MISA, “wrote two letters on August 22, 1975 and November 10, 1975 to Indira Gandhi for reconsidering her attitude towards the Sangh and lifting the ban from it. He also wrote a letter to Shri Vinoba Bhave requesting him to try to remove from Indira Gandhi’s heart anti [Sangh] feelings.” [Zindagi Ka Safar –3: Deendayal Upadhyay Ki Hatya Se Indira Gandhi Ki Hatya Tak (Journey of Life-3: From the Murder of Deendayal Upadhyay to the Murder of Indira Gandhi), Dinman, Delhi, 2003, p. 188-189.]

It is to be noted that former President of the Indian Republic, Pranab Mukherjee was invited by the RSS chief, Mohan Bhagwat as the chief guest at the graduation ceremony of its new recruits in 2018. It would be naïve to believe that Bhagwat did not know that Pranab Mukherjee was indicted as one of the top leaders of Congress for Emergency excesses.

It is shameful that despite these facts thousands of RSS cadres continue to get monthly family pension for the persecution during Emergency. The BJP ruled states like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra decided to award a monthly pension of Rs 20,000 to those who were jailed during the Emergency period for less than 2 month and Rs 10000 to those who were jailed for less than a month. This rule took care of the financial interest of those RSS cadres who submitted mercy letters completing only one or two months’ jail term. For securing such a fat pension there was no such condition that the beneficiary should have been in jail for the whole period of the Emergency.

Interestingly, in the case of anti-British freedom struggle there has not been even a single RSS cadre to claim the freedom fighter pension. It is sad that nobody remembers hundreds of Communist youth who branded as Naxals and killed in fake encounters during the Emergency.

Shamsul Islam is a former professor of Delhi University

notoinjustice@gmail.com

Link for some of S. Islam’s writings in English, Hindi, Urdu, Marathi, Malayalam, Kannada, Bengali, Punjabi, Gujarati and video interviews/debates:

http://du-in.academia.edu/ShamsulIslam

Facebook: https://facebook.com/shamsul.islam.332

Twitter: @shamsforjustice

http://shamsforpeace.blogspot.com/

[i] https://www.theweek.in/news/india/2021/02/03/india-falls-to-53rd-position-in-eius-democracy-index.html

[ii] Golwalkar, MS, Shri Guruji Samagar Darshan (collected works of Golwalkar in Hindi), Bhartiya Vichar Sadhna, Nagpur, nd., vol. I, p. 11.

[iii] Madhukar Dattatraya Deoras, Hindu Sangathan aur Sattavaadi Rajneeti, Jagriti Prkashan, Noida, 1997, 270.

[iv] Ibid., 272-73

[v] Ibid. 275-77.

[vi] Ibid. 278.

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