Repackaging Golwalkar For Our Times


The search for enemies of ‘Mother India’ has perhaps finally ended for RSS.

It is the ‘ecosystem of Islamists, evangelists, cultural Marxists and global tech giants Google, Facebook and Twitter’  is being seen as India’s major challenge. A senior RSS functionary – who also coordinates work between RSS n BJP – shared his piece of mind about it at  a Conference organised by one of its affiliated organisations, with a Central Cabinet Minister in attendance.

As is obvious according to him breaking this ecosystem was key to India’s rise as the world power.  He was of the opinion that these force have even formed an alliance so that ‘nationalist thought’ does not prosper(,

At a cursory glance Arun Kumar’s weltanshauung (world view) can seem normal but if one digs deeper and also looks at the key position in which he is placed today, one needs to look more closely to see what signal emanates from his ideas.

Whether these remarks – where need to target the so called unholy alliance between academics, left activists and representatives of religious minorities is being emphasised to further ‘nationalist thought’ could be read as creating an ambience to target and stigmatise such sections, to unleash brute force against them.

Remember analysts have noted how ‘[a]s the rule of law recedes in India, a new majoritarian consensus has emerged’ and ‘the views and actions of those who control power in Narendra Modi’s time are replacing the commonly held beliefs of BR Ambedkar’s time and the Constitution. (

People are also noting the fact that how a murder committed by a psycopath partner in a live in relationship – a gory incident much in the news these days which involved brutal killing of his Hindu female partner by a Muslim youth – which deserves exemplary punishment, can be used to vitiate the whole atmosphere by the combined efforts of majoritarian formations, one sided reporting by mainstream channels and spreading of mischievous reports on social media. (

No doubt in an increasingly vitiated ambience and polarised atmosphere where there is increasing normalisation of hate speeches targetting the religious and social minorities – where even the role of the law enforcing agencies itself is increasingly under scanner ( ) , where  planned attempts are on even to deprive the religious minorities of their basic right to prayer or there are increasing calls for targetting of minorities and unleashing of violence against them from so called ‘Dharm Sansads’ and there are increasing fears that India can be witness to ‘genocide like situation’ unless the executive steps in (, any such talk about targetting of particular sections of people, communities supposedly to strengthen ‘nationalist thought’ , from people close to the ruling dispensation does not augur well.

All those who keep a close watch on the activities of the various Hindutva organisations and their affiliates and have knowledge of what their leaders have said , written from time to time can even tell you that Arun Kumar’s diatribe against ‘Islamists, evangelists, cultural marxists etc’ clearly resonates with what Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar popularly known as Golwalkar Guruji – the second supremo of RSS – has written in his much debated book titled ”Bunch of Thoughts’.

This book is basically a collection of Golwalkar’s thoughts expressed by him over a period of two decades and more. In this five hundred plus page book, under the head ‘Internal Threats’  Golwalkar clubs Muslims, Christians and Communists in three separate sections. (Page 177-201, Bunch of Thoughts, Golwalkar, Sahitya Sindhu Prakashan, 2000)

One can recall how this section on ‘Internal Threats’ starts :

“..[I]t has been the tragic lesson of the history of many a country in the world that the hostile elements within the country pose a far greater menace to national security that aggressors from outside. Unfortunately, this first lesson of national security has been the one thing which has been consistently ignored in our country ever since the British left this land.  ( Page 177, Bunch of Thoughts, Golwalkar, Sahitya Sindhu Prakashan, 2000)

The book has also made equally controversial statements, regarding constitution as well as affirmative action and which also denigrates the independence struggle and its heroic participants.

It is a different matter that there is an increasing discomfort within the RSS to peddle such ideas openly. The present day leadership understands it very well that for a new look RSS – suited for the present times – crude anti-human solutions offered by Golwalkar in his speeches and writings, would prove costly and it is time that they modulate their utterances or present his houghts in a sophisticated manner.

Let us not be under any confusion that there is any essential disagreement between what Golwalkar said / wrote and what the present day Hindutva Brigade believes in.

Three years back the present Sangh Supremo Bhagwat talked of bringing out a new edition of this book because of these considerations. Of course, the explanation offered by him to bring out this new edition was least convincing

As far as Bunch of Thoughts goes, every statement carries a context of time and circumstance…his enduring thoughts are in a popular edition in which we have removed all remarks that have a temporary context and retained those that will endure for ages. You won’t find the (Muslim-is-an-enemy) remark there. (

According to an analyst it is similar to saying that a sanitised version of ‘Mein Kampf’ by Hitler is possible where direct references targeting Jews could be removed to present a more palatable, lovable Hitler.

What is worth underlining is that RSS’s ‘public distancing’ from Golwalkar is not limited merely to this particular book. In fact, they have found that their second Supremo’s public positions which he expressed in the book ‘We or Our Nationhood Defined’ have been so obnoxious that they even deny that he even wrote that book.

It is now history which tells us that the first of Golwalkar’s theoretical contributions for the cause of Hindutva appeared in the form of a pamphlette called ‘We or Our Nationhood Defined’ ( 1938). It was so straightforward in its appreciation of the ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Jews undertaken by Hitler and such an unashamed proponent of the submergence of ‘foreign races’ in the Hindu race that later day RSS leaders tried their best to create an impression that the said book was not written by Golwalkar but it was merely a translation of a book ‘Rashtra Meemansa’ by Babarao Savarkar.

It is a different matter that in his Preface to ‘We or Our Nationhood Defined’ dated March 22, 1939, Golwalkar himself described Rashtra Meemansa as ‘one of my chief sources of inspiration and help.

The American scholar Jean A. Curran who did a full length study on RSS in early fifties, in his sympathetic book, Militant Hinduism in Indian Politics: A Study of the RSS (1951) confirms that Golwalkar’s 77-page book was written in 1938 when he was appointed RSS General Secretary by Hedgewar and he calls it as RSS’s ‘Bible’.

Looking at Golwalkar’s controversial pronouncements from time to time on various issues of social-political concern and his transcending the ‘calculated ambiguity’ on many a occasions which is a hallmark of the organisation which he built, it is not surprising that he has always come under barrage of attack from all those people/groups/organisations who oppose/d the project of Hindutva on various grounds.

RSS has finally discovered that the best strategy in this situation is to ‘disremember’ Golwalkar in public and fully implement his ‘essence’ in practice.

The best way to move forward in this situation is to ‘repackage Golwalkar’s ideas’ continuously so that they appear more palatable to the wider populace.

Subhash Gatade is a left  activist associated with New Socialist Initiative

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