RSS chief absolves government of bad governance


A curious part of the speech of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in Mumbai on 27 March was that he sought to transfer responsibility for governance to common people. .

We should not outsource governance to the government. The society must take responsibility. Strange, coming from the head of such an influential organisation. It is the Constitutional duty of the government to deliver and here he is saying something very different.

He cited the example of Japan which rose from the dominance of the U.S. after the second world war. He mentioned five reasons for the progress made by the Japanes. These included the great sacrifice made by the people, their discipline, patriotism.

So, the message was don’t blame the government for lapses, you are responsible.

He said people get the government they deserve. In short he seemed to absolve the government of any failures on its part. This was significant considering that the elections are only two months away.

We cannot outsource governance, the society should change.,he emphasised . However In his Vijaya Dashmi address in Nagpur, an important event in the RSS calendar, last year he had made a very political speech singing praises of progress under the BJP regime.

But now he was singing a different tune. it was different may be, it could be argued, that the subject of the evening was how institutions can play a role in social change.

The trouble is the government is itself outsourcing everything as is obvious from its massive drive of privatisation, even small works are given on contract like looking after municipal gardens. The result is misrule on a large scale actually. The workers are very often poorly paid ,paid after a delay of months and so on.

Mumbai is going through its worst experience of misrule with the administration totally playing a dominant role as the elected municipal body is not in existence, elections have not been two yeas after its term ended.

When citizens complain to the civic administration, it rudely tells people, complain to the contractor, an activist said. Then what is the administration for ? And how to complain to the contractor, why should we complain to the contractor ?

Back to Mr Bhagwat, he said the change could come in different ways, starting with the family which should have dinner together without members being engrossed in mobile phones, they should leave their isolation.

He also spoke about the need to live a simple life, Swadeshi but again without any criticism for the most vulgar display of wealth by certain sections.

Another unusual part of the speech was what may be called anthropological, biological. He sought to dismiss non human animals as mere herds without much feeling in contrast to humans who he said were social beings, superior.

The curious part as some would put it is that the RSS itself may be said to represent the herd mentality which is such a part of fascism.

In Eugene Ionesco’s famous, allegorical play Rhinoceros, written in 1959 , people in one town in Romania under Fascism, turn into rhinoceros one after another till one man stands up and refuses to surrender to fascism.

Mr Bhagwat’s observations are a bit surprising considering that he has a degree in veterinary science so he has some acquaintance with animal life. He should know betterBiologists point out that animals do have altruistic feelings and help one another sometimes at risk to themselves.

At the play’s outset, Jean and Bérenger sit at a provincial café when a solitary rhinoceros runs by them. The next day, townspeople are talking about the strange and sudden proliferation of rhinoceroses and about the metamorphosis of fellow citizens into these creatures. When his friend Jean is transformed, Bérenger attempts to warn everyone, but he appears to be the sole remaining human.

That apart animals play a special role in Indian culture. Indian philosophy assumes the basic unity of animals and humans and in everyday life animals symbolize various ideas and sentiments, experts point out. In the realm of Indian art, animals, birds appear everywhere in Fine Arts, such as painting, architecture, Indian handicrafts and sculpture, have deeper connotations. The heavenly creatures, for example, are the sculptures of birds and animals carved on the high spires of Hindu temples, which depict the lofty peaks of the sacred mountain, Kailash. They are divinely endowed mounts that belong to Hindu gods and goddesses. When used in decorative arts, the same birds and animals reflect the worldwide environment. They are entirely aesthetic in nature.

The symbolism of animals is extremely important in Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist mythology. Lord Vishnu’s initial incarnations include a fish, tortoise, hog, and half-human, half-lion. Almost every deity is accompanied by an animal or bird.

Mr Bhagwat spoke at the Lokmanya Seva Sangh in Vile Parle, a cultural organsiation which recently celebrated its centenary. Its ground was packed and the speech was shown on the screen in two other halls in the premises.

There was heavy security, a pandal blocked view for outsiders and an ambulance was in attendance outside, in short a bandobast for VIPs.

No media representative was present so this report may be of some interest. I have interacted with RSS functionaries for several years as part of journalistic work but this was after a long time ,attended a public meeting of a sarsanghachalak. The last time I heard the RSS chief was in the 1960s in Nagpur when M.S. Golwalkar, Guruji to followers, was the head.

Vidyadhar Date is a senior journalist and author of a book on public transport

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