t seems like the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) are not one and the same anymore. The rumours doing the rounds in Delhi pre Gujarat 2018 Assembly polls may not be far off the mark. Both these outfits look like they are cast in different moulds. While granting that the BJP is seen as the political offshoot of the RSS, there have been assimilations in the party’s composition. The two walk their ways through parallel paths with a weird sort of ‘nationalism’ as their common creed. One cannot account for the flaws of the other; at the same time, one cannot work against the interests of the other. This necessitates a balancing act. People in general believe that the RSS is duty-bound to retain its basic character, while the BJP as a political establishment can afford to have more flexibility in its approach to various situations. However, a recent statement by RSS Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat, distancing his outfit from a statement by the BJP top brass about ushering in an era of Congress-mukt Bharat (India bereft of Congress) makes for an evidently interesting political somersault. The stand taken by the RSS chief, stressing on inclusiveness, would certainly be appreciable for the uninitiated.
India is a reigning democracy, where democracy is still in its nascent stages of development. Our behaviour towards neighbouring nations as well as our posturing worldwide have not gained us any benefit. With such a backdrop, inclusiveness is the spirit that needs to be encouraged, not exclusiveness, as the RSS chief has stressed at an event in Pune this past weekend. Under the system of democracy, no party, no thought, no individual should be left out of the mainstream. That inclusiveness must not keep apart even the poorest of the poor; nor the richest of the rich. This mosaic of different colours and creeds blending in an impressive manner is the very essence of democracy as we perceive it. Even Chairman Mao had a similar outlook when it came to nation-building. Said he: “Let a hundred flowers bloom, let a hundred schools of thought contend.” China of today does not, however, practise this; but India does not have a choice but be inclusive.
India is great because of its inclusiveness, its willingness to accommodate and assimilate one and all, of different races, creeds, religions and languages. To exist here is to co-exist. One might not agree to a particular ideology, but it is worth giving it a space too in our wide horizon. Successive invasions through centuries past had only helped strengthen the spirit of oneness here; the British-prompted Partition being the only exception. Against this backdrop, the repeated calls from Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah to the people to help in achieving the party’s goal of a Congress-free India appeared simply unacceptable. In electoral terms, this might just not be possible by any stretch of imagination. And as Gujarat proved it, this is not the right spirit that one can hold in a democracy. It could possibly only shatter the group or ideology which nurtures such a crazy thought.
Such a push would rather pose serious dangers for the future. A one-party rule without a credible Opposition, as the BJP envisages, is the anti-thesis of a democratic system of governance. Such situations are bound to lead to totalitarianism or dictatorship in due course of time. One can only think of such a scenario with a shudder. Chances are that the BJP leadership dreams of a China-like scenario where, recently, Xi Jinping got himself elected as the permanent ruler of that vast nation.
The BJP might not be capable to achieve its demonic aim, as new rounds of assembly polls hint at major ups and downs for the BJP as some by-election results in various states in the near past have made clear. No party is an evil; every party is supposed to have an ideological orientation to it, and welfare of the people should ideally be the motto of each party. To seek to banish a party, or parties or groups or persons is to go for the kill of the very soul of democracy, which is an unacceptable situation. Only the voter is entitled to punish or reward politicians. No politician should ever be the deciding factor in matters that question the validity of freedom of thought, speech, belief or action.
Mohan Bhagwat requires praise also for stressing on the need for inclusiveness in the RSS’ style of functioning, rather than carrying on with its old pursuit of a Hindoo exclusiveness. An exclusive male bastion till now, it needs to open its doors to not only non-Hindoo thought but also women.It is in the fitness of things that everything forms part of the whole. At the same time, each constituent should retain its distinct character assimilated as it is in the larger format. That’s the beauty of India; and that will be the strength of India, too, as it braces for a larger role on the world stage.