Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar'sbirth centenary was celebrated on February 24, 2006. Popularly known as Guruji, he perceived his karma as being tied to that of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). He gave direction to the Sangh for 33 years. Though not a founder of the RSS, he was its most influential ideologue, the Sarsanghchalak, and its chief mentor.
The book under review seems to have been published with the sole aim of belittling Guruji and his contribution to revival of Hindu nationalism. In the introduction itself, while referring to Article 4 C of the Sangh'sconstitution which states that it is ?aloof from politics and is devoted to social and cultural fields only?, the author Jyotirmaya alleges that the ?Sangh-inspired organisations like the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal, among others, have had a malefic influence on Indian politics in the last two decades as they continue to look to the Sangh for ideological inspiration and direction.? He continues that ?the Sangh intervenes in politics through its affiliates without having to enter the democratic realm. This form of politics by proxy enables it to remain beyond the pale of public scrutiny and accountability.?
Here it would be proper to set right a few of the author'smisconceptions. Right from the beginning, Golwalkar believed that love of political power and love of office corrupts every idealist, patriot and self-sacrificing individual. He even observed that politics was a sure way to losing identity as an organisation. ?Politics inevitably lead to dilution?, quotes the author Jyotirmaya himself when talking of Guruji'sviews.
The Bharatiya Jana Sangh, now BJP, which was founded in 1951, did have Swayamsewaks in it whose incorruptible character was known to all, but had individuals who, even though trained by the Sangh, could not remain free from the influence of politics. Here the author says, ?The way of the Sangh was one of second transformation and of inculcating virtues in the society. The Sangh was in a position to articulate an unadulterated nationalism only because it had refused to align itself with any political party.? Even today the Sangh makes it differences with BJP or VHP known, as seen by all, when BJP leader L.K. Advani commented on M.A. Jinnah, the creator of Pakistan, or on the Indo-US nuclear deal.
The fact was that Guruji did not subscribe to aligning with any political party or in any system. He criticised democracy (though he considered it the least evil since it promised all subjects representation), says Jyotirmaya Sharma himself, because he conceived politics in a democratic setup as one in which the common society falls prey to self-interests, greed and various forms of enticements, and elect someone incapable. They would then have to suffer that individual for five years. He bemoaned that farmers ended up being represented by lawyers and doctors, who knew little about agriculture. Universal franchise had to be discouraged.
Guruji considered communism too as nothing other than an attempt to bring everyone down to one single level?it was a philosophy of ?levelling down? and not ?levelling up?. Everyone had to be kept under the threat of a central leadership. Guruji made it clear that Hindu culture had no place for fascism or Nazism or socialism where ?all power and all means of wealth creation are centralised.? He found the only alternative?Hinduism?as desirable as it was based on the concept of yugas or epochs, each of which represented the sentiments in society of the time. Satyayuga, Tretayuga, Dwaparyuga and Kaliyuga exemplified a distinctive form of society and a unique state. ?Human selfishness increased in each of these epochs, reaching its peak in kaliyuga where life is defined by conflict and struggle. There is sorrow and lack of peace everywhere.? To overcome this epoch, Guruji visualised a krityuga, where Dharma would manifest itself again and ensure happiness and welfare of Indian society. For achieving people'sfidelity to Dharma, Guruji called for shaktipaat or assembling of strength. For this, the Hindu tradition and its scriptures needed to be strengthened into a single body called the Hindu society. Guruji believed the caste system in India as the perfect example of such a harmonising effect. He praised the varna system which differentiated on the basis of tasks and jobs performed by individuals and provided a fine balance between individual satisfaction and the need for discipline. He believed that it was this system which kept the Hindu society alive, despite all kinds of foreign attacks.
Guruji'sfaith and worldview reiterated dissolution of the individual in a larger whole. There is no place in the organisation for importance to the individual in the society can never supreme.
Guruji saw advaitic unity as the Dharma. When in 1949, there was clamour for Sangh'sentry into politics, Guruji had felt ?such a demand was a consequence of politics and that the Sangh, to keep its faith in Hindu sanskriti or culture, would not have anything to do with politics as it was not the instrument that could encompass life.? He wanted the Sangh to leave its imprint on politics through its virtues and not vices of being in government or participating in politics.
Here is a book which quotes Guruji and then misinterprets and misrepresents all that he stood for. What a pity!
(Viking Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi-110017.)