Intro: In an attempt to prove that “RSS has an adverse effect on development of India”, media surveys ended up proving that there is “Positive Impact of RSS on development of India”.
On January 1, 2015, an English newspaper, which claims to be number one, published a Seven-Month Report Card of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA Government. After a gap of four and half months, again on May 16, 2015, the same newspaper published another report on one year of Modi led NDA government. Like earlier survey, this survey too has biases.
But what is intriguing is that both surveys have ended up delivering an unintended result. The whole design of survey questionnaire is to prove that “RSS has an adverse effect on development of India”, while, “the survey has ended up proving that there is a “Positive Impact of RSS on development of India”.
Let’s start with one example of biased questionnaire. One of the rule of thumb in a survey is to avoid leading questions. Leading questions bias respondents by subtly directing them towards particular answers. Reflecting surveyors bias, leading questions can make respondents feel as if there is an obviously “correct” response, and that they would be foolish to answer otherwise.
The newspaper survey asks Leading Question, “Do you think Sangh Parivar hotheads are adversely affecting the development agenda? (This is not the only leading question in survey). Now if one removes “Do you think”, from the question it becomes obvious the answer, the newspaper is looking for i.e. “Sangh Parivar hotheads are adversely affecting the development agenda”. Now let’s look at the findings of the above question, (Table-1):
The data here is shouting from the rooftop that:
- i) Sangh Hotheads are contributing to the development. There is 20% fall in the respondents who think Hotheads are obstructing development and increase in 10% of the respondents who are clear that Hotheads are not obstructing development; and all this in four and half months only.
- ii) High percentage of “Don’t know/Can’t Say” could be because it is not easy to accept in four and half months (gap between two surveys) that one was wrong in his or her earlier stand. These are definitely fence sitters.
The above mentioned two conclusions get substantiated by the answers (Table-2) to the question, (in fact the first question reported in both the surveys): “What do you want from the Modi Government?”
The figures indicate that despite continues negative coverage of Hinduism by media;
- i) More and more people (40%) believe that “Promotion of Hinduism” and “Development” are complementary and one without the other will be meaningless.
- ii) In four and half months period there is no one under any confusion about it, as evident from the number of respondents under “Don’t know/can’t say”; which justifies the conclusion of Table-1.
These numbers bust the myth that issues of Hindutva are antithetical to governance and development.
What is heartening is that these findings remain true for across age groups and 40% of youth (18-29 years) believe that ‘Promotion of Hinduism’ is as important as ‘Development’ (Table-3). This number has grown more than 100% in four and half months only.
The survey was carried out in 8 cities. Findings become more exciting when one looks at the city level data. Let’s look at the response in 3 cities (Table-4) which are located in South of India, which doesn’t have much of BJP presence.
In Chennai, dominated by Dravidian parties, 36% want ‘Hinduism’ along with ‘Development’, up from 0%; hold your breath, a growth of whopping 360% in four and half months.
In Bangalore, the IT city, 64% want ‘Hinduism’ along with ‘Development’; again hold your breath, a growth of whopping 230% in four and half months.
In Hyderabad, city of Owaisi brothers, there is a growth of more than 100% in the same period among respondents who want ‘Hinduism’ along with ‘Development’.
One must remember that these cities have high domination of missionaries as well. This brings to the question of NGO’s. 55% respondents said “Modi Government has rightly put the NGO’s in their place”, and only 13% said it is “unnecessarily hostile”.
An interesting picture emerges when the data for following four questions are compared by city (Table-5).
- Need both “Development & Economic Growth” and “Hinduism”.
- Sangh Parivar hotheads have not affected the development adversely.
- Modi government has encouraged the Hotheads.
- Modi Government has rightly put the NGO’s in their place.
Only 27% respondents think that “Prime Minister Narendra Modi led government has encouraged the Hotheads”, because they have seen through the game being played by media and opposition in the name of “Gharwapasi” e.g. not a single party in opposition came forward to pass the anti-conversion bill, a fact not lost to the respondents.
Clearly, the respondents, across India believe that RSS contributes to the development and has given go ahead to the government to promote ‘Hinduism’ along with ‘Economic Growth & Development’ while taking stringent action against those (NGO) who obstruct promotion of the two factors.
It is also clear that, RSS will help both the growth of ‘Hinduism’ and ‘Economic Growth & Development’ by controlling the “hotheads”, though it must be made clear that so-called ‘Hotheads’, most of the time are not from RSS but media clubs them with RSS. But that’s the price leaders or institutions in leadership position have to pay.
There are still 22% who are in the state of “Don’t know/ Can’t say” state on the question of “Sangh Parivar hotheads have not affected the development adversely” a clear message from RSS, and a clear understanding of RSS will not only make these 22%, form a positive opinion about RSS but will also make both ‘governance’ and ‘making inroads in unchartered territory’, easy for BJP.
In the end, let’s visit one more bias. The headline of 1 January 2015 survey was “Faith in Modi govt high, but Sangh hotheads a concern” which after May 16, 2015 survey should have been “Faith in Modi govt high, and Sangh contributes to growth” but unfortunately it was “First-year exam: Modi govt gets First Division but not Distinction”. Headline is an issue because the survey report of May 2015 mentions about January 2015 report. Unfortunately, along with biased headline, negativity flows from the analysis, and positive developments have been presented as negative. And the leading question “Do you think Sangh Parivar hotheads are adversely affecting the development agenda?”, which was featured in the first page in January reporting of the survey has been pushed to inside pages in May reporting of the survey and is replaced with another leading question. This has happened because even the negative leading question has not helped the newspaper paint RSS in a negative picture.
But day is not far when even the biased media will have to accept the positive contribution of RSS in nation building. So far media see RSS only in relation to BJP; time has come now for Media to broaden its outlook and understand RSS in relation to Nation Building.
Sandeep Singh (The writer is founder of www.swastik.net.in)