Over the last few months, Devanuru Mahadeva’s short and accessible 64-page book giving a comprehensive overview of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has been making waves in Karnataka and beyond. Originally published in Kannada, it sold over 40,000 copies in no time and it was soon translated into multiple Indian languages. The book and its translations have been well received but its message needs even wider circulation.
Divided into three parts, the book provides a thorough critique of the RSS and connects its overall political-ideological programme with the saffron politics of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and a range of ‘autonomous’ outfits such as Sri Ram Sene, Bajrang Dal and others. Laden with quotations from leading RSS ideologues, especially MS Golwalkar, the book is intended for people grappling with the seemingly all-pervasive RSS worldview. That’s you, me, and everyone else living in today’s India.
Mahadeva outlines the core ideological agenda of the RSS right at the outset: to replace the Constitution that promises equality to every citizen, with the Manusmriti that is based on the ‘chaturvarna’ hierarchy. He then talks about the main elements of this agenda: the transformation of our federal structure into a unitary one, disenfranchisement of the minorities and oppressed, imposition of Sanskrit (and Sanskritised Hindi) over people’s languages, and establishing Aryan racial superiority, all heavily inspired by Nazi Germany.
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