Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal. | PTI and Arvind Kejriwal/Twitter

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That the Aam Aadmi Party is trying to beat the Bharatiya Janata Party at its own game has been evident over the past couple of years.

Its soft Hindutva has been demonstrated by its offer of free Ayodhya pilgrimages for senior citizens, party convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s recitation of the Hanuman Chalsa, his declaration that he had visited a Hanuman temple after his party’s victory in the Punjab Assembly elections, the party’s ringing silence over last year’s Delhi riots and party leader Atishi’s statement that seemed to blame Delhi’s communal trouble on Rohingya Muslim refugees.

On Tuesday, when Kejriwal launched a campaign to “make India number one” in the world, he seemed to have added the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s idea of nationalism and national pride to his arsenal. That idea is clearly a parallel to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s notion of making India a “vishwaguru” or world teacher.

Arvind Kejriwal at the Dwarkadhish temple in Dwarka in Gujarat on September 2. Credit: Arvind Kejriwal/Twitter.

The Hindutva organisation has often said that it aims to make India a world teacher by “providing solutions to the problems being faced by the world today”. It says that it is the god-ordained (ishwarpradatta) duty of Hindus to help the world overcome its problems.

In reality, “vishwaguru” is a euphemism for superpower. The Sangh’s use of this term is in line with its strategy of camouflaging problematic and narrow ideas with seemingly broad, benign descriptions.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s frequent refrain is that the great ideas of Bharat deserve to be heard by the world but the world does not listen to the weak. Hence, Bharat needs to become strong. Needless to say, the Sangh’s plan for India to attain the position of vishwaguru involves attaining military superpowerdom, in addition to economic might.

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