go to site Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sewak Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat, credited with inviting former President Pranab Mukherjee to the RSS headquarters at Nagpur, was wrong when he said the Sangh would remain Sangh and Mukherjee will remain what he is even after the event. Not only has the momentous event impacted the Sangh and the former president but hopefully the country’s political discourse for the better.
http://nepa.nl/shipments For the RSS to invite the former first citizen and dyed-in-the-wool Congress leader, who had spent decades in the party and had missed at least two chances of becoming prime minister by a whisker, was a remarkable initiative. For Mukherjee to accept and speak at the headquarters of an organisation which had been political anathema for him before he was elected the President, was a bold move. Even though he became ‘apolitical’ after entering the Rashtrapati Bhavan, he will always be known as one of the most prominent Congress leaders since the independence.
http://arc-theatre.com/?page=2002-the-last-supper The RSS, which gave birth to the Bharatiya Janata Party, and the Congress represent two extreme political ideologies. Though they had not been seeing eye to eye for decades, the recent trends of mutual suspicion, extreme dislike and hatred had vitiated the political discourse.
The BJP, led by prime minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, had set its agenda for a “Congress-mukt Bharat” as it won state after state to be in power with a score of the 29 states of the country, and the Congress is now leading a bunch of parties seeking to make it a “Modi-mukt Bharat”.
The political debate has become so vitiated in the recent past that it has become almost impossible to articulate an objective view without one or the other side branding you either a “Modi bhakt” or a “Rahul bhakt”. Neither side is willing to hear any criticism and even forwarded jokes are taken as an affront and ‘proof’ that you are against so-and-so.
If the invite from the RSS to Mukherjee and his decision to accept and speak at the Sangh’s headquarters has helped to bridge this antagonism between the divergent political views, it is certainly for the better. There can be no two opinions about the patriotism and nationalism of RSS/BJP combine or that of the Congress-led array of political parties. As Mukherjee’s eloquent speech at Nagpur brought out, there can be saner and less acrimonious ways to raise your point of view.
The debate over what Mukherjee left unsaid – lack of reference to Gandhi’s role in freedom struggle and his assassination, intolerance of religious fanatics, incidents of lynchings and attacks and the aggressive imposition of Hindutva agenda – is immaterial. Although some eyebrows were raised for his full some praise of the founder of the Sangh K B Hedgewar, his speech did mention unity in diversity and underlined the unique identity of the nation as an amalgamation of diverse religious beliefs.
For that matter even Bhagwat was highly circumspect in his speech. He too refrained from saying anything provocative or referring to politics of the day. He even changed the protocol of such functions by letting Mukherjee have the last word. Inviting someone who was known to be opposed to the RSS ideology for a long time was itself a good and bold initiative and the event did create a buzz with the RSS receiving an unprecedented national focus and mileage.
While it is true that those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it, it is also important to bury the ghosts of the past and look forward to a new and vibrant India.
It is obvious that the leaders of RSS-BJP squirm in their seats whenever others refer to the apology letters of Vir Sawarkar to the British rulers and the questionable actions of its leaders during the freedom struggle. Similarly there is little that the Congress can defend for imposing Emergency and curtailing fundamental rights of citizens. It also has no defence for allowing the 1984 massacre of Sikhs and does not have a sparkling history of a truly democratic political party.
But it is time to reconcile with the past and move on. As stated above, no aspersions can be cast on any of the major political parties over sincerity and efforts to take India forward. Differences lie in the approach and ideology. There is need to debate and discuss issue threadbare in the interest of the nation and in a spirit of give and take. Political difference are bound to remain and so does the approach to the problems but there is no other way than to work together for the common good of the country and the society.
Mukherjee’s visit to the RSS headquarters and making his point will be a subject for political debates for a long time to come. Even though Mukherjee was not representing Congress or any other party, his presence and speech have signalled that no major party or organisation is ‘untouchable’. It would prove a great success if the visit is able to calm down political rhetoric and lead to a more mature discourse.