As usual, when Shri Rahul Gandhi started the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, he was first mocked and then the National Factory of Fake News was deployed to work. Those who must have kept an eye on fact-check websites and news, they know that dozens of fake news were spread regarding the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, but all in vain. The ‘Padyatra’ from Kanyakumari to Kashmir started getting tremendous response from the public right from the beginning. This created a bit of stir in the BJP. Even the Union Minister tried to spread fake news from the stage. Officially, false, fake and misleading claims were started to be made about Shri Rahul Gandhi by the office-bearers of BJP. Instead of getting political benefit from this, the BJP failed terribly.
In the meantime, the yatra reached Kerala and the kind of crowd that gathered there was highly unexpected. The yatra which planned to involve a few hundred people, saw joining of lakhs of people. Meanwhile, statements of BJP leaders and spokespersons kept flowing in the media. Very superficial and childish questions were raised that the country is already one, what does Shri Rahul Gandhi want to unite? The situation worsened so much that the Pro-BJP anchors started questioning them back that on one hand you say that Congress is over, then why this restlessness with Shri Rahul Gandhi’s yatra? Well, seeing that these activities do not yield results as expected by the BJP, the strategy has been changed and now the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has also plunged into it. Before dwelling on the changed strategy of the Sangh, it is necessary to take a look at the background that compelled Shri Rahul Gandhi to undertake a ‘Padyatra’. ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ is giving a clear message that inflation, unemployment and economic crisis are unbridled in the country. Economic inequality is increasing rapidly while people’s income is decreasing rapidly. In the last few years, when the people of the country faced the devastation inflicted upon them through demonetisation, GST and lockdown, Gautam Adani broke all the records of earning wealth and became the third largest billionaire in the world. In the last week of August, his wealth increased by 42,000 crores in one day. On the other hand, 23 crore people went below the poverty line in just one year between 2020 and 2021. In order to divert the attention of the public from these discrepancies, the BJP government is constantly trying to keep the public engrossed in religious frenzy. Discussion on inflation and unemployment was not allowed in Parliament. The mouth of the media has been cemented so as to avoid even mentioning of the most important issues concerning the general public. During the Udaipur ‘Chintan Shivir’ of the Indian National Congress and the ‘Mehangai Rally’ in Delhi, Shri Rahul Gandhi raised a serious matter. Counting the current problems, he said that today we have no platform at our disposal to raise the voice of the people. The opposition was prevented from raising public issues in Parliament. With the government taking over all the institutions, the media and the courts under pressure, the opposition has no democratic weapon left. We will have to go to the public. Perhaps this was the reason that the journey which was to start from October 02, started on September 07 itself.
The issues that Shri Rahul Gandhi has taken to the public are very basic issues and the manner in which the public’s support is being received, has created a kind of panic in both - the BJP and its parent organization RSS - which they could not hide even if they wanted to. This panic was sensed clearly in the statements made by the BJP about the ‘Yatra’ and the lies spread officially. After coming to power, BJP has been continuously criticized outside the country for its communal policies. Recently, there was an international protest against Nupur Sharma incident and about 17 Muslim countries stood against India. In the last several years, there has been talk in the media around the world that Hindu fundamentalism is on the rise in India and the ruling BJP and RSS are together promoting mob system. The ‘Padyatra’ of Shri Rahul Gandhi, which began in the midst of this scenario, received international coverage. The public which was showing anger towards the Congress eight years ago, is now remembering the tenure of Manmohan Singh and the common people have started to understand the truth of the national project of lies and the goodwill of Shri Rahul Gandhi.
Sensing the change in the direction of the wind at the national and international level (the change in the views), the new strategy of the RSS is to throw off the hate tag that has stuck to itself. In this sequence, Mohan Bhagwat first met some Muslim intellectuals and then went to a mosque in Delhi and met Imam Umar Ahmed Ilyasi, the head of the All-India Imam Organization. Bhagwat then visited a madrasa and met the children there. Reports from there said that Mohan Bhagwat told the children of the madrasa that even though our ways of worship are different, all religions should be respected.
Those who have even the slightest familiarity with the ideology of the RSS know that the RSS has been thinking just the opposite. The core ideology of the RSS has been treating Muslims, Christians and Communists in India as foreigners since the time of Guru Golwalkar. Why has this Muslim love of theirs arisen needs to be understood in the right perspective. The RSS has probably realized that communalism and religious hatred are looked down upon everywhere in the world. The way the Indian public was divided as a result of the BJP being in power for eight years and instigating religious strife, indicates a dangerous future.
Secondly, when Shri Rahul Gandhi is giving this message to the people of the country that the resources of the country have been occupied by two people and the life of the rest of the country is disconcerting, then this question cannot be avoided by making a joke out of it. Even the people who are suffering are able to understand this sooner or later and so does the RSS. That is why RSS General Secretary Dattatreya Hosabole has also raised the issue of poverty, unemployment and inequality in the country and the RSS-BJP is also working on a strategy to end the opposition by raising the criticisms coming from the opposition.
Meanwhile, another important event took place. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s Dussehra rally had invited Everest climber Santosh Yadav as the Chief Guest. This was the first time in a hundred years that a woman had become the Chief Guest at the RSS’s Dussehra rally. During this, Mohan Bhagwat said that along with Sanatan, it is also necessary to have constant changes. Amidst all this, it should be remembered that the RSS never expressed any intention to reconsider its ideology. It has neither shied away from the doctrine of its holy land and fatherland, nor is it reconsidering the idea of treating Muslims, Christians as foreigners. Therefore, along with showing Muslim love, Bhagwat has also raised the issue of population without taking any names. The RSS has been raising the issue of population for decades and has created an imaginary pretext that very soon Muslims will outnumber the Hindus and India will be occupied by the Muslims. On one hand, they are trying to increase rapport with Muslims, on the other hand, they are also feeding anti-Muslim agenda.
It simply means that the RSS is planning to do what it has been doing for a hundred years. It hides behind high social and democratic ideals whenever it feels defeated in its views sometimes, it hides behind the Constitution, at other times behind Mahatma Gandhi and yet at other times behind socialism. Today, it has sensed that Shri Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Padyatra’ will reach crores of people and people of the country will become aware, so it is itself trying to raise the same issues which Shri Rahul Gandhi has been raising. Actually, the RSS has not changed, it wants to eliminate the possibility of any political change by spreading confusion in the society under its old strategies. Munshi Premchand had said, “Saampradaayikta sadaiv sanskriti ki duhaai dia karti hai. Usay apne asli roop mein nikalne mein shayad lajja aati hai, isliye vah sanskriti ka khol odhkar aati hai.” To avoid the same embarrassment, the RSS has been covering itself in nationalism, culture, democracy, Gandhism, socialism and liberalism, and will continue to do so in the future. The activism of the Indian National Congress and Shri Rahul Gandhi has forced the RSS to do so.
(The author is a freelance journalist)