• Aslam Abdullah

Was Shah behind Modi's Security Lapses: Internal fights in the RSS

The Hindu right-wing fascist groups have serious internal fights on turning India into a Hindu Rashtra. So, on the one hand, are those who want to promote a benign Hindutva with a token representation of minorities in the political decision-making process, while on the other are those who want an aggressive Hinduism to dominate India with no rights to non

-upper-caste Hindus.

A group of eight influential RSS members with links to over a million upper-caste-run temples and cultural centers run the organization that believes in the supremacy of Brahmans, the highest Hindu caste.

Among them are Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat, the 'Guide of the fascist group, Sarkaryavah, Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi, an elected member of the Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha, and six sah-sarkayavah or joint general secretaries. The six include Suresh Soni, Dattatreya Hosable, Dr. Krishna Gopal, V. Bhaigaih, Manmohan Vaidya, and Mukund. Without the knowledge and approval of these eight leaders, nothing takes place in the organization or its subsidiaries. The recent internet campaigns to auction Muslim women or mobilize lynching of Muslims or others was in the preview of the RSS high command.

However, the RSS high command has two divergent strategies to achieve the goal of Hinduism. Bhagwat, Mukund, and Krishna Gopal want to cautiously implement the Hindu Rashtra agenda. Modi, Chauhan, and Basavaraj Bommai of Karnatak are in this camp. At the same time, Yogi Adityanath of Uttar Pradesh and Himanta Biswa Sarma of Assam support the hardliners in the top RSS hierarchy.

The Dharam Sansad organized by Hindu religious leaders fully approves this violent RSS leadership. Yogi Adityanath is the contender for the Prime Ministership. There are rumors in RSS circles that the security lapses during Prime Minister Modi's recent trip to Punjab were in knowledge of RSS hardliners. They do not rule out the possibility of India's home minister's involvement in the plot. RSS inner circles suggest that the security lapse was a warning to Modi. "Get in line with hardliners to expedite the Hindu Rashtra plan before the 2024 election, or get ready to be removed physically. Modi's camp is aware of the internal fighting in RSS. Hence, it relies on rallies supporting Modi all over the country. One such protest was in Jharkhand, where BJP members forced a Muslim to lick his spit and shout Jay Shri Ram.

The two RSS camps are united in their anti-Islam and anti-Muslim rhetoric. They view Islam as an existential threat to Hinduism and fear that its presence in India may change the demographic profile of Hindus. The Indian census identifies 80 percent of the country's population as Hindus. In reality, 20% of them belong to the Scheduled Caste or Dalits; 9% belong to the Scheduled Tribe, animists; and 41% to the Other Backward Classes category. It means that only 30 percent belong to upper-caste Hindus. Interestingly, the Hindu fascist party, the Bhartiya Janta Party's share in electoral votes is about 36 percent.

According to recent reports, Brahmans in India are about five percent of its total population. However, the Himalayan states of Uttarakhand (20%) and Himachal Pradesh (14%) have the highest percentage of the Brahmin population relative to the respective state's total Hindus.

The RSS spreads the fear that Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Sikhism may win over the hearts of the Dalit and Scheduled Tribes, as the current trend in religious conversion shows. It reports that not a single day passed when someone from these communities did not renounce Hinduism and join either of the four religions.

The reality is far from true. According to official figures for 2020, the biggest gainer – in terms of new converts – was Hinduism. People who embraced Hinduism constituted 47 percent of religious conversions in Kerala during the one year under reference.

Of the total 506 people who registered their change of religion with the government, 241 came from Christianity or Islam to Hinduism. A total of 144 persons adopted Islam, whereas Christianity received 119 new believers in the year.

The Pew Research also states that that religious switching, or conversion, has a minimal impact on the overall size of India's religious groups.

RSS hardliners are in a hurry to eliminate minorities' political presence in India. The internal fighting on the methodology and timings of such a process would determine the official position of the government of India.

In states such as Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Assam, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Karnataka, the RSS has already captured the bulk of the bureaucracy and the police force. Therefore, it is confident that the marginalization of minorities would not pose a significant problem in these states. However, the RSS is finding it hard to implement its plan in the rest of the country. But the hardliners feel that a violent anti-minority stance in BJP controlled states would pave the way for its acceptability in other country regions.

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