RSS has been forced to ideological back foot to such an extent that in its Hindi mouthpiece ‘Panchajanya’ it has labeled Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) as “anti-national”. This has come at a time when a host of writers, filmmakers, intellectuals and other sections have come out openly against the rising intolerance and the un-making of India under the RSS-BJP regime. This has come at a time when education is facing all out attacks from the policies of the Modi government and attempts are being made to sell out education in the upcoming Nairobi rounds of WTO-GATS talks.
The RSS and its affiliates like the ABVP have raised this bogey time and again. In fact during the tenure of the previous BJP-led NDA government, the RSS tried to target JNU and the JNU Students Union as a den of “ISI agents”. Such targeting, however, was defeated by the steadfast resistance of the students’ movement led by the SFI-led JNUSU.
What exactly is the idea of nationalism which RSS and ABVP seek to propagate? The RSS was not part of the anti-colonial struggle of the Indian people against British rule. Nathuram Godse, the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi, was an RSS man. V D Savarkar, a prominent Sangh leader, was an active participant in the conspiracy to murder Gandhi. The RSS's ideal of India and its nationalism is enshrined in the infamous motto “Hindi-Hindu-Hindustan”. It refuses to accept the equality of all the different nationalities that constitute and comprise India, and which fought together in the freedom struggle against colonial rule. The RSS seeks to impose a monolithic, communal idea of the nation, which is evident, for instance, in the writings of M S Golwalkar, the Hindutva ideologue and the second Sarsanghchalak of the RSS. He wrote in his work 'We or Our Nationhood Defined':
“The non-Hindu people of Hindustan must either adopt Hindu culture and language, must learn and respect and hold in reverence the Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but of those of glorification of the Hindu race and culture ... In a word they must cease to be foreigners, or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment — not even citizens' rights.” This is why one of the articles in the current issue of ‘Panchajanya’ complains with angst the fact that courses on discrimination and exclusion, on north east studies etc. are taught in JNU.
Contrary to the world view of RDD, The students of JNU, have always opposed the Sangh Parivar's bigoted ideology and held up the equality of all people, belonging to all religions, communities, ethnicities, languages and nationalities. They have stood up to oppose the RSS ideology which treats women as second class citizens and as “being fit only for domestic chores”. Precisely because of our determined opposition to the chauvinistic project of the RSS, the Hindutva forces have made JNU a target.
Not only is the RSS's idea of India utterly communal, but in essence and practice the India that it promotes is that of the Adanis and the Ambanis and other big businesses. The workers, peasants, petty produces, Dalits, Adivasis and women belonging to all communities lie outside this ruling class idea of India. The economic policies of the RSS-led Modi government benefit only the ruling classes led by the big corporates, who ultimately form a tiny section of our population. The working population of India, consisting of the workers, peasants, Dalits, Adivasis, women and other toiling sections, must constitute themselves THE nation (though not in the bourgeois sense of the word) in order to resolutely oppose and defeat the RSS and its communal-fascist vision of what India ought to be.
The Central Executive Committee of SFI would like to assert here that student community and the people of India would firmly reject the attempts to refashion India to fit the communal-fascist, majoritarian, ruling class idea of the “nation” peddled by the RSS. We will continue to speak the truth, and all fascist attempts to muzzle our voices in defence of the working people of our country belonging to all communities will be rejected.
Dr. V Sivadasan Ritabrata Banerjee MP
President General Secretary