Left or Right of Sangh

Vishwa Bhaarath
Left or Right of Sangh

Many newspapers and portals have latched on to the opening remarks of Datta ji, where he says, “RSS is neither left nor right and it has never presented its view as ‘rightist’ in any of its training camps.”  – Ratan Sharda

RSS Sarkaryavaah (General Secretary) Shri Dattatreya Hosabale made a very significant speech at the release program of veteran RSS prachaarak Ram Madhav’s book – The Hindutva Paradigm: Integral Humanism and Quest for non-West Worldview. To my mind, after a very long time a top RSS leader has delineated the confusion due to Left and Right, East and West glasses of social, cultural and political analysis. He reiterated very clearly that cultural foundation of Bharat that unifies her people is Hindutva. He explained how Deendayal Upadhyay presented the philosophy of Integral Humanism (Ekatma Manavdarshan, not Ekatma Manavvaad – an ‘ism’) as an alternative to Capitalism and Communism, that were bound to fail according to the then RSS Sarsanghchaalak Shri Guruji.

I haven’t read the book yet, so I can’t comment on the book. However, I would say that after Bokare’s ‘Hindu Economics’ and Dattopant Thengadi’s ‘Third Way’, it is the first time in 50 years that a fresh look has been taken on the philosophy of ‘Integral Humanism’ and political economy by a top RSS leader who has seen both sides – the political side and social and cultural side of the socio-political discourse.

Many newspapers and portals have latched on to the opening remarks of Datta ji, where he says, “RSS is neither left nor right and it has never presented its view as ‘rightist’ in any of its training camps.” This is absolutely correct as I have been in and out of RSS work and training camps for nearly 50 years of my conscious Sangh association. He added that there is a strong push from the right against the left, so the economic thought returns to centre.

I have been cautioning people who, by reflex, speak of themselves and entire ‘non-Left’ ecosystem as ‘Right Wing’ without realising where it puts them in intellectual discourse. I have explained in all my interactions in public or youtube discussions that Left-Right dichotomy doesn’t work in our Bharatiya context. By calling yourself ‘Right wing’ while talking of Hindutva or Dharmic tradition in cultural sense you get bracketed with exclusivists, extremist, even violent, far right belief systems like Islam and Christianity. In economic sense, Hindutva and dharmic socio-economic systems were never right wing from their earliest enunciations. Hindu philosophy does not advocate unfettered individual freedom, right to earn at any cost and do what you wish to do, with no sense of duty.

Where only job of the state is to control law and order so that individual can enjoy that freedom. Hindu economic system that helped Bharat stay prosperous nation with much better equitable distribution of wealth for nearly 2000 years, was nurtured by the concept of Purusharth Chatushtya of Arth Dharma, Kama, Moksha. Freedom to earn and enjoy fulfilment of desires within the bounds of Dharma (ethics, duties) to strive for Moskha or nirvana. It was not a centrally controlled economy; the ruler did not own all means of production and distribution hence it was not left too. It was a centrist system balanced on rights and duties. It was decentralised republic of local self governments of panchayats and janapadas. Temples of each village or area was central to the economy of the area that took care of health, hygiene and education. Taxation became horribly exploitative only during Islamic and British governance and saw gradual decline of our economy. Thus, when Datta ji said Hindutva is more left than right, he is right.

Left or Right of Sangh

Culturally, we are centrist and dharmic as we believe in pluralism, in republic of faiths and respect for all belief systems. This respect and tolerance of diverse views makes Hindu civilisation and sanskriti truly liberal. Left and liberalism are mutually exclusive terms if we look at how they treat ideas different from theirs. We don’t claim to be the sole and exclusive repository of a faith. No king had a declared state religion except two icons of ‘secular’ left historians – Ashoka and Akbar. We are, truly, neither Left nor Right in every sense.

Datta ji reiterated that we are an ancient nation, that was not born on 1947, and our sense of unity comes from our culture, which Jawaharlal Nehru called, ‘silken thread’ that links us all, but did not name it. He went on to quote M C Chagla who claimed that he was a Muslim by faith and a Hindu by culture; and R M Lohia who talked about our cultural unity using our most popular Gods – Ram, Krishna and Shiva. In his context he gave the example of Germany and Russia – both products of World War 2. While two Germanies united after a few decades, USSR disintegrated around the same time. Reason was common – cultural unity of Germans and forced unity of USSR by communists. Culture remains the uniting factor.

Coming to economic issues, he quotes Madan Mohan Malaviya who dissented from the report of on Indian Industrial Commission of 1919 in which there were only two Indians, including Malaviya ji. He asserted that our Bharatiya economy that had dominated world economy was humane and environment friendly. A point of view that was endorsed later by veteran Gandhian Dharampal.

Pointing to the philosophy of Integral Humanism, Datta ji reminded that Deendayal Upadhyay who authored it, did not claim that he had written something original. He had just collated ancient wisdom in our arth-shastra and presented it in modern terms. He re-introduced many technical terms like ‘chiti’ and ‘virat’ in intellectual discourse from ancient knowledge system of Bharat. He reminded us that an individual is connected to family, society and onwards to nation and globe as he moves from self to nature. This brings in social and environmental harmony. M M Malaviya, Dharampal (through his monograph Bharatiya Chiti, Kaal and Maanas) and Deendayal ji, all basically talked about a world view born out of Bharat, and this world view is Hindutva.

He touched upon the issue of colonial governance and judicial systems and quoted CJI of India who has said that current judicial system is a colonial vestige and we need to change it to these systems to suit India; and hoped that we will get rid of colonial mindset to gain true ‘swaraj’ as we move into 75th year of our freedom.

Most interestingly, he reminded Pavan Varma, veteran diplomat and politician, that had he written his book 20 years back, he would have named it Indian Civilisation. It is the change in socio-cultural environment that allows him to call it Hindu Civilisation. This is the change brought in by RSS. He accepted the suggestion of not just shaastraarth on various concepts of Hindutva, went onto suggest a series of discussions and dialogues as it is foundational nature of Hindutva to engage in dialogue to move ahead in evolution of human thought.

This lecture is an assertion that RSS has not diluted its stance, but has added new dimensions to its expression of Hindutva; and is open to engage with critics as it always was but was not allowed public space. It has firm faith that Hindutva is the uniting factor of this great land and that its philosophy is not only useful to Bharat but also to the world as it is inclusive, liberal, plural and takes care of all the dimensions of human existence in line with preserving the nature.


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