RSS cobbles caste unity

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By NALIN VERMA
  • Published 26.12.09
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Patna, Dec. 25: Just days after installing his protégé Nitin Gadkari as BJP president, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat met Hindu leaders of different castes in an attempt to unite various communities in Bihar.

Bhagwat — on the last day of his three-day tour of the NDA-ruled state — had a series of closed-door meetings with Kushwaha Samaj chief Prahlad Sharma, Patwa Samaj chief Ramanarayan Mandal and others — a step seen as RSS’s bid to overcome the caste barrier, which plays a great role from marriage to politics in the Hindi belt.

Probably in a bid to introduce “modernity” in what is referred to as the primordial concept of RSS, Bhagwat advocated for inter-caste marriage, too. “People of various castes should tie the nuptial knot among themselves. They should also dine together as no Hindu caste is untouchable,” he said.

Sources in the RSS hinted that the right wing Hindu outfit would organise meetings of various Hindu caste leaders at block and district levels to follow up on what Bhagwat has done in Patna.

Describing caste as a “big hurdle” in the way of uniting the Hindus, Bhagwat said that the Hindus should adhere to the philosophy of Hindutva rather than castes. “The answer to all problems, including global warming, infiltration and social unrest, lies in Hindutva,” he said.

Incidentally, the number of RSS followers is not increasing in Bihar despite the Hindu outfit sharply raising the number of its camps and schools across the state. For example, RSS camps, according to sources, have gone up to 1,150 from 750 in 2004 and the number of Vidya Bharati Schools has shot up from 425 in 2004 to 750. But many of these schools and camps stay unattended in the countryside with people not evincing interest in them, according to the sources.

The RSS, the sources added, is also miffed at the government headed by JD(U)’s Nitish Kumar does not take notice of the Hindu outfit’s schools unlike his Gujarat counterpart, Narendra Modi, whose government has adopted many of the Bharati Vidya Mandirs for providing financial and logistical assistance.

On the other hand, the BJP ministers, including deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi and others, appeared in the RSS’s traditional khaki shorts and white shirts at a meeting addressed by Bhagwat here today.

“We owe our roots and rise in politics to the RSS, the head of the Sangh Parivar, which also has the BJP in its fold. How can we even think of appearing in other uniform?” asked a senior BJP leader.

Besides Modi, legislative council chairman Tarakant Jha, Giriraj Singh, Aswhini Choubey, Nandkishore Yadav, Ramnarayan Mandal (all ministers), former Union minister Ravishankar, former Gujarat governor Kailashpati Mishra and several others had attended the meet.