RSS and General Cariappa: Targeting the Strongest Pillar of Indian State-Indian Army
The report which claims that an attempt was made to assassinate then General KM Cariappa, floating on social media is totally devoid of facts and is a part of vicious campaign launched by anti-India forces to weaken the Indian Army, the nationalist force and consequently, the Indian Nation
General Cariappa with Guruji Golwalkar in Udupi Vishva Hindu Parishad conference 1969
Recently some reports floating on social media as well as some newspapers like Jansatta based on ‘CIA “Confidential” documents, which have been declassified’ allege that an attempt was made to assassinate then General KM Cariappa, the first Indian Commander-in-Chief of the Army, in 1950, during his visit to East Punjab. The report appears to be a crude attemptby certain anti-India forces to target the most powerful institution of the Indian State- the renowned Indian Army. The report based on fictitious CIA documents claims that RSS tried to get Gen Cariappa assassinated in 1950 and six officers of the Indian Army were hanged in 1950 for this attempt. It also hints at an apparent North South divide in the Indian army and insinuates that Sikh officers were unwilling to serve under Cariappa. Nothing can be further from truth. In fact anyone with rudimentary knowledge of Indian Army would know that most army officers go by regimental affiliations and their own caste, religion or region have no impact on their conduct and orientation. General Cariappa, since 1923, was part of Rajput Regiment (a North Indian regiment), and paid great emphasis on regimental loyalty, so much sothat before retirement on 14 January 1953, he made a farewell visit to the Rajput Regimental Centre accompanied by his son and daughter.
The officer corps of the Indian army at the apex level in 1950 was highly Anglicised and fairly homogeneous in the thinking and orientation. It is well known that it was a North Indian officer Lieutenant General Nathu Singh, who asked PM Nehru to appoint Gen Cariappa as Army Chief when Nehru felt that British officers must continue for some more time. In fact Field Marshal Cariappa is held in high esteem by all service offices cutting across regional, linguistic and even religious divide. Further, to put the facts straight, no officer of the Indian Army,has ever been sentenced to death in post-independence India for planning a coup. The report also talks of General Kariappa being a Field Marshal in 1965 during India Pakistan War, where as he was conferred the rank of Field Marshal only on 28 April 1986. Field Marshal Cariappa was way above any considerations of caste, religion or region. He raised the Brigade of Guards and the Parachute Regiments on an all-India composition, and also directed the establishment of the National Cadet Corps and the Territorial Army. Field Marshal Cariappa has undoubtedly contributed a lot, to make the Indian Army truly Indian. Today, the nation justifiably takes pride in the role played by the Indian Army in guarding it against external aggressions and insurgenciessponsored by anti-Indiaforces.
The CIA report allegedly filed on 12 June 1950, should have been unclassified on 1975, but no one seems to have heard of it till 2017. It shows that it is nothing but a malicious attempt to denigrate RSS and run down Indian Army. Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) has always been a fiercely nationalist organisation, which believed in undivided India and has risenway above regional, sectarian and other such narrow affiliations. RSS has always expounded the need for a strong army. To expect such an organisation to instigate dissensions within the Indian Army, that too along regional lines is nothing but preposterous. Anyone with basic knowledge of RSS, would realise that right from the beginning the first generation of RSS Pracharaks in pre-independence India, worked in Punjab, Delhi, UP, Rajasthan and even Karachi, as well as in what are present day Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Consequently, in 1950 RSS had as much presence in North India, as it had in South India.
There is no doubt that the report floating on social media is totally devoid of facts and is a part of vicious campaign launched by anti-India forces to weaken the Indian Army, the nationalist force and consequently, the Indian Nation.
(Alok Bansal, a retired defence officer, is Director, India Foundation. The views expressed are his own)