Studying the RSS

How RSS inspires and moulds ordinary people into extraordinary human beings and leaders and motivates them to sacrifice their prime years to the nation-building should be studied
There were some heated debates when Nagpur University introduced a chapter on RSS in its syllabus for BA. I understand from the debates that MA already had a section on RSS. I can understand that seculars should oppose anything to do with RSS, but so-called ‘liberals’ criticising this step is a surprise for me, though it really is not.
Humanities is basically a study of human behaviour in various aspects, both individually, socially and organisationally. I would consider it very important for ‘liberals’ and ‘seculars’ to study the RSS so they can oppose or criticise it with some facts and not mere modern Nehruvian myths perpetrated by various shades of fellow travellers.
Let us look at some of the facts about RSS which are in the public domain and known to all the people who wish to know. RSS is the biggest voluntary organisation in the world. With a direct membership of RSS approximately 6 million Indians, another 10 million through its affiliated organisations, it is indeed a humongous organisation. I am not adding BJP which is a political party with over 110 million members by its own records. BJP being closely identified with RSS due to many of its leaders coming from RSS, it is but natural that any social scientist would be eager to understand this phenomenal collection of people under one philosophy of Hindutva.
Any social scientist would like to understand how RSS could bring together such huge number of ‘Hindus’ (a term RSS uses for people born in this land, who love this land and respect its heritage and traditions) who are famed for their fractious nature and readiness to betray a larger cause in interest of smaller petty self-identity and selfish interests. From a time when four Hindus would walk in the same direction if only a fifth Hindu was on their shoulders to a time when millions come together for a common cause for the nation is an unbelievable feat. How could RSS achieve this? It could help many other social organisations working with various objectives in India and organisations the world over working in multi-cultural societies.
RSS is the only socio-political organisation that has not split in its 93 years of history, a rare phenomenon in India, may be in the world too. How can it happen in a country where there are splits even in worthless small entities, or two and a half member organisations? Does it really work on democratic principles or is it a dictatorial organisation that has stayed together because of the top office bearer, called Sarsanghachalak? How can there be a smooth transition from one Sarsanghachalak to another 6 times without any bad blood, if it were a dictatorship? But, if it were so, many political and social organisations with strong leaders wouldn’t have split or withered away. Thus, there has to be something more, that undefinable quality that can hold an organisation together that is working in all the corners of this country with such diverse geography and traditions. Organisation behaviour students would love to understand that undefined thread that holds such a vast organisation together.
What kind of training do RSS swayamsevaks get that they reach any scene of disaster without any expertise in mitigating the pains of different kinds of disasters but make a success of managing the disaster with quick rescue and rehabilitation? Is it just physical training or is it based on some emotional quotient that RSS is able to raise in an ordinary citizen? Any psychologist would like to learn how this Emotional Quotient is raised in ordinary citizens. Any disaster management expert would like to understand this phenomenon.
RSS and its affiliates permeate nearly all the fields of social life. Be it religious, labour, student or education. Be it environment, disaster management, tribal life, health or economic self-sufficiency. How can an organisation produce such organisation experts and generalists that can take up any cause and make a success of it? How can an organisation that has cut-offs or filters in terms of qualification like there are in IAS but still produce super-efficient organisers and leaders? Any administration expert or academic would be interested in finding the secret behind its training methodology.
How can RSS inspire and mould ordinary non-descript people into extraordinary human beings and leaders and motivate them to sacrifice their prime years to nation-building? How can it inspire ordinary human beings to give their all to the nation without expecting anything in return, like ‘mukti’ or ‘nirvana’ if no material gains? Any leadership trainer or motivational speaker or Guru would like to know.
What kind of organisational structure has RSS built that it can keep adding new kinds of organisations that may have conflicting goals social fields – say industrialists and labour unions, students and professors, MNC managers and Swadeshi lobbyist – without cracking under conflicting goals? Any management expert would be willing to give his right hand to learn this organisation building skill of RSS.
How could RSS evolve and develop the philosophy of Hindutva successfully and keep expanding its horizon, when the preceptor of this philosophy, Veer Savarkar could not take it forward beyond his wonderful inspiring writings and a small organisation that could never grow to illustrate this idea in practice to the world? How to convert an amorphous idea into a concrete physical shape? Any social and political leader would love to understand this mystery. Why is it that Communism with world-wide ‘fashionable’ appeal is nearly finished in Bharat in 90 years but totally ‘desi’ or indigenous philosophy has grown and covered the entire country in the same period? While propagators of the Communist movement boasted of the best intellectuals, Hindutva promoters were denied any recognition of their intellectualism. While Communism had government and international backing, RSS had none. Still, Hindutva and its proponent, the RSS, have come to dominate the socio-political discourse. Any student of political science and history would be very keen to understand the reason behind it. How can an organisation grow into such an all-encompassing body with huge ‘brand value’ without any advertisement and marketing in an ‘adverse market’ that has been further spoiled by negative marketing by more powerful political and social ‘brands’? It is a great lesson that any advertisement, marketing and media expert would be willing to unravel.
Does any socio-political entity have so many reference points and compulsive reasons to be studied and its hidden genius revealed? So, what are we debating about? Any objective analyst would agree that RSS should be studied and findings should be disseminated to all the students of humanities, management and marketing. In fact, I would suggest that PhDs on RSS be encouraged. Most readers will be surprised that it is a taboo topic in most universities. It is a struggle to get a topic on RSS cleared from learned guides. I did my own PhD on RSS from a US University. It is up to a researcher to find elixir or poison or concentrate on different facets of RSS. But there can be no reason not to study it.
(The writer is Mumbai-based columnist and author of several books on RSS)