Pranab Mukherjee’s Great Son of India

Image Courtesy here

Though Pranab Mukherjee not-so-subtly denounced the basic tenets of RSS in his speech at the RSS training camp today, his description of the RSS founder Hedgewar as a “great son of Mother India” betrays the ambivalence of the former President’s attitude to the fundamentalist organisation. Is he suffering from senility? Probably yes. Or he may be playing a wily political game at which he was always an expert.

   Is Hedgewar great in any way? He founded an organisation on the principle of hatred. Hatred cannot make anyone a “great son of Mother India” unless you subscribe to the right wing policies that have come to dominate Indian politics from 2014.

   Hedgewar hated Muslims. That hatred was and still is the raison d'être of RSS. Hedgewar hated Indian National Congress simply because it stood for secular inclusiveness. His hatred of the Congress and what it stood for made him and his organisation a tacit supporter of the British Raj.

   When the Congress passed the Purna Swaraj resolution in 1929 and asked Indians to celebrate 26 Jan 1930 as Independence Day, Hedgewar issued a circular asking all the RSS shakhas to hoist the saffron flag instead of the Tricolour. From 1931 even that flag was not hoisted. RSS didn’t want anything to do with the independence struggle.

   Hedgewar prohibited RSS from joining Mahatma Gandhi’s Dandi Yatra (though he personally participated). He didn’t want RSS to be associated with the freedom movement. By 1934, Hedgewar’s RSS had become so ‘antinational’ that the Congress had to prohibit any of its members from becoming members of the RSS.

   It is argued by many historians that the RSS was founded in 1925 with the blessings of the British government which wished to keep the Hindus and Muslims as mutual enemies. It fitted well with the British “divide and rule” policy. The way Hedgewar kept his Sangh away from the freedom struggle corroborates this view.

   Yet our former President, a Congressman, wrote that Hedgewar was a “great son of India.” Dear Pranab Da, have you lost your senses? Or are you playing a wily political game at this ripe old age?


  1. I think, it was a political move. He has nothing to lose. He wanted to make a statement. He has succeeded in getting headlines.

    1. I too smell something fishy. [When I brought in the 'fish' metaphor, a friend joked: "That's natural, he's a Bengali. :) ]

  2. Pranab da is a seasoned and articulate politician who has understood that a President rises above party politics and uses every fora to engage people of all traits while leveraging his eminence to make them see his point. A bouquet was offered to Ayub Khan and Bhutto so a bouquet to Hedgewar to make someone listen to him appears to be statesmanship

    1. I can accept that view though I can't accept Hedgewar's image as a great son of India.


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