Sangh Parivar

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The Sangh Parivar (translation: Family of Sangh) refers to the family of Hindu nationalist organisations which have been started by members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) or are inspired by its ideas. The Sangh Parivar represents the Hindu nationalist movement.[1] It includes the RSS and several dozen smaller organisations, whose members' expressed opinions have been diverse over a range of topics.[2] Nominally, the different organizations within the Sangh Parivar run independently and have different policies and activities.

Members[edit]

The Sangh Parivar includes the following organisations (1998 membership figures in brackets):

History[edit]

In the 1960s, the volunteers of the RSS joined the different social and political movements in India, including the Bhoodan, a land reform movement led by prominent Gandhian Vinobha Bhave[6] and the Sarvoday led by another Gandhian Jayaprakash Narayan.[7] RSS also supported the formation of a trade union, the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh and a student's organisation Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and many other organisations like Seva Bharati Lok Bharti, Deendayal Research Institute etc.

These organisations started and supported by the RSS volunteers came to be known collectively as the Sangh Parivar.[8] Next few decades have seen a steady growth in the influence of the Sangh Parivar in the social and political space of India.

Philosophy[edit]

The ideology of the Sangh Parivar has been seen to have a diverse set of thoughts and opinions that has made it difficult to be categorized by the Western stereotypic divisions of ‘Leftists’ and ‘Rightists’.[citation needed] While some of their policies are seen as ‘Conservative’ and ‘Rightist’, on a range of different issues, they have shared similar concerns as Leftists, Liberals and the Green activists.[9]

Culture and diversity[edit]

Sangh ideologue M S Golwalkar articulated the Sangh’s vision on diversity and pluralism, as follows, “Individuals and nations in all parts of the globe have distinctive traits and features, each of them having its own place in the scheme of the universe. The different human groups are marching forward, all towards the same goal, each in its own way and in keeping with its own characteristic genius. The destruction of the special characteristics, whether of an individual, or of a group, will therefore not only destroy the natural beauty of harmony but also its joy of self-expression. Evolution of human life also, which is a multifaced one, is retarded thereby.”[10]

The political opponents of the Sangh Parivar have often termed Sangh Parivar’s concerns about cultural intrusion by the Western commercial interests as ‘Rightist’.[2] But as David Frawley has pointed out the cause is similar to the cause of native and tribal peoples all over the world, like Native American and African groups,[11] who too are trying to protect their native cultures. The cause of the natives is supported by Liberals in America.[12]

Economics[edit]

While the BJP governments have been progressively seen to be industry friendly,[13] the opinions and the views of the Sangh Parivar constituents like Bharateeya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) find consonance with the known Leftist stands on labor rights.[14] The Sangh Parivar, as a whole, even the BJP in its earlier days, has advocated ‘Swadeshi’ (Self Reliance). Sangh Parivar leaders have been very vocal in their criticism of Globalization especially its impact on the poor and native people. They have been suspicious of the role of International agencies such as World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.[15] Sangh constituents have advocated and promoted decentralized village centric economic growth with emphasis on ecological protection.[16]

Ecology[edit]

The constituents of the Sangh Parivar have been known for their demands for steps to “protect the environment, natural-ecology and agro-economy” and for establishment of a “self-reliant village-oriented economy”.[17] They have been vocal in their demand against the use of Chemical fertilizers and have supported preservation and development of Organic farming in India.[18] Many of these views are seen to mirror the concerns of the Green party.[11]

The Bharatiya Janata Party, a constituent of Sangh Parivar, is one of the very few political party at that included the concerns on Climate Change in its election manifesto for the National Elections of 2009.[19] The manifesto promised prioritising "Combating climate change and global warming", "programmes to arrest the melting of Himalayan glaciers", "afforestation" and emphasis on "protecting India's biodiversity".[19]

Reception[edit]

The Sangh Parivar has been described with monikers spanning the spectrum from "patriotic Hindus"[20] and "Hindu nationalist",[1] Some Marxists have also labeled them "Hindu chauvinist".[21] While its constituent organisations present themselves as embedded in the traditional ethos of Hinduism, their ideological opponents have characterized them as the representatives of authoritarian, xenophobic and majoritarian religious nationalism in India,[22] furthermore these organization have been also documented for acts of Saffron terror.[23] Flemish freelance Indologist Koenraad Elst has dismissed the portrayal of Sangh Parivar's ideology as fascist by some leftist groups. He writes in his doctoral thesis, which is now published as a book The Saffron Swastika, “So far, the polemical arrows have all been shot from one side, replies from the other side being extremely rare or never more than piecemeal”.[citation needed]

Social impact[edit]

The activities of the Sangh Parivar have had considerable social and religious impact.[24] And considerable influence over country's educational, social and defense policies.[25]

Service programs[edit]

The voluntary organisations which are part of the Sangh Parivar, today run more than one lakh service projects in remote areas of the country mostly within the economically and socially neglected sections of the society.[26][unreliable source]

Social reform[edit]

In 1979, the religious wing of the Sangh Parivar, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad got the Hindu saints and religious leaders to reaffirm that untouchability and caste discrimination had no religious sanction in the Hindu scriptures and texts.[27] The Vishwa Hindu Parishad is also spearheading efforts to ordain Dalits as priests in temples across India, positions that were earlier usually occupied only by people of "upper castes".[28] However, the opinions of the sub altern groups that include Dalits portrays an image of dalit suppression. Incidents of anti-Dalit, and anti-Muslim violence followed by protests against the Sang Parivar are common occurrences in India.[29][30]

The leaders of the Sangh Parivar have also been involved in the campaigns against female fetocide and movements for the education to the girl child.[31] However, consistent with its ideology of Brahmanical Patriarchy, outfits of the Sang Parivar also enforces its beliefs on people through moral policing. Incidents of violence against youth, especially women, on the pretext of dressing against the norms of the Hindu culture, are prevalent among members of the Sang Parivar.[32]

Social and political empowerment[edit]

The service programs, over the years, have led to the empowerment of the economically and socially underprivileged sections of the society, mostly the tribal, who have long remained politically under-represented. Babulal Marandi belonging to the tribal community, who was the organizing secretary of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, became the first Chief Minister of the state of Jharkhand.[33] Other such leaders of Sangh Parivar who belong to the tribal community include Karia Munda, Jual Oram; both ministers in the Union Government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The emergence of the Sangh Parivar in Indian politics also brought many Dalits and representatives of the backward classes, who had been victims of social neglect, to prominent positions in the Government and Administration.[citation needed] Dr Suraj Bhan, a dalit, who had been a member of the RSS, became the Governor of Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in India, in 1998.[34] Other leaders of the Sangh Parivar from the backward classes, who rose to prominence include Kalyan Singh, the former Chief Minister of UP, Uma Bharti, the former Chief Minister of MP, Narendra Modi, the incumbent Prime Minister of India, Gopinath Munde, the former Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra,[35] and Shivraj Singh Chauhan, the incumbent Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh.[36]

The Sangh Parivar has spread Hindu nationalism through local "Bhagat schools", in which children are provided a Sangh-sanctioned education.[citation needed] In many villages across India, Dharma Raksha Samitis (Duty/Relegion Protection Committees) promote religious discourse and form an arena for bhajan performance. The Sangh sponsors calendars of Hindu deities and provides instruction on sanctioned methods of conducting Ganesh Chaturthi and Navaratri.[37] This phenomenon has been documented in Tamil Nadu, where workers of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Hindu Munnani share Tamil dalits (untouchables) devotional hymns and persuaded many dalits to begin celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi, a festival not widely marked in Tamil Nadu.[38]

Deendayal Research Institute[edit]

Main article: Litigation Free Model

Veteran RSS leader Nanaji Deshmukh retired from politics at the peak of his political career in 1977 and founded the Deendayal Research Institute, dedicated to building a rural based economic model of development.[39] It was found that rural people were wasting a lot of resources in litigations, which left them both impoverished and exploited.[40] Deshmukh and the Institute developed a method of sorting conflicts and differences based on the ancient Indian principles of consensus making and alternate conflict resolution, which has been called the Litigation-Free Model. Based on this model, villagers would sort all disputes amongst themselves amicably with least dependence on the Government.[41] The initiative has been highly praised, e.g. by Former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.[citation needed]

Prominent industrialist, Jehangir Wadia, the grandson of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, is influenced by the work of Sangh organisation, Deen Dayal Research Institute (DRI), and is now a volunteer of the DRI. He says "At 26, I realised that while I was seeking responses to my questions, the answer was always in front of me. That's when I joined Nanaji and got involved in social work at Chitrakoot," [42] "Nanaji (founder of DRI) envisions self reliance for 600,000 villages in his life time. It is my dream to translate Nanaji's vision of ameliorating the lives of this rural population." [43]

Politics[edit]

The Bharatiya Janata Party, which represents the Sangh Parivar in national politics, has formed three governments in India, most recently being in power from May 2014 under the leadership of prime minister Narendra Modi.

Political opponents of the BJP allege that the party's moderate face merely serves to cover the Sangh Parivar's "hidden agenda" of undiluted Hindutva, detectable by the BJP's efforts to change the content of history textbooks and syllabi as well as other aspects of the education system.[44]

Such criticism of the BJP arises from the fact that BJP had only 2 seats in the parliament in 1984 and after Babri Masjid demolition in 1992 the party gain national recognition, and only then it rose to power in 1998.[45][46][47][48][full citation needed][49][50]

Monument demolition[edit]

According to the report of the Liberhan Commission the Sangh Parivar organised the destruction of the Babri Masjid.[51][52] The Commission said- "The blame or the credit for the entire temple construction movement at Ayodhya must necessarily be attributed to the Sangh Parivar".[53] It also noted that the Sangh Parivar is an "extensive and widespread organic body", which encompasses organizations, which address and bring together just about every type of social, professional and other demographic grouping of individuals.

Each time, a new demographic group has emerged, the Sangh Parivar has hived off some of its RSS inner-core leadership to harness that group and bring it within the fold, enhancing the voter base of the Parivar.[54]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Saha 2004:274
  2. ^ a b Thakurta & Raghuraman, 2004:91
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Jelen 2002, p. 253.
  4. ^ Chitkara 2004, p. 169.
  5. ^ a b c Chitkara 2004, p. 168.
  6. ^ Suresh Ramabhai, Vinoba and his mission, Published by Akhil Bharat Sarv Seva Sangh, 1954
  7. ^ Martha Craven Nussbaum, The Clash Within: Democracy, Religious Violence, and India's Future, Published by Harvard University Press, 2007 ISBN 0-674-02482-6, ISBN 978-0-674-02482-3
  8. ^ Smith, David James, Hinduism and Modernity P189, Blackwell Publishing ISBN 0-631-20862-3
  9. ^ Hinduism and the Clash of Civilizations/David Frawley. New Delhi, Voice of India, 2001, xiv, 247 p., ISBN 81-85990-72-7
  10. ^ M S Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts, Publishers: Sahitya Sindhu Prakashana
  11. ^ a b Hinduism and the Clash of Civilizations/David Frawley. New Delhi, Voice of India, 2001, xiv, 247 p., ISBN 81-85990-72-7.
  12. ^ Marcus G. Raskin, Liberalism: The Genius of American Ideals, Published by Rowman & Littlefield, 2005,ISBN 0-7425-1591-5
  13. ^ "New Delhi News : BJP assures industrialists of good deal". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 2008-07-20. Retrieved 2010-09-04. 
  14. ^ http://www.bms.org.in/htm/economics.htm[dead link]
  15. ^ "BJP gears up to take on `ideological ally'". Indian Express. 2000-11-24. Retrieved 2010-09-04. 
  16. ^ "Content". Organiser. Retrieved 2010-09-04. 
  17. ^ "Hindutva and Politics: The case of Vishwa Hindu Parishad". Sacw.net. Retrieved 2010-09-04. 
  18. ^ http://www.sanghparivar.org/blog/rkm/unique-sangh-experiment-in-rural-development-by-pramod-kumar-in-mohad
  19. ^ a b BJP promises measures to combat climate change
  20. ^ VHP mail: BJP is like 'secular' Cong Times of India - July 1, 2004
  21. ^ Breckenridge, Pollock, Bhabha, Chakravarty 2002:56
  22. ^ Bhatt 2001:4
  23. ^ [1] Frontline - Oct. 22-Nov. 04, 2011
  24. ^ Human Development and Social Power: Perspectives from South Asia, By Ananya Mukherjee Reed, Routledge, page 71
  25. ^ p. 8, Human Rights Watch, By Fédération internationale des droits de l'homme
  26. ^ Sewa Activity report
  27. ^ "VHP website". 
  28. ^ "Rediff On The NeT: VHP has dalit ordained as priest in Kerala". Rediff.com. 1999-02-19. Retrieved 2010-09-04. 
  29. ^ "Dalits demonstrate against Sangh Parivar activists". The Hindu. 17 October 2007. 
  30. ^ "Muslims, Dalits being targeted by Sangh Parivar: SIF". The Milli Gazette. Retrieved 2014-10-03. 
  31. ^ "Content". Organiser. Retrieved 2010-09-04. 
  32. ^ "Right-wing fringe groups play moral police in Mangalore again". 
  33. ^ "Special: Profile of Babu Lal Marandi". Rediff.com. 2000-11-14. Retrieved 2010-09-04. 
  34. ^ http://indiatodaygroup.com/itoday/20000403/states.html[dead link]
  35. ^ Prakash Joshi, TNN, Sep 22, 2008, 05.05am IST (2008-09-22). "Cong-NCP casts OBC net to woo Marathas in state - Mumbai - City - The Times of India". Timesofindia.indiatimes.com. Retrieved 2010-09-04. 
  36. ^ "Other States / Madhya Pradesh News : Shivraj Singh Chauhan sworn in". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 2008-12-13. Retrieved 2010-09-04. 
  37. ^ Cadena, Starn 284
  38. ^ Fuller 284
  39. ^ Nanaji Deshmukh
  40. ^ Deshmukh said "If people fight amongst each other, they will have no time for development." Nanaji Deshmukh: a social entrepreneur par excellence
  41. ^ Litigation Free Villages
  42. ^ Go Air Fares will be the lowest
  43. ^ High flying chief RONITA TORCATO
  44. ^ Thakurta & Raghuraman, 2004:64
  45. ^ BJP#History
  46. ^ "Babri Masjid demolition just an incident, says Supreme Court". Ndtv.com. 2012-01-16. Retrieved 2014-08-09. 
  47. ^ By Matt. "Harvard Law School Human Rights Journal |". Law.harvard.edu. Retrieved 2014-08-09. 
  48. ^ Book - Communalism and Secularism in Indian Politics : Study of the BJP
  49. ^ "India - The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rise of Hindu Nationalism". Countrystudies.us. 1947-10-07. Retrieved 2014-03-31. 
  50. ^ "Ayodhya central to BJP's rise & fall at Centre, UP". The Times Of India. 2010-10-01. 
  51. ^ "Excerpts from the Liberhan Commission report". Hindustan Times. 25 November 2009. Retrieved 26 January 2011. 
  52. ^ "How the BJP, RSS mobilised kar sevaks". Indianexpress.com. 25 November 2009. Retrieved 26 January 2011. 
  53. ^ "Liberhan comes down heavily on Vajpayee, Advani – Rediff.com India News". News.rediff.com. 24 November 2009. Retrieved 26 January 2011. 
  54. ^ "Vajpayee, Advani severely indicted by Liberhan Commission – India – DNA". Dnaindia.com. 24 November 2009. Retrieved 26 January 2011. 

References[edit]

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