|Former editors||A.R. Nair
|Categories||News, Politics, Science, Sport, History|
|Based in||Sanskriti Bhavan, D.B. Gupta Road, Jhandewalan, New Delhi|
Organiser is an affiliated publication of the Hindu nationalist volunteer organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), launched as a newspaper in 1947 in the weeks before the Partition of India. Despite its professed claims of independence, it is regarded by scholars as an official organ of the RSS. The newspaper has been edited by A. R. Nair, K. R. Malkani, L. K. Advani, V. P. Bhatia, Seshadri Chari and R. Balashanker. The current editor is Prafulla Ketkar. Organiser was relaunched in a magazine format since the edition of 1 April 2014.
After the second world war, the leadership of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) contemplated how to communicate its views quickly to the growing membership of the organisation. Its theoretical underpinnings established by the founder K. B. Hedgewar discouraged publicity and mass communication. He preferred informal communication of verbal messages carried by RSS pracharaks (full-time workers). However, in the run-up to Indian independence, the "activist pracharaks"–those that favoured more wide-ranging activities for the RSS than societal organisation—argued that the RSS needed to publicise its position on the Partition, on the goals of independent India and on how Hindus should respond to communal tension. After discussion, the RSS leaders consented to the establishment of trusts that could publish newspapers and journals sympathetic to the RSS. Consequently, in late 1946, the swayamsevaks (volunteer members) in the Punjab and Delhi region sold shares for the Bharat Prakashan Trust and raised Rs. 400,000.
The Bharat Prakashan Trust started publishing the Organiser as a weekly starting on 3 July 1947, rouggly a month after the British announcement to grant independence and partition the country. The initial issues of Organiser focused on the impending partition of India and called for resistance to such proposals.
The 1948 ban of the RSS following the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and the press attacks on the RSS strengthened the `activist' members calling for a network of newspapers. In subsequent years, further newspapers were started in vernacular languages, including Panchjanya and Rashtra Shakti, and a news wire service Hindusthan Samachar.
`Activist' members of the RSS worked for the Organiser and other newspapers of the RSS. They were also the most regular contributors to the Organiser, writing on a wide range of social and policy issues where the RSS had a point of view.
- In 1949, it argued for political participation by the RSS.
- In 1952, Organiser opposed Federalism and separate provincial governments. It also opposed the linguistic reorganisation of the states.
- It opposed the Hindu Code Bill.
- It announced the formation of the Sangh Parivar organisations such as the Vishva Hindu Parishad and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, and explained their rationale. It also printed regular news reports regarding their activities.
- In 1954, it supported the RSS faction in the Bharatiya Jana Sangh and denounced the president Mauli Chandra Sharma.
- In 1980, it denounced the Janata Party leadership over the dual membership issue and warned it that it would lose support both inside and outside the party.
- In 1983, it took the Bharatiya Janata Party to task for its alleged failure to attract "mass support," while it was able to attract non-Hindus.
- In 1990, it denounced the Mandal Commission recommendation of reservations.
- In 1998, it contemplated the form of the national government, whether it should be parliamentary, presidential, or some other form.
- It denounced multinationals, the World Bank loans and the economic liberalisation.
- It campaigned against the NCERT textbooks that went against Hindu nationalist views.
- In 1997, it covered the reconversion of tribal Christians.
- It consistently paints the Dalit leader B. R. Ambedkar as a Hindu nationalist, an anti-Muslim and an opponent of the Congress party.
- It expresses outrage about the perceived injustices to Hindus.
In February 2013, media reports indicated that the RSS had dismissed the editors of the Organiser as well as Panchjanya for having taken a pro-Narendra Modi stand ahead of the RSS's endorsement of him as the Prime Ministerial candidate, and while they extended no support for the BJP President Nitin Gadkari. Vijay Kumar, the Managing Director of Bharat Prakashan took temporary charge as the editor of Organiser. In July, Prafull Ketkar, a political scientist from the BRD Arts and Commerce College for Women in Nashik, was appointed as the editor.
Multiple controversial articles have since appeared in the magazine, most notorious of which being an article calling Kerala a "Godless country." The article invited widespread condemnation including a censure by the Press Council of India. The publication of an interview of the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in the run-up to the Bihar polls is said to have embarrassed the BJP government and contributed to the defeat of the party in the polls. In January 2016, the RSS has appointed Jagadish Upasane, a former journalist with India Today and a director in the Bharat Prakashan Trust, as a "group editor" with full control over the editorial content of both Organiser and Panchjanya.
- Andersen & Damle, Brotherhood in Saffron 1987, pp. 114-115.
- Nistula, Hebbar (May 18, 2015). "Is Organiser anything more than a mouthpiece of RSS?". Retrieved 27 January 2016.
- Jaffrelot, Religion, Caste and Politics 2011, p. 32.
- "Organiser - ABOUT US". Organiser. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
- Andersen & Damle, Brotherhood in Saffron 1987, p. 115.
- Andersen & Damle, Brotherhood in Saffron 1987, p. 115-116.
- Jaffrelot, Religion, Caste and Politics (2011, p. 194): K. R. Malkani wrote: "Sangh must take part in politics not only to protect itself against the greedy designs of ppoliticians but to stop the un-Bharatiya and anti-Bharatiya policies of the Government and to advance and expedite the cause of Bharatiya through state machinery side by side with official effort in the same direction." (Organiser, 1 December 1949:7-14
- Jaffrelot, Religion, Caste and Politics (2011, p. 32): "In our ideal, we would wish to abolish the provinces and wish to establish a unique and a unified administration in our country." (Organiser, 29 December 1952: 3).
- Jaffrelot, Religion, Caste and Politics 2011, p. 230.
- Jaffrelot, Religion, Caste and Politics 2011, pp. 167, 193, 210, 229, 257.
- Andersen & Damle, Brotherhood in Saffron (1987, p. 163): "Organiser informed its readers that Sharma "suffered from a fatal flaw of an insufferable self-aggrandisment—even at the cost of the party. In this he had no scruples as to the means he employed. Soon it became clear that he was hardly the man to lead a great and growing organisation." (Organiser, 8 November 1954).
- Andersen & Damle, Brotherhood in Saffron 1987, p. 225.
- Andersen & Damle, Brotherhood in Saffron 1987, pp. 232-233.
- Jaffrelot, Religion, Caste and Politics (2011, p. 507): "The havoc the politics of reservation is playing with the social fabric is unimaginable. It proves a premium for mediocrity, encourages brain drain and sharpens caste-divide." (quoted from Organiser, 26 August 1990:15). "There is today an urgent need to build up moral and spiritual forces to counter any fall-out from an unexpected Shudra revolution." (quoted from Organiser, 1 May 1994:20).
- Jaffrelot, Religion, Caste and Politics (2011, p. 218): L. K. Advani, while acting as the home minister, wrote about the possibilities, "whether the politicalsystemneeded to be decentralized, whether to continue with the parliamentary system, and whether the electoral system needed to be reformed." (Organiser, 29 March 1998: 29).
- Hansen, Saffron Wave 1999, p. 171.
- Jaffrelot, Religion, Caste and Politics 2011, p. 164.
- Maclean, Kama Kellie. "Embracing the untouchables: the BJP and scheduled caste votes." Asian Studies Review 23.4 (1999): 488-509.
- Jaffrelot, Religion, Caste and Politics (2011, p. 310): A rader writes: "Tolerance is a great quality but not at the cost of wiping out the great religion... there are several [...] cases where minority card is being played. But when it comes to a Hindu thought, psyche, religion or anything associated with Hindu, there is a lot of demeaning, defamation, hurting the religious sentiments, etc." (Organiser, 2007:80) Another reader: "The Hindu in India is faced with a unique situation. While he is theoreitcally part of a majority, he is so fractured into various ideological groups that he is virtually powerless to influence the politics of the country." (Organiser, 2007:80).
- "New editor for RSS Hindi weekly". Indian Express. 15 Feb 2013. Retrieved 2014-09-12.
- "Editors of two RSS weeklies lose jobs over pro-Modi stand". Times of India. 6 April 2013. Retrieved 2014-09-12.
- Prafulla Ketkar is new editor of Organiser, Organiser, 27 July 2013.
- Row after article in RSS journal calls Kerala a ‘godless country’, Indian Express, 13 November 2015.
- RSS mouthpiece article on `live-in relationships' in Kerala sets off social media storm, The Hindu, 13 November 2015.
- Press Council notice to Organiser for ‘mocking’ Kerala on beef issue, The Hindu, 23 December 2015.
- RSS appoints senior journalist Jagadish Upasane as group editor, Indian Express, 13 January 2016.
- Andersen, Walter K.; Damle, Shridhar D. (1987) [Oringally published by Westview Press]. The Brotherhood in Saffron: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Hindu Revivalism. Delhi: Vistaar Publications.
- Hansen, Thomas Blom (1999), The Saffron Wave: Democracy and Hindu Nationalism in Modern India, Princeton University Press, ISBN 9781400823055
- Jaffrelot, Christophe (2011). Religion, Caste, and Politics in India. C Hurst & Co. ISBN 978-1849041386.