Wednesday, 11 February, 2009

Pink Chaddis and RSS and Pramod Muthalik and Facebook Group

It started with a friend of mine posting a link to the Pink Chaddi campaign on Facebook.

At that time, the group used a morphed image of RSS swayamsevaks (volunteers) with a heart on their shirts.

I found the morphed image demeaning and insulting to the RSS.

I posted following comments.
The group raises aspersion on RSS which has a solid record of national service. In doing this, it reflects sheer ignorance of the person who started this group and other people who choose to join it.

This is canard spreading and does not even merit serious response.

To put record straight - the goons at Mangalore were NOT RSS swayamsevaks. Just like Godse, who had also been a Congress member for years and had left RSS long before he shot Mahatma Gandhi.

No RSS Swayamsevak - who has been a regular at RSS Shakha - can even think of molesting women. Sure, they (and I am proud to be one of them) have different views on whether men/women should be drinking or not - but healthy acceptance of a differing view points is what makes for mature democracy.

Using RSS images to lampoon it is not justified. You have issues with Pramod Muthalik - use his image.

Know about RSS before making loose comments (visual in this case) about the RSS. I invite you to attend the RSS Shakha.

To which this friend responded with:
I am sure there is a larger cause besides the imagery. There has been plenty written below and not many associate that imagery with RSS per se, neither has there been any mention of RSS in the blog. There is a "LARGER PROBLEM" I request you to see that end of things rather than finding syntax errors in inconograghy.

And another person, a friend of this friend but unknown to me, posted following comment.

Why is it that people who do a good job, in this case RSS as said by the person, are insecure. If RSS didn't do it, they didn't even come out and say to Mr. Muthalik, sir first and foremost attacking women is against Indian Culture. When Togadia ji goes painting the town black on V day, i don't see shakha members standing at guard to protect people. Like one of the soldiers in A Few Good Men said in the end while the other one was screaming "What did we do wrong", "We failed to protect those who couldn't protect themselves."

And liek Amrish said the larger picture is more important than iconography. And the larger picture is of this increasingly intolerant hardline brigade who think they are the ones who are the sole keepers of culture. What is Indian Culture anyways but an amalgamation of the various cultures that we have intermingled with so far in our history?

To this my response was as follows:
The Sangh - as a social organisation with a limited resources - has a very clearly defined goal of "परं वैभवं नेतुमेतत् स्वराष्ट्रं" or the creation of a वैभवशाली and powerful India.

This is what our prayer every morning is - asking the Lord for strength and wisdom so that we can travel the right path - be it tortuous or with stones to achieve our goal.

Naturally, Sangh as a social organisation DOES NOT have an opinion on each and every event that happens in the world. They are too busy with ground work like running primary health centers, schools, orphanages, and so on.

The point I made is different - the iconography distinctly shows RSS cadres. There is NO proof / shred of evidence that RSS cadres were involved. You CAN NOT use RSS name / iconography to accuse it of something THEY NEVER DID.

In legal parlance this is called libel / defamation and has serious repercussions.

Disclaimer - I am just a humble SwyamSevak, not an official spokesperson for RSS. Any errors are mine, the glory is all of Sangh.

Sangh is last one to be insecure. The volunteers who happily sacrifice their lives protecting others' lives in countless natural disasters can not be insecure.

Sangh is a volunteer organisation with volunteers having day jobs like you and me - coming together for a common ideology.

My point consistently has been this - why is Sangh being dragged.

Let us not collapse or confuse issues. My issue is NOT that we need Taliban or moral guardians - although in a mature, liberal, civil society - even fringes should have a fair platform for dialogue or discussion.

The issue is unfairly and incorrectly using RSS images to demonise and hence insult hundreds of thousands of people for whom RSS is a way of life.

Try doing that with Muslim organisations.

And if Mr. Saurabh Yadav feels so strongly about creating vigilante groups - maybe usurping the functions of police in the process - please collect like minded people and create a civil movement for the same.

This is not a priority - at least as I see it - on the RSS agenda right now. As per my understanding, at this moment - their thrust areas are:

a) Education - Taking schools to areas where none exist

b) Water - Being a catalyst in creating a civil movement for responsible handling of water resources. You will see this on larger scale very soon

c) Agriculture - There are 600 model villages they have helped set up where farmers have switched to organic farming totally - including one whole Tehsil in Karnataka. The goal is to scale it up to thousands of villages.

Creating conducive pub environment somehow is just not there on Sangh's priority list.

Some of the thrust areas that got implemented when RSS could persuade government (NDA in this case) were:

a) Blending of Ethanol in petrol - to reduce our dependence on imported petrol.

b) Biodiesel from Jatropha - to reduce our dependence on imported diesel. "तेल बनेगा झाड़ी से, नहीं आएगा खाड़ी से "

c) Project to increase the protein content in Indian wheat by at least 2%.

None of them are very sexy ideas but they impact farmers and nation much more.
Perhaps it will prompt a rethink about who / what RSS is and does.

I am very happy to note that the offending images has since then removed from the Facebook as well as the blog of Pink Chaddi campaign. The campaign was being run from office of Tehleka.

It would be appropriate to take up selective choosing of issues.

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