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Parallax View: Why doesn’t Anna Hazare just come out and tell us what he thinks of the RSS?

One interesting fall-out of Digvijaya Singh’s criticisms of Anna Hazare and his movement is that

Hazare has been forced to take public positions that seem mystifying to many people, including some of his own supporters.


   Take, for instance, Singh’s claim that the BJP wants to nominate Anna Hazare for President at the next election. As far as I know, Digvijaya has not accused Hazare of lobbying for the job. Nor has he suggested that Hazare only started an anti-corruption campaign so that he could become President.


   And yet, Hazare and his supporters have reacted with horror and outrage. The suggestion is preposterous, they say. How can Digvijaya even allege such a thing?


   Allege what exactly?


   As far as I can tell, all Digvijaya has said is that the RSS/BJP/Sangh Parivar thinks that Hazare would make a good President, and would like to nominate him for the job.


   Given that Hazare’s own supporters liken him to Gandhiji and that Kiran Bedi has even declared that “Anna is India and India is Anna”, is it such a big deal to liken Hazare to Pratibha Patil, Abdul Kalam or K.R. Narayanan? Surely, by suggesting that he is Presidential material, the Sangh Parivar is actually demoting Hazare when you consider the hyperbole that his own followers employ while describing their leader?


   It is interesting that while Digvijaya called on the Sangh Parivar to deny that Hazare was a potential Presidential candidate, the responses have all come from Hazare’s people – and not from any leading member of the Sangh Parivar.


   Take another instance. According to Digvijaya, the RSS has asked its members to support Hazare’s agitation and movement. This may or may not be true (though Digvijaya has produced letters to back his claim). But it is hardly a major insult.


   The Hazare movement says that everyone should support its agitation. So what’s wrong if the RSS echoes this view? Surely RSS members are a part of society? Why treat them like untouchables? Why act as though the Hazare movement will be polluted if the shadow of RSS support falls on it?


"As far as I know, nobody within the Hazare movement has bothered to explain its position on the RSS/Sangh Parivar. Which is odd because, as of now, that position seems extremely confusing."

   There is another contradiction. Such leaders as L.K. Advani are proud RSS members. Advani praises the Sangh at every conceivable opportunity and his latest yatra has benefited from the RSS’s organizational support.


   The Hazare movement’s leaders have no difficulty in calling on L.K. Advani and asking for his support. They are happy to seek backing from other BJP leaders who also praise the RSS – and some of whom have risen from its ranks.


   So why is to okay to ask Advani and other Sangh Parivar heavyweights for support but not okay if the RSS volunteers its support, unasked for?


   It is not as though the Hazare movement has declared that it hates the RSS. Even a veteran lefty like Prashant Bhushan has said that when it comes to corruption, the RSS has the right position (i.e., it is anti-corruption).


   As far as I know, nobody within the Hazare movement has bothered to explain its position on the RSS/Sangh Parivar. Which is odd because, as of now, that position seems extremely confusing.


   Here is how things stand:


   It is okay to ask L.K. Advani for support (or to praise his stature, as Kiran Bedi has done on TV) but very wrong if the RSS offers support.


   It is entirely reasonable to describe Anna Hazare as being a Gandhi-like figure, but terrible if somebody says they want this latter-day Gandhi to become President of India.


   All of us should support the Hazare movement and encourage our friends to do so. But when the RSS does the same thing, it is a terrible thing! And to even accuse the RSS of supporting the agitation is to defame the Hazare movement.


   The crowd at Jantar Mantar and Ram Lila Maidan should comprise people from all sections of society and nobody should bar entry to concerned citizens on any arbitrary grounds. But to suggest that there may have been RSS workers or sympathizers among these citizens is not just wrong, it is a calumny on the movement!


   As you can see, I am thoroughly confused. Perhaps you are too.


   So why doesn’t Anna Hazare just come out and tell us what he thinks of the RSS?


   That should clear up the confusion.




  • shrikant 16 Dec 2011

    what's the reason of confusion..if anybody wants to be out of confusion just support the movement of Anna Hazare, come on the roads for anna as well as to save our country; it's easy to point out in sitting into AC rooms& debate on such issue like RSS support etc kind of BAKWAS,because after all the motto of all is to eradicate corruption.......for that first of all implement LOKPAL as soon as possible...

  • BIMAL K M 18 Oct 2011

    Why are u worried about the support of RSS to Anna Hazare's movement?
    First make a decision on your stand. Is your decision depending on others decision to support a movement or not?
    Are you not capable of making a decision on the issues without depending on others?

  • Madhumita 18 Oct 2011

    I think "confusion' is often a key strategy of political mobilization in movements that are ridden with internal contradictions. Clear answers are not possible for questions that remain unresolved within the team. The Anna movement purports to be a truly representative "national" movement cutting accross all social and economic divides- if so, then why is it so difficult to answer questions relating to contending ideas of nation in India-the RSS included? What is Anna's idea of India?

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