It has now become a pattern for RSS to disown its own actions which emanate from its divisive Hindutva mindset. The RSS plays the game of association and disassociation. It associates with masses and its own saffron network and spreads hatred through multiple ways till an event occurs. It continues to promote a divisive mindset till then. However, as protests arise and their actions become unpopular and receive criticism, it immediately disassociates itself from the act. The latest to join this list is its disassociation from the acts of Gautankvadis (Gau Atankwadis) in Gujarat. This act has received heavy criticism and Gujarat otherwise lesser known for Dalit protests has given way to the same. The act of disowning is not new to RSS. It has done the same in the past. It had disowned itself from Dadri lynching incident, the Mangalore attackers, the Babri demolition incidents, the Gandhi assassination. The latest act of disowning in the Gujarat event is only to show itself as not being anti-dalit while continuing to be so.
The recent events in Gujarat only bring out the anti-dalit character of RSS. From being perceived as an upper caste and brahmanical organisation, adoption of Ambedkar symbol for RSS has only been to hide its real character. The culture sought to be imposed in the name of Hindutva is those religious vedic tradtitions of upper caste which contradict with the traditions of the dalits. While Beef eating may mean different things for dalits and upper caste, the RSS has sought to impose the beliefs of the upper caste. Behind the action of beating up dalits, lies the fact of its expectation of subordination by the dalit sections to the culture sought to be established by the upper castes.
This makes it important to dissect the real nature of RSS on the caste question. According to secret circular no. 411 of RSS, Scheduled castes and other Backward classes are to be recruited to the party so as to increase the volunteers to fight against the Ambedkarites and Mussalmans. This only shows that dalits for RSS are only an instrument to increase its numbers. The real enemies are Ambedkaries and Mussalamans. The strategy of including dalits is only to fight against its own Dalit assertion which may happen through Ambedkarites.
It also mentions Special attention should be given to the students of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes so as to make them read the history written according to our dictates. Hence for RSS, the dalits are only meant to be turned into hindutva soliders by being provided with inputs which is a mere communal interpretation of history. While it does not allow for alternative interpretations of history including the dalit version, it aims to establish hegemony over the dalit sections by teaching them communal version. Assertion of Dalit identity hence for them is a threat as it questions brahmanical hegemony. Communal history teaching is a means to maintain this hegemony.
RSS adoption of Ambedkar had only a particular context. While the RSS realised that it cannot grow its influence over dalits without adopting their symbols, the act of adopting Ambedkar is to merely win Dalits to their side. It is to have Dalits but not Dalit assertion. It is to have Ambedkar but not Ambedkarism. It is to have an ‘Hinduism’ with symbols supportive of caste hierarchy having supremacy over those calling for annihilation of caste. Hence while they may depict Ambedkar as an important symbol for them, it is only through subordination to Golwalkars, Hegdewars, Savarkars. The writings of upper caste brahmanical ideology believing in maintenance of hegemony of upper caste get higher priority over Ambedkarite vision of annihilation of caste. Thus while the symbol is adopted, the spirit behind the symbol is completely excluded. It is not surprising that protests by Dalit in Gujarat have emerged.
T. Navin works with an NGO as a Researcher. He did his M.Phil from Centre for Political Studies in Jawaharlal Nehru University.