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Why RSS Is Angry ?

By Subhash gatade

01 June, 2005

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is furious with an American think-tank for declaring it a terrorist organisation and lumping it with a host of jihadi organisations and secessionist outfits.The Sangh leadership has written to the Terrorism Research Centre, protesting against the “terrorist” tag, but is yet to get a response.....

The 38 shortlisted to give the Sangh company include jihadi biggies like Lashkar-e-Toiba and Hizbul Mujahideen which have been declared Foreign Terrorist Organisations by the US.The RSS’s hardcore ideological foe, the Jamaat-IIslami, too has found a place.

(US think-tank calls RSS terrorist, Sangh fumes, MOHUA CHATTERJEE, TIMES NEWS NETWORK[ FRIDAY, MAY 27, 2005 08:18:15 AM ])

Last one week has seen a quantum leap in the 'hits' to a website belonging to Terrorism Research Centre (TRC, a East Virginia based centre dealing with 'Terrorism and security related studies'. And the reason for the same is not difficult to understand. It was only last week that news appeared a section of the press that TRC has declared Rashtriya Swaymsevak Sangh (RSS) a 'terrorist organisation' and lumped it together with a host of jihadi and secessionist outfits.The said list of 'known terrorist groups in India' on the website bracketed RSS alongwith other 'known names' in the field namely Al Badr, Al Mujaheedeen, Lashkar-e-Toiba to the likes of ULFA to the Hizb ul Mujahedin.

The most baffling part of the whole episode as far as ordinary workers of the Parivar are concerned is that TRC is closely connected to the American government. The credibility of this centre vis-a-vis US government can be gauged from the fact that many of its directors and researchers have closely worked with US administration.

Coming close on the heels of the visa denial episode wherein Narendra Modi was not allowed to travel to USA by the US government, this much larger indictment of the very raison detre of the Parivar albeit by an institute close to the powers that be has left the Sangh bosses seething with anger.Ofcourse they have protested against the “terrorist” tag, but according to a report the "think-tank has not bothered to take the RSS—which calls itself a cultural organisation—off its website". It is worth noting in this connection that it took more than eight months for the RSS to formally react to this assessment of the TRC. The delay between its appearance on the TRC website and a formal protest from the RSS cannot be easily explained.Why did the RSS and its disciplined Swayamsevaks took it so long to respond to the centre's observations about its activities. Although the Times of India (TIMES NEWS NETWORK[ FRIDAY, MAY 27, 2005 08:18:15 AM ]carried a report about the same in its print as well as electronic edition, even a cursory glance at the website of TRC tells us that the name of the RSS was added to the list way back in September 2004. Milli Gazette, a fortnightly published from India even reported about the same in its print edition in 16-30 Sept 2004 issue.

Is it matter of pure oversight or part of the crisis of confidence through which the Sangh Parivar is passing since its debacle at the hustings last year ?

Possibly it was the same time when the Sangh Parivar was passing through one of the most keenly fought internecine struggles in its history that it did not find time to respond to this indictment.One can very well remember the verbal duels between the 'conservatives' and the 'moderates' in the Parivar then where their was even a proposal to float a party parallel to BJP to defend Hindu interests. Quite recently the media itself was privy to this 'ideological struggle' within the Parivar when the Sangh Supremo Sudarshan castigated Vajpayee as well as Advani in no uncertain terms. He even termed Vajpayee ( who wears his Swayamsevakatva on his sleeves) as one of the worst Prime Ministers of India and asked these oldies to make way for a younger lot.

There is a Sanskrit subhashitam which tells us that calamities never come alone. This definitely fits well with the plight of the Hindutva brigade these days.

Not only friends but its adversaries would admit that the loss of power at the centre is weighing heavily on the BJP and its fountain head the RSS. And this indictment on part of the TRC is a further indication of this.Gone are the days when the Advanis or the Vajpayees fancied themselves as the superpower’s partner in the “civilisational conflict' and when the ideologues of the hindutva brigade waxed eloquent about the strategic and natural alliance between the Saffronites and the US. It is rightly said that "[N]ot long ago Advani, sitting smugly in the North Block, was giving the impression that Washington was in his pocket, thanks to his bonhomie with the zionists and fishy deals worth billions of dollars with the Israelis... ." ( The Milli Gazette, Published in the 16-30 Sep 2004, print edition) But all that seems to be passe.

...The fanatics who spread violence in the name of religion are worse than terrorist and more dangerous than an alien enemy...
( Quoted in the Supreme Court judgement in the Best Bakery Case)

Ofcourse without going into the merits of the Terrorism Research Centre's nuanced observations vis-a-vis the RSS which demands a more detailed treatment of the matter, it would we good if we discern earlier records to see whether it is for the first time that the hindutva brigade or any of its allied organisations or their activities have earned opprobrium under the 'terrorist' category.

It was only two years back that the US State department added internet sites of certain organisations to the 'foreign terrorist organisations' list when "4 Jewish Web sites deemed ‘terrorist’ (By Jerry Seper, THE WASHINGTON TIMES)". Ofcourse the unusual alliance between radical Jewish groups with Hindutva groups bringing together two extreme religious philosophies from different parts of the world is premised on the fact that they share a distant enemy namely the Muslims.The report stated :
Four Internet Web sites operated by two extremist Jewish groups have been included by the State Department on its list of “foreign terrorist organizations” — the first time the list has been extended to includeInternet sites.

The listing, which went unnoticed when announced Oct. 3 in the department’s annual redesignation of the world’s terrorist organizations, includes the four sites operated by the Kach and its offshoot, the Kahane Chai, both of which have been designated by the department as terrorist organizations.
Interestingly one of these ( has had an important relationship with which 'Promotes and Supports Ideals of Bajrang Dal : VHP youth with Bharat) The site then still showed a prominent hyperlink to the site.Secular activists in the states had known for long that, the website of was hosted by on a common server and bear the same IP address. The particulars ( ( Ref.Notice recently published in the Federal Register. (Federal Register: October 10, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 197) Page: 58738-58739))

Two and half years back secular activists in the USA had after a painstaking work brought out a report 'Funding Hate' which had exposed the linkages between the funds collected by IDRF ( an umbrella organisation floated by Hindutva brigade) which collected money in USA and the way the money thus collected goes into sponsoring sectarian violence in India. A news item published in 'Financial Times, London had boldly stated 'Cut the flow of funds to instigators of sectarian violence' (( INDIA’S HARD MEN, , page 16, 24 Feb. 2003 (no author’s name given)). It need be noted that it was not alone in raising its voice against the modus operandi of the Hindutva formations in Western countries which supposedly had been aiding and abetting sectarian violence at home. The report unambiguously stated :A year ago India was scarred by some of the worst sectarian violence since partition, when up to 2000 Muslims were killed in pogroms in the western state of Gujarat, ostensibly sparked by an arson attack by Muslims on a train that killed 59 Hindu activists. Human rights organisations in India, the U.S. and Europe implicated two organisations in the well-orchestrated attacks, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP or World Hindu Council) and its youth off shoot, the Bajrang Dal (devotees of the monkey-god Hanuman).

Now a Finanacial Times investigation has established that these groups receive extensive funding from Indians abroad, collected mainly as tax-free charity donations to front organisations in the U.S. and U.K.. This fund-raising is increasingly coming under scrutiny. So it should – as should the links between these groups and India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Behind the VHP and Bajrang Dal stands a quasi-paramilitary body, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS or Association of National Volunteers), which is the mother organisation of the Hindu revivalist BJP. Described by Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime minister, as “an Indian version of fascism”, the RSS is at the centre of a protean network of front organizations. This structure facilitates arm’s-length money-raising. It also makes it easier for the RSS to deny it is inciting agitation against Muslims and Christians.

Ofcourse IDRF (India Development and Relief Fund), the US based charity organisation also presented a report in defence of itself against charges made in a report published last year that it was closely affiliated to the RSS and raised funds for sectarian causes in India.(Not funding hate, says IDRF,Hindu June 15, 2003) but that did not carry much ice and it was largely ignored in the media.
o o

..The modern day “Neros” were looking elsewhere when Best Bakery and innocent children and women were burning, and were probably deliberating how the perpetrators of the crime can be saved or protected. Law and justice become flies in the hands of these “wanton boys”...
( Quoted in the Supreme Court judgement in the Best Bakery Case)

It remains to be seen how the RSS is going to react for its labelling if the 'Terrorism Research Centre' sticks to its decision. There could be many routes open before it but looking at the tremendous flexibility in cyberlaws or the 'elasticity inherent in the concept of terrorism' it cannot be said with guarantee that it would be successful in its venture.

But can this 80 year old 'cultural organisation' give a definitive answer to this query that is it just a 'image problem' which has helped the barrage of propaganda against it or there is a lacunae in its worldview and the activities of its own or affiliated organisations which gives scope for its branding in different ways by different people. Would the 'cultural organisation' be ready for self introspection to check whether it is just 'neo imperialist' bias that the TRC people have woken up to its 'terrorist' nature or there are n number of things in its own weltanshaaung as well as organisational methods and planning which leaves much to be desired and has helped others formulate their position.

Contact: Subhash Gatade,B2/51, Sector 16, Rohini,Delhi-110085 Ph: 27872835











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