Is RSS a Nationalist Organization?

A debate has been there ever since the murder of Mahatma Gandhi that whether the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is a Nationalist organization or not? Since people have varying understanding about nationalism, this question remains open ended even today.  Even though it looks very confusing to exact the parameters of Nationalism, we can understand the components that make nationalist behaviour.  It is understood as the feeling of  ‘WE NESS’ with all its diversity of religion, culture, language, food habits along with a strong feeling for the age old traditions of all sections of the country, national heroes from all communities and above all deep commitment to the constitution of this country. We shall examine the activities of this organization from this perspective.


This debate over the credentials of RSS took a new turn with the allegations made by former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Digvijay Sing and Member of Parliament and Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi.  Digvijay Singh flagged off a letter to the then home minister Shivraj Patil on September 16, 2008. In his letter he pointed out details of a spate of bomb blasts involving organisations affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) between 1992 and 2008 in Maharashtra, MP and Haryana.  He did nothing as accused by the critics of Patil to be the face of the soft core Hindutva within the Congress Party that supports the RSS activities with a feeling that to control minorities RSS needs to be supported from behind the scene. 


Persistent Digvijay Singh on 10, May 2010 wrote another letter to Prime Minister naming Abhinav Bharat, Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, Dharmashakti Sena, Sanatan Sanstha, Guru Kripa Pratisthan and a few others as outfits that are part of the Hindutva terror network. Following it Rahul Gandhi  described the RSS as "fanatical", saying it was no different from banned terror outfit SIMI and that both hold "fundamentalist" views. The stand of both stalwart leaders of Congress Party got vindicated with the clear charge sheet submitted by the Rajastan ATS. Yet one has all reasons to disbelieve the involvement of whole organization in the terrorist activity.   A question resounds in our mind is that can the involvement of a few leaders of RSS in the terrorist activity prove the whole organization anti-national? So we need to further examine its activities. 


The critics of RSS allege that RSS is propagating Hindu theocratic state against the secular constitution of our country. They admire a section of the national heroes.  In the name of cultural nationalism they force Hindu traditions on everybody. It has propagated for decades to isolate Christians accusing them of religious conversion and the Muslims by branding terrorist activities.   Over the years they have created a biter animosity between Hindus, Muslims and Christians. They have constantly tried to ignore the individuality of Jainism, Sikhism and Buddhism by propagating them as part of Hindu traditions.   


They have exploited the religious sentiments of devote Hindus with ulterior motive of planting themselves in to all sections of the society.  They have managed to have their people from village secretaries to the highest offices in the country. They have their people in all political parties, socio-cultural organizations, literal and scientific field, educational, industry and all possible sections we can think of. They have hovered over the whole nation like an octopus tightening its arms over people to breathlessness. They have become the most fearful force challenging the Constitution and Governments.   A terrorist attack kills a few people but what about this organization which poisons the minds of millions.  If we tend to believe that there could be some truth in these allegations, then we need to answer the question, Is RSS a Nationalist organization?

Fr. Anand Muttungal
Send your comment on this article at