Is it easy or difficult to understand the union
America’s well-known educationist and Wall Street Journal columnist Walter Russell Mead has written about the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the BJP, which is being debated all over the world. Mead has written that after consecutive massive victories in the general elections of 2014 and 2019, the BJP is now heading towards success in 2024 as well. It was bound to make headlines. But the main point of his article is not the 2024 election forecast. What he wrote about the background, ideology and character of the Sangh and the BJP is most important.
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Three of his points are particularly important.
- First, the BJP stands on a unique political and cultural history that can only be understood by those familiar with Indian values and culture.
- Second, the BJP is the most important foreign political party in the world, but it is probably the least understood.
- Third, what is the foundation of BJP? The basic tone of his article is that to understand the BJP, one has to understand the Sangh as well. Regarding the Sangh, he says that it is the strongest civic organization in the world to run a cultural renaissance movement on the basis of a marginalized ideology at one time.
Mind you, Mead’s article, which became the subject of worldwide discussion, came soon after Rahul Gandhi’s statement in London, equating the Sangh with the Muslim Brotherhood. However, detractors may rejoice that Mead has also taken the name of the Muslim Brotherhood while describing the BJP. But their context is different.
- Mead says that the BJP brings together the most important principles of three of the world’s most important political parties: Israel’s Likud Party, China’s Communist Party and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.
- The BJP, like the Muslim Brotherhood, rejects many ideas of Western liberalism, but embraces key features of modernity.
- Like the Chinese Communist Party, the BJP leads a nation of over a billion people to become a global superpower.
- Like Israel’s Likud party, BJP adopts market-oriented economy with traditional values.
Obviously, this should only be considered as an illustrative example for readers in the US and Wall Street’s spread circles. There is no other organization in the world like Sangh and BJP, with which they can be compared. He presented the example which is in front of him. In this too, he describes BJP as different from all of them. In this way, he proves the Sangh as a unique organization in the world and the BJP that emerged from it is different from all the available parties:
- Mead writes that American analysts, especially left-liberals, often look at Narendra Modi’s India and ask why it is not like Denmark? They don’t understand that India is a complicated place. The BJP has also achieved remarkable political success in the Christian-majority states of the Northeast.
- Interestingly, despite being an American, he has underlined the fact that several generations of thousands of swayamsevaks have been spent behind the RSS reaching here. When the people of our own country do not have a proper understanding of Hinduism, Hindutva and Nation etc., then it would be said to be surprising that a person from the West should understand Hinduism, Hinduism etc. in the right context.
- As far as the span of generations is concerned, since its establishment in 1925 by Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, it is difficult to count the number of pracharaks who have spent their entire lives trying to expand the Sangh and its spin-off organizations. This type of character is not found in any organization in the world. An organization with an ideology like rancor, hatred, extremism cannot get an army of life-giving workers like this.
Critics may say that Mead has analyzed the BJP and the RSS from the point of view of the strategic future of America. He has said that the American people are in no position to reject invitations to join hands with the BJP and the RSS as tensions with China rise and America needs India as an economic political partner. Limiting his analysis to this point would mean denying the truth completely. Journalists and writers from America, Europe and other countries have often understood and written and spoken about the Sangh and the BJP from their own perspective.
- Their knowledge of Nation State, Nationalism, Religion, Religious or Theocratic State, Culture, Swadeshi etc always dominates them.
- Hence nation state, Hindu nation, nationalism, cultural nationalism, Hindutva etc. have always been interpreted as fiercely communal, religious and parochial nationalism.
- The fact is that in the Indian context these words have completely different meanings. The few western scholars who tried to understand this did not get recognition in their own world.
However, this does not mean that Walter Russell Mead has thought of India as a whole and in line with the point of view of the Sangh and the BJP. But after meeting the people of Sangh and BJP and studying their literature, he has tried to see these organizations in the right context, moving away from prejudice to a great extent.
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are the author’s own.