RSS meet sounds an upbeat note on BJP's agenda
Madhuri V Krishnan in Bangalore
With a Bharatiya Janata Party-led government assuming office at the Centre, the mood among Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh activists is upbeat, even though the BJP's national agenda carefully eschews all the controversial issues that the RSS would like to see implemented.
At the meeting of the Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha, the annual RSS executive conclave held near Bangalore recently, the delegates displayed a keen sense of elation over the saffron surge, and wasted little time in talking about the new government's priorities.
Mohan Das, joint general secretary of the RSS, member of
the Swadeshi Jagran Manch's steering committee and formulator of the resolution to fight the World Trade Organisation, says:
"We have already lost the patent on neem, and we should refuse to make
amendments in our patent laws in the way the WTO tells us to do.
We need to formulate our own laws and policies, especially a
biodiversity law which protects farmers, seed patents,
and conservation activities.''
Reflecting this upbeat mood, the meeting passed two resolutions, the first being against the Kerala bill that empowered the state government to control Hindu
temples, and mutts and ashrams. V Nagraj, who is in charge
of intellectual and ideological training, says: "Why
should the government intervene in a temple's functioning? A
trust comprising responsible people and local priests can
take care of it.''
The second resolution is not to bow before the WTO's demands.
Apart from this, the participants are one in their denunciation of uncontrolled entry of multinationals. As RSS Sarsanghchalak Professor Rajendra Singh says: "They should be allowed
only in core areas of science and technology, and not to sell Coke
or Reebok. We Indians are fully capable of manufacturing our own
products adapted to our country's conditions.''
Adds Nagraj: "When they offer some bit of technology for which
we pay through our nose, why do they have a rider that we
must also allow cereals into the country? It's like, take our
microchips and we'll give you potato chips, which is unacceptable
And if they retaliate by not giving the country what it needs, "Then we make our
own just like we built our own supercomputer when the US decided not to export Cray to us.''
This gung-ho attitude is reflected in their views on the country's nuclear option as well. "We must
protect ourself, and if our neighbours like Pakistan and China
have nuclear weapons why should we stay behind? We need to
According to some leaders, crucial issues that could
dominate their agenda in the forthcoming months would be in
areas of "industrialisation, reducing the number and role of foreign institutional investors, sit with other developing countries to formulate vigilant
laws to conserve our biodiversity, finetuning the swadeshi
movement with a modern touch, creating ideal bastis in more than
500,000 villages of India within a socio-cultural reformist set-up.''
RSS calls the shots
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