‘Modi is an RSS man; he thinks like an RSS man and I don’t think the Sangh is going to give up on their agenda’
Thomas Blom Hansen, who has extensively studied Hindu-Muslim relations, talks to Ritu Jha
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reinvented himself as a strong populist leader, an American expert has observed.
Thomas Blom Hansen, director of Centre for South Asia and Reliance-Dhirubhai Ambani Professor of Anthropology at Stanford University, believes that Modi wants to make India a dominant power in South Asia and that well not give concessions to Pakistan or anyone.
On the sidelines of a panel discussion last week, titled ‘From Saffron to Development? Causes and Consequences of the Indian Elections’, Hansen -- who has extensively studied Hindu-Muslim relations and is the author of The Saffron Wave: Democracy and Hindu Nationalism in Modern India -- told rediff.com that in the long run, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh agenda and the issue of minorities would come up again.
“Modi is an outsider in Delhi,” Hansen said, adding, “The question for him is, is he going to do anything that is radically different from the Congress (party)?”
“Expectations from him are huge. So he is playing a high stakes game, and I don’t think he is going to do anything radical in the next couple of years.”
Hansen said, “Nobody talks of caste or minority now, but it will come back. Modi is an RSS man; he thinks like an RSS man and I don’t think the Sangh is going to give up on their agenda; they have patience and have waited for decades and will make the most out of this opportunity in the way they want to.”
Hansen added that the issue “of building a temple (in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh) is not going to go away, the Kashmir issue is not going to go away, the Bangladesh issue is not going to go away, the anti-Muslim character of the BJP is not going to go away.”