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INTRODUCTION TO THE POLITICAL FACTIONS IN INDIA

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)- National Volunteers Association
The RSS was founded in 1925 by Keshav Baliram Hegdewar is the ideological fountainhead of the modern Hindutva movement. Organized around the concept of Shakas, a local cell formation where young men would gather for physical and ideological training, under the tutelage of a brother or dada, the RSS ideology as espousing the national cause was articulated over the next decade or more. Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, who was anointed head of the RSS shortly before his death by Hegdewar, clarified the idea of the nation in his treatise "We, or Our Nationhood Defined":
We belive that our notions today about the Nation are erroneous... It is but proper therefore, at this stage, to understand what the Western Scholars state as the Universal Nation idea and correct ourselves (p. 21).
Based on a racial idea of Nation Golwalkar in praise of Hitler says:
To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the semitic Races - the Jews... Germany has also shown how well nigh impossible it is for Races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to learn and profit by (p. 35).
The above two quotes are only samples of what is a very clearly articulated twin pronged ideology of exclusion (of other races/religions) and supremacy (of Hindus). The RSS, cell like Shaka formation and the discipline inculcated within are central to its success as a fascist force. The RSS cultural and ideological work has not stayed within the boundaries of India. In the 1980's the RSS itself broached out. The Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), an organization modeled along RSS lines emerged in the US in the 1980's, openly claiming allegiance to the founding principles of the RSS.
The RSS was founded in 1925 by the Maratha Brahmin Keshav Baliram Hegdewar [ Biju ] on the Aryan Vaishnava Holy day of Vijaya Dashami (the 10th day of the moon) when the Aryan invader Rama destroyed the Dravidian Empire of Lanka [ Sangh ]. This was done to symbolise its inherent anti-Sudra nature. Its organisation is highly skewed, with the Sar Sangh Chalak (supreme dictator) at the top [ Roots ]. This person can only be a Brahmin. It is the successor of Vivekananda and Arya Samaj in the Neo-Brahmanist fundamentalist movement. The militia is organised around local cells or `shakas' where weapons are distributed to its hardcore members, who are drilled in a vigorous program of harsh discipline. Vishnu temples serve as repositories of weapons as well as centers of dissemination of its racist ideology of Aryan supremacy. Its only leaders have been blue-eyed Sarasvat Brahmins, a condition enshrined in its constitution. The Brahmin Golwalkar, the second leader of the RSS, was trained as one of the hardcore followers of Vivekananda.


Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)- Indian People's Party
This is Hindutva's parliamentary front which constantly makes efforts to breach the secular formation through parliamentary actions - elections, pushing for legislations of various kinds, making visible the ideology in limited and constitutional ways within mainstream political discourse. The BJP came into existence after the collapse of the Janata Party which came to power after Mrs. Gandhi's Emergency in 1979. The erstwhile Hindu parliamentary party - the Jan Sangh - had merged itself into the Janata Party in the wake of Emergency. However to call it a parliamentary party is to ignore its actual working. The party top leadership with few exceptions are all RSS cadre. The party participates in joint meetings with RSS leadership often. The election campaigns of the party are often significantly shaped and helped by RSS cadres of the local region campaigning for the party's candidate. In short, in more than one ways the relation between BJP and other Hindutva organizations is quite clearly visible.Its top leaders are all hardcore Brahminist RSS cadres. All its leaders have been Brahmins too. Generally, RSS cadre graduate to the BJP.


VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad)- World Hindu Council
The VHP was founded on August 29, 1964 in Bombay with the clear aim of being the activist wing, that would undertake aggressive actions in civil society as a whole. The first general secretary of the VHP made its goals clear as follows:
It is therefore necessary in this age of competition and conflict to think of. and organise, the Hindu world to save itself from the evil eyes of all three {all three being Christianity, Islam and Communism).
(From the Organiser, Diwali Special, 1964.)
The VHP has gone on to do just that - spread out as a extra-parliamentary force throughout not just India, but the world. Its primary functions in India are to mobilize forces for agitational and violent purposes. It took part in the Cow Protection Movement though out the 60's and the 70's. The entire Babri Masjid movement was orchestrated by the VHP - steadfastly refusing to enter into any negotiation, rejecting the right of the judicial system in adjudicating on the issue and mobilizing often violent events with the clear intent of polarizing society and creating a political movement within public discourse of Hindutva - the Rath Yatras of the 1980's and the final demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992 were orchestrated by the VHP in association with its "youth wing" the Bajrang Dal. Again the strategy of the Hindutva combine as a whole is palpably apparent here. BJP leaders for instance would participate in VHP sponsored events, but when the results of such events came out - such as violence and killings - the BJP would conveniently distance itself temporarily from the VHP.
On the international front, the VHP's success lies in mobilizing migrant Hindus, especially the middle class and lower middle class. The VHP of America and its student wing the Hindu Student Council (which is present on many US and Canadian campuses) is the most obvious example of its international mobilization. The VHP of America and HSC's for instance conducted the the World Vision 2000 conference in Washington D.C in 1993, which became a rallying point for overseas Hindus and a ground for further recruitment in the wake of what many commentators called a "celebration" over the destruction of the mosque in India. The VHP of America and UK primary success can be seen if not in any other way in terms of financial clout - as it is the primary mode of channeling dollars and pounds into Hindutva politics back in India.
The council was established on August 29, 1964 in Bombay, Maharastra [ Biju ] with a political objective of establishing the supremacy of Hinduism all over the world. It obtains funds and recruits from Aryan Hindus all across the globe, especially from the US, UK and Canada and has grown to become the main fund-raising agency of Brahmanist Fundamentalism. The council was instrumental in the demolition of the holiest Islamic shrine in Oudh, the Babri Masjid at Ayodhya and has organised several massacres of Muslims and Christians. It is in the forefront in the call for a Hindu Rashtra, a Hindu State ethnically cleansed of its non-Aryan populations.


Bajrang Dal- Party of Hanuman
The militant wing of the VHP, it was formed "to counter `Sikh militancy' " during the Sikh Genocide of 1983-84 [ Bajrang ]. Created with the objective of the eradication of Sikhs which it has termed "Muslims in disguise", its cadres fought alongside Congress-backed Hindutva militias during the massacre of 200,000 Sikhs under Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. Recruits carry a " knife-like trident to be slung across the shoulder - an answer to the Sikh kirpan " [ Bajrang ]. It has subsequently expanded its targets to include Muslims and Christians as well.

Ranvir Sena- Army of Ranvir
The militia was founded in 1994 by `the merger of several upper-caste private armies such as the Savarna Liberation front and the Sunlight Sena' [ Rama ] in order to combat Maoist Dalit organisations. It is essentially the Brahmin private army of Bihar. Enjoying clandestine Government support, the organisation is devoted to anti-Dalit terrorism and the preservation of the Vedic apartheid system. Its militiamen are known to be heavily armed with the most modern weaponry which is financed by the VHP, and the Sena has openly claimed responsibility for numerous massacres of landless Dalit Blacks and mass rapes of Dalit women. Human Rights Watch estimates the private army has been responsible for more than 400 deaths [ HRW ].


Shiv Sena- Shiva's Army
The Shiva Sena arose as a movement amongst Congress members. It intitially unleashed a `physical annihilation' of Communists (who were mainly Black) and against Dalits, and organised the mass murder of Bombay's once-influential Black South Indian communities (`lungiwallahs') and Gujaratis [ Roots ]. Subsequently, it engaged in the mass murder of 3000 Muslims [ Sri ]


ABVP- Indian Universities Council
This front comprises students of Hindu religious schools (vidyalayas). It has expanded its base by infiltration into `secular' universities. Its higher-ranking cadres are well-equipped with weaponry; they often organise communal campus disturbances against Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains. Most of its members graduate to become hardcore RSS and VHP militants.


Bharatiya Jan Sangh- Indic Race Party
Founded in October 1951 with the Bengal Brahmin Shyama Prasad Mookerjee as its president, who had resigned from the allied `soft' Brahminist Congress in Apil 1950 [ Chandra ] was president until he died in 1953. Its cadres were carefully chosen indoctrinated activists. The second president, the Brahmin Mauli Chandra Sharma resigned in 1954 to protest against RSS domination of the party. It strove for an `Akhand Bharat' [ Chandra ] ethnically cleansed of its Muslim, Christian and Black Sudroid Populations.


Hindu Mahasabha
- Great Congress of Hindus
The Sabha began as `an extremist wing of the Congress Party' [ Perry ] and was founded by the Maratha Brahmin Vinayak Damodar Sarvarkar. Influenced by `German racism' [ Letter ] Sarvarkar sought to establish a racially pure Hindu state ethnically cleansed of its non-Hindu populations. Sarvarkar's followers were involved in the brutal assasinations of of Sir Wyllie [ Sarvar ].

HSC (Hindu Students Council)- World Hindu Council
The `student wing' of the VHP [ Biju ]. It conducted the the World Vision 2000 conference in Washington D.C in 1993 which was a celebration over the destruction of Babri Masjid and the attendant genocide of 5,000 Muslims [ Biju ]. It is involved in setting up hardcore Hindutva websites across the internet, spewing hatred against Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and Sikhs.


Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS)
- Hindu Volunteers Association
The HSS was formed in the US in the 1980s, ` openly claiming allegiance to the founding principles of the RSS' [ Biju ], in order to organise Hindu terrorists in America.


Arya Samaj- Society of Aryans
Founded by Dayanand Sarasvat (born 12 Feb 1824) [ Rao ] Swami Dayanand established the Arya Samaj in 1875. The Dayanand Anglo Vaidic schools (DAVs) are its propaganda wing, designed to raise a generation of brainwashed militants. Most of its students go on to become hardcore RSS and ABVP members. The Arya Samaj is the fountain of the Hindutva movement : `The rise of Hindu nationalism can be traced to the Arya Samaj in the late nineteenth century' [ Perry ]. Dayananad Sarasvati was a bigoted anti-Islamist. This is what he had to say regarding Islam :
" Such teachings deserve to be utterly discarded. Such a book [ Quran ], such a prophet [ Mohammed ] and such a religion [ Islam ] do nothing but harm. The world would be better off without them. Wise men would do well to discard a religion so absurd and accept the Vedic faith which is absolutely free from error." [Polemics], [ Sarasvati, p.633 ]
The raison-d'etre of the Arya Samaj was anti-Islamism and anti-Sikhism :
" Both of the early leaders of the militant Aryas, Pandit Lekh Ram and Lala Munshi Ram [in 1917 he became Swami Shraddhananda], died at the hands of Muslim assassins as a direct result of their involvement in communal activities -- polemics and conversions. Lekh Ram was killed in 1897 due to hostile exchanges with the Ahmadiya sect of Qadian. Shraddhanand was murdered in 1926 due to his shuddhi activities in Delhi and the United Provinces." [ Polemics ]
Ram Rajya Parishad
Council of the Kingdom of Ram
Formed with the explicit purpose of re-establishing Ram-Rajya (the Empire of Ram), its goal was the elimination of Sudroid Blacks (Dalits, Dravidians, Adivasis, Kolarians) and to establish a racially pure Aryan nation on the lines of Ram-Rajya. Jan Sangh, the Hindu Mahasabha and the Ram Rajya Parishad was 10 seats with 6.4 per cent of the votes. [ Chandra ] By 1967 it had disappeared.

Hindu hardliners have grown more vocal


Its founders felt the need to present Hinduism in a rigorous though simplified form which would be comparable to most other world religions. The superiority of other faiths was believed to stem from their being far less diffuse and more uniform than Hinduism.

VHP is a hardline Hindu outfit with unmistakably close ties to its parent organisation, the extremist RSS, whose objective to 'Hinduise' the Indian nation it shares.

Central to the RSS ideology has been the belief that real national unity and progress will come only when India is 'purged' of non-Hindus, or, when members of other communities subordinate themselves 'willingly' to 'Hindu superiority.'

Linked groups

The VHP has tended to tone down the rhetoric of Hindu supremacy and even make an occasional distinction between fellow (Muslim) citizens of the present and (Muslim) 'marauders' of the past.

But the ambition of establishing a resurgent Hinduism by inculcating what some historians call a carefully constructed common 'Hindu spirit' is very much central to the VHP.


VHP extreme leaders Rallying for Nationalism in North India

The temple project enjoys a lot of support

This is also something it shares with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which currently leads the Indian Government at the centre.

Earlier known as the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS), the BJP was established in 1951 as a political wing of the RSS to counter rising public revulsion after the revered independence figure Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by a former RSS member.

Some commentators say the party came close to obliteration in the 1960s with the Congress led by the charismatic and secular Jawaharlal Nehru, leaving little room for hardline communal politics.

But a political emergency announced by Nehru's daughter, Indira Gandhi, in 1975 enabled the BJS leaders, Atal Behari Vajpayee and LK Advani among them, to gain near stardom after serving brief prison sentences.
Many women have joined the hardliners' campaign,

But it didn't really emerge as a political presence until the early 1980s. A series of events in that decade including the mass conversion of lower-caste Hindus to Islam pushed the BJP's close affiliate, the VHP, to the forefront.

Historians say the VHP-led Hindu right considered the mass conversion of "dalits" or lower-caste Hindus to Islam to be an unforgivable insult.

The dalits, for centuries beholden to the upper castes, outraged Hindu hardliners by daring to convert at all, and moreover, convert to Islam.

The VHP saw this as a serious threat to its notion of Hinduism.


Despite murders of Dalit-Muslim converts, the leader of the VHP still claims the VHP are 'peaceful'

It proceeded to whip up Hindu support for a re-defined communal force, organising a series of religious meetings, cross-country marches and processions through the 1980s.

This phase coincided with the launch of an electoral strategy by the BJP to corner and hold on to the "Hindu" vote.

Temple controversy

Following the success of their campaign, senior VHP leaders announced at a religious meeting in 1984 their programme to "liberate" a site in Ayodhya from an ancient mosque to make way for a temple to the Hindu god Ram.


Some 'moderate' Hindu leaders support the VHP

Analysts say this announcement heralded a turning point in the history of the Hindu nationalist movement.

The VHP has since then claimed that the site belongs rightfully to Hindu worshippers who believe that the mosque stood on the birthplace of the god, Lord Ram.

Although the claim does not stand up to substantial archaeological or historical scrutiny, the VHP and BJP are seen to have made possible the creation of a shared Hindu symbol that cuts through most divisions in Hindu society.

Sue Tao