By Aditya Aamir
What was Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat thinking on Sunday when he said the RSS could assemble its cadres to fight a war much faster than the Indian army could? Either he was not in his senses or he really believes his words, which is rather dangerous because it implies that the Army should be trained by the RSS. BJP’s mai-baap RSS, it seems, is working overtime to ensure the BJP gets routed in 2019. Does the RSS want to be the BJP’s pallbearer?
It appears that the powers that be and the powers that are going to be are both after the Indian Army. Even the Supreme Court on Monday stopped short of acceding to the Army’s demand that the FIR against Major Aditya in the Shopian firing incident should be withdrawn. The apex court has only ruled that “no coercive action” be taken against Major Aditya. The apex court did not order the J&K Police to withdraw the FIR.
Getting back to Bhagwat, the RSS chief boasted the Sangh can “prepare military personnel within three days, something the Army would do in 6-7 months. This is our capability. Swayamsewaks will be ready to take on the front if the country faces such a situation and Constitution permits us to do so.”
What does he want – the Constitution be amended? What is Bhagwat feeding the people of Bihar with as he tours the state? Last heard, the RSS was a “socio-cultural organisation” though it might think that swinging lathis at “RSS shakhas” is akin to “military training”. Bhagwat later clarified that the RSS was a “parivarik organization” but the damage was done.
Strange, as the BJP fights opposition talk that the party was on the back foot after the near-defeat in Gujarat polls and the rout in Rajasthan by-polls with doubts on whether Modi gets a second term as Prime Minister or not, the RSS is making things hard for the BJP. What is the difference between Bhagwat and Congress leaders like Sandeep Dikshit and Sanjay Nirupam, accused of belittling the Army, if he too says much the same if not worse?
For Bhagwat to compare his khaki-clad, mostly unfit, ragtag lot with a trained and professional army is nothing short of insult. The MoD should ask Bhagwat to shut up, pronto. But that will not happen, not with the BJP kowtowing to the RSS, taking orders from it. God forbid the day comes when the Army even remotely takes orders from the RSS.
The Indian Army is not a bunch of knicker-wallas that the RSS is. Bhagwat has denigrated the Army by saying the RSS is more capable than it. If Congress president Rahul Gandhi has said the “insult” demands an “apology”, more power to him. But Rahul should at the same time issue a blanket order to Congress leaders such as Dikshit and Nirupam to stop making anti-Army comments. And the Congress should stop politicising Doklam, pull the Army into its BJP-bashing, stop giving the impression that the Congress is more with the Chinese PLA than with the Indian Army.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman should, when they are finished with whatever they are at these days, give pause and think of the damage done to the Army from Bhagwat-like statements besides the damage done to the BJP’s chances of returning to power in 2019. On Monday, the hashtag #RSSInsultsArmy was trending on Twitter for several hours. Word is getting around that the government of Modi itself is, for some perverse reason, anti-Army.
Bhagwat’s idiotic and ill-timed statement came even as the Army was under attack from separatists to rogue J&K MLAs and the so-called nationalist BJP, which to remain in power in J&K, come what may, was not willing to stand with the Army.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has gone “soft” in the last couple of years after the boasts made from the ramparts of the Red Fort the first two times he spoke from there. The public perception is that Modi talks but doesn’t walk the talk. To many, Modi is a person who wants to be hugged and feted outside India more than he wants to be admired and trusted in India.
His decision to have a woman Defence Minister is also being questioned. Nirmala Sitharaman has “flown” a jet and built a foot-over-bridge at the Mumbai local railway station – that is all. And she happens to be the one who told Mehbooba Mufti to go ahead and lodge the FIR against 10 Garhwal and Major Aditya. (IPA Service)