Few days back on last saturday the RSS Sar Sangh Chalak Sh Dr Mohan Bhagwat was live for a lecture series two days back [A]. In his address on the fifth and final day of the lecture series ‘Positively Unlimited’ Saturday, Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat said: “Both the society and the administration were caught off guard after the first wave (of Covid-19).”. His exact words are and we quote . “Kya janata, kya shasan, kya prashasan, sabhi gaflat mein aa gaye,”. This statement from the speech has been interpreted in many ways by people and media as per their own liking and with vested interest as usual.
We will take up a few here and also place our own opinion on the same. D K Singh writes in ‘The Print’ as a much needed dose from the Sangh who also lost many of its volunteers to the pandemic [1.a]. In all the analysis and interpretations that have come out we think this as one of the best by which means basically good and fair enough. He hints that’s how the Sar Sangh Chalakji’s statement has inspired BJP and others to hit back those criticizing the Modi government.
Another author Arun Anand in the same ‘The Print’ takes the argument to a more conceptual and framework level taking a in Depth view of the statement and the way RSS functions. One can take this as the best analysis and interpretation among all. He writes and we quote, ” First, the RSS is not a political party, and hence, Sangh functionaries do not make statements for public posturing. They are not going to contest polls, and they don’t get new cadres through these statements. The RSS gets new volunteers through its daily ‘shakhas’ (a one-hour daily get-together of volunteers) and other programmes and activities, which focus on ‘individual contact’. The core of the functioning of RSS can be summed up in two words, informal relations. RSS swayamsevaks back each other and stand by each other through good and bad times. Most of the communication through which the RSS functions is informal.
So, if the Sangh has a viewpoint to share with any BJP government, it would do so informally through swayamsevaks who are part of the government. The RSS doesn’t need to make a statement in any public forum. These views are consistently shared, not along the lines of the ‘RSS leadership is conveying to the BJP leadership’, but more like ‘swayamsevaks outside the government sharing views with swayamsevaks within the government’ 
Joydeep Bose writing for Hindustan Times picks up the narrative of England from Sar sangh Chalak’s speech and to quote , “The RSS chief compared the present situation in India to that of England during World War II. Even when all hope was seemingly lost, Bhagwat said, a quote on the desk of the then British prime minister Winston Churchill read, “There is no pessimism in this office. We are not interested in the possibilities of defeat. They don’t exist”. Essentially he looks at the speech in positive light and to motivate people to fight the pandemic and not loose hope. 
But the most interesting piece is in ndtv by Ashutosh  and gives a twist to the speech by sar Sangh Chalak and tries to create a divide between the Sangh and the BJP. to make that theory strong he narrates a story which we guess is more likely to be fictitious and writes, ” “Is it true that the RSS is not happy with the overall handling of the Corona crisis?” I asked a senior RSS functionary. His laconic reply: “But what can it do?” His answer sums up the state of affairs in the RSS. It is in a state of utter helplessness. The RSS leadership which, with much fanfare, decided to project Narendra Modi as the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate in 2013 now finds itself feeling dejected.”.
He then picks Ram Madhav, the former BJP Gen Secretary and now back in parent RSS ,  as his second pillar of proof and writes, ” The same day, another RSS leader, Ram Madhav, who till recently was serving as General Secretary of the BJP, and has now gone back to his original organisation, wrote a column for The Indian Express. If one reads between the lines, Madhav was critical of the government functioning. He wrote, “Initially, the government looked like ‘a deer in the headlights,’ as one commentator put it. But it has come out of that and is engaged full throttle in handling the challenge. A little more transparency, a little more engagement with the public by the political leadership and a little more openness to constructive criticism and enlightened expert opinion from outside the government would further help the government’s efforts. After all, the lives of millions of people are at stake.” Obliquely, he blamed the Modi government for the mess and spelt out the reasons including the lack of transparency.” .. and then with a tinge of authority on RSS affairs he writes, “In the RSS, every word is uttered after much internal debate and discussion. Therefore, the words of Bhagwat and Madhav cannot be taken lightly or wished away as off-the-cuff remarks.”.
The Modi government has indeed done a lot as seen from an article  by Hon’ble minister Prakash Javadekar However there are lapses at some level within the government . The statement by Sar Sanghchalak is a call for introspection from within and can be taken as a mild rebuke for the same. It does not absolve anyone including the society nor it blames anyone specifically. Its an inclusive call and we think that it would have been more apt if the Sar Sangh Chalak would have included the Sangh also in the Janata, Shasan and Prashasan line of argument.
As far as the media is considered, we would like to go more with Arun Anand’s article for ‘The Print’ where he writes very clearly that RSS does not communicate with the government through open public mediums and there are established channels for the same. He writes and we quote, “So, if the Sangh has a viewpoint to share with any BJP government, it would do so informally through swayamsevaks who are part of the government. The RSS doesn’t need to make a statement in any public forum. These views are consistently shared, not along the lines of the ‘RSS leadership is conveying to the BJP leadership’, but more like ‘swayamsevaks outside the government sharing views with swayamsevaks within the government’.”.
The RSS never takes a short view of anything and it never indulges in open fighting or debates. It works like the tight and best professionally managed MNC where no information or secrets are shared or leaked to outsiders. It has its own ways to discuss and solve the issues. Therefore the particular line by Sar Sangh Chalak should be taken as an honest opinion and nothing more. Unlike a political party, the Sangh does not hide behind words and chicanery. It is an honest organization whose main interest is national welfare and not power.
The ” Kya Janata , Kya Shashan , kya Prashashan …” statement must be seen in that light and nothing more. It should be also taken by the government seriously because some lapses have been committed by someone at some places and that does not mean Modi or Amit Shah. The word ‘Gaflat’ is of interest which shows some sort of errors out of confusions and improper management.
The government has many layers and levels of administration and power hierarchy. if Modi , Shah and the PMO are level 1 in the hierarchy then let us say Health, Education, Infra are at level 2. While hon’ble minister Nitin Gadkari is able to implement and execute projects it is because of his self driven passion and motivation. But hon’ble Nitin Gadkari is an exceptional minister. The bureaucrats and senior officers of Modi government have to learn from him.
It is here that “Gaflat’ has happened and something that hon’ble PM Modi and hon’ble HM Shah has to look at and correct. The Sar Sangh Chalak’s statement calls for introspection and nothing more. But if the call comes from the RSS head then it is the duty of the government to take a sincere view of what and why things have failed and correct the same. Persons and organizations must be identified and asked to leave without any further delay. That will be one small measure that the government must take and will send the right message to all others.
In our opinion that is the message from the Sar Sangh Chalak besidies the positive and motivating issues and points that he has conveyed in his speech.
Dr. Asheesh Shah
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