Social Scientist. v 29, no. 332-333 (Jan-Feb 2001) p. 84.


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BOOK REVIEW

Convincing Message

A.G. Noorani, The RSS and the BJP: A Division of Labour, New Delhi, Left World Books, 2000, pp. 112, Rs. 75.

The books is a strong and convincing message against the politics and ideology of Sangh parivar and its two major components - the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Bharatiya Janata Party -responsible not only for breeding majority communalism, but also for attempting to alter the very secular-democratic foundations of the Indian union. The author argues, within the liberal framework, against the politics of Sangh parivar (family) and makes a strong case in defence of Indian secularism and democracy. In his own words, 'Either the Sangh parivar will have to be contained and defeated, or Indian secularism, already enfeebled, will have to be abandoned and, with it, democracy as well.' (p. xiii). He dedicates the work to Jawaharlal Nehru whose invaluable efforts to check the communal menace and build a campaign against it, he acknowledges. Recognition of the insidious nature of Hindu communalism and waging a battle against it is, according to the author, 'one of Nehru's greatest services to India.' (p.8). The author quotes Nehru (a statement which I repeat here for its contemporary relevance) who said, 'When the minority communities are communal, you can see that and understand it. But the communalism of a majority community is apt to be taken for nationalism'. Accordingly, the RSS and the BJP, as Noorani aptly describes, are 'innately communal' but claim to be 'nationalists'(p. xi). The author directly engages, in a head-on and scathing manner, with the Sangh parivar s ideology and style of politics to which he claims 'deceit and deception' are integral (p. 10).

The book clearly brings forth the political agenda of the 'cultural' RSS, an agenda that it exercises through its electoral front, the BJP. The politics of the RSS and its parivar is one of 'calculated ambiguity', a 'division of labour' between the 'cultural' RSS and 'political' BJP,



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