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RSS splashes saffron on Pak, Nepal

RSS splashes saffron on Pak, Nepal

The Asian Age (New Delhi)
October 6, 2000

By Vaibhav Purandare

Mumbai, Oct, 5: The BJP may be fast shedding saffron, but its
intellectual instructor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, clings to it
dearly. So saffron not only all over India but also over the whole of
Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Burma in a map carried on the
cover of a newly-released RSS book.

The book, which is in Marathi, is titled Amrutpath and has been brought
out by the RSS Marathi weekly Vivek to celebrate the platinum jubilee of
the Sangh. The RSS completes 75 years of its existence on the Dussehra

The map showing a Hindu superstate, that includes all of India?s
neighbouring nations, is a futuristic scenario culled straight from the
RSS original idea of ?Akhan Bharat,? but what is raising eyebrows is the
strong reiteration of the Sangh worldview at a time when the BJP is
making conscious efforts at desaffronising itself and emerging at the
center of Indian polity.

?This is the cultural Bharat envisaged by the Sangh,? says editor of
Vivek Ramesh Patange, who has also edited Amrutpath. ?Bharat is a Hindu
nation, and when the Sangh uses the word Hindu, it is in the cultural
sense and not the religious sense. All the other nations marked in
saffron are also actually culturally and ethnically one with us.
Pakistan and Bangladesh may be Muslim nations and Burma and Bhutan may
have Buddhism as their religion, but they have more than just
geographical oneness with Bharat. We have only tried to bring this out,
and we hope the other nations realize this one day,? he points out.

While the BJP distances itself from the book cover?s saffron spread,
saying the RSS is an identity distinct from the party, an RSS leader
from Maharashtra says that if the map brings discomfort to the new BJP,
which is making all-out efforts to win over Muslims, it can solve the
problem on its own. ?I am glad the book highlights the RSS vision on its
cover. Why should we care about the BJP?s difficulties?? the leader
asks, preferring anonymity.

According to him, it is vital to ensure that the BJP?s new line on
Muslims does not discourage foot-soldiers of the RSS, and this can be
done only by regularly restating the RSS ideology in this fashion. ?All
organizations in the Parivar are unfettered and will work according to
their own role,? he notes.

And the role of the RSS, he says, is to chart its own ?map? for the