Bharatiya Janata Party is today the most prominent member of the family of organisations known as the "Sangh Parivar". And RSS has always been dubbed "communal", "reactionary" and what not by its detractors. Sanghs of swayamsevaks have of course always shaken off that criticism like so much water off a duck's back. They have never had any doubt that the organisation is wedded to national unity, national integrity, national identity and national strength through individual character and national character. And today this organisation is poised for a gresat leap forward. Even its long- time detractors think and say that now BJP is "unstoppable".What is the story of this national epic?
History is the philosophy of nations. And the Sangh Parivar has a very clear and candid conception of Indian history. Here was a great civilization whose glory spread from Sri Lanka to Java and Japan and from Tibet and Mangolia to China and Siberia. While it weathered the storms of Huns and Shakas and Greeks it wilted before the Islamic storms of the Turks. However, a 1000-year resistance saw this country bloodied but unbowed. Its civilization survived through the heroic efforts of the Vijayanagar Empire and of Shivaji, Rana Pratap and Guru Govind Singh and countless heroes and martyrs.
In more recent times this torch was picked up by Swami Dayanand and Swami Vivekanada. And in the present century the good work has been carried on by Sri Aurobindo, Lokmanya Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi and others. The RSS, founded by Dr Hedgewar in 1925 and consolidated by Shri Guruji after 1940, is the heir to this heroic, historic heritage. It has nothing against Muslim Indians - as distinguished from Muslim invaders. Its position on this issue has all along been: "Justice for all and appeasement of none". But it has no doubt that we were and are a Hindu nation; that change of faith cannot mean change of nationality.
The RSS entirely agrees with Gandhiji's formulations that "There is in Hinduism room enough for Jesus, as there is for Mohammed, Zoroster and Moses" and that "majority of the Muslims of India are converts to that faith from Hinduism through force of circumstances. They are still Hindu in many essential ways and, in a free, prosperous, progressive India, they would find it the most natural thing in the world to revert to their ancient faith and ways of life."
Due to the British policy of "Divide and Rule" and the politicians' proclivity to compromise and temporise the country suffered the trauma of the partition. But the Sangh Parivar has no doubt that before very long the unities, the varieties and the strengths of our ancient civilization will prevail. RSS has been continuing the task of nation building since its inception. It did it through the tumultuous period of 1930s and 40s. But it was rudely shaken by Gandhiji's killing and the Government's political exploitation of that national tragedy.
The RSS, along with millions of people, did not approve of Gandhiji's Muslim appeasement policy - starting with support of the Khilafat movement - but it had the greatest respect for the Mahatma. Indeed, Gandhiji had visited the RSS winter camp in Wardha in December 1934 - and addressed the Delhi RSS workers in Bhangi colony, in Spetember 1947. He had deeply appreciated the "noble sentiments" and "astonishing discipline" of the RSS. He had never spoken even one word of criticism of the RSS. But after his killing, 17000 RSS workers - including Shri Guruji - were accused of "conspiracy of murder" the Mahatma Gandhi and the RSS workers offered Satyagraha. But during all this time not one MLA or MP raised the issue in any legislature. For the RSS, it was the moment of truth. And this truth, as enunciated by Gokhale, was that "What cuts deep in politics cuts deep all round" and that unless the RSS grew political teeth and wings, it would always be at the mercy of unscrupulous politicians. This was the context in which Shri Guruji blessed the birth of Bhartiya Jana Sangh under the leadership of Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee in 1951. And in the very first General Elections the BJS emerged as one of the four nationally recognised parties. The Party has never looked back since then.
The first decade was a period of steady growth organisationally and policy evolution and elaboration ideologically. It took up the issues of territorial integrity like Kashmir, Kutch and Berubari - and in the process suffered the martyrdom of its founder-President Dr Mookerjee in a Kashmir jail. It demanded cow protection as per Article 48 of the Constitution and Gandhiji's declaration that "Cow protection is more important than even Swarajya". It came out against Zamindari and Jagirdari. It criticised permit- licence-quota Raj. And it came out for the nuclear option to reinforce national defence. The 1962 China war and 1965 Pakistan war put Sangh Parivar on the center-stage as the conscience of the country. When the RSS Parivar was entrusted with police duties in 1965, and it performed the same to the satisfaction of all-even Muslims began to join Jana Sangh. Shri Guruji was specially invited to the National Integration Council. General Kulwant Singh said at the time: "Punjab is the sword arm of India and RSS is the sword arm of Punjab."
In all countries, parties associated with the freedom movement enjoy long years of power. So did the Congress - for 20 years. But the 1967 elections ended the Congress monopoly of power. From Punjab to Bengal there were non-Congress coalitions everywhere. As a political wit put it: "You could travel from Amritsar to Calcutta without setting foot in Congress territory." In most of the States Jana Sangh and the Communists worked together. They seemed to be guided by the dictum: "We are all children of Bharat mata and we are all products of the 20th century."
However, this was more than the monopolistic Congress could stand. It used its vast money power and its capacity for intrigue to topple government after state government.
But even so Jana Sangh did not lose heart. Under the leadership of Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya it held a tremendous session in Calicut. Here it clarified its language policy of "All encouragement to all Indian languages" to the delight of all linguistic groups. The Mathrubhumi, leading Malayali daily, described the BJS session "the Ganga flowing South."
However, within days of this historic session Deendayalji was found murdered near Mugalsarai railway station. In good faith the BJS asked for a CBI enquiry. But the way CBI drew blank made it clear that Central Agency has been politicised and that it would never unravel political crime.
Although the murder of Deendayalji was a stunning shock the BJS was too big and too strong to be stopped in its tracks. Under the leadership of Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee, it enthussiastically joined the movement for the libera- tion of Bangladesh. Its agitation for a higher procurement price for cereals gave the country food sufficiency and food security. Its election manifesto for 1971 was titled "War on Poverty". The Congress stole that slogan and hindi-ised it into "Garibi hatao" and swept the 1971 and 1972 polls. But once again Jana Sangh was too good and strong to be overwhelmed by the ebb and tide of politics.
In election after by-election Jana Sangh showed its class. It joined hands with Jaya Prakash Narayan on the issue of fighting corruption and autocracy. The BJS was in the vanguard of the people's movement in Bihar and Gujarat. To the professional detractors of Jana Sangh JP's categorical response was: "If Jana Sangh is communal then I am also communal." As the opposition parties won election after by-election, the cry ran through the country: "Sinhasan khali karo, ki janata aati hai". A scared Mrs. Gandhi declared Emergency, arrested thousands and baned the RSS. But the country survived this agni-pariksha, thanks again to the Sangh parivar, which contributed full 80% of Emergency-time prisoners, both detenus and Satyagrahis.
Mrs. Gandhi was astounded enough to admit in the Chandigarh Session of the Congress in 1975 that "even in places where the RSS was an unknown organisation it has established a firm foothold." The Economist of London (Dec.4 1970) described the underground movement of the Sangh parivar as "the only non-left revolutionary force in the world." And even Marxist parliamentary party leader Shri AK Gopalan was moved to say about the Sangh parivar: "There is some lofty idea which is capable of inspiring such deeds of bravery and stamina for sacrifices."
In the 1989
elections the Janata Dal effected adjustments of seats with the BJP and
proceeded to form the Government with outside support from the BJP and
Move on to Part 2
History of the BJP, Part 1
History of the BJP, Part 2
History of the BJP, Part 3
Material sourced from http://www.bjp.org/
The material presented is not factually modified in any way.
Base URL: http://members.tripod.com/antibjp/history