The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its actions have never given me reason to be hopeful. During incidents of natural or man-made disasters, RSS relief workers have often been in the forefront selflessly helping people. But their volunteer service has often been overshadowed by the RSS leadership’s regressive views. With their degenerate diktats they have resigned to being the flag bearers of retrograde thought in the nation.
Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised when the RSS, or to be more specific, their Muslim wing, the Muslim Rashtriya Manch, announced that they would celebrate Raksha Bandhan on August 7 to promote brotherhood. The campaign is being run in 12 states. An inspired thought you’d think, given how quickly we Indians have descended into lynching madness to save the holy cow. A festival celebrated by both communities would definitely spread communal harmony, you ask? Wrong!
The RSS’ plan is for Muslim girls to tie rakhi on Hindu boys and vice versa. This is not a celebration but segregation, a marking of human territory, forcing both communities to literally draw the line of human bonding. Sibling love is fine you see but not romantic love. One must hand it to the RSS to come up with novel ways of further dividing the populace. The rakhi as a symbol of protection among brothers and sisters is yet another weapon aimed at vilifying romantic love across religious lines.
The RSS’ plan is for Muslim girls to tie rakhi on Hindu boys and vice versa. Photo: Reuters
The festival of Raksha Bandhan has always been important to the RSS. In 2014, the RSS presided over BJP MPs tying rakhi to each other in order to promote unity. Last year, the RSS organised the first-of-its-kind international Raksha Bandhan in New Delhi with intellectuals and representatives participating from nearly 40 countries.
But this year’s campaign perhaps has its genesis in RSS leader Indresh Kumar’s rakhi celebrations in Bhopal in 2015. Kumar smiled benignly as shutterbugs clicked several burqa-clad Muslim women tying rakhi on their newly acquired brother. Kumar then placed his hands, palms down, on his sisters’ heads blessing them.
This year the Raksha Bandhan celebrations are the RSS’ fight against Love Jihad, which they believe is a planned campaign to convert Hindus girls to Islam. The RSS and the BJP say that young Muslim boys entrap Hindu girls in their net of love and convert them against their will.
The number of inter-community marriages is increasing in India with inter-caste and inter-religion marriage witnessing a 300 per cent rise. With such a Raksha Bandhan campaign, the RSS is once again pushing its own narrow agenda. The rakhi, or “raksha sutra” as it is called by the RSS, in this case becomes an insurance preventing romantic liaisons among young Muslims and Hindus. Don’t once be fooled like me that its aim is to promote brotherhood and camaraderie.