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Opinion

RSS Head Mohan Bhagwat to Release Book on Mahatma on January 1

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Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat will publish a new book on Mahatma Gandhi’s discovery of his Hindu identity during his stay in South Africa on New Years Day in Rajghat, New Delhi.

The office of the Union minister of culture, Prahlad Patel, has confirmed that he will be present at the statement together with the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, V Muraleedharan.

The book, Playing a Hindu Patriot It is over 1,000 pages long and its authors JK Bajaj and MD Srinivas describe it as an academic study. Written over the past decade, it was intended to be published in October to coincide with the 151st anniversary of the Mahatma’s birth, but was delayed due to the pandemic. The authors also worked on the Gujarati, Hindi and English editions of Mahatma’s Hind Swaraj, which was released in 2011by then Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Bhagwat.

Bajaj attributed the term ‘Hindu patriot’ to Leo Tolstoy, with whom Gandhi exchanged letters in 1909 and 1910. “Tolstoy told his chronicler that ‘this Gandhi is a good guy except for his Hindu patriotism,'” said Bajaj, who also is a member of the government-appointed commission that examines the subcategory of CBOs, the first step in ensuring that the benefits of the reserve are not monopolized by a few groups. According to him, Gandhi responded to Tolstoy’s words later by saying: “My patriotism is quite patent, my love for India is increasing, but it is derived from my religion and therefore it is not exclusive in any sense” .

While an RSS spokesperson did not respond to HT’s inquiries for comment, Bhagwat did refer to Hind Swaraj in a piece on HT last year. “In its Hind Swaraj, visualized a dream image of Bharat’s progress and performance based on the pure swadeshi vision (made in India), which was free from this slave mentality, ” Bhagwat wrote.

In the introduction to Playing a Hindu Patriot, write the authors: “We have tried to tell the story of the evolution of Hind Swaraj as a text of religious patriotism and the parallel evolution of Gandhiji as a Hindu patriot, perhaps the greatest Hindu patriot, Deshbhakta Mahatma, of our time. We tell this story largely in his own words. ” They add that they chose the term because Gandhi always perceived himself as a Hindu, and that is how his contemporaries saw him. They quote Gandhi as saying that “the fight is in the name of religion, that is, for the religion that underlies all religions.”

The book covers the period before 1914, when Gandhi was fighting for the rights of Indians in South Africa. “For us, the treatment he received in South African prisons was also new. They made him break stones on the road, paraded him handcuffed through the streets and put him in an isolation cell for months. He could suffer all of this and come out stronger because of his religious faith and his anchoring, ” Bajaj said.

The book says that in South Africa, Gandhi was under pressure to convert from some of his Christian and Muslim sympathizers, during which he discovered the “meaning and responsibility of being a Hindu.”

The presence of Bhagwat in Rajghat is interesting as the RSS has had a complicated link with the Mahatma. The RSS was temporarily banned in the wake of Nathuram Godse’s assassination of the Mahatma, although the organization repudiated the latter, saying it stopped in the 1930s. The ban was lifted a year after the 1949 assassination.

Gandhi’s grandson and former governor, Gopalkrishna Gandhi, declined to comment.

Tushar Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi’s great-grandson, said: “It is an irony of our time that the head of RSS is publishing a book on Bapu than for someone dealing with his life in South Africa and Bapu’s discovery of his faith. Bapu’s journey of discovery of the goal and ideal of his life began with reading John Ruskin’s ‘Unto This Last’, a book that advocates for sustainable ethical and moral trade and an almost socialist way of life, but illustrates it. with biblical references. The head of an organization like RSS who rejects everything else except ‘Hindutva’ accepting the influence of the Church in Bapu’s transformation. I hope that, as you talk about the book, you give up on Hindutvaising Bapu and accept the fact that the transformation into Bapu occurred because he realized that the Kingdom of God was within him and his adherence to the ideal of Oneness of humanity by above the narrow confines of the region. , race and religion “.

He added: “For me, the irony is that the ideology that gave birth to Bapu’s assassin has realized that eventually it is Gandhi who is inevitable, inevitable and inescapable.”

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