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The RSS Story Untold

Mukesh Vatsyayana

By K.R. Malkani
Impex India, 1980, pp. xii 226, Rs. 60.00

VOLUME V NUMBER 6 May/June 1981

The RSS was a natural child of the twenties. Like any organization, it reflec­ted the ambitions and aspirations of a section of Hindu society of that time and was set up to meet a specific historical need. Since then it has grown and the growth has brought many alterations in its original character. Gramsci has remarked that ‘the his­tory of a party ... cannot fail to be the history of a given social class ... from a particular, monographic point of view.’ But this is not how Malkani conceived his task when he set about to write The RSS Story. He has no historical sense, no understanding of the objective causes—the complex interrelation of objective social conditions and their subjective perception by a community or class­ that make a party or institution appear on the historical stage and grow. His conception of the RSS story is static and uncritically naive. He tells his story in the familiar style of recounting a fairy tale. Once upon a time there was a man who was sad at the fallen state of his motherland. One day he set up an orga­nization to retrieve the ancient glory of his country. Many ogres, averse to see the nation healthy and strong, denounced him vilely and heaped imprecations on his organization. But the organization blessed by gods, defended by angels and worked by saints has grown, from stren­gth to strength and will triumph. It is because he tells his story according to such a framework that his book appears more like a work of fiction than authentic history. Malkani writes as though engaged in a polemic against his imaginary critics and is more concerned with the parry and thrust of a heated debate than cool, rational analysis. Not that there is anything naturally objectionable about a polemic. If occasion demands it, it is a method with not a few virtues. But usually it is employed when the exi­gencies of winning a debate by any means have put into discount the intellectualist propensity to doubt, to ask, to probe, to ponder and to prove which goes into producing a well-researched book. How­ever, as I am not aware of any such com­pulsion under which the author worked and as he never mentions it in the book, his very methodology defeats his purpose of writing 'a handy introduction to RSS'. Thus we have ...

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