The India-Pakistan border is on the boil. Ceasefire violations from across the border have crossed all records since the new NDA government came to power. The casualties in the last four years have reportedly been more than what it was during the 10 years of UPA government. The number of soldiers who fell prey to the enemy attacks is a record high. The situation is turning more and more explosive. Here comes the ‘explosive’ remark by the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat that the Sangh is capable of getting its cadres militarily ready in three days while the Army could take six to seven months to do so. The most inopportune comment drew a plethora of criticism and condemnation from various quarters across the country.
The Indian Army is one of the largest in the world and is apolitical, secular and professional. It is always combat-ready and it was proved thrice in its war against Pakistan, apart from the Kargil war. The Army doesn’t have to be alerted by someone to become battle-ready. Hence the remark by the RSS chief is an affront to the armed forces whose soldiers have shed blood on the line of duty. In the wake of mounting criticism, the RSS has clarified that its chief has been quoted out of context, a routine explanation everyone gives to wriggle out of a controversy. It is difficult to ignore Mr Bhagwat’s remarks as it comes from a person who heads an organization considered to be the driving force behind the BJP-led government.
Mr Bhagwat’s remarks have contradicted the Sangh’s own contention that it is a cultural organization. How come a cultural organization claims to have the wherewithal to become battle-ready in just three days? If the members of an organization can become combat-ready at short notice, it means that they are apparently getting military training. Logically, if the members of one organization can get arms training without being in conflict with laws of the land, how come the arms training in Naxalite camps become illegal? In a democracy, civilians are not permitted to raise army or get arms training. That is why the arms training by Naxalites, Maoists, and other terrorist organisations is unlawful and prohibited.
The RSS chief’s unwarranted comments are to be seen in the background of an ongoing effort to showcase the right-wing groups as the only patriots and nationalists in the country. After the belligerence over national anthem, cow protection and love jihad, yet another attempt is made to give a new narrative to nationalism: making people battle-ready to take on Pakistan. Unfortunately, those behind such efforts fail to realise that such public posturing does not have the sanction of the Constitution or laws of the land. Instead of wasting time and energy on confrontationist activities, the swayamsevaks would do well to calm down the communal tempers engulfing the society. The Army has proved its mettle several times and is capable of defending the borders from any marauding enemy. It does not need another force to supplement its valiance and chivalry. On the other hand, it should be spared of the ignominy of outbursts by public figures.(Published on 19th February 2018, Volume XXX, Issue 08)