By Prof Shamsul Islam
The biggest ‘Hindu’ organization in the world, RSS also functions as an exclusive Gurukul where Hindutva cadres are trained to specialize in the ruthless use of lies, spread of hatred and indulge in sectarian violence. It is the hallmark of RSS functioning. The most prominent ideologue of the RSS, Guru MS Golwalkar who also was the 2nd Supremo of the organization set the ball rolling for which he is also known as “Guru of Hate”. The violence against Indian Muslims in the name of cow is rightly attributed to him as while deliberating on the history of cow-slaughter he told the RSS cadre that “It began with the coming of foreign invaders to our country. In order to reduce the population to slavery, they thought that the best method to be adapted was to stamp out every vestige of self-respect in Hindus…In that line cow slaughter also began”. [MS Golwalkar, Spotlight, Bangalore, Sahitya Sindhu (RSS publication house), 1974, p. 98]
There could not be a more blatant lie than this one as Vedic scriptures are full of references of large scale cow-slaughter while throwing grand feast for Brahmanical gods and sages. Swami Vivekananda regarded as a philosopher of Hindutva by the RSS, while addressing a meeting at the Shakespeare Club, Pasadena, California, USA (February 2, 1900) declared: “You will be astonished if I tell you that, according to old ceremonials, he is not a good Hindu who does not eat beef. On certain occasions he must sacrifice a bull and eat it.” [Vivekananda, The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, vol. 3, Advaita Ashram, Calcutta, 1997, p. 536.]
While addressing a gathering of Brahmins at Madura (now in Tamil Nadu), he stated: “There was a time in this very India when, without eating beef, no Brahmin could remain a Brahmin; you read in the Vedas how, when a Sannyasin, a king, or a great man came into a house, the best bullock was killed…” [Ibid., p. 174.]
The latest addition in this criminal trait of RSS functioning was witnessed at the University of Delhi on September 3, 2023. Krishna Gopal, Sah Sarkaryawah (general secretary), Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh addressed a gathering on women’s empowerment under the aegis of Naari Shakti Sangam. While referring to the disempowerment of women [he meant Hindu women] in Indian history, he stated that prior to the 12th Century, women were reasonably free to a great extent but with the ushering of the middle ages [medieval period]. It was a very difficult time… the entire country is struggling with subjugation. Temples were broken, universities destroyed and women were in danger. Lakhs of women were kidnapped and sold in international markets. (Ahmed Shah) Abdali, (Mohammed) Ghouri and (Mahmood of) Ghazni had all taken women from here and sold them…. It was an era of great humiliation. So, to protect our women, our own society put multiple restrictions on them.” [https://indianexpress.com/article/india/social-evils-subjugated-women-islamic-invasions-rss-ideologue-8922764/ ]
He continued to enlighten the women gathering that “To ensure that our girl children were safe, child marriages started. Our country had no ‘satipratha’. There may have been a couple of examples… but (after the advent of Islamic invaders), a large number of women started committing ‘jauhar’, ‘sati’…there was no restriction on widow remarriage either”. [Ibid]
It is interesting to note that no female ideologue of the RSS came to deliver main address in this women’s conference. Apart from holding ‘Islamic invaders’ for evils like Sati, child marriages and opposition to widow remarriage, he warned Hindu women present at the University of Delhi conclave not to ape the Western culture stating “kitchen was as important as becoming a scientist”. Of course, no such advisory issued to Hindu men by any of RSS ideologue.
Krishna Gopal shamelessly hid the reality that hundreds of years after ‘Muslim’ rule, the organizations associated and affiliated with RSS have been preaching, Sati, opposing widow remarriage and human rights for Hindu women. The Epic Mahabharata which is regarded as actual history records incidents of sati; when Pandu, a patriarch died his wife Madri mounted her husbands pyre and performed sati. Likewise, when Vasudeva (father of Shri Krishna) died his 4 wives immolated themselves with him.
Geeta Press, recently awarded Gandhi Peace Award by RSS-BJP Government led by PM Modi has published in millions books like, Nari Shiksha (Education of Women) by Hanuman Prasad Poddar, Grahsth Mein Kaise Rahen [How to Lead a Household Life] by Swami Ramsukhdas, Striyon ke Liye Kartawya Shiksha (Education of Duties for Women) and Nari Dharm (Religion of Woman) by Jai Dayal Goindka and a special issue of magazine Kalyan on women. Many of these are available in English and other Indian languages.
The authors extensively quote from ancient texts like Shiva Purana and Manusmriti. They borrow heavily from these and other ‘holy’ texts, upholding a subservient woman/wife as the ideal Hindu woman. For instance in the book titled How to Lead a Household Life which is in question-answer format, when a question is posed, ‘What should the wife do if her husband beats her and troubles her?” Swami Ramsukhdas offers the following sagely advice to the battered wife and her parents:
“The wife should think that she is paying her debt of her previous life and thus her sins are being destroyed and she is becoming pure. When her parents come to know this, they can take her to their own house because they have not given their daughter to face this sort of bad behaviour.”
And if her parents do not take her back to their house, learned Swamiji‘s pious advice is: “Under such circumstances…she should reap the fruit of her past actions. She should patiently bear the beatings of her husband with patience. By bearing them she will be free from her sins and it is possible that her husband may start loving her.”
And there is another piece of heavenly advice for a rape victim and her husband. “As far as possible, it is better for woman (rape victim) to keep mum. If her husband also comes to know of it, he too should keep mum. It is profitable for both of them to keep quiet.”
Can a woman remarry? The answer is very straight forward, “When once a girl is given away in marriage as charity by her parents, she does not remain virgin any more. So how can she be offered as charity to anyone else? It is beastliness to remarry her.”
But can a man remarry? No problem,
“A man can have a second wife for an issue in order to be free from the debt which he owes to manes (pitr-rin) according to the ordinances of the scriptures, if there is no issue from the first wife.”
But this is not the only reason for which a man is allowed re- marriage. A man, “whose desire for pleasure has not been wiped out, can get remarried because if he does not get remarried, he will indulge in adultery and go to prostitutes and will incur a badly sin. Therefore, in order to escape the sin and maintain the decorum he should get remarried according to the ordinance of scriptures.”
Of course, no widow is allowed to remarry. However, she may be allowed to choose to be some male’s concubine. “If she cannot maintain her character, instead of indulging in adultery here and there, she should accept her affinity for a person and live under his protection.”
Is it proper for woman to demand equal rights? The sagely answer is quite unambiguous: “No, it is not proper. In fact, a woman has not the right of equality with man…in fact it is ignorance or folly which impels a woman to have desire for the right of equality with man. A wise person is he/she who is satisfied with less rights and more duties.”
This literature about Hindu women openly preaches and glorifies the ghastly practice of Sati. To the question: “Is ‘Sati Partha‘ (viz., the tradition of the wife being cremated with the dead body of the husband on the funeral pyre) proper or improper?”
The sagely answer declaring that Sati is ‘Back-bone of Hindu Religion adds: “A wife’s cremation with the dead body of her husband on the funeral pyre is not a tradition. She, in whose mind truth and enthusiasm come, burns even without fire and she does not suffer any pain while she burns. This is not a tradition that she should do so, but this is her truth, righteousness and faith in scriptural decorum…It means that it is not a tradition. It is her own religious enthusiasm. On this topic Prabhudatta Brahmachariji has written a book whose title is Cremation of a Wife with her Husband’s Dead Body is the Backbone of Hindu Religion, it should be studied.
Swamis in this series of literature while demanding the restoration of practice of Sati go on to tell us that
“There is absolutely no doubt that a woman who happily follows her dead husband to the cremation ground receives on every step benefits of Ashawmedh Yagya [Ashvamedha means horse in Sanskrit and Ashawmedh Yagya was a sacrifice of a horse in the Vedic tradition used by the ancient Indian kings to prove their imperial sovereignty]…It is a Sati woman who snatches her husband from the hands of yamdoots (angels of death) and takes him to swarglok (Paradise). After seeing this pativrata lady the yamdoots themselves run away.”
It is not only Nari Shiksha which starts with a chapter captioned Sati Mahatmmey or ‘greatness of Sati‘ but Gita Press also published a special issue of its Hindi journal Kalyan in which stories of 250 women who committed Sati were glorified and Hindu women decreed to emulate these worshippable Sati Matas.
If such Sanatan Dharm religious decrees dehumanizing Hindu women are being preached by Hindutva flag-bearers in an Independent India; will Hindutva zealots like Krishna Gopal also argue that the ‘Muslim’ rule still continues? The reality is that RSS represents a perverted male chauvinistic ideology; ‘Muslim’ rule or no rule could not have made any difference. One example from RSS organizational set-up would be sufficient to show how deeply it believes in the infirmities of Hindu women. The male RSS organization is known as Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (National Volunteer Union) but its women appendage is known as Rashtriya Sevika Samiti (National Committee of Maids). Male members are volunteers and women members as maids/servants. Mind it that RSS has no ‘Muslim’ past or present.
Some of the prominent Gita Press titles denigrating Hindu women:
1. Goendka, Jaidayal, Nari Dharm, Gita Press, Gorakhpur. First published in 1938 and till 2000 it had 54 editions with 11, 20, 250 copies printed.
2. Goendka, Jaidayal, Strion Ke Liye Qartavey Shiksha, Gita Press, Gorakhpur. First published in 1954 and till 2018 it had 75 editions with 13, 71,000 copies printed.
3. Nari Ank, Kalyan, Gita Press, Gorakhpur, 1948.
4. Poddar, Hanumanprasad (ed.), Bhakt Nari, Gita Press, Gorakhpur, 2002. First published in 1931 and till 2002 it had 39 editions with 4, 62,000 copies printed.
5. Poddar, Hanumanprasad, Dampateya Jiwan Ka Adarsh, Gita Press, Gorakhpur, first published in 1991 and till 2002 it had 17 editions with 1, 81,000 copies printed.
6. Poddar, Hanumanprasad, Nari Shiksha, Gita Press, Gorakhpur. First published in 1953 and till 2018 it had 72 editions with 11,75,000.
Ramsukhdass, Swami, Grahast Maen Kese Rahen, Gita Press, Gorakhpur. First published in 1990. Till 2018 it had 76 editions with 18, 00,000 copies printed.
7. Ramsukhdass, Swami, How to Lead a Household Life, Gita Press, Gorakhpu. First published in 1990. Till 2017 had 19th editions with 1,04,500 copies printed.
Link for some of S. Islam’s writings in English, Hindi, Urdu, Marathi, Malayalam, Kannada, Bengali, Punjabi, Gujarati and video interviews/debates: