Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Sangh and the Tiranga: a Love-Hate Relationship?

While the BJP’s tamasha of trying to forcefully hoist the tricolour at Lal Chowk turned out to be a bit of a damp squib, what is really ironic is the new found love that the Sangh’s political arm has found for the tiranga considering the sneering condescension that its ilk has had for the Indian Flag historically. Having never come to terms with the modern concept of India where the state strives to be secular, the Sangh, in a fit of juvenile rage had (and still does) at many points during its history directed its ire at the State’s most prominent symbol, the Flag.

Ramachandra Guha writes in The Hindu:

“Their allegiances (the RSS’) were sectarian rather than national — indeed, they chose to elevate their own bhagwa dhwaj above the tiranga jhanda. Shortly after Mahatma Gandhi's assassination, there were widespread reports of RSS activists trampling upon the tricolour. This greatly upset the Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. In a speech on February 24, 1948, Nehru spoke sorrowfully of how "at some places, members of the RSS dishonoured the National Flag. They know well that by disgracing the flag they are proving themselves as traitors ... "

Savarkar, the brightest star in the Sangh’s somewhat fanciful firmament of history, would himself have been rather bemused, even angry, by all this brouhaha over trying to plant, of all things, the Indian Flag at Lal Chowk. Reacting to the approval of the flag by India’s Constituent Assembly on July, 1947, Savarkar had reacted with this statement:

"It can never be recognised as the National Flag of Hindusthan ... the authoritative flag of Hindusthan our Motherland and Holyland, ... can be no other than the Bhagava (saffron flag)... . to deliver expressly the message of the very Being of our Race... . It mirrors the whole panorama of our Hindu History. ... Hindudom at any rate can loyally salute no other Flag but this Pan-Hindu Dhwaja, this Bhagava Flag as its national Standard."

Not be be left behind, Golwalkar, the Sangh’s ideologue-in-chief had no love lost for the tiranga either. Here’s what he had to say on the flag in his book, Bunch of Thoughts:

‘‘Our leaders have set up a new flag for our country. Why did they do so? It is just a case of drifting and imitating. Ours is an ancient and great nation with a glorious past. Then, had we no flag of our own? Had we no national emblem all these thousands of years? Undoubtedly we had. Then why this utter void, this utter vacuum in our minds?’’

Interestingly, as far as I know, till this day, the RSS headquarters does not hoist the Indian Flag. Maybe after Hubli and Lal Chowk, it's time to get them raths ready for a trip to Nagpur?


Atul Prasad said...

I loved your labels most:

history, politics, STUPIDITY :D :D :D

AS said...

Sang bashing, the fashion of the day, the hallmark of the secularist. Welcome to the brigade ...

Hades said...

Atul :D

AS: Thank you for the sharp, to-the- point refutation. Oh wait...

Indian Home Maker said...

Wow, I did not know this, although I was aware of their Hindudom demand.