RSS has breached its undertaking

Assertion: Vidya Subramhaniam, in an article titled The Forgotten Promise of 1949 in the Hindu makes the following claims.

1. The RSS wrote a non-political role for itself as part of an undertaking it gave Sardar Patel. The overt political role it has assumed in 2013 is a breach of that agreement and its own constitution.

2. The governments of 1977-1979 and 1998-2004 became possible only because the RSS agreed to keep out of sight.

3. Then Sarsanghchalak Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar pleaded not guilty and Patel himself was clear that the RSS was not involved in the assassination. He said this in his February 27, 1948 letter to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and reiterated it later too. However, Patel was strong in the belief that the Sangh’s “violent” ways contributed to the climate in which Gandhiji was killed.

4. The RSS has gone back on the promise to keep off politics.

At the face of it, it seems that she has taken Jairam Ramesh’s recent statement that the 2014 elections will be fought between the Congress and RSS seriously.


1. It must be remembered that Mahatma Gandhi himself wanted the Congress to be disbanded. In the the Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi — Volume 90, Gandhi says [t]hough split into two, India having attained political independence through means devised by the Indian National Congress, the Congress in its present shape and form, i.e., as a propaganda vehicle and parliamentary machine has outlived its use.  Therefore, what must be first questioned is the breach of trust of Mahatma Gandhi by Nehru. Nehru and his followers conveniently brushed Gandhi aside and continued with Congress-as-the-propaganda-vehicle even in Independent India, trying to crush all opposition that came  their way.

2. Sardar Patel was one of the first persons to ask the RSS  to merge with the Congress and join politics. This event occurred almost immediately after Independence. It was Guru Golwalkar who politely refused holding that there are many ways of serving the country, and that the RSS had no intention to join politics. This event occurred much before the so-called 1949 “promise” Vidya refers to.

3. Nehru was primarily a politically insecure person. One can refer to his many attempts to sideline strong leaders and movements. If the Congress under Nehru had indeed tried to coerce the RSS into such a commitment, it simply reveals the party’s political insecurity. Indeed, nothing except Nehru’s insecurity justifies the ban and attempts to muzzle the RSS.

4. Nehru’s insecurity was finally put to rest in 1963 when he invited the RSS for the Republic Day parade after having convinced himself that the RSS was not his political rival. This insecurity persists to this day in the anti-Hindu establishment that continues to rule India.

And now, to examine Vidya’s other claim that the non-Congress Governments of 1977 and 1998 came to existence only because the RSS decided to keep away.

The non-Congress Government of 1977 owed to the Lok Sangarsha Samiti and the RSS backing it. Over 80,000 Swayamsevaks were jailed during Indira Gandhi’s dark regime of the Emergency. These Swayamsevaks along with others fought Mrs. Gandhi’s tyrannical regime from within the jail. Given this, it is misleading to say that the Janata Government came to power because the RSS was kept out.

It must also be remembered that the Jan Sangh members left the Janata Party because they were informed that they could not remain members of the Janata Party and the RSS simultaneously. And so, the leaders of the Jana Sangh refused to give such a commitment and decided to give up political office and later, formed the BJP. To assume that the leadership of the Jana Sangh/BJP can be maneuvered so easily only shows the lack of the author’s understanding of the relationship of RSS and Jana Sangh/BJP.

Next, we need to examine Vidya’s other assertion that the 1948-49 illegal ban of the RSS was somehow valid.

Here, Vidya Subramhaniam imputes ignorance on the part of the readers. The 1945-50 period was indeed the most violent period of India in the previous century. In such a situation, it was the RSS that rose in defense of Hindus against Muslim hordes who launched a wanton, savage orgy of killing innocent Hindus. If the RSS was indeed guilty of the “violence” Vidya claims it indulged in, why doesn’t she narrate the horrors perpetrated by the goons of the Muslim League in Calcutta and elsewhere? It must be noted that the so-called violent actions of the RSS during that period were purely acts of self-defence.


And finally, based on such half-truths and selective reading of history, Vidya concludes that the RSS has reneged on its promise to Patel to keep away from politics.


Indeed, Vidya Subrahmaniam’s piece is again the reflection of the same insecurity that plagued Nehru regarding the RSS. As we have seen, there is simply no locus-standi to demand that RSS should keep off politics. Further, it is a lie that RSS has turned political; its activities remain socio-cultural and if anything, in several cases, these activities have been directly affected by Congress politics to a damaging extent.

It is therefore crystal clear that the Hindu article is based on a series of half-truths and selective quoting to show the RSS in a negative light, and is therefore False.

Note: This Fact Meter is an edited version sent to IndiaFacts by reader Ayush Nadimpalli.

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    June 10, 2016

    Patriot vM

    Whether Nehru was feeling politically insecure or not, that does not matter. Promise is a promise. And that promise is included in the constitution of RSS. Nehru’s insecurity has nothing to do with the breaking of promise. That organisation cannot escape that promise. Secondly, claiming that RSS is not participating in the politics of the country is a blatant lie. It occupies the strategic positions in the government, of course, by making its members, office bearers and pracharaks resign before taking up such positions. This is nothing but following only the letter of the law evading the spirit. Such action does not behove well for a body which always claims moral high grounds.

    October 12, 2013

    Joseph Anton

    For a website that positions and styles itself as a fact-checker, this article borders on the hilarious!

    It pretends to rebut a claim – a contract between Patel and RSS, inscribed into article 4(b) of the RSS constitution – regarding non-involvement in politics, and then completely skirts that central issue. It brings in Nehru’s apparent insecurity and Gandhi’s fond vision, but nothing to refute that central claim the article is supposedly refuting! And finally, surprise, surprise, a pretentious fact-meter sputters out “False”.

    Hmm, I wonder if the mechanics of your fact-meter has something to do with political positions of the personalities it encounters?

    October 11, 2013


    I have for long been wanting to stop buying this ‘anti Hindu’ paper. In fact I even sent a mail to them sometime ago asking them to change the name of their paper to a more appropriate ‘secular name like The Muslim or The Christian. This lady and the foreigner Varadarajan write a lot of biased articles. Very soon I am also going to stop buying this newspaper.



    Hee sandip, all this is just nonsense. the only answer would be RSS is not part of active electoral politics. no candidate with b-form of RSS. Thats it. Opinion making, supporting candidates/party does not come under politics. All persons who vote is also comes under participation of politics. By the way, what was their problem, if RSS entered in politics? are they not indians? dont they have right to take part of democratic process ? Its just symptom of insecurity in the minds of these notorious intellectuals.

    October 10, 2013


    when i read that article by ms subramaniam, i said to myself, “enough is enough. no Hindu in my house from tomorrow”. reading your rebuttal, i’m convinced that i had taken the right decision. the paper may as well change its name to something else as soon as possible!

    October 10, 2013


    Great job. Thanks a lot for the details.

    October 10, 2013

    Dr Rajeev Vatsyayan

    Methai swallowing media is misleading with half truths to promote its cause and nothing more. Congress has distorted history suitable to them.

    October 10, 2013


    It is untrue to say that the RSS is an apolitical organization. It’s recent intrusions (though welcome) in BJP for the upcoming elections have clearly established that the relationship b/w the RSS and the BJP is not very different from the NAC and the Government at the centre today.

      October 11, 2013


      Dear gutham , NAC is unconstitutional body interfering into government. In the case of bjp n rss ..they r a part of a 1 family so in the family 1 can suggest or correct the others action..note the basic difference.

    October 10, 2013

    Udit Gupta

    Brilliantly analyzed Mr. Sandeep, it comes as no surprise that this newspaper ‘Hindu’ is another part of the paid media campaign which has plagued our country since emergency of 1975….