The Clan: How the RSS spawned the VHP and Bajrang Dal

Published on: January 7, 2016
heroes. But the central thrust – though the VHP seldom describes it as such – is clearly the ‘conversion’ of tribals and Dalits to Hindutva-approved forms of worship. Raghunandan Prasad Sharma’s VHP: Aims, Activities and Achievements advises the spread of the ‘chief religious samskaras’ among ‘vanvasis, girijans and harijans’. Clearly these are meant to replace existing beliefs and practices among tribals and ensure a homogenised version of religion.

The Bajrang Dal (See looks after the training of young boys. It calls itself by different names in different parts of the country. In Bengal, for instance, it is known as the Vivekananda Vahini.

The above mentioned website describes the formation of the Bajrang Dal thus: "Vishva Hindu Parishad decided to start ‘Ram-Janaki’ rath yatra for awakening the society on October 1, 1984… Many elements refused to give protection to Rath and the participants. The Holy saints made a call to the Youths to protect ‘Rath’. Hundreds of youth gathered in Ayodhya. They performed their duty very well. Thus Bajrang Dal was formed with a temporary and localised objective of awakening youth of UP, and get their involvement in Ramjanmabhoomi movement... In 1986, the VHP decided to form Bajrang Dal in other states and very soon Bajrang Dal was formed in other states too, as its youth wing." (See Detailed Annexures, Volume III

It is clear from these assertions that whether it is the VHP, BD or the Durga Vahini, perceived wrongs against a supposedly homogenous Hindu society are played upon to whip up sentiments against India’s religious minorities, be they artisans from Aligarh or Moradabad, peaceful residents of Faizabad or businessmen, traders and agriculturists from Gujarat. Implicit in their agenda is aggression against fellow Indians.

The VHP was born in 1964, when the RSS chief, Shri Golwalkar, met a select group of sanyasis and heads of religious organisations in Mumbai with the aim of launching a new organisation to unite all Hindu religious sects under a single umbrella.

The Durga Vahini wing of the VHP works among young girls and women.

Centres of the BD are often located at Hanuman mandirs where they organise weekly satsangs (prayer meetings). The BD was largely instrumental in recruiting urban youths for the ‘kar seva’ at Ayodhya.

The distortion of Indian history, in a bid to project a ‘Hindu history’ of a people who for centuries were victims of Muslim marauders and Christian design, is at the heart of the mobilisation of these outfits. School textbooks and every other forum of public discourse are used for this purpose.

During the Ramjanmabhoomi movement between 1989-1992, Sadhvi Rithambara (an incendiary VHP protégé), frequently proclaimed an all-out war: ‘Khoon kharaba hota hai to ek bar hone do’ ("If there has to be bloodshed, let it happen once and for all"). The call for blood was sufficient to instigate cadres into violence against Muslims in Meerut, Maliana, Bhagalpur, Ahmedabad, Varanasi, Kanpur, Jaipur, Hubli, Ahmedabad, Surat, and Mumbai.

"Angry Hindu! Yes. Why not? Why are Hindus in the Dock?" An RSS booklet by that title celebrated manufactured rage as the saving grace for the community. A Hindu Jagaran Manch leaflet from Khurja, published during the same period, evoked the image of divine vengeance, seeking Muslim blood, elevating Hindutva’s blood-thirst to divine desire: "Ranchandi khali khappar liye gali gali vichar rahi hain" ("The goddess of war is roaming the streets thirsting for blood"). The open call for bloody revenge underpins the thinking of these organisations.

A distinct component of the VHP strategy to evolve an ‘all-Hindu reality’ is to mobilise Dalits to do their job so that caste Hindus can avoid getting blood on their own hands. Thus the Valmikis (Dalits) were deployed in communal conflicts in Nizamuddin (New Delhi) in 1983 and during the riots in Delhi’s walled city in 1987. A more fundamental motive seems to be the assimilation (‘Hinduisation’) of Dalits after their ‘trial by fire’ in Ram’s name. Dalits are invited to embrace the ideal of ‘Hindu unity’ even as discrimination against them and their exploitation remains a harsh reality. A Harijan was thus given the great privilege of laying the first foundation stone at the Ram temple site in Ayodhya in 1989.

The VHP’s promotion of the Valmiki group, in particular, is significant. It co-ordinates with the Valmiki temple committees for its festivals and VHP literature pays glowing tributes to Valmiki and Ravi Das as ‘Hindu’ religious leaders. The association between Valmiki and Ram is striking. It is also significant that in Delhi, Valmiki temples abound and constitute practically the only visible activity of the VHP among the low caste groups. The strategy is to recruit the traditionally neglected and exploited tribals and Valmikis to defend the high caste Hindu cause, by glorifying them even while showing little concern for their socio-economic status.

The VHP and the BD have played an important role in Gujarat is recent years. Since the BJP came back to power in 1998, these outfits have been breaking the law with impunity, certain as they are of political patronage from both the state and the centre. The Tribunal was presented with abundant examples of FIRs lodged against the cadre of these outfits in the past four years. The police, however, have launched no investigations. (See chapter on Build-Up, Volume II)

(Excerpted from the Concerned Citizens Tribunal - Gujarat 2002, Crime Againsy Humanity, Volume II; an inquiry into the carnage in Gujarat; parts of the chapter titled Preparation for Violence; Section :  Role of the BJP and Allied Organisations – RSS/VHP/BD; The VHP and Bajrang Dal: Their Evolution and Role ;; The Tribunal had the following members :Justice VR Krishna Iyer,Justice B Sawant,Justice Hosbet Suresh, KG Kannabiran, Aruna Roy, KS Subramanian, Ghanshyam Shah,Tanika Sarkar)