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The RSS dream of Akhand Bharat

by | Apr 17, 2022 | India

In geographical terms, Bhagwat's Akhand Bharat concept can be considered impractical. But the idea does seem to have an emotional and political appeal for BJP constituents and followers.
"Bharat Mata Temple" by bodhithaj is marked with CC BY-NC 2.0.

New Delhi: In re-igniting the “Akhand Bharat” dream, is RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat setting the agenda for the BJP’s 2024 Lok Sabha campaign? About Bhagwat’s statement on the subject – at a meeting at Haridwar on Thursday – two aspects are significant. First, it is for the first time that the RSS has set a timeline (of 15 years) to realise the idea. Second, there is even a veiled call to violence in Bhagwat’s comments. “Those obstructing the goal would be dealt with. While India’s philosophy is that of non-violence, it is also necessary to carry the stick, as the world understands the language of power”, he said. 

In geographical terms, the RSS version of a Hindu Akhand Bharat is difficult to achieve. Rather a difficult ask to integrate Muslim dominated countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan or Iran as part of the Indian Union – or to enable the “ghar wapsi” (Reconversion) of citizens of these countries into the Hindu fold. Also unlikely that nuclear-powered China will allow India to extract Tibet out of it. 

Socialist ideologue Ram Manohar Lohia had also advocated the Akhand Bharat concept by talking about a confederation of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. But, unlike the RSS thinkers, Lohia’s concept did not have a religious element to it. RSS thoughts on the subject are at a big variance from those of Lohia. As brought out in writings of RSS ideologues including Guru Golwalkar, people residing in Afghanistan or Iran were originally Hindus, who should be made to do the “ghar wapsi” at some stage in the future. 

In geographical terms, Bhagwat’s Akhand Bharat concept can be considered impractical. But the idea does seem to have an emotional and political appeal for BJP constituents and followers. For the BJP to win the upcoming Gujarat and other state elections – as also the 2024 Lok Sabha- it is necessary that the saffron brigade keeps volunteers and cadres engaged and fired up by offering them one big idea after another. Particularly since the Union Government’s record on development has been poor. 

The Akhand Bharat concept, if pursued aggressively by the ruling dispensation, could not only damage India’s international relations with several countries, but is also likely to cause civil and political strife within the country. Only recently, Opposition leaders – particularly those from the Southern States – had vehemently objected to Home Minister Amit Shah’s suggestion that Hindi and not English be used as the link language. 

Srinanda Jha
Srinand Jha
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Journalist by accident, rail, travel and political buff by choice - dissenter by compulsion. Interested in policy and governance.