Pranab Mukherjee’s graceful challenge to RSS


There are few things that we noticed after the recent dialogue of the former president Pranab Mukherjee at RSS training camp.

First this first he did not directly address the Sangh people at all in the beginning. Secondly, he did not take the name of any leaders of RSS but he took the name of people from Congress. He did not even take the name of Sarvakar, BS Moonje or even another Mukherjee.

Mukherjee’s address to the Sangh was a masterclass in getting across his point with grace, dignity, and decorum without compromising his core ideology of tolerance, pluralism and steadfast loyalty to the Indian Constitution. And he did so by cleverly softening his hosts with some fulsome praise of Hedgewar, whom he called a great son of India, and then completely leaving the RSS out of the narrative.

It wasn’t surprising that Mukherjee spoke about the idea of India, nationalism, and patriotism, that is slightly at variance with the Sangh worldview. Mukherjee reminded his audience that India was a result of a confluence of cultures.

“India’s national identity emerged from a long-drawn process of confluence and co-existence. The concept of modern India was articulated from various Indian leaders and it was not bound by race or religion,” he said.

In the age of wall-to-wall coverage and tweets, the only image that would endure is that of a lone man in a white dhoti standing tall while hundreds around him in khaki trousers genuflected to the bhagwa at the RSS headquarters; the only words that would resonate would be that of Mukherjee talking passionately about an idea of India inspired by Nehru.

Seems like Mukherjee is out of Congress but Congress is not out of him.

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