Hindutva versus Moditva

Iska kya karen (What shall we do about him)? This punchline of a popular advertisement best describes the mood in the RSS vis-a-vis Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. The firebrand leader all but challenged the other BJP leaders to a leadership tussle at the party's recently concluded national council meeting, but the relationship between him and the parivar is far from cordial. He has positioned himself as a leader set for a larger role on the national stage.

There are many reasons why Modi, a mascot of all that is Hindutva-wadi, is not exactly a hero for the organisation that espouses the Hindu cause. First, the RSS believes that no individual is larger than the organisation. Modi, in his own way, challenged this diktat. On the other hand, the RSS has always failed to understand that a popular political force needs a face, unlike the parivar, which largely operates behind-the-scenes and prefers to be faceless.

In the RSS's Hindu scheme of things, the vyakti (individual) is less important than the samashti (society). This philosophy may work for it, but when it comes to politics manifestation, the individual gets a larger share of the limelight compared to his organisation. The system works if both sides respect each other's domain. The classic example of this is former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Though he was more popular than the body he represented, he never challenged the parent body. At times political compulsions might have forced him to pay no heed to the parivar, but at no point did he think of antagonising it. For, he knew that although an individual may become more popular, he needs organisational strength to deliver the desired results. Unlike Modi, Vajpayee did not let political success and his larger-than-life image go to his head.

Modi at least in his initial days made this mistake. He disregarded the fact that irrespective of his popularity, he would need the support of an organisation, first to stay afloat and later to fight the circumstances. It was then that fissures began to develop with the RSS, and he believed that he had reached a stage where the organisation needed him more than he needed it. The realisation that this was far from true came with the never-ending court cases.

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