The RSS-National Flag Conundrum | Is RSS Against The Tricolour?

Why has it become so impossible for a leading national organization to put up the tricolour. An explanation is awaited.
The RSS and its issues with the national flag | Opinion
The RSS and its issues with the national flag | Opinion
Soumyadeep Das

Taking cue from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call, citizens of India have put the national flag as display pictures on their social media accounts. Leading institutes, both government and private have also followed suit to highlight their patriotism with the country celebrating 75 years of independence.

PM Modi had earlier appealed to the citizens of the country to put up the tricolor on their social media handles as a mark of patriotism to make the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ celebrations special ahead of Independence Day.

While the political narrative surrounding the appeal has revolved from the ruling party pointing fingers at the opposition and vice-versa for not heeding to the PM’s appeal, one fundamental organization has outright rejected the idea.

With a history of not recognizing the Indian national flag, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has not taken notice of PM Modi’s call.

The RSS and its chief Mohan Bhagwat have refrained from switching their profile pictures across all social media handles. The reason behind it however, has still remained a mystery.

The RSS has preached an idea of Hindutva closely associated with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its pro-Hindu policies over the years.

While the BJP, in its tenure in reign, has introduced an ideology of hyper-nationalism, impregnated deep in the minds of the masses, it has also prosecuted many for being ‘anti-national’.

Taking an offensive stance against the opposition on several occasions, the only rhetoric put forward by the ruling party against all questions has been about highlighting how anti-national they have been. The BJP has been quick in point out the flaws of the opposition, spinning every mistake on their reduced or as highlighted by the ruling party, non-existent nationalism.

The question then arises that why has a fundamental organization behind the party, often confused as another arm of it, refrained from heeding the Prime Minister’s appeal. Noteworthy here is that PM Modi himself had been a member of the Sangh in his earlier years.

While, even the opposition has put of the picture of the first Prime Minister of the nation, Jawaharlal Nehru holding the flag on their social media handles, the RSS and its members have openly flouted it.

It is in the end a personal choice to switch your social media handle, but would it not set an example of open defiance, the job of opposition parties, being taken up by the organization that nurtured the roots of the ruling BJP in its infancy.

This is not new either with the RSS having a history of favouring its own flag over the national tricolor. It has only hoisted the tricolor at its headquarters on August 15, 1947, January 26, 1950 and for the last time in 2002.

An infamous case of 2001 comes to the fore when three men had been prosecuted for hoisting the Indian flag at the Sangh’s headquarters.

The RSS has in the past contended that since its formation, it had been against the Indian flag for some time. Since then, they did change their stance and have accepted the flag, however, have refrained from publically unfurling it.

The organisation has also cited that prior to 2002, private citizens were not allowed to hoist the national flag, as per the flag code. However, the flag code at least allowed every citizen to hoist the flag on days of national rejoicining including Independence Day, Republic Day, and the likes.

The fact that RSS chose not to unfurl the flag even on these days for so long, has to be questioned.

The media head of the RSS, Sunil Ambekar has mentioned that their support for the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav is unwavering and no politics on it will be entertained.

Is this then a cause of concern, considering the BJP, treading on the lines of a rigid RSS-preached Hindutva policy, is on a mission of total takeover.

Where is the country headed, where the national flag is ignored over an organizational flag and where impunity is only considered when its done by someone else.

Why has it become so impossible for a leading national organization to put up the tricolour. An explanation is awaited.

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