Days ahead of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) and the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors’ Summit (VGGIS) where Gujarat’s capital is expected to host over 5,000 visitors a day, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) would showcase its strength at a three-day karyakarta shibir to be held in memory of and named after Laxmanrao Inamdar or “Vakil Saheb”, who is also Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mentor.
Barely 10 kms away from where the corporate and technocrat Gujarat will surface before the Indian diaspora at the PBD on January 7-9, followed by the heads of states and world CEOs at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar during the VGGIS on Jan 11-13, will unfold Bharat – an ancient civilization recreated by the RSS over 100 acres at Naroda’s Dastaan farm, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. The event is expected to see a blurring of lines between the politics and ideology, where the RSS will chart its course for the future – one of the issues being buttressing the Hindutva agenda.
This national meet from January 2-4, is the second on this scale in Gujarat after 2000 when the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government was at the Centre. Coinciding with the inauguration of the VGGIS on January 11, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad is organising a massive Sant Sammelan in Shahibaug in Ahmedabad. Both these events come in the backdrop of the furore over ‘ghar wapsi’.
Apart from the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, who is expected to camp here for all three days, the shibir and the sammelan are expected to see convergence of over 30,000 people from the Sangh Parivar in Gujarat, considered the saffron wing’s laboratory. Sources say, Ahead of Vibrant Summit, RSS plans mega show in Hindutva lab some of the guests attending the PBD, might also attend the RSS shibir, though it is not clear how many NRIs have been sent invites for the event.
Sources also confirmed that Modi had already been sent an invitation, though there is no confirmation of him attending the event. Modi is to spend 3-4 days in Gujarat staggered over the PBD and VGGIS.
Senior RSS members said that the agenda behind this camp is to bring together all the swayamsevaks who worked over the past two years at various levels right from city to rural areas, to increase their presence in rural areas. They say that the RSS penetration in rural areas not only increased after 2012, but the number of shakhas also grew significantly in Gujarat, which particularly helped the BJP during general elections earlier this year.
The Sangh Parivar, which has been in the news since Modi assumed power at the Centre, first over the ‘love jihad’ controversy, followed by ghar wapsi, One of the thrusts of its agenda will be to prevent conversion and bring tribals and Muslims back into the Hindu fold. Sources said that the saffron outfits, including VHP, are detailing plans to introduce rewards for Hindu women who have more than five children in rural areas. “Such mothers will given economic assistance and one of their children over three years of age, will be adopted by the members,” said a source pleading anonymity. Discussions are being held to see this scheme launch by March 2015. At Dastaan farm, which is attached to the unique vintage car museum in Naroda, displaying the collection of the late Pranlal Bhogilal, 100 acres of ground has been evened and bamboos have been grouted for the foundation of 12 nagaras (ancient term for cities) and a Kendriya nagar (main city) to host the participants, each of which has been named after RSS stalwarts like Gautambhai Bhatt, Bachubhai Bhagat, Anant Rao Kale among others. These nagaras will have 1,000 toilets, 1,500 bathrooms and five massive kitchens to board and lodge more than 25,000 men and children, the core members of Gujarat’s RSS. No women are expected to camp here, although the event has a special session for women on the itinerary. Apart from the RSS top brass, an invitation has also been sent to Chief Minister Anandiben Patel. Patel has no RSS roots though. “There will be two other events at the camp, including a women’s conference and a meeting of young professors who are teaching in different universities and colleges across the state,” said Haresh Thakkar, who has the responsibility of welcoming guests at the camp. RSS spokesperson Pradip Jain said that the camp is open for all the swayamsevaks of Gujarat and its central leadership, BJP, ABVP among others. Bhagwat, who was on a three-day tour of Gujarat in July this year, had met the vice-chancellors of all the universities. Around that time, the Gujarat government had published and mandated the reading of RSS ideologue Dinanath Batra’s books in government schools. An exhibition named after former VHP leader and educationist Keka Shastri to showcase RSS’s achievements is also a part of the event.