The RSS, A Menace to India

BOOK REVIEW

The RSS, A Menace to India

BY A.G. Noorani

(A. G. Noorani is a lawyer, historian and author. He has practised as an advocate in the Supreme Court of India and in the Bombay High Court. He is one of the few remaining experts on the Constitution of India from his generation.)

India is battling for its very soul.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is the most powerful organisation in India today; complete with a private army of its own, unquestionably obeying its leader who functions on fascist lines on the Fuehrer principle. Two of its pracharaks (active preachers) have gone on to become prime ministers of India. In 1951 it set up a political front, the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, which merged into the Janata Party in 1977 only to walk out of it in 1980. In issue was its superior loyalty to its parent and mentor, the RSS; not the Janata Party. Within months of its defection, the Jana Sangh reemerged; not with the name under which it had functioned for nearly three decades, but as the Bharatiya Janata Party, deceptively to claim a respectable lineage.

The RSS is at war with India’s past. It belittles three of the greatest builders of the Indian State – Ashoka, the Buddhist; Akbar, the Muslim; and Nehru, a civilised Enlightened Hindu. It would wipe out centuries of achievement for which the world has acclaimed India and replace that with its own narrow, divisive ideology.

This book is a magisterial study of the RSS, from its formation in 1925 to the present day. With scrupulous and voluminous evidence, one of India’s leading constitutional experts and political analysts, A.G. Noorani, builds a watertight case to show how the RSS is much more than a threat to communal amity. It poses a wider challenge. It is a threat to democratic governance and, even worse, a menace to India. It threatens the very soul of India.

And yet, despite its reach and seemingly overwhelming political influence, the author shows that the RSS can be defeated. The soul of India can be rescued.

BILINGUAL BRAILLE LITERACY

A sound pedagogy is based on the premise that literacy – the ability to read, write and count – should start in the mother tongue of the child and second language literacy should be built on the skills acquired in the L1 or mother tongue. Teaching basic literacy in a foreign language when L1 literacy has not yet been mastered does not yield good results and can even be catastrophic. In Mauritius, thousands of children go through their primary schooling – 6-7 years – without acquiring the basic skills of literacy because initiation to literacy is done, not in the child’s mother tongue – L1 – but in 2 or even 3 foreign languages (English, French and Hindi or Telugu or Urdu or Marathi etc.). If so-called ‘normal’ children are unable to cope with the present policy, children who are visually impaired are doubly handicapped as braille literacy is to be mastered in two foreign languages – English and French.

A proper understanding of the phonology of Mauritian (Mauritian Creole) can help us devise Mauritian braille and teachers who look after visually impaired children must also have a sound knowledge of the syntax and lexis of the mother tongue of 90% of our children.

When the basics have been mastered in Mauritian, the knowledge acquired can be transferred to the acquisition of English which is also a creole language whose grammar (syntax) is quite close to our language. Hence genuine basic bilingual braille literacy can pave the way to a vibrant bilingual braille functional literacy. At a later stage French braille may be introduced.

Should LLTF be interested, I am prepared to mount a course on the phonology, syntax and lexis of Mauritian and English for those responsible for the teaching of braille and together we will devise Mauritian braille.

The training of teachers will have to be done in my office at my place as I have health problems and cannot travel.

Please note that I am offering this service free of charge as a token of my gratitude for the work being done by LLTF and as a kind of remembrance of the work done by my aunt Ms. Nadia Pyndiah.

Dev Virahsawmy
14.05.19