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Opinion

RSS rolls out Chanakya Shakha, an exclusive club of Swayamsewaks loaned out to BJP

Chanakya Shaka: Why we need one if we don’t have one already.

There is a news item floating around about how the RSS has formed a group of people who will support BJP ministers called the Chanakya Shaka. These people are selected from the vast Sangh cadres, presumably for their exceptional abilities, and are meant to act as secretaries, assistants, advisors etc. for BJP ministers.

On reading about this, three main points come to mind. The first is that having a group of talented individuals, who are usually experts in the required field, is not really news in the BJP. The BJP has long had a tradition of forming ‘think-tanks”™ to support each of their ministries. These groups of experts work behind the scenes, often cut across parties and (surprisingly for Indian politics) are usually selected almost entirely on merit. This is how BJP governments get so many things right in their policy decisions.

This brings us to the second point, which is that since the party has a large number of genuine intellectuals, who have usually excelled in their pre-political careers before joining politics (as well as some very successful politicians who have risen entirely due to their own abilities), capable people are encouraged without the usual insecurities, ego hassles and fear that one often sees with other parties. More importantly, this self-confidence exuded by the ruling party clashes badly with the subservient, sycophantic, colonial-clerk mentality of those educated in the best “convent school” traditions who usually haven’t done a jot of honest work in their lives. Since most of such people find it difficult to shake off their eternal awe of the West, they are always hesitant to say or do anything that doesn’t have the blessing of UK, US et.al. and are usually completely clueless about ground realities since they have been brought up to consider themselves separate from ‘villagers”™, ‘locals”™ etc. This is clearly a big problem when it comes to researching and deciding on Indian policies as India’s best interests usually take a backseat to hopes of adulations from the West. Worse, as we have seen with the Lutyens fiasco, once this group is wedged in anywhere, they only hire others from their ‘set”™, thereby ensuring a steady stream of colonially-biased slaves (who are ironically reluctant to work).

And the last point is just this. All of us, who have ever worked on a project of any sort, know that to work as a team, one needs self-confident people with similar sensibilities and a willingness to listen to the team leader. A team cannot succeed if each individual member believes their loyalties lie with their school headmistress or someone sitting in Norway or Zaire. So a cadre of people who will actually sincerely research what you want researched, think for themselves and think of themselves as Indians, is definitely required for the government to function well. It is great that the forward thinking RSS, who were training women to be self-reliant leaders in the 50s while the West still believed ironing clothes was the closest women could get to a machine, is putting a team together and getting the job done, as always. Here’s to the Chanakya Shaka and may their tribe increase!


–Tilottama

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