In Bid to Dominate Media Discourse, RSS Conclave to Discuss Bharatiya Ideals
In the Bithoor meeting it was communicated to the Awadh prant to start making preparations for a conclave- the first of its kind- of 250 columnists in Lucknow September last week.
File photo of RSS volunteers. (Reuters).
Bithoor in Kanpur holds pride of a place in the annals of the modern Indian history. The sleepy non-descript village on the banks of Ganga was the epicenter of the revolt against the East Indian Company in the North. Somewhere on the scattered ruins of what would once have been Baji Rao's fortress, his valiant general Tantiya Tope must have planned his offensive during the 1857 mutiny. Bithoor, was the key strategic position and link between mutineers led by Begum Hazrat Mehal in Lucknow and Rani Laxmi Bai's forces in Jhansi.
Co-incidentally or otherwise, as Bharatiya Janata Party prepares a high stake political battle in Uttar Pradesh, the entire top brass of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh met for three days on the campus of an engineering college near Bithoor in July. It was here that the Sangh gave final shape to the next big ideological battle it prepares to fight in the media space.
A derivative of the vociferously contested nationalism and intolerance discourse which continues to intermittently rage since BJP's ascension to power two years back, RSS is now attempting to re-draw the battle lines by triggering a parallel debate on the Idea of Bharat or India.
The pre-natal exercise and preparations have been going on for a while now. In the Bithoor meeting it was communicated to the Awadh prant to start making preparations for a conclave- the first of its kind- of 250 columnists in Lucknow September last week.
Those invited for the event will debate and discuss the idea of India broad theme: 'Bharat ki bhartiya avdharana banaam abhartiya advdhrana' (Bhartiya versus non-bhartiya idea of India), is the theme around which these opinion makers will discuss the Idea of India.
Despite having a sympathetic BJP in power at the center there has been a reluctant admission within the sangh of not having enough fire-power to take on the alternative opinion. That RSS was not able to put forth its point of view during the JNU controversy and intolerance debate has worried BJP ideological mentors. The recent developments in Kashmir and its media coverage will also come up for discussion in the conclave.
The seminar is being seen as a part of the larger RSS strategy to dominate the media discourse- both in legacy and new media. In the first leg of this campaign, Hindi columnists and writers from 35 prants will participate in the event being organized by the in the last week of September by the Prachar Vibhaag or the Communication Department of the RSS headed by Dr Manmohan Vaidya, Joint General Secretary Dr Krishna Gopal.
RSS is planning to hold a similar convention of English columnists and bloggers somewhere down south during winters.
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