The Shobha Yatras of the RSS have become stronger than before. This trap known as the Shobha Yatra is something that many of us consider to be innocent. But it is part of a conspiracy which the Hindutva think centres hatched long back, to wean children away from their innocence, and to attract them to an utterly detestable movement ideologically and personally. The Radha and Krishna disguises are the first step towards the RSS, an organisation which has its tentacles across the country. The children who dress up as Radha and Krishna in Shobha Yatras get hatred-filled instructions along with praises of greatness of the nation and its “akhandata” (indivisibility) and lessons that all non-Hindus are enemies. Teachings that say that every Indian’s first duty is to protect the nation, which is “both father and mother of all of us” end up being venomous outbursts against people belonging to other communities, or against people in neighbouring countries.
Children who learn such “lessons” are the ones who often join RSS shakhas and other Sangh Parivar outfits. If they are boys, they ought to get trained as fighters who would protect the nation, and if they are girls, they ought to live to bear heroic sons for the nation – such are the absurd ideas that these children are taught. History tells us that the situation in Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Francoist Spain were very much similar to this.
Let me retell a story from 2009.
“I want to join the Army and fight against Pakistan” – these are the words of 15-year old Dangapayya.
When asked what he would do if he couldn’t join the Army, the boy replied, “Then I would join the Bajrang Dal to protect the nation”.
“Who would you defend the country from?’
“From terrorists, anti-nationals, and those who encourage Western culture”, said the boy.
This young boy from Meghalaya has been studying in a school run by the RSS in Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka, from age 5. Every year, many children from the North-Eastern states pass out of this school.
Within the space of 10 to 12 years of schooling, these children get trained physically and in Sangh ideology, and learn to hate everything beyond the pale of their knowledge. Children thus trained would become the foot-soldiers for the Gujarat pogroms and Babri Masjid demolitions of tomorrow. They would obey their leaders without questions, and kill off all dissenting voices.
The RSS always envisioned the creation of such a generation. Their intellectual centres have been planning this for years. They have been adroitly using newspapers, visual media and new technology for this purpose. ‘Balagokulam’ (the RSS outfit for children) is nothing but the RSS’s recruiting agency. The Shobha Yatra is the recruitment rally organised by that agency.
Everywhere in the world, fascists had given utmost “importance” to children in this sense. This particular emphasis placed by fascists on training children was based on the understanding that children can be moulded into an instrument to serve the purposes of fascism; instruments which can be used to attain far-right political objectives such as the creation of a “racially pure” nation. Fascist leaders get hold of children at a very young age to begin activities to mould them. The Hitler Youth of Nazi Germany and similar organisations in Fascist Italy are examples for this. Such fascist organisations used to attract children and the youth in large numbers. Many benefits that were denied to others were given to youth who joined such state-sponsored organisations. They had many programmes for entertainment. They were told that they were the only protectors of their nation.
Fascist organisations were careful to choose boys alone to be moulded into such roles. On the other hand, wherever fascist states existed, the girls were taught to bear sons for the protection of the nation. The fascist youth were given powers almost above those wielded by parents, churches and schools. Through such interventions, fascist movements were able to create a league of youth who considered everybody else who disagreed with them as enemies, who rejected all other intellectual discourses without hesitation, who understood glorifying the nation as the sole aim in life, and who were ready to lay down their lives for their leader. These youth were led by the arrogance in having learnt the fascist lesson that the future of the nation lay in themselves.
Adolf Hitler had founded Hitler Youth to turn children and youth into weapons that can be used to create a pure Nazi Germany. There is hardly any other youth organisation which has attracted so much global attention. Nazi Youth played an important role in helping to bring the educational institutions, workplaces and entertainment centres of Germany in the grip of the Nazis. At its peak, almost 95 percent of the youth in Germany were part of Nazi Youth. The situation was such that young people who weren’t part of the Hitler Youth were unable to access many facilities in the country, including education.
“These boys and girls enter our organisations [at] ten years of age, and often for the first time get a little fresh air; after four years of the Young Folk they go on to the Hitler Youth, where we have them for another four years . . . And even if they are still not complete National Socialists, they go to Labour Service and are smoothed out there for another six, seven months . . . And whatever class consciousness or social status might still be left . . . the Wehrmacht [German armed forces] will take care of that.” – these were Adolf Hitler’s words, in 1938, about the Hitler Youth. This is a statement which makes clear the Nazi stance regarding what the youth should do, and what they ought to be trained for. Fascist states everywhere have followed the same path.
From Balagokulam and Bharatiya Vidya Niketan to Tapasya and Bharatiya Vichara Kendran (in Kerala), there are numerous fascist outfits which influence a person in all stages of his/her life. It is a conglomeration of all these organisations that we denote by the term ‘Sangh Parivar’. When our beloved children become part of Shobha Yatras by getting dressed up as Radha and Krishna – apparently innocently so – and then reach the Balagokulam, it becomes, for them, the entry door to a large fascist movement, just like the Hitler Youth. Once that doorstep is crossed, Sangh outfits are waiting with death-traps – set up with enticements – as and when the child gets older and his/her tastes change. This is a reality we should not miss.
We must be careful to not let our children through that doorstep. What would be India’s future, once our children fall into a group which cannot tolerate differing voices, which doesn’t hesitate to kill anybody who stands in the way, which doesn’t give the slightest value to democracy, and which erases the very meaning of the word ‘human’?
It would be extremely sad if our children turn into puppets in somebody’s hands, into the owners of the guns which silenced Gandhi, Kalburgi, Pansare, Dabholkar and now, Gauri Lankesh, into those wielding knives that chop off the tongues that dare to speak things that they don’t like.
Let that not be their fate.
Let our children read books at home, or play with other kids in the neighbourhood; let them even quarrel a bit with each other, and get back to love and companionship after that.
Let us not push them into the Blue Whale game that is the Balagokulam.