New Delhi: An annual address to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) by the chief of the organisation, was telecast live by national broadcaster Doordarshan this morning for the first time, provoking strong reactions from political opponents and some commentators.
RSS is a Hindu nationalist group, which is the ideological parent of the ruling BJP. The annual Vijaya Dashami or Dussehra speech by its chief articulates the organization’s vision and agenda for its 4.5 million volunteers, who played a pivotal role in the electoral victory of Narendra Modi in May.
“DD is run by public money. So how is government using it to broadcast RSS Chief’s speech? Very unfortunate,” said Rashid Alvi of the Congress. Historian and writer Ramchandra Guha said on Twitter, “Heads of religious organizations: Hindu, Muslim, Christian, must not be patronized by state TV. They are free to run their private channels.”
Congress leader Salman Khurshid said that the decision was unacceptable, adding that the Congress refused to accept the RSS as ‘above board’ in the national discourse of India.
“What they (the RSS) want and what they believe in is not in tune with the values of this country”, he said in comments to the media.
The CPI-M also said it was an instance of the “public broadcaster being misused by the Modi government”.
In his speech, the RSS cheif lauded Narendra Modi government for its initiatives, which have led to positive signs’ on several fronts in less than six months of its tenure, while expressing the hope that the momentum is maintained in a determined and well organised’ manner.
In the usual right-wing rhetoric, he talked about a `serious surge in jihadi activities’ in southern parts especially Tamil Nadu and Kerala going on to blame the state government for not making effective policy interventions to curb them. However, he was silent on the violence perpetrated by individuals and organisations ideologically affiliated to his own organisation.
Doordarshan’s decision has sparked a massive reaction on Twitter with those for and against it clashing on the social network.
Achche din are here. Mohan Bhagwats speech will be relayed live on doordarshan. Yes, a day after Gandhi jayanti !
— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) October 3, 2014
Will Doordarshan also air speeches by the Chief of the Golden Temple, VC of Darul Uloom or the Archbishop of Sacred Heart Cathedral?
— seemi pasha (@seemi_pasha) October 3, 2014
Doordarshan is a news organization just like any other. Mohan Bhagwat’s address an important news event and DD ought to cover it. 2/3
— Akhilesh Mishra (@amishra77) October 3, 2014
Doordarshan and All India Radio are being talked about in modern era due to Modi. Thus proved, he is regressive.
— Rahul Roushan (@rahulroushan) October 3, 2014
lol. Mohan Bhagat gives speech on Gandhi Jayanti on Doordarshan? And then what? Sticks tongue out in the direction of Rajghat?
— Vidyut (@Vidyut) October 3, 2014