P J James
The RSS initiative to start Army Schools on the model of Indian Military Schools to train children to become officers in Indian armed forces with effect from April, 2020 has not received much attention in mainstream media. Run by Vidya Bharti, the education wing of RSS that manages more than 20000 schools in India, the new School will be called Rajju Bhaiya Sainik Vidya Mandir based on the CBSE Syllabus. Among other things, retired army officers will be in charge as teachers.
Of course, Moonje the mentor and political guru of Hedgewar, the founder of RSS, had started the Bhonsala Military School in Nasik in 1937, under the management of Central Hindu Military Education Society also established by him in 1935. Moonje who visited the Italian fascist dictator Mussolini in 1931 was much inspired not only by the latter, but also by the Central Military School, the Fascist Academy of Physical Education directly controlled by Mussolini. Moonje identified this as a model to be emulated in India for the ‘military regeneration of Hindus’ and ‘Indianisation’ of the army by eliminating the artificial distinction between martial and non-martial classes among the ‘Hindus’. He was also fascinated by the close integration between military and paramilitary, lumpen organisations like Black Shirts in Italy under Mussolini.
Coming back to India, all the various inputs that Moonje assimilated from Mussolini were adapted to the Indian conditions in establishing the Bhonsala Military School and for developing the RSS cadres. No doubt, the fanatical adulation and adoration that Hindutva leaders had towards Mussolini and Hitler were already well-documented. Meanwhile, it was during the Rao-led Congress regime that the Bhonsala School, considered as a ‘fringe’ element till then was granted affiliation in 1995 by the Indian Public Schools’ Conference, an association of heads of leading public schools of the country. However, it should also be noted that Bhonsala School’s alleged links with terrorist actions by Hindutva extremist groups including 2008 Malegaon blasts had come to the notice of Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad led by Hemant Karkare.
Coming to the new RSS initiative to begin Bhonsala model schools under Rajju Bhaiya Sainik Vidya Mandir, when the former holds ‘absolute’ power over the entire Indian State apparatus, the whole issue should be evaluated as a qualitative development in the direction of full-fledged fascism with Indian specificities. If the process is to continue unabated, then it is only a matter of time that the entire military will be saffronised as envisaged by the founders of Indian fascism. It is a revealing question that the so called opposition parties fighting Hindutva fascism are not properly grasping the gravity of this transformation aimed at open and naked saffronisation of Indian military.