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Last Updated : Oct 12, 2019 02:15 PM IST | Source:

Opinion | Neither capitalism nor socialism, RSS shows the ‘Third Way’ for economy

The organisation, which is now watched keenly, is going to pursue the cause of ‘Bharatiya’ thought even more vigorously than before

File image
File image

Arun Anand

In its relentless pursuit to have a Hindu Rashtra (nation), the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) continues to reject -- more vehemently than ever -- the western conceptual frameworks. The organisation, which is now watched keenly, not only in Bharat but across the world, for being the ideological mentor of the party and people in power at the Centre and around two-thirds of Indian states, is going to pursue the cause of ‘Bharatiya’ thought even more vigorously than before.

This was the essence of RSS Sarsanghchalak (chief) Mohan Bhagwat’s annual address at Nagpur on the occasion of Vijaydashami.


Bhagwat’s address holds significance as Vijaydashami is the founder’s day of the RSS, the largest voluntary organisation in the world that empowers millions of Bharatiyas at home and across the world to rebuild the society based on the Bharatiya thought process.

In some of the key areas, Bhagwat indicated that the RSS is not looking for any cosmetic or even structural changes in key areas, but what it wants is fundamental alteration of the conceptual framework itself.

Take, for example, the case of the economy. While he did say clearly that the RSS is satisfied with the way the government is handling recession, he pointed out clearly that it is time to think about philosophy of ‘Swadeshi’.

Bhagwat significantly invoked one of the tallest ideologues and intellectual giant Dattopant Thengadi while talking about the way forward in the economic sphere. Bhagwat said Thengadi considered Swadeshi as an expression of patriotism in day-to-day life. Acharya Vinoba Bhave described it as self-reliance (Swaavalamban) and non-violence (Ahimsa).

Bhagwat clearly pushed for a ‘Bharatiya Economic Thought’ over the western economic theory principles as he said in no uncertain terms: “The prevailing world economic thought is unable to answer many questions. It leaves several gaps. Many economists across the globe have already realised these facts. In this situation, we have to take steps to formulate our own economic vision, policy and system that instil in us the capacity to create more and more employment with least consumption of energy that is beneficial for the environment, make us self-reliant in every aspect, and create and expand trade relations with the world on the basis of our strength and terms."

Bhagwat did not mention it explicitly, but what he was talking about is known as ‘Third Way’. This is an economic model propounded by Thengadi who had prophesised in 1970 itself that the USSR and Communism across the globe will collapse by 1990. He had also predicted that the capitalist system of economy would also result in a crippling world economy.

What we have witnessed during the past two decades is an uncertain world economy which has been in recession most of the time. A number of countries with pure market-based economies like Greek have collapsed. The divide between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ has grown in the world and the current model of development is becoming increasingly unsustainable.

Thengadi had suggested that the only viable economic model can be produced based on the Bharatiya thought process which is not driven by only an urge to greater materialistic wealth. Calling it Third Way, this oriental/Bharatiya model of development has been discussed threadbare by Thengadi in his book ‘Third Way’, in addition to several articles he published on this.

It is clear from Bhagwat’s speech that the RSS wants every one concerned to start looking at Third Way. Incidentally, Thengadi’s birth centenary celebrations are also beginning from November 10 this year and the RSS is likely to celebrate it in a big way by initiating a national debate on Thengadi’s philosophy of Third Way.

Bhagwat’s focus on introducing Bharatiya thought process and replacing the western framework in every sphere of life became even more clear when he talked about ‘lynching’. While condemning any such incident of violence, he confidently pointed out that the concept of lynching and the word itself are alien to the Bharatiya culture. In the name of religion, people in other parts of the world are known to have indulged in stone pelting, but Bharat never had this culture.

Similarly, in education as well, he made it clear that what is required is a vision and action plan that is rooted in our national cultural values. He said, “We are lagging behind in thinking about this ‘Swa(Self)’ even decades after attaining Independence. The root cause behind this is the education system, which was contrived during the period of slavery to keep us slaves, and the same is being continued even after attaining freedom."

He added: "So, we have to give a shape to our educational framework also in tune with Bharatiya vision. Evidently, when we study about the countries which topped in the field of education in the world, we find that the reason of their academic excellence is the attention they have given to the Swa-centred education.”

The most important tenet of the Bharatiya thought process as spelt out by the RSS chief sums it up all when he said transforming the society cannot be left to the government apparatus. The society itself has to take the lead and responsibility to ensure victory of the good over the evil.

(The writer is CEO of Indraprastha Vishwa Samvad Kendra and author of two books on the RSS. The views expressed are personal)

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First Published on Oct 12, 2019 01:43 pm
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