• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Lost Years of the RSS is a historical analysis of the events that have shaped the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in its 85 years of existence. Written from an insider's perspective, this in-depth work critically analyzes the major turning points in the history of RSS from the viewpoint of both a follower and an opponent, while digging deep into its socio-political history.

Beginning with the political ethnography of the RSS, the book charts the organization's growth over time—from the Partition, the first ban, the Golwalkar and Deoras periods, the demolition of Babri Masjid, to the present, when the original principles of the Sangh have been forgotten, leading to the current decadence within the organization.

The author concludes with suggestions for a way forward for the RSS, wherein the lessons learned from the past can be put to use and the original values can be reinstated. At the heart of the book is the author's implicit desire to contradict the current media representations of the Sangh and portray the RSS as what it was actually meant to be.

Catapulting the Hindu to the Centre Stage
Catapulting the hindu to the centre stage

In 1985, Deoras was asked to speak to the Nagpur swayamsevaks on the occasion of the RSS completing 60 years. Blunt and to the point, he began by saying, ‘We have done thousands of works of social significance. And still RSS has no effect on the society as a whole. We have to shake our complacency and find an answer’ (conversations with D.B. Ghumare, senior journalist, June 2007).

Deoras was aware, more clearly than anybody else, that each project undertaken by the RSS tended to think only of itself, and failed to see itself as a part of a larger whole or a chain, or a joint effort towards national reconstruction. The evidence ...

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