Karnataka: Book on RSS by Dalit writer stirs controversy

Bengaluru: A book on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) by prominent Dalit writer and activist Devanur Mahadeva in Karnataka has stirred controversy.

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Right-wingers are calling it propaganda against the RSS. The sale of the book titled “RSS Aala, Agala” (RSS, the Depth and Breadth) has created a record in the state.

Opposition leader Siddaramaiah on Thursday came in support of Mahadeva, saying “what’s wrong in what he is saying about RSS?”

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Siddaramaiah further stated that Devanur had written the book with proper documents and gathering of evidence. “RSS will get angry if anyone dares to tell the truth. They don’t like the truth. That’s how they might lodge a complaint against Devanur Mahadeva.” This is an act of obstructing a fundamental right of freedom of expression, he added.

Devanur Mahadeva is recognized as an iconic Dalit writer and activist who always takes an anti-establishment stand. There are talks about banning this book and lodging a case against the author.

However, the timing of the 72-paged book is being questioned by the right-wingers and supporters of the BJP. They allege that the book was written with a political vested interest keeping the upcoming Assembly elections of 2023 in mind.

The book has a separate lesson on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and dubs him as “utsav murthy” (parading deity) and further says the real control lies with the Nagpur RSS headquarters.

In the book, the author called the majority of RSS members ‘Manuvaadis’ and also said they want to end the Constitution of India. He also stated that “Bhagavad Gita is an instrument of slavery”.

The book has six publishers who printed 9,000 copies. The author has not claimed propriety over his work. Gauri Media Trust, named after the slain journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh is also one of the publishers. All copies are sold out and publishers are publishing the book on a large-scale. The book is also set for multiple translations.

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