This is a personal confession that might shock some of you, those who have known me for my many years of progressive, pro-equality activism.
I spent a very precious fifteen years of my life with Hindu militant RSS, and also their now-famous political wing BJP and student organization ABVP. As you know, BJP is now the powerful ruling party in India, and they support Trump. I left RSS and BJP before I moved from India as an international student to America.
When I came out, I was a rising star: top RSS leaders in India personally knew me, and put me in charge of West Bengal state of ABVP. They also sent me to New Delhi to attend the first-ever conference of Janata Party, a conglomerate of anti-Indira Gandhi opposition. I was also deeply involved with the grassroots peoples’ movement led by Jay Prakash Narayan, a movement that successfully unseated mighty Indira Gandhi and her Congress Party for the first time in Indian history.
Fifteen precious years of my life — I spent with a militant, male chauvinist, anti-Muslim, anti-Christian, anti-socialism, anti-union, feudal Hindu supremacist organization that is strikingly similar in its social, economic and political doctrine with Christian or Islamic fanatic groups across the world. An organization that at one point eulogized Hitler and Nazis. An organization that masterminded — directly or indirectly — many Hindu-Muslim violence, and was once implicated in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.
I deeply mourn those lost fifteen years. In fact, it was more than fifteen years. I joined them when I was only a six-year-old boy, and quit them once and for all, when I was doing my M.Sc. in the University of Calcutta. My old Calcutta friends know how passionately I had worked for the Hindu militants.
God! I was thick and thin, with religious and race bigotry!
Slowly but surely, I realized that I must write about them. In 1998, my book called In the Belly of the Beast: Hindu Supremacist RSS and BJP of India — An Insider’s Story was published from Ajanta Books International Delhi. It was somewhat of an autobiography: I talked about my long, personal, and deep association with those groups. I talked about my hundreds of peers, leaders, and friends. I wrote about my countless activities.
In the book, I highlighted the similarities across the fanatic, fundamentalist, and supremacist groups from various parts of the world. I also showed the hypocrisy of RSS and its offshoot organizations such as BJP, ABVP and Viswa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council), when it comes to preaching Hinduism and and its peace, and practicing hate and violence.
The book also has my translation of an article written by my father Jitendra Nath Banerjee, who has been a lifelong activist with RSS. He is a highly respected man among their circles, for his uprightness, honesty, and personal sacrifice for his ideology.
I respect my father’s lifelong sacrifice for his cause. But I do not support the cause.
I will post excerpts from my book here slowly. Hope you have time to read.
Brooklyn, New York
Related blog I posted before on this subject. — A Candid Confession.
India’s prime minister Modi at RSS prayer.