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RSS: A View to the Inside Hardcover – 10 Aug 2018
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About the Author
WALTER ANDERSEN is professor of South Asia Studies, School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University. Prior to joining the SAIS, he served as chief of the US State Department's South Asia Division in the Office of Analysis for the Near East and South Asia.
SHRIDHAR D. DAMLE is a freelance journalist and scholar of Indian politics based in the US.
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However, there are a few significant lapses in the writer’s approach to the subject. Most of the material is gleaned from interviews with the RSS membership and/or sources provided by them. This gives the book a one sided picture, which for the most part, is complimentary in its take. For example, the book is replete with progressive and inclusive ideas that make it seem like an organization that has been able to keep pace with the changing needs and demographics of modern India. Those promises and pronouncements also made its political affiliate BJP come to power in 2014. Now as I write this review, a lot of those promises have been forgotten and the core ideology has reverted to a majoritarian view of ‘hindutva’, much to the disillusionment and frustration of many parts of Indian society. Another major lapse in the book is omission of its financial structure, sources of funding, cost of running this massive outfit etc.
I am sure the author, should he choose to update this excellent book at some point in time, would include insights into the inherent tensions that exist within RSS that pull it in two opposite directions of ideology, economics and philosophy.
On balance, 3 stars.
and has 120-pages of notes which enable the reader to make further studies.
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