I Could Not Be Hindu: The Story of a Dalit in the RSS by Bhanwar Meghwanshi, an autobiographical note of his political genesis, where he shares his experiences with the RSS and the reasons he quit, is the narrative of an agonized author. Unlike other autobiographies which focus on different aspects of life, this book premises Meghwanshi’s metamorphosis of political career and varied discourses of political engagement. Similar to Gandhi’s experiments with truth, where he places modernization and westernization as the culprit of the degeneration of Indian civilization, Meghwanshi epicentres around the hypocrisy and knouts of Brahmanism as the denominators of mass hypnotism, leading to rivalry, riots and toxic patriotism. The book is organized into several minor chapters or episodes of life, which chronologically depict the route of understanding politics, realization of religio-politics and finally, renunciation of Hindu-politics. Meghwanshi enlightens his readers about the situation of the Dalits in the RSS and across the country. The RSS welcomes youth of different backgrounds and ensures some equality like wearing the same uniform or designating each other with the suffix ‘Ji’ and Bhai-Sahab after the first name. However, this equality is cosmetic. A brainchild of Hedgewar, the RSS aims at creating a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ (p. 52) where Muslims, OBC, SC and ST are used as tropes to fight against each other in the guise of defusing Brahmanism, the moot agenda being protecting social hierarchies, i.e., uplifting the ethos of the already existing caste system.
What it Means to be Untouchable in the RSS
I COULD NOT BE HINDU: THE STORY OF A DALIT IN THE RSS by Bhanwar Meghwanshi Navayana Publishing, 2020, 240 pp., ₹ 399.00
March 2023, volume 47, No 3