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NCCM AND WSO Report Traces permeation of RSS ideology in Canada


National Council for Canadian Muslims (NCCM) and World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) issues a joint statement on the rising threat to all Canadians from Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Network in Canada. The sixty-page report issued by NCCM and WSO highlights the RSS background, their aims, and objectives towards establishing a “Hindutva” society across the globe, how it has penetrated Canadian society, and how it threatens to tear apart the multicultural fabric of Canada. 

“The RSS, or Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, is one of the most influential non-government groups in the world.

It’s also the mother organization behind the party currently governing India: the Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP.

Yet outside of India, few know about the RSS, its agenda, and its ideas.

Formed in the early 20th century, the RSS is a right-wing paramilitary organization that believes India should be run by and for its Hindu majority first and foremost. In such a vision, religious minorities in India, from Muslims, to Sikhs, to Christians, to Dalits, become second-class citizens.

The RSS is the centre of a network of groups that helps push these ideas. Some of these groups have engaged in organized violence against Muslim and other minority communities across India. The threat they pose is ongoing and by no means a thing of the past.

Yet the RSS has only grown in influence as the BJP dominates India’s politics. Through organizations that engage in humanitarian, community, education, and political work, the RSS has been spreading its ideologies across the world, including into Canada.

What does this mean for democracy, pluralism, and for tolerance in our country? Or the world?

The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) and the World Sikh Organization (WSO) tackle this question in a report on the RSS network in Canada. The report traces RSS-affiliated groups in Canada and the permeation of RSS ideology in our civil society.”

Initially, RSS main targets were Muslims. However, in recent years, and with BJP in power in India, its goal is Hindu Supremacy over all other races. In india, Muslims are not their only target anymore. Their targets include other minorities such as Sikhs, Dalits, and ultimately what they call “Semitic Races” Muslims, Christians and the Jews. 

RSS exclusionary vision is grounded in ideological vision of its three founding fathers, V.D. Savrkar, “If we Hindus in India grow stronger, in time these Moslems friends of the league will have to play their part of German-Jews.” 

Like Nazism, establishing the “Race Superiority” of Hindus is their main objective, as outlined by another founding father of the RSS, M.Z. Gowalkar, “To keep up the purity of the race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by purging the country of the Semitic races – the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the roots, to be assimilated to one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by.” 

Two of the three founding fathers’ perspective highlights the depth and the extent of the problem when their desire to establish Hindu Supremacy beyond India’s borders. 

The joint report states: “It is therefore vital that law and policy makers around the world who guard the stability of liberal, multicultural democracy, become aware of the RSS’s global machinations and networks, as well as how its overall apparatus extends into Canada while posing challenges to our commitment to tolerance, understanding, and peace.”

The report raises concerns about the different aspects (tactics) being employed to advance the RSS ideology in Canada. They are as follows: 

Humanitarian relief, social services and fundraising. RSS is a members of  network related organizations known as “Sangh Parivar” which focuses on “Sewa” or “Seva” – service to others. “These sewa-related organs help legitimize and perpetuate the RSS’s ideologies, while entrenching its wider presence under the guise of an ideologically neutral humanitarian network.” The report states. 

Education, Ideology, Shakhas, various RSS related “Sangh” are established in Canada and across the world. “Chief among this effort are educational chapters, or shakhas, that prepare both youth and adults through ideological training, ceremony, and religious instruction—all linked to the supremacist ideas of the RSS’s founders and ideologues.”

Global Political Influence, “Much of the RSS’s progressive drift from the margins of Indian and Hindu society towards the mainstream has to do with its main political organ, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s two successive federal election wins in 2014 and 2019, when the Hindu nationalist party captured majorities in Parliament. The BJP also projects its interests abroad through a network of lobbying organizations called the Overseas Friends of the BJP (OFBJP), among other strategies and tactics.”

Islamophobic, Anti-Sikh and Casteist rhetoric, “Sadly, yet predictably, the presence and entrenchment of the RSS and its affiliates in Canada has already resulted in a litany of Islamophobic, anti-Sikh, and casteist incidents that resemble the communal tensions being exploited and exacerbated by the RSS in India.” The report details out number of such incidents which represents sampling of such disturbing trend. 

The most blatant of all during the Covid 19 lockdown many cities across Canada permitted the Muslim prayers call over loudspeaker. 

A real estate agent in the GTA, Ravi Hooda, tweeted the Mayor of Brampton Ontario, “What’s next? Separate lane for camel and goat riders, Allowing slaughter of animals at homes in name of sacrifice, By law requiring all women to cover themselves from head to toe in tents to appease the piece fools for votes”(sic)¹

“Hooda, for instance, is associated with the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), 2 the international arm of the RSS.”

The report states, Hooda’s words and actions are consistent with this much larger system of Hindutva supremacist ideology that’s currently being projected and propagated by various interests not just in India, but across the world, including in Canada. All such interests have their ideological and often organizational roots in the RSS. The presence of this supremacist ideology in Canada is deeply concerning for several reasons:

1. RSS connected initiatives are drawing financial support from groups that have a charitable, tax-exempt status in Canada. 

2. Groups with open and explicit connections to the RSS are systematically propagating their ideologies and are organizing on Canadian soil. 

3. Voices either connected to or are allied with the RSS vision are spreading hateful ideas and rhetoric against other minority groups in Canada as a predictable function of their Hindutva-inspired ideas. 

“It is thus time for Canadians to carefully study and track the growth of a movement that disseminates hate here in Canada. This paper represents one of the first of such efforts.”