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HVK Archives: Muslim in the RSS :'loyalty to India is loyalty to Islam'

Muslim in the RSS :'loyalty to India is loyalty to Islam' - The Asian Age

Pratap Thorat ()
January 13, 1998

Title: Muslim in the RSS :'loyalty to India is loyalty to Islam'
Author: Pratap Thorat
Publication: The Asian Age
Date: January 13, 1998

It is said that the number of Muslim swayamsevks, who
participated in the last week's Vidarbha regional camp of the
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh held near Nagpur was 100.

Sangh authorities refuse to give official figures, saying : "The
policy of identifying the Muslims as separate entities and then
appeasing them has cost the nation a lot. To us, all our members
are just Swayamsevaks. Don't try to discover their caste".

At the Nagpur camp, the RSS think tank lifted the curtain a bit
for the media which was unusual as RSS shuns the media generally.
This time around, this was changed perhaps to suit the BJP's
electioneering. But in absence of clear directives, the cadres,
who stayed for three days and three nights at the camp site,
continued to be secretive and at times unfriendly.

Despite their well-known faces, it was difficult to identify the
BJP ministers in RSS uniform- white shirt and Khaki shorts. It
was more difficult to make out if a Swayamsevak was a Muslim or
Hindu, especially because most were clean shaven.

However, among those who stood out was Sakaullakhan Mahboobkhan
Patel, because of the typical growth of his chin. This 50 year
old farmer hails from the village Bitragaon Badruk in Umerkhed
Taluka of Yawatmal district, which is in the midst of forest. He
says that he has been in the RSS for the past six years. The
village population is 5000 and has 30 Muslim families. Asked
what brought him to the RSS, he said: "We in our village take all
the decisions unanimously and happily. There is no rift in the
village. If some others are in the RSS, why shouldn't I be? Tell
me, what is wrong with the RSS?" Another of the Muslim
Swayamsevaks is Sheikh Abbas Sheikh Vajir from Wara Jahagir
village in Washim taluka. He was shy to speak out his mind.

Boldest among them all was Rafiq Taj Mohammed Rangrej, a grocer
>from Vani town in Yewatmal district. He had contested
unsuccessfully the Vani Assembly seat in 1972, on a Jan Sangh

Mr Rangrej says: "RSS is an organisation of patriots. I have been
a member for the past 30 years. Local Muslims boycotted me.
Pelted stones at my house, in the beginning. When I lost the
election, they celebrated with slogans like "Diwan wizla, Miyam
nijla"! (Light went out, Miyan slept). But it makes little
difference. I braved them all. Mein bikau nahi tikau hoon. The
real problem of the Muslims is that they were not as fortunate as
the Dalits, who got Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar to lead them". Mr
Rangrej said that the Muslim youth was increasingly attracted to
the RSS. "Between 1995 and 1997 as many as 52,680 Muslims in
Maharashtra became haratiya Janata Party members officially,"
he says "I am a religious Muslim. Those who can't be loyal to
their religion can't be loyal to their motherland, and vice
versa," feels Mr Rangrej. Asked if he was fasting for Ramzan,
currently on, and if the RSS was providing him and other Muslims
food to break their fast in the evening, Mr Rangrej said: "My
organisation has given me all that I asked for. I wanted some
date, fruit and a glass of water to break the fast soon after the
sunset. They give me that every evening. After that I go to the
Baudhiks (lectures). At 8 pm I eat dinner with all the other

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