Book review: Sangit Kumar Ragi, RSS and Gandhi: The Idea of India

Published date01 June 2022
Date01 June 2022
Subject MatterBook Reviews
312 Book Reviews
generations. Knowledge about mathematical advances vanished in ways similar
to the knowledge of metallurgy like the making of Wootz steel. Advanced concepts
in geometry were used for temple construction but the knowledge was not further
In the chapter, ‘The Land of the Lotus Eaters’, the authors describe that the
contented society did not take steps to move on. The world moved ahead and
India lagged behind. Indians were slow to encash the benets of the Industrial
Revolution and suffered in the end.
In the last chapter, ‘The Way Forward’, the authors suggest various remedial
measures such as streamlining data, systematising information and skill develop-
ment through robust institutions. Reducing time for dispute settlement and
working with the written word should help make India great again.
At the rst sight, the hard-bound edition of the book appears a bit overpriced at
`1,495. However, when you read the book carefully, you realise that this is a product
of immense research and thinking. There are no loose statements, cliches and half-
baked opinions. Every averment is based on well-referenced documentation.
Indeed, a very solid book overviewing what went wrong with India during the
medieval and modern times that reduced us to a poverty-stricken country and now
how we can lift ourselves to the past glory.
Jairaj Phatak
Director-General & Professor,
All India Institute of Local Self Government (AIILSG),
New Delhi, India
Sangit Kumar Ragi, RSS and Gandhi: The Idea of India. New Delhi: SAGE
Publications, 2022, 352 pp., $65, ISBN: 9789354792526 (Hardcover).
DOI: 10.1177/00195561221091457
The main concern for Gandhi as well as Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)
was to fulfil the interest of India by gaining Independence from foreign rule.
Along with it, they both proposed to strive for Satayuga and restoration of the
nation to its former glory like that of ancient times since mere freedom from colo-
nialism wasn’t enough. The inspiration for doing so was sought from core of the
Hindu tradition that helped in developing the notion of cultural nationalism and
this had considerable influence on Mahatma Gandhi as well as RSS leaders such
as Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, Madhavrao Sadashivrao Golwalkar and others. It
was impossible to instate a united stand within society that would prosper and
create national awakening if there is a perpetual lack of belongingness among the
people. Gandhi and RSS, both, detected the requirement and adopted a spiritual
pathway to disseminate ideas of nationalism among the people. RSS invoked
national sentiments through the writings of Swami Vivekananda, Aurobindo
Ghose, Ramakrishna Paramhansa and others that highlight the tenets of Hindu
philosophy such as sacrifice, detachment and duty. Similarly, Mahatma Gandhi

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