When Think-Tanks Lack Thinking

Caught a story on Rediff about a new report by RAND titled “Exploring Religious Conflict” (PDF).

It clubs RSS as a NRM (New Religious Movement). It goes to the extent of naming it in the same sentence mentioning al-Qaeda!

NRMs can be found in Hinduism (the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, or RSS), Israel (Gush Emunim), Christianity (the U.S.-based Identity Movement) and Islam, including Al Qaeda, a global network with a transcendent vision that draws support in the defense of Islam.

I find that sentence incredibly repulsive. That’s like saying “It was because of great leaders like Abraham Lincoln, Adolf Hitler and Mussolini that people of their respective nations came together for a greater glory of their country.” That’s exactly how different in ideology, methods and intent RSS is from the rest of the organisations mentioned in the same sentence.

New? Puhleeeeze! It was established formally in 1925 though it’s basically the renamed incarnate of Abhinev Bharat which was founded in 1904. That makes it over a century old!

Religious? Gimme a break! It makes my skin crawl when people refer to Hindutva as a ‘religion’. The word ‘Dharm’ or ‘Dharma’ (sic) translates to religion as closely as defining a skateboard as a ‘4-wheeled transport vehicle’. Yet we do it because there really isn’t any word in English that is a direct translation and this is the one that comes even anywhere near.

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