Bollywood celebrities: new RSS representatives?

Notable Bollywood celebrities attended the three day lecture series held by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in Delhi from September 17 to 19.

While the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is infamously known for its staunch hard-liner right wing beliefs and policies, one would not easily assume that such ideologies would hold much water for most people who consider themselves ‘liberal’ in their views.

Which is why, perhaps, for Bollywood celebrities to be in attendance for a three-day seminar hosted by the RSS on ‘The Future of Bharat’ might have come across as an unsettling feeling for many, as it has been identified as an industry that is commonly associated with work which reflects progressive values and thought processes.

Who Were Present?

From ‘Bombay’ actor Manisha Koirala, to Nawazuddin Siddiqui, to eminent Bhojpuri film industry star Ravi Kishan, Manoj Bajpayee, all of them were in attendance. Anu Malik, Anu Kapoor, Bhagyashree, too were present, among others.

 

                                            Manisha Koirala and Bhagyashree at the RSS event                      

Image source: Bold Sky

Among the roughly 500 odd invites sent to opposition party leaders and people belonging to various other fields, it was bollywood celebrities who grabbed the maximum attention.

What could the reason for this be? Why is Bollywood presence important for the RSS?

Mass Influencers

Bollywood has shaped and influenced our way of life since time immemorial. From endorsing brands to promoting events, they have provided a sense of validation for the masses. Is this why, an organization that claims to be ‘’misunderstood’’ needs support from celebrities?

                            Actor Ravi Kishan at the RSS ‘Future of Bharat’ Conference      

Image source: Eenadu India

An ironical, perhaps even hypocritical observation can be made that, Bollywood celebrities, who are considered the harbingers of modernity and progress and who opine that their art is reflective of this, are also publicly endorsing narrow-minded, exclusionary views.

With them having the means and access to a better lifestyle than most common Indians, it is almost natural to expect  a broader outlook, one, that the RSS has time and again rejected. So what has changed now?

Are Bollywood celebrities unabashedly lending their support to right-wing views on their own account? Has political/ideological leanings of famous personalities become a part of a hidden agenda/vested interest or progaganda now? Or is the RSS attempting for a complete make-over to alter its image? Only time will tell.

 

By Disha Jana