The Boy in the Branch
Lalit Vachani has made a disturbing documentary on the recruitment of
boys into the RSS, a fundamentalist group with fascist overtones...
The Boy in the Branch is a powerful unravelling of the implications
of the RSS, a fundamentalist Hindu organisation which recruits young boys.
Initially, it seems as innocent as the scouts, teaching discipline and
respect, but as the facts unfold its clear that the movements
ideology is tantamount to fascism. Racial purity in a separate Hindustan,
by any means, is top of the agenda. The group has already destroyed a
mosque and incited bloody rioting between Hindus and Muslims... a frightening
reminder that apartheid operates largely ignored outside of South Africa.
In The Boy in the Branch part of the programme For the Glory of Ramdirector Lalit Vachani exposes the sinister fascist force which lies behind the manipulation of Hindu religion and culture and threatens Indian unity and the secular nature of the state.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is not a normal political party, but is the power behind parties like the BJP, Vishva Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal. It claims to be a patriotic, cultural organisation and draws young boys into its estimated 33,000 branches across India. The boys are taught games which seem harmless in themselves, but which are designed to inculcate obedience and discipline and train RSS vigilante volunteers. They later progress to more physical games and receive martial arts training. Apart from the fun and games, they are taught a version of Hindu history and culture which is pointedly anti-Muslim.
Vachani allows the RSS activists to speak for themselves and encourages the school-age boys to explain what they have been learning in the branch.
Like fascists the world over, the RSS denies that it is so, with one
of their leaders claiming that it has no power other than `love.
However, the scenes of the branch games are intercut with quotations from
RSS ideologue Guruji Golwalkar referring to the `impossibility of
different races and cultures living together. Expressing his admiration
for anti-semitism in nazi Germany, he calls it a lesson to us in
Hindustan to learn and profit by
The Boy in the Branch by Lalit Vachani captures the everyday
routine of a RSS shakha where young minds are indoctrinated. The film
subtly hints and underscores the point without being loud about it...
Vachanis film is a coherent and honest attempt to report. He does
not blackout the RSS, and has given one of their spokesmen, Mohan Bhagwat,
a fair amount of screentime to defend the organization. What is more,
by limiting himself to RSS sources alone, Vachani has been able to press
well-known charges against the organisation...