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K 362 Rati

Hindus to the government’s equalization policy. In PARISHAD (another nationalist group) led the pro-
fact, its supporters generally are from the upper tests; he was recently indicted for his role in the
castes. While they criticize the distortions of the affair. The RSS protesters eventually attacked and
caste system (which they blame on Muslim influ- destroyed the mosque in 1992. Nationwide com-
ence), critics believe they really want to return to munal riots resulted, in which 3,000 people were
a time when caste was rigidly enforced. killed.
RSS members conduct daily drills of martial
arts wearing khaki uniforms, mimicking the Ital- Further reading: Gwilym Beckerlegge and Anthony
ian and German fascists they have long admired. Copley, eds., Saffron and Seva (Hinduism in Public and
Their disciplined members are often the first to Private) (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003);
arrive at the site of natural disasters, a practice Chetan Bhatt, Hindu Nationalism: Origins, Ideologies,
that earns them support. The women’s wing of the and Modern Myth (Oxford: Oxford University Press,
RSS is the Rashtriya Sevika Samiti; its structure is 2001); Gerrie ter Haar and James J. Busuttil, eds., The
not unlike the male sections. Freedom to Do God’s Will: Religious Fundamentalism
The political wing of the RSS is the BHARATIYA and Social Change (London: Routledge, 2003); Blom
JANATA PARTY. It was founded in 1951 on a plat- Thomas Hanson, The Saffron Way: Democracy and
form of an undivided India and aimed to unify Nationalism in Modern India (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton
all Hindus under a single doctrine, whereas in University Press, 1999); Santosh C. Saha, ed., Religious
the past Hindus have tolerated a wide diversity of Fundamentalism in the Contemporary World: Critical
thought, and has rejected what it sees as European Social and Political Issues (Lanham, Md.: Lexington
influences on modern Hindu thought and prac- Books, 2004); Santosh C. Saha and Thomas K. Carr,
tice. At first it also rejected industrialization, but eds., Religious Fundamentalism in Developing Countries
that orientation was eventually discarded. (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2001); Peter van
During the 1940s M. S. Golwalker transformed der Veer, Religious Nationalism, Hindus and Muslims in
the RSS into the most powerful of all the national- India (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994).
ist movements in India. Their influence expanded
over time through missionary work. In February
1983 the RSS was implicated with nationalists and Rati
local police in Assam in a massacre of Muslim In Indian mythology Rati, Desire, is the wife of the
immigrants. The rioters also killed local Hindus god of love KAMADEVA. Some stories say that she
who coexisted with the Moslems. was created from the sweat of the RISHI DAKSHA,
The RSS was also involved, along with the SHIV SHIVA’s future father-in-law. Other stories make her
SENA movement and Bharatiya Janata Party, in the the daughter of BRAHMA, who killed herself when
controversy that arose around the Babri Masjid Brahma, ashamed of his own lust, killed himself.
Mosque in the Uttar Pradesh city of AYODHYA. Both were revived by Vishnu and she then was
This mosque was built in 1528 on a site that is given to Kamadeva, the god of love, in marriage.
believed to be the birthplace of RAMA, the AVATAR Rati’s most celebrated achievement was to
of VISHNU. persuade Shiva to revive her husband, after he
As early as the 1940s RSS members managed had burned him to ashes with his third eye. In the
to erect an image of Rama in the mosque. Later best known version of this story, Shiva restores
the government sealed off the mosque to try to Kamadeva to life but makes him invisible. In other
dampen the dispute. In the 1980s, the RSS started versions, Rati tries to revive her husband by feats
to protest the very existence of the Babri Mosque. of asceticism but is stopped by the rishi NARADA,
Lal Krishnan Advani, a leader of the VISHVA HINDU who forces her to serve as a demon’s housemaid,