With BJP at Centre, RSS 'mouthpiece' Organiser strikes it rich

Last Updated: Fri, Feb 19, 2016 16:56 hrs

The government and the Public Sector Units (PSU's) have a new poster boy -The Organiser.

The right-wing Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS) "mouthpiece", which struggled to get even a single ad from PSUs till 2014, has suddenly begun to flaunt massive ads from these very same organisations after the arrival of the Modi government at the centre.

The weekly bi-lingual magazine (in Hindi and English), having a subscription of "over 150000 copies" according to its publishers, has won over the Directorate of Advertisement and Visual Publicity (DAVP), which acts as the nodal agency of the Union Government of India for advertising by various ministries and the government organisations.

In its latest issue dating November 15-22, the Organiser has ads from three PSUs, namely, the Cotton Corporation of India, the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and the Airports Authority of India (AAI). There is also an ad promoting the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting's National Unity Day, which marks the birthday of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

Leading PSU names like ONGC, SAIL, HPCL, IOCL,GAIL, BPCL, Engineers India Ltd, Oil India Ltd have also run their advertisements in the "mouthpiece" from May 2014-till date.

During the UPA rule (2004-2014), none of the ads of the aforesaid PSUs figured in the Organiser.

"We get thousands of requests from various publications seeking advertisements. We have a specific committee within every PSU to understand  the need for advertisements during a particular period, and also evaluate the utility. The rest we leave to the DAVP," a top official of Kanpur-based public sector unit, who did not wish to be named, explained.


Kancha Ilaiah, Director, Center for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy at Hyderabad-based Maulana Azad Urdu University, however, feels the government should maintain its distance from such publications for the good of the public.

"We all hoped the Modi establishment would curtail all anti-plural forces and the primitive-minded people. It is now becoming more evident that except the PM none of the BJP members are keen on development", he said.   

Even though the weekly is part of the DAVP's empanelled newspapers/journals approved for release of advertisements, the previous governments steered away from it, taking exception to the "right-wing" discourse it propagated.

However, in March, 2014, the Congress-led government, made an exception allowing the Bharat Nirman campaign highlighting the achievements of the UPA-I, II coalition governments, to appear in the Organiser.

In general, the DAVP vets newspapers/journals for advertisements by following the New Advertisement Policy, October, 2007, covering 27 clauses.

Among them, the Clause 1 cautions about the newspapers/journals which "incite or tend to incite communal passion", "offend the socially accepted norms of public decency and behavior".

"The DAVP would avoid releasing advertisements to newspapers /journals, which incite or tend to incite communal passion, preach violence, offend the sovereignty and integrity of India or socially accepted norms of public decency and behavior," the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting website elaborates.

It is precisely this clause that certain articles in the Organiser violates. For instance, in September this year, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad chief Pravin Togadia wrote these incendiary lines in the weekly.

"Rather than subsidising each birth of a Muslim kid, it is must that after two children, there has to be the strictest curb. Perhaps a punishable criminal offence and stopping the ration, jobs, educational facilities will streamline the population facilitation towards better development," Togadia wrote in the editorial column.

But these comments did not annoy/prevent the Union government to review its approach towards the Organiser.

Not surprising given that Minister of State for Information Broadcasting Col Rajyavardhan Rathore took part in a public event in January to release of the Organiser's special issues on national security. This clearly showed the importance this government attaches to the journal.

Interest among the private business establishments for the magazine is also on the rise since Modi came to power.

Established industry names like battery solutions provider Su-Kam, Adani, Gujarat dairy cooperative Amul, lightning products maker Surya Roshni, PC Jewellers, have been among those who advertised in the Organiser recently.

"We always look for new mediums and options to advertise our products and solutions. Readership and market standing of the magazine are the main factors we consider for advertising in it," said an official associated with Adani M2K joint venture, which is developing the Oyster Grande luxury housing project in Gurgaon.

Who are its subscribers

The majority of readership for the bilingual weekly hail from the ranks ofthe RSS' 5-6 million swayamsewaks (volunteers).

The Sangh Parivar elements and the affiliated bodies that believe in establishing India as a Hindu Rashtra form its biggest ideological base.

The Hindi version of the weekly, Panchajanya, has the highest subscription figures at 135,000, and with the English version contributing another 15000.

The Nagpur-headquartered RSS had been publicly admitting that it was witnessing an impressive rise in its support base across the country ever since the BJP top brass announced former Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi as the saffron party's PM candidate in 2013.

Founded in 1925 by Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, the RSS, is learnt to have expanded to 51000 shakhas in the country.