New Delhi: RSS on Wednesday said it sends "signals" to the BJP-led government at the Centre but dismissed suggestions it held a "remote control" over it. It also said that it has a right to give suggestions to the government like any other organisation in a democracy and is proud to have produced two prime ministers — Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Narendra Modi.
"There is no control, but certainly remote is there. Remote is there, signal is there. RSS is not having any remote control on BJP or any other political party. RSS swayamsevaks are working actively and are participants in BJP. BJP also subscribes to certain views and ideology of RSS and the inspiration they take in public life. If family members come to RSS for suggestions, is it remote control or affection. There is no complaint from BJP and there is no wish from RSS," RSS Joint General Secretary Dattatreya Hosabale said at the India Today Conclave.
Asked if RSS was an 'extra-constitutional authority' in the present government, he said, "Where is the extra-constitutional authority? We are not doing any hide and seek. Presentations at RSS meeting is not wrong. If they make presentations before RSS, they can make presentations before this conclave. It is a democracy. We have every right to make suggestions to any government."
Rejecting criticism that RSS gave diktats to the Modi government, he said RSS swayamsevaks are working actively in BJP and they are like "family members".
Hosabale said in a democracy the RSS can make suggestions to any government of the day, be it BJP or Congress, even though Congress will not listen to them.
"We are proud that RSS has produced two prime ministers. Both are listening to the voice of the people," he said, adding both Vajpayee and Modi listened to them.
"Vajpayee also listened and Modi also is listening. But, listening does not mean he is heeding (to) it. We are proud. I wish Vajpayee also had the opportunity to become prime minister at Modi's age," the RSS leader said.
He said, "We wanted that a budget of this kind should come. We had also suggested to Congress."
Asked if RSS has asked for a temple, Hosabale said, "We have asked for a mandir at Ayodhya. That is our dream. It is the wish of the people. It is for the country and government to take up the issue. We are hopeful. We are also confident that they will also fulfil the aspirations of people. They have included it in their manifesto."
To a question on whether homosexuality is a crime as considered under Article 377 IPC, he said, "I don't think homosexuality should be considered a criminal offence as long as it does not affect the lives of others in society."
He said, "sexual preferences are private and personal. Why should RSS express its views in a public forum? RSS has no view on that. It is for people to have their way. Personal preference of sex is not discussed in RSS and we don't even want to discuss that."
Section 377 of Indian Penal Code terms homosexuality as unnatural and carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in jail. Going by the global trends in this regard, there have been demands within the country to decriminalise homosexuality.
Interestingly, the head of the BJP social media team, Amit Malviya tweeted this earlier on Thursday:
Those seeking to decriminalise homosexuality (reduced role of state) are also seeking law on marital rape (increased role of state)! #Irony
— Amit Malviya (@malviyamit) March 17, 2016
Hosabale, meanwhile added that AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi was an "anti-national" as he said he would not chant 'Bharat Mata ki Jai', a slogan not coined by RSS but during the freedom struggle. Asked if one was a 'traitor' by not chanting 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai', he said, "Of course, he is an anti-national... All the political leaders except Owaisi's party opposed what he said."
"If someone says he/she does not want to chant 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' at all, you are not allowing others also to not chant the slogan....If anybody says so, he is anti-national."
He said 'Vande Mataram' and 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' are not RSS slogans, but coined during freedom struggle and it is not required that these should be chanted all the time or every morning "but there is nothing wrong in saying it".
On beef eating, the RSS leader said one should respect the sensibilities of others too.
"Can't you live without beef, can't you respect the sensibilities of majority and respect feelings of other people also? Beef eating has not been acceptable in this country. Mahatma Gandhi was also against beef eating, he did not become communal, but RSS is communal," he said.
The RSS leader expressed concern that anti-national activities are being spread in campuses in the country.
"Why anti-India feelings are being expressed in university campuses? If some students are raising slogans for breaking India into pieces and its destruction, if they raise slogans in favour of a criminal who has been hanged as per the law of the land, any nation in the world will not tolerate it. In India, being anti-national is not acceptable," he said.
On why women are not there in RSS, he said, "It is only in field activities in public that women are not there, but in all other activities women are there. RSS is not averse to the idea of women participation in physical activities in RSS shakhas. It can happen... A day will come sooner than later. We are taking our own time for all this, anything can happen."
He also rejected the theory that RSS did not participate in the freedom struggle saying one should read history properly.
"RSS did not participate in the freedom struggle is a baseless statement."
On reservation, he said, "It is not the right time to do away with caste-based reservation. We support reservation till discrimination in society exists," but called for a review by eminent people who understand society.
He also said that RSS was changing as per changing times while referring to the change in uniform.
"Changing according to time is the essential thing of Hindutva itself," he said.
He added that those people who are taking birth in this country are Hindus because "this is Hindustan and the fear of Hindutva is created because of wrong understanding or deliberate intentions".
"Hindutva as we say is that it is Hinduness and not Hinduism. Radhakrishnan has said he practiced the Hindu way of life and I am proud of it, and he is not communal. Mahatma Gandhi said I am a proud Hindu, but he is not communal," Hosabale said.
"I don't know why people are afraid of hearing words like Hindutva, Hinduism or Hinduness, because Hindus are never aggressive in entire history of mankind. They have not enslaved anyone on any part of the world. It is only a few created on wrong interpretations or wrong intentions," he said.
He said RSS's vision 2020 is for an India which is united and one which prosperous, "a Bharat which takes pride in its culture and heritage".