Pakistan is yet to respond to an invitation by a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-affiliated body, the Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM), for an international Roza Iftar party on Saturday – for which representatives of more than 60 nations have already confirmed their presence.
As part of its Muslim outreach efforts, the MRM will be hosting a Roza Iftar party in New Delhi, ostensibly to crease out differences between the Muslims and non-Muslims under a conducive and friendly atmosphere. Iftar is the evening meal when Muslims end their Ramadan fast at sunset.
“Till date, we have sent personal invitation to 61 Muslim nations and they have confirmed their presence for the Almi Roza Iftar event. However, we haven’t got any response from Pakistan, despite sending an invitation by email and courier. There were rumours about the MRM withdrawing the invitation, which are false. As per our country’s tradition and values, we don’t turn back or withdraw after inviting someone," said Girish Juyal, national convener (organising), MRM.
"There is no political ploy or diplomacy behind this Iftar party. It’s purely to spread the message of universal brotherhood and ensure that people from all religions live together peacefully. Now, it’s on a particular country to decide whether it will participate or not,” Juyal said.
Though this is only the second year when the MRM has hosted the Roza Iftar party on an international scale, the organisation has been holding such events at local levels (Mohalla level) in various districts across the country for the last 14 years.
“In the last 14 years, we have organised 9333 Roza Iftar gatherings during the holy month of Ramzan across India at the Mohalla level. Besides ensuring exchange of greetings and establishing communal harmony between Muslim and non-Muslim communities, we give a set of four messages to our Muslim brothers,” added Juyal.
During Iftar parties at local levels, the MRM emphasises on four aspects:
- Maintaining purity of body (Zehan) and world (Jahan); plantation of a herbal, medicinal trees in the locality.
- During 30 days of Roza, propagate teachings of Indian seers, saints and spiritual personalities belonging to all religions.
- To encourage communal harmony, trust between religious communities and remove misunderstanding and friction between them.
- MRM workers ensure that the ‘last man in the row’ (poorest of poor) among Muslim community gets an opportunity to keep Roza with dignity, and gets due respect.
Indresh Kumar, a senior RSS pracharak (functionary), is the mentor (Margdarshak) and guiding force behind this Muslim national forum – MRM – but doesn’t hold any formal position in the organisation.
He started working among the Indian Muslim community under the direction of former RSS chief (Sarsanghchalak) late KC Sudarshan. According to an RSS pracharak, the Sangh Parivar follows the wishes of its former Sarsanghchalaks and thus Kumar was allowed to work for the cause.
“MRM was formed after a group of nationalist Muslims and some senior RSS functionaries met in Delhi on 24 December 2002, on the occasion of Eid Milan. The object was to bridge the widening gap between Hindu and Muslim communities in India,” the pracharak said.
“I have personally appealed to all Muslim nations to shun from violence and discourage fundamentalism and terrorism, as it’s bringing a bad name to Islam and Muslim community as a whole. None of the terrorist organisations like Islamic State, Al-Qaeda or Taliban have done any good for the society and instead it has killed its own fellow Muslims. The need of the hour is universal brotherhood, respect for every religion and to maintain communal harmony. Hence, our effort through this Roza Iftar function is to bring Muslims and non-Muslims closer. The core objective is to bring social, cultural, religious and spiritual understanding between them,” Indresh Kumar told Firstpost.
“We’ve received confirmation on invitation from many Muslim nations, but there are a few countries whose embassies or representatives are not in India, so no communication could be established with such countries,” added Kumar.
Meanwhile, after rumours started making rounds on the motive behind organising such an Iftar party by a right-wing organisation, the RSS has distanced itself from the event and clarified that it has not organised the event.
“RSS is not organising any such party. It’s Muslim Rashtriya Manch, an independent body, is organising it to create national awareness and the RSS shares the views of MRM on national issues and supports its national cause,” said Manmohan Vaidya, Akhil Bharatiya Prachar Pramukh of RSS in his statement.