The press conference of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat after the Supreme Court verdict on Ayodhya issue on Saturday was a historical first for the Sangh Parivar. It is for the first time that the Sangh sarsanghchalak addressed the media on a burning issue or on a court verdict.
Known as the ideological fountainhead of the BJP, the RSS, unlike political parties, does not usually hold press conferences on particular issues or events. It only addresses the public to speak of the Sangh ideology and espouses its views during annual programmes. The issue of building Ram Mandir has always been close to the heart of the RSS and Bhagwat used the opportunity to send a clear message that the RSS is a social organisation that is pro development and progress.
BJP, at its Palampur (Himachal Pradesh) convention in 1989, for the first time adopted a resolution to build a temple at the birth place of Lord Ram in Ayodhya. Besides abrogating Article 370, the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya has always been one of RSS' top priorities. On various occasions, the Sangh maintained that the construction of Ram Mandir is not a religious or political issue, but an issue relating to the nation's pride and its civilisational identity which should be supported by every citizen.
Weeks ahead of the verdict, the RSS consistently asked its cadre and the public to remain restrained in their reactions – whether the verdict was in their favour or not. It maintained the same stand today, indicating that the Sangh doesn’t want itself to be portrayed as a militant Hindu organisation.
The way Sangh contained its affiliate Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), which in the past had been perceived as an aggressive organisation during the tenures of Ashok Singhal and Praveen Togadia, reflects a new side of RSS that wants to be seen as a leader of the Hindu community and which is also in sync with the government’s development agenda.
“Let your celebration be ‘satvik’ (pious),” said Bhagwat. “Forces which create discord among people and incite violence shouldn’t be patronised. One should express happiness with restraint, moderation and politeness completely avoiding any provocative or instigating action or deed and staying within the limits of the Constitution and law.”
A senior RSS functionary told Firstpost, “Today sarsanghchalakji reiterated what the Sangh had been saying ahead of the verdict for quite some time: to celebrate with restraint, so that communal harmony can be maintained. Sangh’s ideology doesn’t permit anyone associated with it to undertake any violent activity or agitation that could be detrimental to national interest.”
Responding to whether it would undertake agitation on the similar issue of Kashi and Mathura, Bhagwat emphatically stated, “We’re not into any kind of agitation. Let us forget all past controversies and work together to discharge our duty towards building a grand temple at Ram Janmabhoomi.”
Asked what impact the verdict would have on Muslims citizens, Bhagwat said, “This is not a question of Hindu citizens or Muslim citizens. Hindus and Muslims are citizens of India, and they will remain as Indians and work to make India greater.”
“The verdict shouldn’t be viewed from a victory or defeat angle. The conclusion arrived through churning of truth and justice should be viewed and taken as a decision that will enhance the integrity and brotherhood of the entire Indian society,” asserted Bhagwat.
Updated Date: Nov 09, 2019 19:49:13 IST