In a freewheeling speech at Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's annual Dussehra event, organisational chief Mohan Bhagwat praised the Narendra Modi government for the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir while giving the government a clean chit on the state of the economy. Bhagwat also sought to distance the Sangh from incidents of lynching and communal violence across the country, alleging that it was an attempt to malign the organisation by associating it with such instances.
Addressing the Vijaya Dashami function of the RSS at Reshimbagh ground in Maharashtra's Nagpur, he praised Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah over the government's move to abrogate Article 370, downgrading the status of Jammu and Kashmir to a Union Territory, but said some vested interests do not want the country to be strong and vibrant.
"The move of the re-elected regime to nullify Article 370 has once again proved that it has the courage to fulfil those expectations and respect people’s sentiments. Removal of Article-370 has been already in the thought of the ruling party. But this time by skilfully garnering the support of other parties in both houses, with strong logic and plea in consonance with public sentiment the work was accomplished, for which the members of the ruling party, including the Prime Minister and Home Minister, and other political parties who upheld the public sentiments in Parliament deserve congratulations," he said.
"This effort will come to fruition only when justice denied under the influence of Article 370 is restored, injustices occurred are brought to an end. It will happen when our Kashmiri Pandits who were unjustly driven away are brought back and rehabilitated."
Lauding the government for its stand on national security, Bhagwat said that India's borders were now safer than ever, and coastal security needed more focus. "The number of guards and check-posts on land borders and surveillance along the maritime border, especially on islands, have to be increased," he said.
Bhagwat also dedicated a good part of his speech to addressing the increasing incidents of mob lynching and preached against generalising an entire community because of the crimes of a few. Bhagwat also acknowledged that it was not always that one particular community attacks the other always, "The other side also hits out." "But this does not mean you label a whole community in a certain way."
"It has also come to light that some incidents have been deliberately fabricated while some others have been published in a distorted manner. However, it must be accepted that these tendencies of violence have somehow or the other crossed the limits of the law and order and wreaked havoc by eroding the mutual relations in the society. Neither this tendency is the tradition of our country nor does it fit in the spirit of the Constitution," he said.
Seeking to amend the RSS' anti-Muslim image, Bhagwat said, "The Sangh is organising the Hindu society: a relentless and misconstrued campaign is going on to extrapolate this to mean that it harbours hatred against those sections, especially Muslims and Christians, who do not call themselves Hindu."
"To talk about Hindus and organise them does not mean opposition to Muslims. This is something even volunteers don’t understand sometimes," the RSS chief said.
Bhagwat also said that the RSS is firm on its vision that "Bharat is a Hindu Rashtra", and Hindus need to unite if they want to be heard by the world.
"The vision and proclamation of the Sangh regarding the identity of the nation, the social identity of all of us, and the identity of the country's nature are clear, well-thought-of and firm that Bharat is Hindustan, Hindu Rashtra," he said.
"Those who belong to Bharat, those who are descendants of Bharatiya ancestors, those who are working for the ultimate glory of the nation and joining hands in enhancing peace, respecting and welcoming all diversities; all those Bharatiyas are Hindus," he asserted.
"We believe a Hindu person accepts plurality, respects faith and works for the betterment of the country. These things sound good to ears but the world listens to the mighty," he said.
The RSS has been saying the same thing for last 10 to 15 years, Bhagwat said.
"The world does not listen to you without you having some power. Nobody cares for the weak, nobody even tries to protect the interests of those who are weak," he said, quoting an ancient Sanskrit verse which says that when it comes to sacrifice, a goat is always preferred over a horse, an elephant or a tiger.
The RSS chief also brushed aside the allegations of RSS and its associates being 'Islamophobic' or averse to non-Hindu worshipers.
"It is true that Islam came to India through some invaders and there had been some battles. The memories of it have lingered longer in minds (of people). But still, it does not mean unifying Hindus is part of the opposition to Islam. No swayamsevak (a common RSS worker) thinks this way," he said.
But, some insignificant persons talk on these lines which have never been endorsed by the RSS, Bhagwat stated.
"But, their statements are labelled as our stand. The propaganda takes shape in such a way," he said.
Bhagwat further spoke on Hinduism and how it welcomes plurality.
"A Hindu person is who believes there is an ultimate truth in the existence of the world, which is seen by us in different forms, there are different types of people, different ways to understand the truth and even different ways of seeing things. Everyone at their place is right," he said.
"Nobody needs to change it or end it...you can walk on your own path of faith, you will reach the destination one day. All can cohesively achieve it. You decide your own way to salvation," Bhagwat said.
"You decide whether there is one form of God or several. It is up to you. Follow the dharma, but making it into a sect creates problems," the RSS chief said.
"There is only one dharma out there. It is called humanity, which nowadays is known as Hindu dharma," he added.
He said, "We need to create harmony, everyone should live within confines of the law. Swayamsevaks brought up with that sanskar. Even when one of our own is somehow found to be in the wrong, we tell them to prove their innocence through proper legal channels."
Bhagwat took a stern view on lynching and the Opposition's attack on the Sangh in the aftermath of such incidents. He said, "Lynching is not the word from Indian ethos, its origin is from a story in a separate religious text. We Indians trust in brotherhood. Don't impose such terms on Indians." "Lynching itself is a western construct and one shouldn't use it in the Indian context to defame the country," he said.
"For the last nine decades, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has been working for creating ekatmata (unity), sadbhavana (goodwill), sadacharan (good conduct) and sadvyavahar (good behaviour) in the society, and a clear vision and devotion towards the nation. However, attempts are being made by vested interests to create distrust, fear and hostility among sections who have not yet come in contact with the Sangh," he said.
"The Sangh has never supported the people who were involved in such incidents and it stands against each and every such incident. Swayamsevaks are working in this direction so that such incidents do not take place," he added.
He said, "There is an orchestrated effort to malign the Hindu society and Hindutva through a number of baseless and slanderous allegations. Behind this nefarious design, there is a thought process, which is relentlessly working to keep our society divided and make use of it for its self-interests. This is so clear that only those who deliberately keep their eyes shut."
In an indirect attack on Opposition leaders, Bhagwat said, "The so-called leaders — who in the name of advocating the interests of a specific community create clash in between the two communities of our society and have made an industry out of their pursuits for self-aggrandisement — should not be patronised. Adequate laws exist in the country to curb such incidents. They must be honestly and strictly implemented."
He said in the past few years, there has been a transformation in "direction of the thought process of Bharat". "There are many people in the world and in Bharat as well, who don't want this. A developed Bharat creates fear in the minds of vested interests...such forces will also not want Bharat to be strong and vibrant," the RSS chief said.
Even well-meaning policies, statements from officials in government and administration were being misused to benefit nefarious designs, he rued. "We must be alert in identifying these plots and counter them on intellectual and social levels," he said.
Speaking about India's diversity, Bhagwat said, "Diversity is an intrinsic strength of our nation. But the diversity of caste, creed, language and region are being used by vested interests to separate one from another, turning them to differences; imposing fabricated identities on manufactured separations... Whatever the difference of opinion is, howsoever provocative actions might have taken place, still, the society must act by remaining within the limits of Constitution, reposing faith in the police and judicial system of the country."
On concerns over the economic sector, he said "Aisa hota rehta hai" (This keeps happening), while highlighting that a slump was obvious in a world that has increasingly become interdependent one another's economy. The slowing down of the world economy has left its impact everywhere, not just India, he said. "The government has taken initiatives to tide over the situation in the last one-and-a-half months. They are doing whatever needs to be done. Our society is entrepreneurial and we will overcome these challenges," he added.
He also said that the citizens can't just say they are merely concerned, with their selfish interests and sit back and relax. To overcome the economic hurdle, individual contribution and hard work was the need of the hour. "We cannot just sit and wait for the government alone to fix everything."
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Oct 08, 2019 15:49:03 IST