'Who's Rahul Gandhi to decide India's religious systems?': RSS' Indresh Kumar on separate religion for Lingayats, politics and Ayodhya

Indresh Kumar spoke to Firstpost about his take on triple talaq, Ram janmabhoomi, and politics. Here are the edited excerpts from the interview.

Debobrat Ghose April 10, 2018 21:19:52 IST
'Who's Rahul Gandhi to decide India's religious systems?': RSS' Indresh Kumar on separate religion for Lingayats, politics and Ayodhya

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's (RSS) senior functionary, Indresh Kumar is vehemently opposed to the idea of a separate religion for the Lingayat community. He has criticised the Congress party, its president Rahul Gandhi and Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah for giving a go ahead to the move. After a group of Lingayat seers urged the community to support Congress in Karnataka elections, Kumar — a margdarshak of RSS-affiliate Muslim Rashtriya Manch — even questioned Rahul's authority to tinker with the religious system. "Who's Rahul Gandhi to decide on religion and Bharat's religious system?" he asked.

Speaking to Firstpost, Kumar — a Mechanical engineering graduate who chose to join the Sangh Parivar instead of working for Bhakra-Nangal Hydel project in early 1970s  — termed the Congress party's move as 'divisive'. Here are the edited excerpts from the interview.

Whos Rahul Gandhi to decide Indias religious systems RSS Indresh Kumar on separate religion for Lingayats politics and Ayodhya

Senior RSS functionary Indresh Kumar. Debobrat Ghose. Firstpost

Q: What do you think of the Karnataka Congress' move to approve a separate religion status for Lingayat community?

This is nothing but divisive politics of the Congress party. There's no bigger crime than politicising religion to create fissures in our social fabric. Once Lingayats get a separate religion status, besides other sub-sects within Lingayats and our Hindu fold, the sects within other religions would also demand for separate religion status. There are priests in Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Pashupatinath Temple and other places, who belong to the Lingayat community. It's not just about Karnataka. This move will open a Pandora's box. Tomorrow another political party will try to give a separate religion status to some other sect for vote bank politics.

Moreover, who's Rahul Gandhi or Siddaramaiah to decide on our country's religious system? It's the Congress party that has for the first time indulged in such a crime by attempting to create a new religion to win election by dividing the voters.

Q: Similar to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's slogan of 'New India by 2022', you too have spoken about 'New India' on various forums. What’s your idea?

The prime minister wants that everyone including the last man should get safety and security, employment, justice, education, and healthcare. Similarly, we too want a new India, where there shouldn't be any discrimination. There are 20 crore people in India who are involved in petty jobs, which others consider as low. Why can't we respect them and their vocation? Our economy thrives on these people. This mindset needs to be changed. We need to change our perception towards workers and labourers. If India has to progress, we've to bring change in the way we have been thinking. Instead of talking about problems, we should think about possible solutions. The dream of 126 crore Indians is to lead the world and we've to work towards it by inculcating values within ourselves.

Q: You have been a strong voice against the practice of triple talaq. But recently, a large number of Muslim women led by the women's wing of AIMPLB staged protests against banning triple talaq. What’s your take?

All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) is anti-Islamic, unconstitutional and an illegal body. It doesn't have the recognition of Quran Sharif. It originated in India in 1975 with an objective to inculcate fanaticism within Muslims. According to Quran Sharif, the almighty (Khuda) himself has called talaq a sin. In Quran Sharif there's no reference of triple talaq; and according to the procedure recommended by it (90-day period), it's tough to get a talaq.

AIMPLB wants to confuse and divert Indian Muslims on this issue. It doesn’t want that women should get respect at home or daughters should live peacefully after marriage. Therefore, the Supreme Court, after several hearings, asked the government to make a law in order to put a ban on instant triple talaq.

Triple talaq is against Quran Sharif and Rasul (God's messenger) and it's not a religious problem but a social evil. In the past, voices were raised against social evils, and those were never seen as a religious or caste issues. I have interacted with thousands of Muslims and through Muslim Rashtriya Manch we have created awareness against the 'evils of triple talaq'. We have tried to convince Muslim women about why the practice should be banned in the country. We have also initiated three schemes for women who have been the victims of triple talaq. First is a non-government pension scheme which will begin this year. Under this, 100 such Muslim women will get a pension for 10 years. Second, we will help 100 women in a year to get their daughters married. And third, we will help 1,000 children of these women to get education.

Q: Will Ram Mandir be finally built at Ram Janmabhoomi site in Ayodhya?

As there's one Vatican and several churches, one Mecca Medina and lakhs of mosques, similarly, there's only one Ram Janmabhoomi and a large number of temples of Ram. One thing needs to be very clear: There was no mosque at the place which is now being called a disputed site. In 1528, Mughal ruler Babur's commander Mir Baqi demolished the temple and built a structure known as Babri Masjid. In Islam, no mosque is named after any person, unlike this one. It was constructed in the name of Babur, which according to Islam is illegal because he elevated himself to the status of god. Like, Ravana and Hiranakashyap did in Hindu mythology.

Over the last one year, thousands of Muslims have started talking in favour of building Ram Mandir at Ram Janmabhoomi site, because they consider Bhagwan Ram as ‘Imam-e-Hind’ or as Avtar – among 1.24 lakh paigambars (prophets). Their ancestors considered Ram as nabi (prophet). Therefore, both Hindus and Muslims should join hands to build Ram Mandir at Ram Janmabhoomi site. However, the Supreme Court’s verdict will be final, which will be honoured.

Q: RSS has often been blamed by Congress and other Opposition parties for creating disharmony by spreading communal hatred…

Such misconceptions have been spread by lobbies with vested interests, operating in the country and are being guided by foreign powers. It reflects perverse and deviant mindset. Such people have divided our society and have kept development away from the common man. They are sympathisers of foreign powers, who want to see Bharat and our society disintegrated. Sangh is a thought, an ideology and a movement. Despite allegations and mudslinging for decades, RSS will remain untarnished, blot-free. It's like the sun, which may get shadowed by clouds, but its light is the truth. Similarly, the nationalism and nationalistic thinking of the Sangh is eternal. No amount of abuses and criticism can tarnish its image.

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