In an indirect reference to the recent communal and caste-based incidents, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat declared that “small episodes” like the Dadri incident cannot damage Hindu culture. Addressing the annual Dussehra meet at the RSS headquarters in Nagpur, Bhagwat said the incidents were being “exaggerated” out of proportion.
“Small episodes happen. They get exaggerated and presented in a big way… Small incidents keep happening but these cannot distort Indian culture, Hindu culture. Since time immemorial, it respects diversity, coordinates among diversities to establish unity… This is Hindutva,” said Bhagwat
He further said, “The Sangh has been doing the work of keeping the nation one on the basis of Hindutva for the last 90 years.”
Bhagwats claims come at a time when the list of violent incidents based on religion and caste has been growing.
A 50-year-old man was lynched by a mob in Dadri in UP over rumours that he ate beef. Another 28-year-old man was lynched by a mob for carrying cows in a truck from Shimla in Himachal Pradesh.
Bhagwat began his speech by invoking Dalit icon B R Ambedkar whom he credited for making provisions in the Constitution to remove social and economic inequality faced by the weaker sections.
Praise for Ambedkar comes after Bhagwat recently called for a review of the reservation policy, which stirred a controversy and pushed BJP on the backfoot in the Bihar polls.
In the address, Bhagwat also praised the Modi government for ushering in hope and confidence in the country and enhancing India’s standing abroad.
“Two years ago there was an atmosphere of despondency. Now we are not worried. An atmosphere of hope and confidence has been created now, so expectations are high” he said.
He further added that Swachh Bharat, Mudra Bank, Jan Dhan Yojana and surrender of gas subsidy are “good omen”. “However, pulling the economy out of the abyss takes some time,” he said giving concession to the BJP led NDA government.
In his 55 minute long speech, Bhagwat touched upon several topics and expressed the Sangh’s view on them.
He deplored that no holistic discussion has taken place in the country on controlling population. Without naming any specific community, Bhagwat called for a “uniform population policy which is applicable to all”.
Bhagwat said India’s external security was threatened by “enmity-minded” Pakistan and “expansionist” China, besides emergence of fundamentalist organisations like ISIS. “We have to guard against them. Some young people are also getting misguided by the ISIS ideology” Bhagwat explained.
Referring to the Rajasthan High Court’s recent ruling declaring “Santhara”, the Jain practice of voluntary fast-unto-death, as a punishable offence, Bhagwat said “there are Acharyas in every religion. There should be discussion with them before any change is made to their traditions….it hurts people.” The High Court judgement was later stayed by the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, PM Modi tweeted on Thursday morning in praise of the RSS.
“My greetings to all Swayamsevaks as the RSS completes 90 years in service of the Nation,” tweeted PM Modi.
(With inputs from PTI)