'Social Harmony is on Top of our Agenda': VHP working president Shri Alok Kumar
Eminent social worker and a practicing advocate in Supreme Court of India and Delhi High Court Shri Alok Kumarwas elected working president of Vishwa Hindu Parishad on April 14. He is the founder of Dadhichi Deh Dan Samiti, which works to promote body-organs donations after death. He is also chairman of Bharatiya Chitra Sadhna, an organisation dedicated to the promotion of Bharatiyata in Indian cinema. Organiser senior correspondent Pramod Kumarspoke to him in New Delhi to know the priorities of the VHP’s new team. Excerpts:
The VHP has been working for a strong Hindu society since its inception in 1964. But there are repeated attempts to divide the Hindus into castes and even instigate violence, hatred in the name of castes. How do you look at it and what is the role of VHP in addressing such attempts?
We are concerned about the situation. The attempts to spread misinformation and create divisions seem to be accelerated. The Supreme Court judgement on SC/ST Act has caused a lot of discontent particularly among the Scheduled Castes (SCs). I believe this Act is very appropriate safeguard. Therefore, it should not be diluted. I am satisfied that the Government of India has opted for review of the judgement. The Prime Minister has said that if the review is not favourable, the government will not hesitate to enact a law to restore the status quo. It is very sad that even after the efforts by so many people right from the Maharaja of Baroda, Maharaja of Kolhapur, Dr Ambedkar, Mahatma Gandhi and the RSS, there are incidents that a SC bridegroom is not allowed to ride a horse in his wedding or the SCs are targeted for being the SCs at several places. We have been making tireless efforts to strengthen social harmony. We shall speed up our efforts to ensure dignity, social equality, financial equality and educational equality for the SCs and to make efforts that the SCs are included in the decision making bodies.
You have been in politics where agitations pay dividends. The VHP has also been in agitational mode after the launch of Shri Ramjanmabhoomi movement. How do you see the role of VHP in the changed scenario today?
When the VHP was formed, agitation was not in its agenda. It is a long continuous constructive effort of harmonising the society, providing common platform to all the ways of worship born in India, to share the common ethos and spread them for the world peace and development. Shri Ramjanmabhoomi movement became an urgent necessity, so the VHP took part in it. Building a grand temple at the birthplace is a priority. The VHP shall continue its efforts for constructive activities and harmony amongst the Hindus and the people of Indian faiths all over the world.
A look at the new team of VHP shows that it is turning to soft Hindutva. Comment.
I don’t think there is any soft Hindutva or hardline Hindutva. We believe in social harmony. It is not a job achievable by agitations. Social harmony, making people adopt the Hindu way of life and becomes living embodiment of Hindutva are our priorities.
Though the matter of Shri Ramjanmabhoomi is in Supreme Court, there are attempts for amicable solution through dialogue but excluding the VHP. What do you think on it?
We believe dialogue is very essential in democracy. If there are serious efforts, the VHP will not shun them. But it is the VHP which has been spearheading this movement. So, any effort for a dialogue excluding the VHP is meaningless. Those who are really interested in solving the problem should talk to all. You cannot resolve a dispute by ignoring the organisation that originally raised this issue.
Since 1964, many eminent personalities including Shri Guruji, Shri Ashok Singhal, saints, Shankaracharyas, Dharmachayras have been a guiding force behind the VHP. Where do you find yourself in the organisation?
I am a low profile worker. I am thoroughly convinced that the VHP has always been a team work. I would pray to the God to give me strength to continue and retain my commonness and to be a team worker. It is the team that works and achieves.
"Since the Hindu families are breaking—number of divorces is increasing, families are getting nuclear, decrease in values, family members are asserting their rights but not the duties, we will focus on Parivar Prabodhan"
There is an atmosphere of Hindu awakening in the country, but at the same time there are efforts to malign the Hindu society by using the words saffron terror, Hindu terror, etc. How does the VHP plan to address such attempts?
It is not the job of VHP alone. We all have to work together. I am happy that Swami Aseemanandji has been acquitted. I accuse the Congress Government of indulging in competitive communalism and create a narration of saffron terrorism. It was never there. A Hindu does not become a terrorist. That is not our culture. But they created it and implicated Hindu leaders and wanted to implicate other seniors also. I am happy that the boggy of saffron terrorism has now been deflated. I am sorry for three things. One, this effort was made. Two, in their attempt to implicate Hindu leaders, the real offenders were let run away. Three, the only party that used these issues in UNO and other world fora was Pakistan saying that it is not Islamic terrorism alone, Hindu terrorism is also there. The Congress in its efforts only benefited Pakistan thereby causing a huge harm to the interests of our country. The efforts to malign Hindutva will not succeed. Another aspect of it is that the same Congress is now practicing soft Hindutva. We have never seen Soniaji and Rahul going to temples. They have never been practicing Hindu. Now Rahul wears a dhoti, goes to temples without covering his upper part and goes through the ceremonies because they know that they cannot ignore the sentiments and issues of the Hindu society.
Any plan to expand the sewa activities?
Yes we will focus on that also. Even during Shri Ramjanmabhoomi movement this aspect dominated our image. We will continue to strengthen our sewa projects to serve the society better.
What about one temple, one well and one crematorium campaign?
This is the agenda of the whole Hindu society. Eating together or worshiping one or two SC girls on Ashtami day were the instruments of 1930s. At that time, it was a big thing to have food on the same table with the SC. This would not be sufficient today. It is not the issue of one temple. That will not solve the problem unless we ensure respect to them through social democracy, educational democracy and financial democracy.
The VHP has also been promoting SC/ST priests in temples. Would you further promote it?
We have specific cell for it, which teaches puja rituals to the SC/ST priests with all professional manners. We will surely promote it.
Any other issue you wish to mention?
Social harmony is on top of our agenda. Another issue is that the Hindu families are breaking—number of divorces is increasing, families are getting nuclear, families have no values, family members are asserting their rights but not the duties. Hence, we will focus on Parivar Prabodhan. We will also make sure that the grand temple is built up at the place where Bhagwan Shri Ram was born.