Instead of showing abhorrence (tiraskar) or unnecessarily indulging in appeasement (puraskar) of a particular section of the society, Vajpayeeji favoured refinement (parishkar) to bring them into the mainstream
Throughout his public life, the late Atal Behari Vajpayee was dedicated to cherishing certain values and ideals. His every action had a message and he always preferred long-term gains over the cheap gimmicks. That is why every moment of his life is inspiring and offers much to learn for those people who are in public life today. Like countless other people, I too was fond of hearing his speeches. I first heard him in 1985, when he addressed a massive rally in Saharanpur, my hometown. After I started my career in journalism, I got this opportunity very frequently. And it became almost regular after I got on BJP beat in ‘Organiser’.
In March 1995, the then ‘Organiser’ editor, Shri Seshadri Chari, entrusted me with the task of bringing out the Varsh Pratipada special issue. That year, Shri Rajju Bhaiya was completing one year as RSS Sarsanghachalak. Initially, we decided to have some articles on his one-year term as Sarsanghachalak. In that series, I proposed to have comments from some senior leaders like the then Leader of Opposition Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee and Delhi’s Chief Minister Shri Madan Lal Khurana. Chariji approved both the names. First, I spoke to Khuranaji, who readily agreed and discussed his long association with Rajju Bhaiya extensively. Then, in an afternoon, I phoned Vajpayeeji, who then lived at 6 Raisina Road. The phone was picked up by his close associate Shri Shivkumarji and as I explained the purpose of the meeting, he immediately forwarded the call to Vajpayeeji. I explained him the objective of my meeting. As he heard my objective, he said: “We in the Sangh don’t have the tradition of praising those who are alive. Hence, I will say nothing about Rajju Bhaiya.” I immediately requested him to grant the appointment and we would discuss how you joined the Sangh and some other current issues. He agreed and surprisingly told me to come immediately. I had not expected that I would get the appointment so quickly. I informed Chariji and Chariji and I immediately rushed to 6 Raisina Road. Atalji called us in without a wait. That discussion changed my vision and left a lasting imprint on my life.
If the Hindus do not awaken today, their existence will be in danger. For that we have to bring all sections of the society togetherAs the discussion began, he started explaining how he joined the Sangh in 1939 through the Arya Kumar Sabha in Gwalior. Referring to the personality of Shri Narayanrao Tarate, who had introduced him in the Sangh, he said: “Whatever I am today, it is because of Tarateji.” He also referred to Deendayalji and Bhaurao Deorasji and his three meetings with the RSS founder Dr KB Hedgewar. He said the RSS moulds the thinking of the entire society and not merely the individuals. This is the special characteristics of the Sangh working. He specifically mentioned an incident of his elder brother. He said: “My elder brother and I went to a winter camp of the Sangh. As he (elder brother) reached the camp, he created a furore saying that he would not have meals with other swayamsevaks. He insisted on cooking his meals himself. How the then Shiviradhikari resolved that issue very beautifully is very inspiring. Shiviradhikariji provided immediately him with all the essential utensils and material. After taking a bath, he started preparing the food. The first day he cooked the food by himself but the next day, he joined the other swayamsevaks. His thinking had changed within just 44 hours.
“This is a unique and effective method of imparting samskars to individuals in the Sangh — moulding one’s thinking without hurting his belief or faith. In our spiritual tradition, an individual can touch any height. Even self-realisation is also possible. But the question is if everybody thinks of his own individual benefits, who will think of the society? Most of the people do not think of their responsibility towards the society, but the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has done it. The Sangh says that while moulding the individual personalities, we will mould the entire society. If the Shiviradhikari had scolded my elder brother and did not permit him to cook his food separately his spiritual feeling would have been hurt. But in the Sangh his thinking changed just within 44 hours. This is the Sangh way of changing the society. This is true that this process would take a long time, but there is no shortcut.”
During that discussion, Vajpayeeji touched many issues. Another issue that deeply touched me was his thinking towards the society. He said, “Our culture believes in respect and not in disrespect or dishonour. If we disrespect the people of our own society, we are weakening our own society”. Since the main focus of the discussion was on the Sangh, he said: “There are two prime goals before the RSS. Firstly, unite the Hindus in building the society, while rising above all their differences. However, some differences will always remain and we are not in favour of destroying the Diversity. Another objective of the Sangh is to help the non-Hindus, particularly the Muslims and the Christians, join the mainstream. Nobody objects to following their own way of worships. We worship trees, animals, stones and so many other things. There are hundreds of methods of worshiping God in our culture and everyone is free to choose one’s own path. But it is essential for all to look at this land as their Motherland. The concepts of ‘Darul Harab’ and ‘Darul Islam’ create disturbance to it. Islam has to learn how to live in harmony with other faiths. They cannot convert entire Bharat into Islamic state. After all they have to live here in Bharat and they should understand this fact.”
He further said: “The Congress has also committed a blunder while dealing with the Muslims. They are still indulging in their appeasement. The Congress never tried to understand the consequences of this appeasement. In my opinion, there are three ways to deal with the Muslims in India. First is the ‘tiraskar’ (abhorrence)—they should be left alone considering that they will not change. Second is appeasement, which is being done by the Congress and some other political parties for a long time. The third is ‘parishkar’ (refinement)—efforts should be made to bring them into the mainstream. We want to change them. Nobody wants to change their way of worship. Mecca will continue to be the holy place for them, but when it comes to India, then nothing should be supreme than Bharat for them. All Muslims should understand that they have to live and die in this land only.”
We have the tradition of eradicating evil through ‘parishkar’ (refinement). Today, I feel the Hindu society has awakened. The Sangh is moving ahead with this objective. If we look at history, we find that the Hindus had surrendered before many invasions. But now they are not ready to surrender. This change in the mindset of the Hindus deserves applause. If the Hindus do not awaken today, their existence will be in danger. For that we have to bring all sections of the society together, Vajpayeeji added.