Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat delivered a lecture series on RSS Vision – Future Bharat, and besides usual naysayers, for everyone, it created a positive vibration. Some might have started interpreting it as the new RSS; the reality is, with the same philosophical foundation of Hindutva, the Sangh has laid down the same vision it stands for, for the larger audience
Shri Mohan Bhagwat delivering the lecture
I have requested Mohan Bhagwatji to organise it at least once a year. Dialogue has been our tradition. Exchange of ideas helps people to shun the mindset of violence and terror. We can resolve every problem through peaceful dialogue. –Acharya Lokesh Muni
After Sarsanghachalak’s lecture I grasp the fact clearly that our nation is above all other issues. We will have to devote ourselves wholeheartedly in the service of the nation and in the process of nation-making. He narrated the history, process and meaning of the Sangh and its process of moulding swayamsevak. —Hans Raj Hans Singer and Artist
I tell the opposition parties, which have not attended this lecture despite invitation, that you talk about intolerance and untouchablity, but you yourself show intolerant and untouchable behaviour. You are not ready to even listen to one’s point of view. We all should have openness towards each other. —Jaya Jaitly ex Samata Party President
Let us live in reality. The RSS is a reality. They talk about the country and culture, nothing else. There is no membership for RSS. It is a philosophy and anybody who adheres to it directly or indirectly is subscriber to the RSS view. I am a Hindu, this is my identity. Bhagwatji has not compelled me to say that.–Amar Singh, Senior Politician
All other organisations should also have this type of interactions with the nation. They should also be in conversation with each other. I think such interactions should be organised by the RSS in other parts of the country. –Bhai Baldeep Singh, contested Lok Sabha elections in 2014 from Aam Adami Party This interaction is a timely step. What the RSS is saying is direly needed not only by Bharat but by the entire world also. In his speech, he has spoken about the culture and samskars and I feel the solutions of many of our problems lie in the culture and samskars.—Santosh Yadav, Mountaineer
It is a wonderful experiment. Many people came to know what the RSS is and what it does. It works not only for the Hindus but for the entire country. It is for the welfare of even the Christians and the Muslims. —Raja Reddy, Renowned Kuchipudi Dancer
I think there is a lot of misunderstanding and misperception about RSS. This kind of lecture series was a must where the RSS people come and openly tell for what they stand for. Such interactions help to understand each other. Many misconceptions about RSS have been dispelled. –Rupinder Singh Suri , former Chairman of SC Bar Association
It is very fruitful. It is good for the people who are attending as it will erase many misgivings about RSS. I am sure the kind of clarity Shri Bhagwatji has spoken, has cleared the doubts of the people. I myself had certain reservations about being called a Hindu. Today that reservations have disappeared. –Harinder Singh Khalsa, MP Fatehgarh Saheb Aam Adami Party
The interaction has received a healthy and positive response. It should happen regularly. The RSS has emerged as a big force, but people still have doubts about it. Shri Bhagwat’s statement that they have nothing to do with politics is significant. He has also clarified who is a Hindu.–Sardar Tarlochan Singh, former chairman of National Commission for Minorities
Myth: RSS has no Role in Freedom Struggle
Fact: Doctorji was active in all fronts pertaining to national awakening process, was naturally being in touch with all prominent leaders of that time. During trial, Doctorji boldly told the judge, “I do not obey the laws and rules imposed by the foreign invaders. Now the time has come for the British to leave this country.”
Myth: RSS is Supremacist
Fact: We do not want Sangh domination. Our viewpoint is quite the opposite. Sangh considers it as its failure if Sangh domination is needed to correct the society. Our vision is to strengthen the society, which will take the nation forward.
Myth: RSS imposes Hindi on All
Fact: No need to be hostile towards any foreign language. We can learn other languages but there's a need for mother tongue education. For that, make up our mind first, not the law. We have so many Indian languages. All are ours. They all are great
Myth: RSS is against Modern Education
Fact: Both Modern education and our traditional knowledge are equally important. We must learn values of life from our ancient system of knowledge
Myth: RSS is Anti-Minority
Fact: We do not consider anybody as minority because we firmly believe that we all are one. Irrespective of our religious believes, we have a common Motherland, ancestry and culture
Myth: Hindutva does not respect the Constitution
Fact: Hindutva alone gives the philosophical foundation for 'Fraternity' mentioned in the Constitution because it teaches the principle of Sarvershamvirodhen enmity to none
Myth: RSS Supports Jaati Vyavastha, and therefore it is ‘Manuvadi’
Fact: The use of the term 'Vyavastha' is itself wrong as it's indeed Avyavastha. Everything that leads to social discrimination should go lock, stock and barrel
Myth: RSS is against the Reservation
Fact: “We support reservation as the Constitution of India provides for it. Reservation should stay till those communities who get the benefits of reservation themselves decide that they no longer need it. Reservation is meant to correct the inequalities that crept into our society over the last few centuries. It’ll take time to correct the situation, and we must patiently wait for the right time. Reservation is not the problem; it is the politics of reservation that creates problems.”
Myth: RSS Wants to Abolish Atrocity Act
Fact: “One cannot deny that victimisation exists in our society. Laws to secure people against victimisation should be made and implemented properly. But we must also ensure that laws are not exploited and misused – something which is being unfortunately happening today.”
Myth: RSS is Misogynistic
Fact: “Women and men complement each other. For nation building, it is imperative that both function in cohesion and shoulder the responsibilities together. We believe that from decision making to execution, they are equal partners. In fact, in some fields, women are more capable than men.”
Sarsanghchalak ji Answers!
“We support reservation as the Constitution of Bharat provides for it. Reservation should stay till those communities who get the benefits of reservation themselves decide that they no longer need it. Reservation is meant to correct the inequalities that crept into our society over the last few centuries. It’ll take time to correct the situation and we must patiently wait for the right time. Reservation is not the problem; it is the politics of reservation that creates problems.”
Caste system and inter-caste marriages
“The Sangh supports inter-caste marriages, which should become a process for promoting homogeneity in the society. In fact you will find the best percentage of inter-caste marriages among swayamsevaks across Bharat.”
“A grand Mandir for Sri Ram should be built at the Ramjanmabhoomi in Ayodhya as soon as possible. Many communities across religions look up to Sri Ram as their ideal. It is only right that a grand Mandir should be built at the place Bhagwan Ram was born. The building of Ram Mandir will end a major issue of friction between Hindus and Muslims. And if it is done amicably, it will automatically silence those who point fingers at the Muslim community.”
“In any democratic system, it is not possible to get a 100 per cent perfect option. The best available option has to be chosen. It is human nature and it has been so since the time of Mahabharat. When the Yadavs were discussing who they should choose between Kauravas and Pandavas, the opinion was divided between both sides. The Pandavas too had made many mistakes, it was pointed out. At this point Shri Krishna guided that perfection is not possible, hence the best available option has to be selected. That holds true even today. “It is not advisable to choose the NOTA option, because if we don’t select the best available option, the worst available options will be the ones to benefit.”
“A comprehensive and balanced policy should be made on the issue of population. The policy makers must envision the next 50 years and plan accordingly. The policy, once it is made, should be applicable to all communities. And wherever the situation is more complicated, it should be implemented on a priority basis.”
‘Pollution’ during Hindu festivities
“Environment and pollution are important national issues and every community needs to think and act responsibly during their festivals. This should apply across all communities. But why are only Hindu festivals being selectively targeted in the name of pollution? Hindu traditions have always evolved according to times and we should be ready to change systems that are harming the environment. This should apply to everyone.”
Conversion“Since everyone says all religions are the same, what is the need for conversion? Those who promote conversion are not promoting spirituality. Their objectives are sinister. My personal beliefs should be my own prerogative. Religion cannot be sold in the market. We respect those who move into another religion out of their own conviction. But all of us know how conversions are done. If money exchanges hands to force conversions, we will speak against it.”
Swadeshi and Self-Reliance Everybody should implement the policy of Swadeshi because any economic policy is dependent on self reliance. So, the time till we dont implement Swadeshi, we wont see true development. However,swadeshi doesn’t, mean closing of India to the world economy. I won't buy from the market what is produced in my house. What is produced in my village and that increases the employment won't be bought from outside. What is produced in my country won't be bought from outside but what is necessary shall be imported.
In Bunch of Thoughts Sri Guruji considers Muslims as the enemy:
Bunch of Thoughts is a collection of speeches made in a particular context and cannot be eternally valid. Sangh is not dogmatic. Times change and accordingly, our thoughts transform. Dr Hedgewar, RSS founder, said we were free to adapt to times as they change. Sangh acknowledges as valid only those parts of Bunch of Thoughts which remain relevant to the current circumstance and have been put together in an in-house publication on Golwalkar” Guruji: Vision
Calling upon all the communities to come close to the Sangh and understand its working, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Sarsanghchalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat concluded his three-day lecture series on the topic ‘Future of Bharat: An RSS Perspective’ at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi from September 17-19, 2018. Ending the lecture series with a call to the society to come together to work for the nation, Shri Bhagwat reiterated that the RSS solely works with the aim of training people to be responsible citizens of Bharat. In the process, he not just presented the idea of Sangh and the core concept of Hindutva in the most precise and lucid manner but also subtly busted the myths that were created about the nationalist organisation with relevant examples.
“You need not believe all that I have said during the last three days. But I believe firmly that once you understand the Sangh, you will desire to be a part of it,” Shri Bhagwat said in his concluding remarks.
The three-day lecture series was intended to reach out to a cross-section of people who have excelled in their fields but hailing from outside the Sangh fraternity. As the prominent economist and Uttar Kshetra Sanghchalak Dr Bajranglal Gupt explained in his inaugural speech, there has been an immense curiosity among the people as to the working and objectives of the RSS. The lecture series was organised to satisfy all questions in the public mind regarding the Sangh, its functioning and views.
The Man-Making Methodology
On the first day, while addressing the galaxy of prominent personalities who were specially invited for the three-part lecture series, Shri Mohan Bhagwat began his speech by saying that the Sangh’s work is so unique that it is uncomparable with any other organisation. He made it clear that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh does not believe in its domination, but in strengthening and enabling the society to take the nation forward.
“I will explain the working of the Sangh. My intention is not to convince you. Your judgement is your prerogative. If you want to check out the facts that I give you, you must come closer to the Sangh and check for yourself,” he started the lecture for the audience who were not swayamsevaks.
“To understand the Sangh, one must understand who its founder Dr Keshav Baliram Hedgewar was,” he said and went on to relate the life and experiences that shaped Dr Hedgewar and subsequent formation of the Sangh. He related various anecdotes about Dr Hedgewar’s life, his participation in the Independence struggle and how he became convinced about the imperative need to train the people to create a strong and united society.
He quoted many leaders and thinkers such as Rabindranath Tagore, Communist thinker MN Roy, former President Dr Abdul Kalam who came to believe that the society needs to be awakened to realise the strengths of its traditional values. Dr Hedgewar, he said, regularly interacted with leaders from different ideologies and concluded that everybody is genuinely fighting for the national Independence, but no one has time to address the root cause of foreign rule, that is the divided society that has lost pride and conviction about its identity. He felt the need to organise the society and train people to work towards positively transforming the society and the nation. “It was with this objective that he announced the formation of the Sangh on Vijayadashmi Day in 1925,” he said.
“RSS is a methodology. What it's only working for is “Vyakti Nirman” (making good human beings). There should be good swayamsevaks in every village and Mohalla”.
“Dr Hedgewar said the Sangh would work towards uniting the entire Hindu society – nothing else. So much diversity in languages, cultures, religious practices, food habits, etc is there. How to take everybody along? The traditional value system that has the strength to connect and unite everyone in Hindusthan is Hinduness (Hindutva). No other word can describe this unifying factor across Bharat,” Shri Bhagwat said.
“Since generations, Bharatiya society has traditionally taught us how to live together. Whenever we have forgotten our values, we have suffered,” he said. “People get the impression that RSS is a very dictatorial organisation. They think that the ‘chief’ of RSS decides everything and everyone has to follow. In reality, RSS is very different. If you want to see the largest democratic organisation in the world, you have to see and understand the RSS. But don’t believe me, come close to Sangh to check out the truth,” he said.
“Every swayamsevak has the right to question, share his thoughts and there is a system how swayamsevaks’ thoughts are taken into consideration at each level, till the Pratinidhi Sabha (the highest decision-making body of the Sangh),” He explained with an example of a fourth standard Swayamsevak inquiring about his presence in his parent Shakha in Nagpur.
“Sangh is a self-sustaining organisation. We organise all funds for our activities from within and do not take even a penny from outside. Swayamsevaks look at the saffron flag as their ‘Guru’ and an annual exercise of ‘Gurudakshina’ raises funds for the yearlong activities of the RSS,” Shri Bhagwat explained.
“We do not want Sangh domination. We think quite the opposite. If in history, it is written that something good happens for the nation because of the Sangh then it would be a defeat of the Sangh thinking. Our vision is to strengthen the society, which will take the nation forward. The community feeling is the basis of Sangh philosophy. Our swayamsevaks do a lot of good work, but we do not propagate their names. Every citizen must work for the nation selflessly because it is the duty of all of us to give back to the nation in whatever way possible.”
“Our objective is simply to motivate and train every swayamsevak to bring about a positive change in the society,” he said. On the question of women participation in the RSS, Shri Bhagwat made it clear that Rashtra Sevika Samiti works on the same lines as the Sangh and women participate in a big way in all social service projects run by swayamsevaks. “Most of our swayamsevaks are family men, and their families’ contribution is vital,” he said.
“The Sangh wants to organise the entire society and no one is an outsider in this process. Even those who oppose us are ours, is our firm conviction. We only ensure that their opposition does not harm us. We are for the Sarvlokyukta (all inclusive) Bharat and not somebody Mukta (excluding) one…..then the fundamental question comes that why we are doing this only for Hindus,” he said while concluding the first days lecture and setting the tone for the day two.
Hindutva: Philosophy & Practice
The Sarsanghachalak elaborated on the concept of Hindutva while presenting the RSS’s future vision during his address on the second day. The Sangh aims to build an able society that embodies equality and is free from exploitation,” he said.
“Bharat is a democratic nation, and we respect all symbols of democracy. The Constitution of India is one of the prime symbols of democracy because it is the outcome of our collective consciousness,” he said while reading out emphatically from the Preamble.
“The Hindu dharma is universal dharma, based on humanity as a whole. We have never considered ourselves different from the entire world. ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ is the basis of Hindutva,” he said.
“There are three fundamentals of Hindutva; they are patriotism, ancestral pride and culture,” he said.
“The word 'Hindu' is derived from abroad. We don't get this word in ancient Indian texts. Acharya Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi wrote that when Zoroaster reached Persia, he was asked about his identity. He replied that he came from the lands of Sindhu. In Persian, 'Sa' becomes 'Ha'; hence Sindhu became Hindu. As we had trade relations with Israel, the word 'Hindu' reached the Jews. Through the seas, the word reached our western coast, and from there entered into our intellectual space. In the 9th century, it reached our texts but never in our colloquial language.”
“When invaders began attacking the diverse belief systems they grouped them as ‘Hindu’ and began converting them. It was then that the word 'Hindu' entered the colloquial language.”
“We refer to Hindutva as a value system. There are those who prefer to call it ‘Indic’, others call it ‘Bharatiya’ – we accept all these terminologies as the same,” he proclaimed while insisting that the content is important than the terminology.
“What is called as Hinduism today, is not the same as the religion of Hindus. There exists no specific Hindu ‘shastra’ because they were composed before the word Hindu became prevalent. Our ancient scriptures are meant for everyone, not limited to a few.”
“We believe that Bharat is not merely a geographical term because the geography of Bharat has been changing. Bharat is the name of a disposition whose crux is clearly explained by the word Hindu. Hence, Sangh is insistent on using the word Hindu.”
“While speaking in Parliament about Hindu Code Bill, Dr Ambedkar asked what religion is— a value or a code. You consider it as a code or as a religion? A code changes but not values. Our perspective towards dharma is that it is made of values.” he reminded the audience.
“Hindutva is essentially all-inclusive. It will be the basis of a strong and prosperous Bharat. Hindutva is a balance between the interests of everyone, a belief that welfare of all is the welfare of individuals and welfare of individuals is the welfare of all. Living life with this discipline is Hindutva. It is the collective wisdom of all the sects originating out of India. That is why we say ours is a Hindu Rashtra,” he said. “Hindu Rashtra does not mean that it has no place for Muslims. The day it is said that Muslims are unwanted here, the concept of Hindutva will cease to be. Hindutva believes that the world is a family,” he stated.
“The image of Bharat is that we accept and welcome all the diversities, it is the global Dharma that was nurtured here. Bharat is a trustee for all this knowledge and has given it to the world from time to time.”
Shri Mohan Bhagwat specifically addressed the oft-asked question about Sangh and politics. “There are questions regarding the political ambitions of the Sangh. Right from inception, the Sangh had taken a conscious decision to stay away from electoral politics. No office-bearer of the Sangh is allowed to be a member of any political party and will stay away from politics,” he said.
He emphasised that the Sangh focuses on man-making (Vyakti Nirman), but does not dictate what a swayamsevak will do in his social life. Swayamsevaks take various programmes which are for society's benefit into their hands. They execute according to their capabilities and preferences while in dialogue with the organisation.
“It is not our concern as to why other political parties do not have a large number of swayamsevaks. Why don't they (swayamsevaks) feel like going to other parties, is the question they (other political parties) need to think on. We don't ask the swayamsevaks to work for any specific party,” he stated.
“The swayamsevaks have the freedom to follow their conscience. The influence of RSS increases due to its social work, but we don't specifically work towards increasing our influence. It happens by itself.” Referring to speculations of Sangh influence in politics and governance, he said “We do not presume to give directions to political leaders. We do not give them any advice either unless asked. Only because they are acquaintances we meet them.”
“Though we stay away from politics, we do have views regarding national policies like illegal migration for instance, and if we have the strength, we pursue those policies with that strength. And we do not do it secretly but in full public glare,” Shri Bhagwat said.
Once again speaking on the issue of women in the society, He said women are equal partners and equally responsible for national reconstruction and hence should be treated accordingly. “In fact, in some fields, women are more capable than men.”
“We need to be economically, strategically and morally powerful, for the global welfare”, the Sarsanghachalak stressed. While articulating his views on the Future Bharat, he underscored the fact that once the all-inclusive Hindutva is the basis of our unity and integrity, “our vision document would not be for economic expansion but for would be for providing the equal opportunities for the nations who are lagging behind.” He said, “We all have to come together for this national responsibility and for which we have to be deserving,” while giving a call to all to join the process of national reconstruction.
On the final day, he cleared the air about some issues of national importance which came up in the form of queries from the audience, in which he made the Sangh position clear on the plethora of issues like reservation, Ram Mandir, Swadeshi, Cow Lynching, nationalisation of education etc.
Prominent personalities who attended the lecture series were Metro man E. Sreedharan, Narendra Jadhav, Manisha Koirala, Malini Awasthi, Anu Malik Anu Kapur, Manoj Tiwari, Chetan Chauhan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Amar Singh, Swapandas Gupta, Madhur Bhandarkar, Hansraj Hans, Gajendra Chauhan, Sanjay Gupta (Jagran group editor). BJP leaders Ram Madhav, Ram Lal and Dr Subramanian Swamy, were also
present. Union Ministers Dr Harsh Vardhan, Vijay Goel, Arjunram Meghwal, Suresh Gopi, and Alphons Kananthanam also attended the event.
(Organiser Bureau with inputs from IVSK)