We have called the Artha Shastra as Neeti Shastra....in our ancient view, both politics and economics came under that one word. Today, economics has become the more important factor out of the two. And socialism is often held as an ideal in this regard. But there are so many brands of socialism that it has become well-nigh impossible to understand what exactly is its real nature and content. .... Whatever it is, why should we become slaves to such words? It is best that we start afresh basing our thinking on the original concepts reflecting the genius of our own soil. Of course, if there are any positive elements, which we could usefully take up from other thoughts, we must necessarily do so”
– M S Golwalkar (Sri Guruji) – His Vision and Mission
“If you wish to converse with me, define your terms,” is the frequently used quote of French Philosopher Voltaire. Most of the narratives build against Bharat, specially in English language, create intellectual confusions with the divisive approach, are the direct outcome of not setting our terms right with the cultural context. RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat did exactly this in his Vijayadashami Speech.
The customary address to the Swayamsevaks on the occasion of RSS Foundation Day, generally outlines the challenges before the nation and contextualises the role of the organisation to mitigate the same. It also underscores the need for organising the Hindu society for national rejuvenation. While doing so in a succinct fashion, the Sarsanghachalak set the terminologies right to grasp the Bharatiya point of view, represented by the organisation.
For instance, a set of people are hell-bent on proving Bharat as a ‘Lynchistan’. Lynching is informal public execution by a mob without any trial to punish an individual for the alleged crime. Many researchers find the roots of this phenomenon in Christian Evangelism and Racial War in the US. Some would argue that when individuals are killed by the mob, how does this semantic approach matter? It does, as these words are coined in a specific cultural context, in this case, it is Christianity and the American Revolution. The US-based media applied their experience to the Bharatiya context, and some intellectuals picked up the narrative for their political agenda. Shri Mohan Bhagwat did not refer to this to defend any killing by the mob or to blame any religion. He advocated strict implementation of laws and gave a call to work together for curbing all forms of violence. The communal tensions in Bharat and outrage against the law enforcement agencies for their inability to act against criminals cannot be categorised as Lynching. The conspiracy to create such narrative based on selective cases was the larger point he was making, for which getting into the semantics was critical.
The same is true about Swadeshi; the term often used with a negative connotation. The Sarsanghachalak made it clear without mincing his words that ‘swa’ (self) based ‘tantra’ (system) and economy, does not mean cutting off from the global trade. It is constructive thinking about ensuring self-sufficiency and employability for all. Without domestic fundamentals being strong, we cannot engage in global trade for our benefit, is the essence of Swadeshi. This clarity was necessary, especially when the talks of a slowdown are prevalent, and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is seen as the only option.
Though the concept of Hindu-Rashtra has been discussed time and again, Shri Mohan Bhagwat provided the most inclusive and clear understanding of the same. He said, “Those who belong to Bharat, those who are descendants of Bharatiya ancestors, those who are working for the ultimate glory of the nation and joining hands in enhancing peace by mingling with each other and accepting, respecting and welcoming all diversities; all those Bharatiyas are Hindus. Whatever may be their mode of worship, language, food habits, lifestyle, and native place.” Hindu is the national identity of Bharat with the essential characteristic of acceptance and respect for all the religious ways, that goes beyond tolerance and everyone should protect and promote the same, is the crux of Hindu Rashtra. This articulation should end all speculations based on the alien understanding of nation and state.
As the pioneer of this formulation, Sri Guruji Golwalkar used to say, “We should shake ourselves free from the mental shackles of foreign ‘isms’ and foreign ways and fleeting fashions of modern life. Let us remember that blind imitation is not progress”. To avoid the spiritual subjugation, reconnecting with our philosophical roots and finding solutions collectively in tune with the cultural context, for which clarity of ‘swa’ based terms is critical, is perhaps the biggest takeaway from this Vijayadashami speech by the Sarsanghachalak.