German Ambassador Walter Lindner with the RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat in Nagpur
Nagpur: Terming the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh a “mass movement” in India, German Ambassador in India Walter Lindner said his visit to the RSS headquarters was part of his attempt to understand the “Indian mosaic”.
Replying to the criticism on his visit, including an online petition calling for his resignation, Shri Lindner said he visited Nagpur on July 21 to review the progress in the city’s Metro project which Germany has helped financially and decided to meet the RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat also. “I went to educate myself about the organisation,” he said. “I had read very negative and very positive articles about it, everything from its social engagement to accusations of fascism, and I wanted to make my own impression. So, I asked Shri Bhagwat many questions.”
In a Tweet about his meeting, Shri Lindner had written that the RSS, “Founded (in) 1925, it is (the) world’s largest voluntary organization— though not uncontroversially perceived throughout its history.” Explaining the comment, he said as a German, he was conscious of the organisation’s history during the 1930-40s and discussed that with Shri Bhagwat. He said the RSS is one part of the mosaic that makes up India. “You can’t deny that this is a mass movement and whether one likes it or not, it is out there,” he asserted.