RSS Sah Sarkaryavah Dattatreya Hosabale earlier today interacted with correspondents of Foreign Media houses via video teleconferencing. In his opening address he spoke about the way the world and India are grappling with an unprecedented situation due to COVID and the uniqueness in the way India is handling the situation.
"The whole world is grappling with an unprecedented situation from COVID. This enemy is enemy of all, a common enemy for all Human beings irrespective of boundaries, caste, creed or religion. As of today it has left 2 lakh 58000 dead and millions infected. Every death is painful whichever nationality they belong to. Govts, organisations, individuals and communities are fighting the menace together", he said.
Speaking on the uniqueness of India's fight against Corona, he said "India's fight has been unique as it has the 2nd largest population with 1.3 billion people and India's literacy and healthcare system are not like developed countries but its fight is ememplery. In comparison with many other counries India has done very well. Each death is painful but we have done much better than many countries. Union govt, state govt and society came together to fight the menace. People from all sections of the soceity have come out to help those in need in all corners of the country including in remote villages and towns. Civic society organisation like temples, mathas, gurudwaras, have played a ememplery role", he said.
On the issue of migrants he said that both decisive government at the centre and a sensitive society came together to serve the migrating labours and other weaker sections of the society. RSS and many other organisation have been volunteering to help the administration during transfer of migrants to home towns by providing them with food and essentials. "Along with handling Corona infected patients, medical care for non-corona patients was very important at this time. Hence blood donation camps at different parts of the country were organised by RSS Swayasmevaks.
"RSS has always been the first to rush to help people during any emergency situations be it natural calamities or man-made disasters like rail accidents. Even during the current crisis situation, RSS has played a very pro-active role. The annual Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha (ABPS) was suspended voluntarily. Further, daily shakhas, milans and RSS camps/vargas have been suspended keeping in view of the situation", he said.
Giving a overview of the RSS seva statistics during COVID-19 lockdown, he said that RSS swayamsevaks have served at 67,336 with 3,42,319 dedicated Volunteers. 50,48,088 ration kits have been donated to Families and 3,17,12,767 meal packets have been distributed. Nearly 4,89,824 migrant workers have been helped in one or the other ways. 22,446 units of blood have been collected through blood donation camps organised by RSS. More than 44,54,555 face masks have been doanted he said.
"When more than 300,000 Migrant labors from Delhi moved towards their hometowns in UP, RSS swayamsevaks provided them with food, water and other aid. The migrants too behaved exemplerily as they did not raise slogans, nor created any ruckus. This is the culture of Bhratiya society. When PM requested people of the country to thank Corona frontline warriors like doctors, police, civic workers, healthcare staff, people became part of the movement voluntarily. This shows the united fight India put up. Cultural and civilizational background and immunity provided by god has helped India keep corona situation under control", said Dattatreya Hosabale.
Speaking on the World after corona, he said that experts have opined that the world will not be the same as our approach to life and lifestyle, geopolitical balances, economic structures will change. "Humanity will have to revisit its model of development. Unbridled materialism has to be questioned. Economic depression and environment degradation will also have to be addressed with a new lifestyle friendly to environment. The world should also focus on local manufacturing to boost economy. The Swadeshi model is ideal to tide over the crisis and also help local manufacturing. RSS believes that entire world is one - entire world is one family. RSS believes in 'think locally and act globally'. We should think about a new order which is sustainable and environmental friendly", said Dattatreya Hosabale in his address.
Subsequent to his address, he answered questions from the foreign media correspondents.
To a question on the opinion of RSS on Muslims being blamed for Corona virus spread in the country posed by Soutik Biswas of BBC, Dattatreya Hosabale said that it is a perception which is not reality. "On behalf of RSS, Sarsanghachalak Mohan Bhagwat ji in his address to the nation last week has already clearly said that an entire community should not be blamed for a fault of a few. Blaming everyone is not in right spirit. The virus should be fought together. If somebody is creating that perception, it is due to shortsightedness and this is unacceptable. The present challenge is for all and solution should also be by all.", he replied.
To a question by senior correspondent Dr. Waiel Awwad on the followup action not to target a communtiy after Mohan Bhagwat ji's address and the message of the RSS to Arab countries, he said that the message of India putting up a collecive fight is not only to the Arab countries but to the entire world. He informed that, "Many Muslim leaders have written to Mohan ji welcoming his stand. Through RSS outreach we have contacted local Muslim leaders who have welcomed the stand of RSS. Just like during past calamaities, RSS volunteers have not discriminated anywhere during their service during this lockdown. They have donated blood, delivered relief materials, food, etc. to everyone irrespective of their identity. Even in Delhi, Muslims have received aid from RSS swayamsevaks. Many Muslims have infact donated to RSS seva activities", he said.
Answering another question on similar concern, he said that we should not generalise any unfortunate incidents. "Muslims in India and their welfare is well taken care by the govt and the society. When Sarsanghachalak says 130 cr Indians have to be served, there is no discrimination on religion. The perception being created is unfortunate which we in RSS like to say is not true."
When a journalist pointed out whether that RSS should be more vocal in countering the perception that RSS is anti-Muslim, Dattatreya Hosabale said that everyone is part of RSS activities and the perception is just that. "Muslims send their children to Vidya Bharati schools run by RSS. Many are part of RSS inspired organisation like BMS, etc. RSS has provided service to everyone irrespective of religion. RSS Swayamasevaks have helped students from North-East living in differnet parts of the country when most of them are Christians. Chief Ministers of many Northe-Eastern states have thanked RSS for its timely service. RSS does not consider itself as Right-Wing but as a nationalistic organisation. Those who hold on to such perceptions should visit our service camps and report what they see" he said.
Takasi Asahi from a Japanese newspaper asked what does RSS think of the demand of many countries including US for an investigation into the role of Chinese in the spread of the Corona virus Pandemic, Dattatreya Hosabale said that when there is a global crisis of this magnitude, it is for the international community to probe or fix the responsibility. Organisations like RSS cannot dictate much on such measures. Whether it is man-made or not is premature and we cannot comment on it. In such a situation it is in the interest of humanity that the origin of the virus needs to be known not to blame anyone but to prepare better for the future.
Munish Gupta from PIOTV asked if RSS is serving during COVID19 to endorse the decisions of the government. Dattatreya ji said that the present situation is a challenge to be addressed by govt and society together. It is not just the task of govt alone. "This is why I said that it was in such a crisis that both the society and the govt stood up and acted together. In a post-corona world too we have to work together and not depend on the govt alone.", he said.
Rajesh Roy from WSJ asked as to how is India gearing up to fill the void left by companies leaving China. Dattatreya ji said that the GOI has acted by taking several initiatives over the last few years to attract such companies. GOI and state govts irrespective of the party are working towards it. He cautioned that "They have to think of more ways to attract such foreign investment without affecting local manufacturing and the environment. It is a challenge which has to be taken up. India should stand on its own feet as a manufacturing and agricultural hub. In modern world no country can close its doors to the outside world but what we need is adaptability and universalism." It is in this direction that Human resources of India is a advantage.
Sibil Leech, ARB German TV asked about the role of India in post-corona world. He said that India is a vibrant democracy and a inbuilt trait which Bharat can proudly claim. Neighboring countries have faced challenges in continuing as a democracy unlike India. Elections in India are happeneing regularly from small villages to the national level. We are proud of our democracy, he said. Indian thinkers of the present and past have provided good material on this which we can borrow from. Be it 'Gram Swarajya' of MK Gandhi or 'Integral Humanism' of Deen Dayal Upadhayaya, they can show us the path ahead and it is here that India has a huge role to play.
Answering another question on the work of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh being for Hindus only, Dattatreya ji said that Swayamsevaks all over the world who are part of HSS are rendering selfless services by providing food and relief to everyone without any discrimination. Whether it was was durng Hurricane Katrina is UN, earthquake in Nepal, or natural calamity in Sri Lanka, RSS swayamsevaks have rendered their service. They do not do it for perception but service to society is their second nature, he said.
When asked about the reason for high infection in Gujarat, he said that there maybe valid reasons for but is for the experts to go into the reasons. It is not about the party which is ruling but the exact reasons for the spread. People have moved around which could be the reason for the spread. Cities like Mumbai, Agra, and few in Gujarat have witnessed such unfortunate situatons where the infections have spread. Both the govt and society have to address the sitution unitedly. Adhereing to lockdown norms enforcing rules stirctly can enable us to handle the situation better, he said.
Another journalist S Venkatnarayan asked as to what is the RSS doing to make Muslims who are feeling insecure since BJP came to power in 2014 feel secure. He said that concern for any section is welcome but why is only one section of the society being highlighted? Muslims are not unhappy in India. Govt measures does not discriminate against anyone. Jandhan, Ujjwalla, etc have reached the poorest of the poor among Muslims too. UP and Bihar have large number of Muslims and they have benefited from these schemes in these states. Muslim are in top positions in the country and have become Chief Ministers, Presidents and are also part of our entertainment industry. They can stand for elections like any others. On behalf of RSS, we have reached out to many Muslim community leaders and they agree with this. Muslims are part and parcel of our society and none of the allegations have been proved. Allegations and perceptions are different. Service rendered during Corona is a testimony of how Hindu society is taking care of Msulims, he said.
Archana from Bloomberg asked if he was satisfied with the way migrant labor problem was handled by the govt. He said that RSS believes that those who want to go to their hometown should be allowed to go. The situation is such that no one could have planned for it. It is an extraordinary situation. Sporadic incidents should not be generalised. Govt and administration is doing everything possible. RSS and administration is doing everything to provide timely aid to such migrants who are traveling. But they have to be tested. We have to work hand in hand. By and large the migrant labour have behaved wonderfully well. Police and administration are working 24/7. We need to have patience. Future planning is also important, he concluded.
The video of the interaction is below: