RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat clears air about their stance on contentious issues

New Delhi: Mohan Bhagwat, the chief of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) articulated their stance on contentious issues on Wednesday. The three-day lecture series, which ended with Bhagwat answering questions from the audience, was aimed at reaching out to those unfamiliar with the RSS’s ideology.

The RSS chief spoke on various issues, ranging from cow protection, to their stance against minorities. He also strongly pitched for construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya at “the earliest”, asserting that it will end tension between Hindus and Muslims. Describing Lord Ram as “Imam-e-Hind”, Bhagwat said he may not a god for some people of the country, but he is an idol of Indian values for people from all sections of the society.

Talking about cow protection Bhagwat said, “Just as voice is raised against incidents of lynching, there should be protests against cow smuggling, too…There are many people involved in cow protection, and these are not the ones who lynch in the name of cow protection. We should separate the two. Good cow shelters are being run by Muslims, too. There have been experiments in prisons which have found that criminal tendency among the inmates sees a fall if they take care of a cow.”

Touching upon the sensitive issue of caste Bhagwat said, “There is no reason to plan a mechanism for caste system, we must make efforts to eradicate it. Discrimination should end.”

To a question about changing demographic balance in parts of India and the ‘declining’ Hindu population, the RSS chief said the matter of demographic balance is considered significant world over and it should be maintained here also. “Keeping this in mind, a policy on population should be prepared,” he said, adding that it should keep in mind the country’s projected population in the next 50 years and its resources to deal with the number.

“We need a new education policy, which will hopefully include our value based systems. It is wrong to say that the standard of education is falling; it is the standards of those who teach that are falling. Students think of only earning though education; we are not instilling the sentiment to excel. People get degrees, but are not employable; there are many institutions, but research is dipping and there are fewer teachers… education policy needs a change,” said the RSS chief about education.

“Most people converse in English, we should respect our mother language. It is necessary to preserve all languages, though there is no need to remove English. We need to make efforts to use Indian languages; those who speak Hindi must learn at least one other Indian language. The number of Sanskrit schools is dipping because we are not interested, nor is the government. We need to push for literature in Sanskrit.

Talking about Women issues Bhagwat said, “Women feel unsafe because of the way men look at them. Men need to change the way they look at women. All women, except the wife, are like mothers, these are our values. Women need to be imparted skills in self-reliance and the Sangh’s volunteers are already imparting these lessons.” He also added that there should be stricter punishments for criminals in cases of violence against women.

When it came to reservation policies, he said that the RSS supports the existing policy. “As for reservation for communities (OBCs and the creamy layer) there are forums to decide on this. Politics of reservation is the problem, not the reservation,” he added.

He also opined on the Sangh’s approach toward the LGBT community, “They (the LGBT community) are a part of the society. Times are changing and the society has to take a call on such issues, but at the same time, these are not the only pressing issues that are required to be debated.”

Many BJP leaders and Hindu outfits have often claimed that the Hindu population was dwindling whereas Muslim numbers were on a upswing. “We did not use the word (minorities) before the British arrived. The Sangh has reservation about its usage. If Muslims are scared (of the RSS), I have said ‘come and see it for yourself’. Muslims near a shakha feel safer. What was said in (second RSS Sarsanghchalak MS Golwalkar’s book) ‘Bunch of Thoughts’ is not eternal. It was said in context; and (thoughts) don’t remain static…The politics of shamshaan, kabristanbhagwa aatankwad is done by those whose only aim is to be in power…politics should be for the good of the people,” explained Bhagwat.

Among other issues, Bhagwat also talked about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and said the RSS does not accept Article 370 and 35-A of Constitution relating to the state. While Article 370 deals with autonomy of the state, Article 35-A allows the state assembly to define permanent residents of the state.

(With inputs from Agencies)