New Delhi: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has said it would be prudent for India to evolve a new model of development based on self-reliance, in order to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic and its economic impact.
In an interaction with the representatives of foreign media Wednesday, the RSS called it the ‘Swadeshi’ model, adding that the limitations of the ideologies of global capitalism and global communism have been exposed while dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
It said a detailed inquiry will be carried out to investigate the origin, reason and impact of the novel coronavirus. It added that the entire world should come together to avoid such emergencies in future, and create new regimes to deal with them, involving responsible individuals, organisations and countries.
“Despite a few incidences of unacceptable behaviour by some, a pro-active and decisive government and a sensitive society together have kept the number of infected under control and number of deaths remarkably low compared to other countries,” Dattatreya Hosabale, sah sarkaryavah (joint general secretary) of the RSS told the foreign press in an hour-long online interaction.
“It is time to fight the enemy of the humanity successfully and to write bright new chapters of the new world as one people without any discrimination. However, we have to be cautious against such forces as are inimical and antithetical to this oneness, and expose their intent, without creating any feeling of ‘otherisation’ and ‘exclusion’,” he added.
A model for the world
Speaking about the proposed new model of economic development, Hosabale said: “In this indigenous model, local resources, workforce and needs would be integrated into the economic activity, taking into account the ecological considerations. RSS believes that such a model is applicable not just for Bharat but for the entire world.”
He continued: “Though technologically and at the level of consciousness, Bharatiya thought has always been global and universal — believing in the concept of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, meaning the whole world is a family —economic decentralisation and social cohesion are the way forward to fulfil the objective of sustainable development.”
Hosabale added: “This is an unprecedented scenario, with over 36,80,000 people infected and over 2,54,000 already dead all over the world. Almost the entire humanity is in lockdown mode, and all countries are fighting the Covid-19 crisis in their own way. Bharat is also engaged in this very challenging struggle and RSS, being the prominent voluntary organisation, is also playing its role to address the crisis.”
Hosabale said the RSS believes that the Covid-19 pandemic, apart from being an unfortunate and cruel challenge, has also brought an excellent opportunity to “review our existing models of so-called development, the lifestyles and approach to ecology”.
“Here, Bharat is eminently placed to play a significant role that would lead humanity to sustainable development, progress with a humane face, and durable peace based on cooperation and mutual respect. We need to accept this challenge and work patiently and consistently to realise a harmonious and integrated world where ‘local’ will be equally important as the ‘global’,” he said.
“Therefore, a human-centric holistic coalition is the prerequisite for the emergence of a new world order.”
India’s collective fight against coronavirus
Praising the Narendra Modi government as well as state governments for handling the ongoing crisis through lockdowns and other measures, Hosabale said: “The way Bharatiya society, in general, has cooperated with the government agencies and risen to occasion is the most remarkable story. Ordinary Bharatiyas have a spiritual bent of mind and cooperative nature, which has proved to be a decisive factor in this fight against the pandemic.”
“People came out voluntarily to help the poor and needy and to provide food and other daily needs, paid their staff — both at a personal and professional level — without work, and, by and large, stood solidly by the corona frontline warriors. In our social structure, people voluntarily come forward to help their fellow citizens in need, and not depend upon the government agencies for everything,” the sah sarkaryavah said.
“The way temples, mathas, gurudwaras, deras, etc. started serving the stranded migrant workers and poor in the surrounding areas is the most commendable and inspiring part of this story.”
RSS’ relief activities
Giving details about the relief activities of RSS, he said: “RSS was in the midst of organising its most significant annual event, the Pratinidhi Sabha (National Council) at Bengaluru from 15-17 March 2020. But realising the nature of the threat, RSS immediately decided to call off the event and asked the representatives from all over Bharat, who had already started or were to start their journey for the meeting, to return. Those who had already reached Bengaluru were sent back with all health protocols.
“In the next stage, RSS also decided to suspend all its training camps and gatherings till June end, which happened for the first time since 1929.”
According to Hosabale, “over 3,42,000 swayamsevaks are carrying out various seva (help and relief) activities at 67,336 places, and till now, about 50,48,088 families and individuals have been benefited by these activities. Over 3,17,12,767 meals have been served by our swayamsevaks. They have also distributed over 44,54,555 masks”.
“Our swayamsevaks have started 25 types of seva activities during the corona crisis, from providing helpline numbers to various categories as per the needs to offering meals, shelter and medical help to people who are either stranded or coming from other states. From the urban poor to nomads and Scheduled Tribes, and even animals who are an integral part of our ecosystem, most marginalised sections are served by the swayamsevaks on a priority basis,” he said.
“The swayamsevaks are playing an important role as a support system to the government agencies in distributing masks, sanitisers, safety equipment, and most importantly, in sensitising the communities about the nature of the virus and explaining preventive measures. Specialised training is also given for the purpose, and the swayamsevaks are following all directions given by the official health authorities and administration,” he said.
“The 1.3 billion people of Bharat, being the children of Bharat Mata, are our brothers and sisters — this natural sense of belongingness, inculcated in the RSS shakha, is the fundamental motivator behind all these activities,” Hosabale added.
The writer is CEO of Indraprastha Vishwa Samvad Kendra, an RSS affiliate, and author of two books on the RSS.