A file photo of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat. | Suraj Singh Bisht/ThePrint
File photo of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat. | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
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When a 69-year-old bachelor gives you marriage advice, take it with a spoonful of salt. The allegedly celibate Mohan Bhagwat, the chief of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, believes that education and affluence are reasons for divorce. Education and affluence, according to him, make people arrogant, which destroys marriages. Chanakya – the real one – must be squirming in the heavens right now since he was of the opinion that:

“Learning is like a cow of desire,
It, like her, yields in all seasons;
Like a mother, it feeds you on your journey
Therefore learning is a hidden treasure.”

Unfortunately, even Chanakya’s comparison of the holy cow with learning does not move the head of the Sangh chief, who is more often than not seen giving regressive advices to RSS karyakartas. His main advice is that marriage works only as long as the couple follows the rules of this ‘social contract’: man earns a living while the woman takes care of the household.

But the question that remains unanswered is: how does an unmarried man know what makes a marriage successful?


Also read: You can’t cancel Modi, RSS: Why US-style identity politics won’t help Indian liberals’ fight


Saraswati to Jashodaben

The RSS boasts of giving India Narendra Modi and the ‘success’ of Modi must mean that Mohan Bhagwat regularly dishes out pearls of wisdom to him and others. But did Bhagwat ever lecture Modi on marriage? It’s hard to take men who value cows more than humans seriously when they lecture on marriage.

If education caused marriages to break, how does the Goddess of Learning – Vedamata Saraswati – give us couple goals with Lord Brahma? If affluence was a reason for divorce, how does princess Sati, daughter of King Daksha, stay in an egalitarian marriage with Lord Shiva? Adishakti was reborn in a king’s family (King Himavat) and Lord Shiva and Parvati’s marriage is still celebrated.


Also read: Beyond secularism & fascism: CAA gives opportunity to re-imagine clichés about idea of India


The Modi example

We don’t even need to look at the gods to show the inanity in Bhagwat’s statement. The best example is much closer to home. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who claims to have had humble beginnings as a chaiwala (tea-seller), deserted his wife Jashodaben, three years after their marriage, which he kept secret for five decades and was finally forced to admit in his affidavit before the 2014 Lok Sabha election. Apparently, household duties – or earning a living, as Bhagwat would say – was not his cup of tea.

PM Modi also claims to be a graduate but hasn’t produced a certificate that would silence people who call his ‘1978 B.A. degree from Delhi University’ fake. So, basically, no education and no affluence. And yet there was a separation. This isn’t an attempt to get personal but when the RSS chief decides to give pointers on personal issues, then things will get personal.


Also read: Inter-caste marriage isn’t the problem, marrying a Dalit man is


Divorce is evil

Bhagwat’s statement is problematic for another reason – it projects divorce as something evil and shameful. Women continue to be shamed and blamed for the relationship not working out. This evidently forces many to stay in toxic and abusive marriages.

Bhagwat’s thought process is no different from the one that holds women responsible for rape and believes that rape happens because of the skimpy clothes that women wear. His statement tries to impose the same societal pressure that forces little girls and boys into silence, to not speak of sexual assault.

Bhagwat had revealed similarly atavistic thoughts when he had said in 2013, less than a month after the Delhi bus gang rape, that rapes happen in urban India, “not in Bharat” (rural areas). But as journalist Rukmini S. had reported then, court data showed that Bhagwat’s views were “plain wrong”. “75% of rape cases that led to convictions over the last 25 years were from rural India.”


Also read: Why marrying within your caste isn’t a good idea — a scientific argument


All that Manusmriti says

Former BJP MLA Savitri Phule said last year after leaving the party that the BJP and the RSS wanted to replace the Constitution of India with Manusmriti. And Bhagwat’s statements on women, marriage and society at large only goes to show that the ancient Hindu text is the fountainhead of the RSS’ ideology because even M.S. Golwalkar, the second RSS chief, had approvingly called its writer a “great soul”.

Consider this ‘teaching’ that Manusmriti imparts:

“Balye pitorvashay tishteth panee grhasay yownay
putranam bhartre pretay na bjait stri swatantr tam”

This stanza [5/151] translates to: “A girl should be controlled by her father, be under the custody of her husband after marriage and in her son’s care when widowed. In no circumstance should she be allowed to assert herself independently.”

In all fairness, Mohan Bhagwat’s statement would be ignored as ramblings of an old man who is devoid of constructive thoughts and ideas. But he doesn’t just influence the government of India, which runs a campaign called ‘Beti Bacaho, Beti Padhao’, but all those minds that swear by the RSS’ ideology.

By the way, what would happen to Modi government’s ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ if it were to listen to its ideological masters who insist that education – and the affluence that it could supposedly bring – are evil concepts that destroy Indian families?

The author is a political observer and writer. Views are personal.

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44 Comments Share Your Views

44 COMMENTS

  1. /Namoskar/ Exactly centum correct in his speech while seeing present scenario in our society increasing divercee because of ego comes from wealth, education among couples.

  2. The last thing we need from so called “Proud and Practicing Muslim” is moral lecture on RSS.
    Is being celibate or expressing opinion a crime in India?

    Can you please throw a light on Nikah Halala, polygamy, high birth rate of Muslims and plight of divorced Muslim women? The case of Aisha’s marriage could be good starting point.

    Stop your obsession with Hindu issues.

  3. First listen carefully… He said arrogance which is not in control is the reason behind this…. Not education…. And if educated person can’t control his or hers arrogant nature it’s not his fault…..

  4. I wonder this writer is not male, as the name indicates it’s female and I will look forward if some male have similar thinking as of this writer !!
    Bhagwat is 99 percent true only the problem happens when the few males do atrocities and result is to paid by all males !!

  5. Dekh Zainab Sikandar, what is your credibility?
    You shouldn’t write for the sake of writing.
    Stop spreading Hinduphobia.
    Our Geeta does not have specific instructions to kill, convert Kafirs, nor do we have Jazia.
    Write Articles on those Mullahs of Deoband, who regularly speak shit about other religions, and how they will make India an Islamic State.
    No, you won’t do that right?
    Because you guys want everybody to have a blind eye to that, right?
    Tum apne ye Hinduphobia ke jumle chalao,
    Lekin yaad rakhna India will never be an Islamic State.
    Hum ban ne hi nahi denge. 🙂
    Secular hi theek hai mera Bharat.
    Jai Hind.
    Vande Mataram.

  6. It’s not necessary to drink alcohol to know it’s bad effects. Observation and getting knowledge from experienced people is much better way of understanding things in right perspective.

  7. Everything is based on religious belief and practice! Is it correct, Indian cows are goddess or master of gods! or no certificate for College degree ! Answer for both are No! But, they can preach religion, caste, Gita, Veda, manusmruti, hatred etc! And, can introduce NEET, demonitise, one language, one educational system and everything is one based! And one ‘sanadhan’ to separate human beings!
    Generally, Hindu a religion coined by British, comprise, ie Hindu = Saiva + Vashnava! Basically/principally, they are purely Vegetarian (saivam)!
    Now, if we recalculate, Hindu minus non-vegitarian = Again only few ones!!!
    But, the answer should be “all are equal”!

  8. After posting my comments, I noticed that one other reader has also quoted from The Hindu, the part skipped by the Author conveniently.
    Other readers have stated much worse inhuman practices against married women in other religions

  9. Giving relationship advice is nothing strange-from karan johar who never married, yet hosts a show on FM, to people who have married thrice like Saif Ali Khan still trying to find love (A work in progress setting goals for others!). So everything I look at is more from funny angle, as we live in democracy, so people can keep saying whatever they like. But disturbing element is using Manusmriti as a reference in the post, can the journalist muster some guts to question the sharia law, or banning Muslim personal law board with atrocious assumptions biased against women

  10. On the same subject, The Hindu also reported that:”Mr. Bhagwat said confining women to homes has resulted in the condition of the society that we see today. “The condition of the society is because of the customs that have been practising here for the last 2,000 years. Women we have here were confined to homes. This was not the case 2,000 years ago. That was the golden age of our society,” he said. Wish the author had atleast mentioned this aspect also.
    No religion is an Angel in terms of smrutis or its equivalents and chattel practices as far as confinement and inferior treatment of women are concerned. Atleast in terms of religious diktats against women and married women in particular, even worse excerpts and practices can be quoted from other religions and practices.
    The reference to Shri Modis Degree Certificate was unnecessary. As far as I remember the originals including marksheets were shown in a BJP press conference and on TVs. As per exhibits shown, he had arrears in original exam and had to rewrite the exam in subsequent year. Then critics caught on to the point why Degree states the original year and not the subsequent year. Not only University but one such past student in similar situation confirmed that though one with arrear may pass in subsequent year, yet degree will state the year one originally has taken the exam.Though strange it was true at that time.
    At best one can say Shri Modi kept quite and took technical advantage of the fact that filling of some of items, in particular, marital status in election candidature forms were not mandatory. Later Supreme Court ruled that all items need be filled in such forms.
    His family did not hide the marriage. Harping on this aspect in my view has not much relevance to the main subject.

  11. Did you actually listen to the whole speech? He made a correct observation that chances of divorce are higher in affluent families. But rather than taking the hardship in truly understanding what the man is trying to say you resorted to ageism and Ad-hominem. Please read this article by CNBC, https://www.cnbc.com/2018/10/10/being-rich-may-increase-your-odds-of-divorce.html and please don’t say that CNBC is a right-wing channel, people will turn in their graves if that were true. Anyway, let me tell you what he actually said in one sentence. He said, with only wealth and no “sanskar” or morals one starts to have strained relationships because of arrogance and egos which ultimately results in divorces. Of course, I am paraphrasing.

    There’s a Hindi saying “Savan ke andhe ko sab hara hara dikhta hai” or in English “Everything Looks Yellow To The Jaundiced Eye”, which I think suits your state of mind. You’re blinded by the hate for RSS that you’re ready to fight even something good that they might’ve said. Please don’t be lazy and so quick to jump to the conclusion. Take the time to peel the layers and understand things at a deeper level. We need good journalists but more importantly intelligent and smart journalists .

  12. I think whatever Mr. Bhagwat said is relevant. His concern is the shattering faith of the society on marriage which was regarded a sacred union of couples. A nation is based in society and a society finds its pillers in family. So, he is right when he says it’s mostly arrogance and ego that prevents a person to make adjustments in relationship. The impact of divorce is that the nation loses citizens with values, which is not good for the society as well as the country.

  13. First make it compulsory to every RSS Man to marry and then they can give suggestions on marriage. Bachelor are not allowed to comment on this subject.

  14. What surprises me most in the West all Christians and Sikhs hate Mullas but in India for letting down a true Hindu Srong leader .Sikhs Chistrians have joined the devils Camp.Let me say all Abhramical religions are intolerant and can never be so accomodating like Hindus

  15. Another Mullahs views. The Print please rename ur Name to Mullah Print.These Mullus will always curse Hindus.Cant u see the writing on the wall.Europe USA China Russia India all are fed up with them.Dont ask them for political views.Unless u have read Koran

  16. Even Lord Rama distanced his wife Sita devi for a while but our PM Modiji distanced from his wife for the past several decades and not even mentioned about his spouse details in the election affidavits for several decades and also his blue eyed cabinet minister Smriti Irani also known divorcee is not known to RSS Patriarch and he is conveniently hide this bitter fact. Don’t throw stone from glass house and charity begins at home before public upanyasam by Mohan Bhagwat.

    • He was speaking at a function for RSS functionaries , so your comment on Charity begins at home doesn’t hold , he was technically speaking to his home crowd.

      I don’t agree with Mohan Bhagwatji but definately and completely disagree with Zainab Sikander . She has reported only partial statement of Mohan Bhagwat to whip up a controversy and create a click bait article.

      I think currently the worst people in India are the journalists from both sides – the BJP owned and right wing media and the pseudo intellectual left liberal and whatever other label they call themselves by.

  17. I think the statement is manupulated like this news. Also all written in this is not exacat what the editor is describe he may be anti RSS or anti Modi

  18. Only educated(certificate holder of any kind) people had/can destroyed the world like chartered accountant, school teacher, lawyer,indian administration service, police service and the list goes so long, I can’t say all of then but maximum of them.

  19. No one should take the advice of this vetinary doctor seriously ,it is for animals who are his clients No human being will follow dog doctor ,for them abandent pshycologists and marriage counsellors are available.in India.

  20. I only hope this disregard for evolution of human thoughts and ideas, disregard for human progress in a evolutionary industrial society and belief in the unsurpassable greatness of 4000-5000 year old civilisation is only for political purposes

  21. Both he and PM should form a bachelors club and retire in the himalayas,,, shame on him for speaking of an institution he never found a place in and probably rejected n now he preaches like an expert

  22. Agreed. Also while we are on the same page, the last thing we need from a closet Islamist like Zainab Sikandar is any lesson on what real secularism means. I am all for shutting off these right wing trolls of all religions.

  23. Your article is not at all penetrating into the deeper issue. Also, you’ve presented his statement in a narrative which suits your personal ideology.

  24. This fellow has achieved one objective i.e., to get noticed.first let him educate his Muslim population who treat woman as slaves. Hindu women are much more comfortable.

  25. Very appropriate. It is almost as ridiculous as me Narendra Modi advising +2 students on how to face exams in his Mann ko baat lectures😂
    However, the quote from Manusmriti is full of mustakes . The editorial rigour of the Print could not be seen!

  26. Twisting of manusmriti statements is rampant in Hindu haters
    . The statement cited only means that a lady should be given full protection by her father in young age , by her husband in middle age and if husband passes away, then the sons should protect and take due care of her. Is it against woman or anybody . Is it not the duty of the three ?
    Is it ” progressive” to let her fend herself in all situations from her young age till old age ? In Indian culture, family support is paramount . But the Culture haters twist good things to project them as bad .

  27. Very nicely articulated only with a view to find some thing wrong in what RSS chief said.
    It appears that you propose western culture compromising indian value systems.
    What is wrong in the opinion given by Mr. Mohan.

    The Gods and godesses mentioned are beyond the domain of the discussion which you have purposely dragged in. Divorce is inevitable in some cases. But in the current scenario the divorce is happening even for a petty
    reasons. The value systems in Indians have degraded.

    Dragging Modi’s name for everything doesn’t add any decorum to your article.

  28. I do not know how much is he morally correct but factually i dont think he is wrong.
    Pls do not ask for data but if you look for one and share it here, i am sure i will not be wrong.

  29. Looks like the author hasn’t read the news completely, here is an extract The Hindu:

    Mr. Bhagwat said confining women to homes has resulted in the condition of the society that we see today. “The condition of the society is because of the customs that have been practising here for the last 2,000 years. Women we have here were confined to homes. This was not the case 2,000 years ago. That was the golden age of our society,” he said.

  30. When was the last time Ms. Sikander lashed out against the ridiculous Shariah laws? Or the absurd concepts of apostasy and blasphemy so wodespread in her society?
    Her outrage has always been limited to the RSS, Mr. Bhagwat, Mr. Modi and the Manusmriti. Maybe because its quite easy to mercilessly criticize and even abuse these and get away with it. When it comes to her own community’s regressive thoughts and deeds she prefers to keep silence. So much for her claims to being “secular”.

  31. Mohan Bhagwat suffers from foot-in-the-mouth disease. He has firm opinion on everything under the sun, be it national security, politics, business, or even marriage. He has no experience in any of these matters. Unfortunately, he is quite influential, and his innane ideas can be adopted by the government of the day and hurt the society. Whatever he says gets wide publicity. This is inspite of claiming that RSS is a cultural organisation!

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