RSS chief, speaking on the inaugural day of three-day conclave, also praises Congress role in the freedom movement.
New Delhi: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat Monday said the organisation’s vision of Hindutva was not meant to oppose anyone and reiterated that its role was limited to society building.
In rare praise for the Congress, he also acknowledged that the party “played a big role in the freedom movement and gave India many great personalities”.
“Sangh’s role is to make good individuals and society, and nothing else. It works relentlessly for social welfare,” Bhagwat said at the inaugural day of the three-day conclave, Bharat of Future: An RSS Perspective, being held at the capital’s Vigyan Bhawan.
“We want to create a swayamsevak in every street, whose character is pure and who considers the entire country as his own without any discrimination,” he added.
In an evening that began with a rendition of ‘Vande Mataram’ and chants of Bharat Mata Ki Jai, and was more star-studded than politically inclusive, Bhagwat also said diversity should be celebrated.
“The RSS’ vision of Hindutva is not meant to oppose anyone. We should celebrate diversity and not discriminate on the basis of it,” he said, even as he claimed that India was a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ and would remain so.
He also rebuffed the perception of the RSS being dictatorial.
“If you want to see the most democratic organisation, come to the Sangh,” Bhagwat said. “What RSS does is unique and beyond comparison. Because Sangh has a unique identity, it becomes popular among people,” he added.
“We do not impose our ideology on anyone. We want to engage with everyone but not convince anyone,” Bhagwat further said.
Although the RSS claimed to have invited political leaders from across party lines, the opposition parties chose to give the event a miss. Among the only non-BJP leaders present were Amar Singh and Jay Panda, both of whom are not with their respective parties anymore.
Bollywood, however, had ample representation with celebrities such as Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Manisha Koirala, Anu Malik, Annu Kapoor, Bhagyashree and Madhur Bhandarkar, among others. Several top industrialists and representatives from embassies of various countries were also among those in the packed hall.
‘RSS formed to unite Hindu society’
Claiming it was impossible to understand the Sangh without knowing about its founder Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, Bhagwat narrated incidents from his life, attempting to explain the evolution of the RSS. In the course of his speech, the RSS head invoked Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore and communist leader Ramachandra Ruikar.
“RSS was formed to unite Hindu society,” Bhagwat said, claiming there were five values that prevail in our society, including pluralism, sacrifice and gratitude. He said the idea of ‘Hindu’ became part of the RSS agenda since these five “Hindu values” knit a diverse society like India together.
“These join our society, these are our fundamental values,” he added.
“We don’t want Sangh domination. We want our history and present to be based not on the RSS, but on the work of the people of this country,” Bhagwat said, as he went on to explain that while the RSS salutes the saffron flag, it respects the Indian tricolour as well.
Claiming the RSS does not hanker for publicity, Bhagwat said the Sangh was a financially independent organisation and did not seek any external funding.
While the sarsanghchalak will give a speech on all three days of the conclave, he will also address audience questions on the event’s concluding day.