Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat has lent his support to inter-caste marriages, saying swayamsevaks should stand in favour of such reformative measures in the country.
His remarks come close on the heels of the BJP aggressively wooing the so-called backward castes and Dalits in the recently concluded elections in Uttar Pradesh.
Orthodox opinions about inter-faith marriages by the Sangh and its hardline affiliates have stoked controversies, while that aspect remains unchanged, the RSS chief said swayamsevaks are encouraged to marry outside their castes.
“Generally, it happens and it should happen. If you take a survey, you will find more swayamsevaks with inter-caste marriages than anybody else. We observe that in our personal interactions,” he said while speaking to the RSS mouthpiece Organiser.
He also cited the message sent by MS Golwalkar, the second Sarsangachalak, to Dr BR Ambedkar on his wedding.
“…In his congratulatory message, Guruji wrote that not because of physical attraction but to register a protest against the caste system, you are tying this knot through an inter-caste marriage, I support this marriage and convey my best wishes. This message was conveyed to the swayamsevaks also,” he said on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha, Sangh’s highest decision-making body, recently.
He also batted for social inclusion and equality, saying wherever people in favour of social equality are in power, they should ensure strict implementation of the constitutional and other legal provisions pertaining to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
The RSS has been accused by its political adversaries of being opposed to a caste-based reservation. Ahead of the Bihar assembly polls in 2015, Bhagwat’s statement calling for a review of the existing quota policy was projected by the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) rivals as proof of the party and its mentor’s anti-reservation stance.
In what seems like the RSS articulating its support for quotas, Bhagwat went on to add that if the government ensures timely allocation of funds and appointing the right person for the right job, that itself would be a big job.
“Fifty percent of systemic issues would be resolved by this. These provisions are already there, we just have to implement them in right spirit. We believe that wherever swayamesevaks are in government positions, they should focus on this aspect. We can only insist on this and we are doing this sincerely,” he said.
Responding to a question on how “far a politically favourable atmosphere helps” in furthering the Sangh’s cause of samajik samrasta (social harmony), Bhagwat replied: “Politically favourable atmosphere can be helpful only in one sense if people in politics decide to do so.”
The interview comes at a time when the BJP-led NDA government has announced the National Commission for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes, which is expected to review the demands of Patidars and Jats for OBC reservation.
Interestingly, the Sangh had frowned upon the idea of reservation for the “prosperous sections” – the Jats and the Patidars – at its annual meeting in 2016.
It passed a resolution for samajik samarasta to stamp out oppression of the backwards castes, but added a footnote saying there is a need to examine if the benefits of reservation are reaching those for whom it is intended.