Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat on Monday asked the organisation’s cadre to refrain from forcing people to chant the ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ slogan.
“Our conduct should be such that people must chant the slogan on their own. It has to come from within,” Bhagwat said while dedicating the historical Smriti Bhawan in Lucknow to the people. It was at this building that the BJP’s previous avatar, the Bharatiya Jan Sangh, was set up in 1951.
He spoke on the concept of taking the ‘sarva samaj’ (entire society) along, and hinted that chanting nationalistic slogans should be a voluntary – not a mandatory – exercise. “Everyone is our own, and we have to take everyone along,” the RSS chief said.
This, however, seemed to be at odds with a statement Bhagwat made in Kolkata on Sunday, wherein he expressed the RSS’s desire to make the whole world chant the slogan. He had gone on to say that a separate country (referring to Pakistan) had been carved out for people who did not want to stand with the “qualities of Bharat”.
RSS leader Prabhu Narain confirmed the idea behind Bhagwat’s words. “The sarsanghchalakji made it clear that the slogan shouldn’t be forced on anyone. It should be a voluntary sentiment – something that comes from within. He wanted us to lead by example, through impeccable conduct and total dedication to the cause of the motherland,” he said.
Bhagwat’s statement came on a day when All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen president Asaduddin Owaisi was also in the state capital. Owaisi had earlier said that he wouldn’t chant the slogan even if a knife was held to his throat.