Uttar Pradesh governor Ram Naik said that despite criticism since the days of Pandit Nehru, the RSS has continued to grow even as the credibility, capacity and numbers of those ‘angry’ with the sangh have been going down.
He was replying to questions at the ‘Coffee with Hindustan Times’ session held on its office premises in Lucknow on Tuesday.
On being asked about his RSS connection and why the sangh was being blamed for the growing intolerance in the country, he said, “Criticism against RSS is not new. It has been there since the days of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Nehru accused the RSS. Then Indira and Rajiv did the same. Now, Sonia (Gandhi) and Rahul are also doing this. Despite the criticism, RSS has continued to grow and gain credibility. I feel the RSS is a nationalist organisation.”
Commenting on Bollywood actor Aamir Khan’s recent remark on the growing intolerance in the country, Naik said top Bollywood actors were the ‘shaan’ (pride) of Mumbai but not everything they said was ‘shaandar’.
“India is a tolerant country which is why people still go to watch their movies despite the remarks made by them. Why should the image of Mumbai or the country be spoiled because of a few stray remarks,” said Naik, who has been a three-time MLA from a Mumbai constituency and five-time MP from the Maharashtra capital.
Asked to comment on the fact that most of the writers who returned their awards or spoke about intolerance were from Maharashtra, Naik said such people were in a minority.
Rejecting the notion that there was a growing chorus against intolerance, the governor said, “Check how many people have received literary awards so far and how many out of them are alive. Then you decide how many of them have actually returned their awards. You will find that the protesters are in a minority. I agree that the minority can express itself and should be allowed to express its views, but it certainly can’t rule.”
‘Tolerant India hailed Salman verdict’
To corroborate his point on intolerance, governor Ram Naik said, “I don’t know much about films, but I believe that when Salman Khan was recently acquitted in the 2002 hit-and-run case, not just his family and friends but many others across the country celebrated his acquittal. That is why I say that India is a tolerant country.”