Frank dialogue will lead to a confluence of ideas
The history of Bharat is dotted by examples of this exchange of ideas and assimilationUpdated: Sep 17, 2018 19:41 IST
In his seminal work, Who Are We?, Samuel Huntington states that “unless we decide who we are (as a people) we cannot decide what our priorities can be (as a nation).” Bharat is in a similar conundrum where the people of Bharat do not have one unifying idea of what Bharat is as a nation. It is imperative for a bright future that “we, the people of Bharat”, arrive at one idea of Bharat. This can be achieved through discussion and dialogue among the people.
There seem to be two major streams of an “idea of Bharat”. One looks for its inspiration from outside and the other believes its roots are in the age-old integral and holistic view of life based on spirituality which is the chief characteristic of Bharat. The former is not keen on dialogue and wants to push a particular narrative, leaving no space for any alternative thinking. The latter believes, and has facilitated dialogue and discussions with different view points on numerous occasions in the belief that, by coming together and discussing each other’s views, it is possible to achieve a point of confluence and a common understanding of the “idea of Bharat”.
It is a uniquely Bharatiya world view which has stated through the ages that, “Truth is one, sages describe it in various ways”. This view has facilitated discussion and acceptance of different views of life.
Hence, 125 years ago, Swami Vivekananda proudly proclaimed that we go beyond tolerance and accept all ways to reach the Truth to be true. This tradition in Bharat has stemmed from the Hindu view of life, one that is based on spirituality and is practised by the people for ages. The history of Bharat is dotted by examples of this exchange of ideas and assimilation. The RSS believes in the philosophy of Hindutva (Hinduness), the manifestation of a spirituality-based integral and holistic view of life, that is known as the “Hindu view of life”, the world over. It has been a tradition in the RSS to invite people of different points of views for discussions.
The RSS has conducted many mass contact campaigns or jana sampark abhiyan to share the philosophy, views, activities and achievements of the organisation. The first such countrywide campaign was in 1985 on the completion of 60 years of the RSS. The next one was in 1989-90 during the birth centenary celebrations of Dr Hedgewar, the founder of the RSS.
At the turn of the century, in 2000, to mark the completion of 75 years of work, expansion and achievements of the RSS, swayamsevaks went to several thousand villages and cities to narrate the story, the philosophy and the work of the RSS. During the commemoration of the birth centenary of the second sar sanghachalak of the RSS, Shri Guruji (2006-07), yet again a mass contact campaign was undertaken that reached out to all sections of society.
As a result of these efforts, the trust of and support that the RSS receives has been enhanced. Correspondingly, there is a growing curiosity and eagerness to know about the RSS and its views on different issues among diplomats from various countries, bureaucrats, technocrats, industrialists, security personnel, educationists, academicians, intellectuals, religious leaders, political leaders, journalists, legal experts, management consultants and many others.
Today we live in the era of new media and there are many more platforms for mass communication. So, it has become easier to reach out to a multitude of people with the click of a button. However, these same platforms are equally available to the detractors of the RSS and anti-national forces which run sustained campaigns to malign the image of the organisation. Nonetheless, the expansion, strength and positive influence of the RSS and its all encompassing and Bharatiya philosophy find increasing resonance among people, especially those who are young. The RSS has opened itself to innovative ideas and programmes to reach the masses through different platforms.
The ongoing lecture series is one such attempt at outreach to convey the views of the RSS on different national and social issues. This is an effort to communicate directly to the people. And this is a unique idea whose time has come.
The steady stream of communication and exchanges will lead to a point of confluence.
Manmohan Vaidya is Sah Sarkarywah (national joint general secretary), Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh
The views expressed are personal