India not US, Russia or China, says RSS chief
India should retain its historical identity instead of emulating other countries in order to avoid being ridiculed on a global stage, Mohan Bhagwat said, at the launch of the book, 'Connecting with the Mahabharata’.
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat on Monday said India should retain its historical identity and rebuild the narrative around it instead of emulating other countries in order to avoid being ridiculed on a global stage.
Speaking at the launch of the book, 'Connecting with the Mahabharata’, Bhagwat said Indians accepted the narrative that sought to ridicule their history, ancestors and cultural practices, which was a colossal mistake.
“There is a need to read and feel proud of our history and create a narrative. We cannot be China, Russia or USA, that will be mockery, and not development,” he said.
The RSS, which is the ideological fount of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been pushing for re-visiting India’s history and re-examining scriptures and historical accounts. The RSS has also been pushing for drafting policies that lay stress on indigenisation.
It blames foreign rulers who invaded India for distorting the history of the Indian civilisation and running down the accomplishments of Indians.
Referring to a need to reclaim India’s past and reset the present, Bhagwat said the process cannot be undertaken overnight and will require a sustained campaign.
“…How can we make an about-turn suddenly? The vehicle will topple. So, we will have to do this slowly and steadily. History is not just books, but geography and people. There are villages where they will tell you where Sita took a bath or Bheem left a mark behind. We need to connect with those aspects,” he said.
He said other civilisations tried to run down India’s past because they wanted to assert their supremacy. “We have forgotten our history. When people tell us our ancestors are foolish, it was for their own sake, but why did we believe it? This is our fault,” he said.
The Sangh chief also took potshots at those who have been seeking evidence to substantiate the claims about achievements made in ancient India.
“There cannot be evidence for everything. The process of seeking evidence also becomes ineffective. For example, carbon dating is also accurate up to a certain period. After a while, it is also not accurate,” Bhagwat said.
He said some knowledge is provided through evidence, while some is through tradition.
“…those who came from outside, it was important for them to prove that no other preceded them. Ramayana and Mahabharata were dubbed as poetic works. Have any poems lasted this long?” he said.
He said those who question the authenticity of the Mahabharata must answer “why would Mahrishi Vyas lie, for he did not covet any kingdom”.
“There is description of war in Mahabharata but it is a Jeevan Vidya (life lesson). It is not about one person, but gives details about how people need to coexist with nature….and Ramayan tells us how a person ought to be and how to navigate the world,” he said.