Muslims must abandon their boisterous rhetoric of supremacy: Bhagwat
In an interview, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat also spoke about how population control could not happen by force, and said that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people also had a right to live and deserved social acceptance.
There is no threat to Islam in India, or to Muslims who wish to pursue their faith or seek to “return to” the faith of their ancestors, but they will have to “abandon their boisterous rhetoric of supremacy”, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat has said.
In an interview to the Organiser and the Panchjanya, both publications affiliated with the RSS, the ideological fount of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Bhagwat also spoke about how population control could not happen by force, and said that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people also had a right to live and deserved social acceptance.
In the interview, Bhagwat said Hindus did not believe in compulsion but anyone who lives in India should abandon the notion of supremacy.
“The simple truth is this- Hindusthan should remain Hindusthan. There is no harm to the Muslims living today in Bharat. If they wish to stick to their faith, they can. If they want to return to the faith of their ancestors, they may. It is entirely their choice. There is no such stubbornness among Hindus. Islam has nothing to fear. But at the same time, Muslims must abandon their boisterous rhetoric of supremacy,” he said in the interview published this week.
The Sangh chief who spearheaded the organisation’s outreach towards minorities by visiting a madrasa and meeting representatives of the Muslim community last year, said should Hinduism disappear, “other races will start a war for supremacy”.
“We are of an exalted race; we once ruled over this land, and shall rule it again; only our path is right, rest everyone is wrong; we are different, therefore we will continue to be so; we cannot live together - they must abandon this narrative. In fact, all those who live here – whether a Hindu or a communist – must give up this logic,” he said.
In response to a question on population policy and control, an issue that the Sangh has focussed on over the years and pushed the government to come up with a national policy for, Bhagwat said, “Population is an asset, but it can be a heavy burden too. As I had mentioned in that (Dussehra) speech, it is essential that we frame a thoughtful, long-term population policy. And the same should be equally implemented by everyone. But this cannot be done forcefully; people must be educated.”
The Sangh chief blamed religious conversion for “population imbalance”. To a question on what led to the formation of Pakistan, he said India had been unified and undivided, but after the digression from “Hindu bhav”, the country faced “calamity” and Partition took place.
To a separate question on how the Sangh – perceived to be an orthodox organisation responds to contemporary discourse on gender and technology – he said on issues of gender and the environment, the world is coming to accept the Indian thought.
“Every now and then, a minor question crops up, which is blown out of proportion by the media, because the so-called neo-left finds it pioneering. Like LGBT or transgender issues. But these are not new issues; they have always been there. These people also have a right to live. Without much hullabaloo, we have found a way, with a humane approach, to provide them social acceptance, bearing in mind they are also human beings having an inalienable right to live,” he said.
The statement comes at a time when the issue of legal sanction for same-sex marriages is being examined by the Supreme Court court. This is not the first time that an RSS functionary has spoken about LGBT rights. In 2016, RSS leader Dattatreya Hosabale had said that homosexuality was not a crime, and should not be considered a criminal offence.
The RSS is a non-political entity but dimensions of politics that affect “national policies, national interest and Hindu interest” matter to the Sangh. “The Sangh has always been concerned about whether the overall political direction is conducive to these issues or not… If politics takes a wrong turn, and because of that a social awakening is adversely impacted, we are concerned,” he said.
He also addressed the issue of caste discrimination that persists in society and said slogans such as Jai Shri Ram are aimed to energise people. “Shri Ram strung together all jatis and sects. But even today, people in our country are getting whipped (for) so much as mounting another’s wagon. Should this not change?” he asked.