The famous quote for Marshall Goldsmith, “Whatever got you here may well prevent you from getting there” is so apt for one of the biggest voluntary organization of India, RSS.
It has proven time and again, how changing culture is critical to relevance and effective of any organization. And the person responsible of making sure it happens is RSS Chief, Mohan Bhagwat. It is very clear that he does not hold back when he said things like “Every Indian is a Hindu”, which could be considered very controversial but indubitably renders the core of Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh.
“Everyone who lives in India is Hindu by identity, nationality. Hindu Rashtra does not mean it has no place for Muslims. The day it is said that Muslims are unwanted here, the concept of Hindutva will cease to exist. All people are our own” This sentiment prevailed before India got divided after 1881, which needs to be brought back, and in the process respect their choice to be called ‘Bharatiya’ or ‘Hindu’. In the process of achieving this, there will be opposition for which he said, “Jo aaj hamara virodh karte hain, woh bhi hamare hain, yeh pucca hai. Unke virodh se hamari kshati na ho, itni chinta hum zaroor karenge (Those who oppose us today are also ours. That’s certain. We will be concerned if their opposition is going to harm us)”.
It was RSS which initiated a demand for a Uniform Civil Code that applies equally to the Muslims in India. Though the idea was opposed by political parties such as the Indian National Congress and the Communist Party.
They rightly proposed that differential laws those are based on a religion violate the postulates of Indian Constitution and such differential laws have deeply rooted signs of divisiveness among different religious communities.
The national identity that is shaped by cultural traditions and not by any race or religion is called as cultural nationalism. M. S. Golwalkar ji believed that India’s diversified culture with different customs and traditions is its uniqueness. The diversified culture of India is the native nature of our nation. Despite the diversity, the natives share the same philosophy and values with a strong cultural and civilizational basis that forms a nation. Benedict Anderson also proposed a similar kind of idea of nationalism when he called a nation “an imagined community”. Even when there are people speaking different languages, following religion with different beliefs, there exists a strong common identity among them.
RSS is such a kind of force that wants India to be more vibrant and stronger than ever. A constant effort is made through them to attain the goodwill and cooperation among the different sections of the society.
Incumbent Sarsanghchalak, Mohan Bhagwat, has made it very clear, time and again, that he does not hold back. After graduating in veterinary sciences, Bhagwat became a ‘Pracharak’ in 1975 and since then never looked back. In 1991, he became the ‘Akhil Bharatiya Sharirik Pramukh’, then in 2000 was nominated as ‘Sarkaryvah’ with K.S.Sudarshan as ‘Sarsanghchalak’. In 2009, he was chosen to become the 6th ‘Sarsanghchalak’.
He is believed to be the most progressive and dynamic supreme leader of the organization. Bhagwat brought in a lot of developments to his organization, like switching from khakee shorts to trousers, flexible Shakha timings utilizing social media for propagating the word instead of relying on time-honored word of mouth methods etc. He firmly believes that an organization should adapt to the latest and prevailing methods, so to not become irrelevant and be able to enlarge its influence.
Around the time, when Bhagwat was appointed the RSS Chief, BJP had lost two consecutive Lok Sabha Elections in addition to state assembly elections. He focused his efforts to bring the Hindutva element injected in the veins of Indian youth and the voting population. Sangh projected Narendra Modi as the face of PM. The idea was the upliftment of the entire society, contrary to common belief that RSS works just for Hindus.
To counter this popular misbelief, Bhagwat said, “Hindu Rashtra doesn’t mean there is no place for Muslims. The day it becomes so, it won’t be Hindutva. Hindutva talks about one world family” i.e. Vasudev Kutumbhakam.
Bhagwat has been very vocal about his views on current affairs and national events. He represents Sangh’s point of view and has not been shy about putting his word out in the public to ensure Sangh and its intents are not misunderstood. He covered a lot of “controversial” points during his address at ‘Future of Bharat: An RSS Perspective’. His idea of Bharat is reflected by his statement “Hum log to sarvlok-yukt Bharat waale log hain, mukt waale nahin hain”, which bolsters inclusiveness of Hindutva. A few other quotes which help us understand his and Sangh’s point of view about Hindustan:
1) His justified ‘ghar wapasi’ saying that our brothers and sisters who have lost their way should be brought back, “Hindus do not believe in conversion. If anyone fears that Hindus are resorting to conversion, let there be a legislation in Parliament to stop this practice. Hindus do not want to change anybody. If you do not want anybody to convert.
2) Also, what he said back in 2014 could not be more relevant in the times today in the light of events evolving in Bharat, “The world has tried fundamentalists, Communists and conservatives and has now turned to the Hindus to find solutions to the problems… Hindus should rise in unison and show the world leadership based on values.“
3) “With education and affluence comes arrogance, as a result of which families fall apart, the society also falls apart because society is also a family”. It could not have been more obvious from this statement that his core values come from Vasudev Kutumbhakam.
To conclude, Bharat/India/Hindustan, whatever you wish to call our motherland, definitely need leaders like M.S. Golwalkar ji, V D Savarkar ji, Mohan Bhagwat ji, and others in the long list who hold a firm stance but are still agile enough to see, understand and implement changes to cope up with what makes the most sense at present. Whether it’s a new policy or bringing amendments to old ones or providing support to government authorities, they have never tried to appease anyone and has consistently worked for upliftment of the society.
Article written by Varun Kulkarni and Megha Sharma.