Mandir to end Hindu-Muslim rifts, says Mohan Bhagwat
New Delhi: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat said that the Sangh had reservations over the word “minority” as it believes in “sab apne hain” (everyone is part of the family), and the word was coined by the British, as he appealed to Muslims to get to know the Sangh better by visiting it, and asserted that Muslims feel protected in areas where there are Sangh shakhayen (daily meetings) nearby. At the same time, Bhagwat also addressed the contentious issue of the construction of the Ram Mandir at the disputed site in Ayodhya as he pitched for early completion of the temple and said Lord Ram was not just a god for the majority of Indians but was also an “Imam-e-Hind” for many, and a temple at the site would resolve differences between Hindus and Muslims. Taking up questions on the final day of his three-day lectures on the “Future of Bharat: An RSS perspective”, Bhagwat replied to questions on a variety issues, including the Ram Mandir, Article 370 and 377, reservations, cow vigilantism, religious conversion, population control and Hindutva. Replying to a query on construction of the Ram Mandir and whether the Central government should bring in an ordinance for it or if there should be a national discourse, Bhagwat said that he was neither in the government nor in the Ram Mandir Nyas (trust) but was a “swayamsevak”, (volunteer) and the “sarsanghachalak” (RSS chief), and someone who had participated in the Ram Mandir movement, he wants an early completeion of a grand temple. “Lord Ram is not only a god for the majority of this country but is also the protector of this country’s traditions and its dignity and is also an Imam-e-Hind for many… all sections of Indian society have faith in him … We are not talking about any Ram Mandir as many such mandirs were demolished… we are talking about the birthplace of Lord Ram and only a mandir should come up there,” asserted Bhagwat, as he said if the temple was built, it would resolve contentious issues between Hindus and Muslims. He also said if the issue is resolved through a consensus, it would also stop many from pointing fingers at Muslims. Bhagwat also said if the issue was considered from the point of view of “rashtrahit” (national interest), it would have been resolved years ago, but the issue remains unresolved as it turned into a political issue. Bhagwat said “Hinduism” cannot define “Hindutva” as an “ism” confines, but “Hindutva” is a process and the only ideology which can maintain a balance between the different sects and ideologies which defines the ideology of India. He said the ideology of the country was taking eveyrone along, as diversity doesn’t mean differences and “Hindutva” believes in oneness, not through theorisation but through practice. On the issue of why the RSS opposes religious conversions, Bhagwat said if every religion and sect were the same, why was there is a need for conversion as it was for an individual to decide which sect or religon will bring him or her closer to the God or spiritualism. “God is not sold in the market or can be forced upon anyone because if there is any enticement or deception invloved, then such a process is not aimed at attaining spiritualism or humanity, but something else,” said the RSS supremo. The RSS chief also reiterated the Sangh Parivar’s position on Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution, which give a special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and said it does not accept both. Responding to a question, Mr Bhagwat said there was no anger against Hindutva and its acceptance was increasing across the world, but in India there seems to be some anger but not because of Hindutva but because of wrong examples put across in its name for the past few centuries.