The acronym RSS, which is generally associated with the Hindu nationalist group, is in a different avtar here – Rashtriya Shia Samaj. A hoarding of the organisation, working for welfare of Shia Muslims in Uttar Pradesh, outside the Haj House here reads, “Prem ki peeda Bharat ke ab kone kone mein ho, chot lagey Ram ke, to dard Raheem ke seene mein ho (Love or empathy should exist throughout India. If Ram is hurt, Raheem should also feel the pain).” Interestingly, the hoarding has been put up barely 100 metres away from the state BJP office and the imposing state legislature complex on the busy Vidhan Sabha Marg to catch the attention of passersby.
“Rashtriya Shia Samaj or RSS was conceptualised almost a year back, but we started different public-oriented programmes only from this year. “On one of the Tuesdays of Jyestha month (June 13) of the traditional Hindu calendar, we organised a large-scale bhandara (community feast) at Hazratganj,” Bukkal Nawab, the president of this Shia welfare body, told PTI.
Elaborating on the idea behind the formation of the RSS, he said, “The basic idea was to ensure betterment and welfare of people belonging to the Shia community. When we were zeroing in on the name of the organisation, Rashtriya Shia Samaj was agreed upon and the abbreviation became RSS.” On whether the organisation drew any inspiration from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Nawab (62) said, “It is not at all influenced or inspired by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
After its formation, no one from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh objected to the abbreviation.” He said the main aim of the organisation was to foster amity between Hindus and Muslims and spread brotherhood. Referring to the Ayodhya dispute, Nawab, who is also a member of the UP Legislative Council, strongly advocated for construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya. “I am of the view that Ram Temple must be built in Ayodhya. After all, Lord Ram was born in Ayodhya and not in Pakistan,” he said.
To a question on triple talaq, he said, “There is no such provision in Quran.” Reacting to the formation of the Rashtriya Shia Samaj, All India Shia Personal Law Board spokesperson Yasoob Abbas said, “He can form any organisation for his personal gains. We have no objections to it.” “But, if the name of the community is involved for personal gains, then we certainly have objections. At best, this could be described as a publicity stunt,” he said.