Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat today stressed the need to foster social harmony and called for banishing discord in society, his comments coming in wake of violent protests by Dalits in Maharashtra.
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat today stressed the need to foster social harmony and called for banishing discord in society, his comments coming in wake of violent protests by Dalits in Maharashtra. He said India was more than just a piece of land and asked people to shun discrimination and treat all citizens equally. “While worshipping the ‘motherland’, we have to consider the entire society as ours. We should be free from barriers of ‘ours versus theirs’ and ‘big versus small’ and treat everyone the same,” Bhagwat said, addressing a gathering here after unveiling a 16-feet statue of ‘Bharat Mata’ this evening. Bhagwat’s remarks came after violence in Maharashtra during the anniversary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle in Pune district brought to fore the simmering caste tension and triggered protests by Dalits. Appealing to all Indians to live in harmony, Bhagwat said, “Where there are cordial ties, there is no ego.”
“India is not just a piece of land. There are people who say it is just a piece of land and keep doing something. Such people are neither our brothers and sisters nor the offsprings of ‘Bharat Mata’,” the RSS chief said. “We should rid ourselves of discrimination and treat all equally,” he said.
Bhagwat said Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam founder C N Annadurai once considered Tamil Nadu as a “separate country”, which had “nothing to do” with India. However, when China attacked India in 1962, Annadurai changed his stand and opined that when the country is in danger, to advocate separatism would be to give way to the foreigner, he said. “Who taught this to Annadurai? It is the soil of India which has sowed seed of patriotism in every citizen,” Bhagwat said. Touching upon the RSS’ undivided India (Akhand Bharat) concept, he said, “We should always worship the undivided image of Mother India.” Bhagwat said the Indian ethos is rooted in the idea of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (the world is one family’). “We consider the world as one family. We find God in ourselves and everywhere. Indian ideology is based on this concept,” the RSS leader maintained. Violence erupted in Pune district when Dalit groups were celebrating the bicentenary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle in which the forces of the British East India Company defeated the Peshwa’s army. Right-wing groups have been blamed for the clashes which left one person dead. Dalit leaders commemorate the British victory as it is believed that soldiers from the Mahar (Dalit) community were part of the East India Company’s forces. The Peshwas were Brahmins, and the victory is seen as a symbol of Dalit assertiveness.