Raghuram Rajan invited to World Hindu Congress in Chicago amid row over RSS invite to Pranab Mukherjee

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New Delhi | Updated: May 30, 2018 2:26 PM

Speaking to FinancialExpress.com, the VHP confirmed that former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan has been invited to the World Hindu Congress that will be held in Chicago between September 7 and 9.

Raghuram Rajan, World Hindu Congress, Chicago, Vivekanand, VHP, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, former RBI Governor, Second World Hindu Congress, Sangh Parivar, Rashtriya Swayamsevak SanghFormer RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan (PTI Photo)

Amid an ongoing row over former President and Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee’s scheduled presence as chief guest at a key RSS event in Nagpur on June 7 this year, the Sangh Parivar has invited former Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan as a speaker at the upcoming World Hindu Congress scheduled to be held in Chicago between September 7 and September 9 this year. The World Hindu Congress is the apex organisation of which the VHP, RSS and other groups are a part.

Speaking to FinancialExpress.com, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) today confirmed that the former RBI Governor has been invited to the World Hindu Congress that will be held to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Swamy Vivekanand’s historic address to the Parliament of the World Religions on September 11, 1983. VHP leader Swami Vigyananand and spokesperson Vinod Bansal have confirmed to FinancialExpress.com that Rajan has been invited to the event as a speaker but a confirmation is still awaited.

Bansal said that the event is being organised by the World Hindu Congress where several meetings will be held on an array of issues. He said that the World Hindu Economic Forum is hosting a conference where Rajan and other prominent economists across the world have been invited to throw light on the current state of the world economy. He said that a confirmation from Rajan’s end is still awaited.

Notably, Rajan has often drawn criticism of the RSS and other right-wing groups in the past. However, Bansal said that the VHP doesn’t discriminate with people based on their view and ideology. “BJP may have a different opinion about him, but we believe in listening to everyone’s views,” he said. He added that the “idea is to connect people, share thoughts, values on different issues like economy etc.”

When asked whether there will any representation from the government’s side, Bansal said that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath may travel to Chicago to attend the event. “He may attend the event.” To a question on whether he has been invited or will be present there as a representative of the government, he said, “He may have been given an invitation.”

Vigyananand, who is also VHP’s in-charge of the event in Chicago, said that the World Hindu Congress provides a platform where people from every pocket of the world come together to send a message of brotherhood. He said that Rajan stays in Chicago and expressed confidence that he will surely attend the event.

“An invitation has been extended to him, it is up to him whether to attend or not. He lives in Chicago and has been mentoring students after vacating the post of RBI Governor.” Vigyananand added that they are organising this event to mark the 125th anniversary of Swami Vivekanand’s most talked about speech which he had delivered twenty-five years ago in Chicago.

The second World Hindu Congress is expected to witness the participation of delegates from different countries who will brainstorm on a host of issues including the economy, education among others. The first World Hindu Congress was held in November 2014 that had seen 1,800 delegates from 53 countries taking part. Like the 2014 event, conferences will be held on various issues like economy, education, media, women and youth among others this time as well.

Responding to a question on the ongoing row over former President Pranab Mukherjee being invited for an RSS event, Bansal said, “The Sangh has been following a tradition of inviting well-known faces… When Mahatma Gandhi had made a voluntary visit the RSS’ Wardha camp, he had praised the outfit for its services to eradicate the caste taboo.”

“We in the RSS sit together and eat together at our events. It has been a long practice in RSS not to tell your caste. When Gandhiji saw children sitting in the row, he asked their name, no one told him their title. He was impressed and said ‘the RSS is making his dream come true’. Let the political parties do politics, this is no way concerned to the Sangh.”

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