Interview of Poojaneeya Sarasanghachalak, Sri Mohan ji Bhagwat
Introduction by the Secretary of the Nagpur Patrakar Sangh, Shri Sanjay Lokhande
The Nagpur Shramkik Patrakar Sangh has made efforts for many years to have the Sangh Sarsanghchachalak among us. But it was very difficult for him to take out time from his all-India tour. It is a great fortune of the Patrakar Sangh that honouring our letter he gladly gave us an appointment for 4 pm on the 3rd of August. We all are well-familiar with Honourable Mohanji. The Nagpur Patrakar Sangh is where efforts were made to establish the all-India Patrakar Sangh. In 1973-74, when this place was small, the then Sarsanghachalak, Shri Balasaheb Devras, had conducted his first 'Meet the Press' program here. Today we have the good fortune that Sarsanghachalak Mohanji Bhagwat is in our midst in this huge building.
Shri Mohanji Bhagwat's address
Honourable office bearers of the Shramik Patrakar Sangh, journalist friends, and all senior colleagues.I too have been a witness to the development of the Patrakar Sangh. therefore first of all I congratulate everyone for the progress of the Patrakar Sangh. And I thank the Patrakar Sangh for inviting me here.
At the onset I have been asked to propose a subject, and my subject is just one: the "Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh". Now, there is no need really to speak at length on the subject to the journalists of Nagpur. The name of the Sangh is now well-known throughout the country. However as far as the work of the Sangh is concerned, even seasoned workers of the Sangh have had to make an effort to understand the real significance of our organization. That is because it is an absolutely unique field of work. The activities of the Sangh are not meant for the growth of the Sangh. All the efforts are actually directed towards making India a great nation. That India becomes a capable nation is also important for the world. This is the work that drives the Sangh. This is exactly what Yogi Shri Aurobindo had declared in his Uttarpara speech, the centenary of which falls this year.
How will India become great? Usually, one starts with a certain reliance on leaders, slogans, parties, policies. But a little careful thinking shows that in the world there are all sorts of parties,policies, slogans, and even leaders, and the nations of the world have benefitted from these various policies, parties and leaders. However it is not one single leader, policy, slogan, party, avatar or great soul that accomplishes everything. The experience of all those in the country or in the world who have made some proven and selfless contribution to the betterment of humanity says that those nations will achieve greater glory where the common man has a higher standard of values, where there is a sense of unity among the people, where the people possess a greater sense of belonging to their nation and are willing to live and die for the nation alone. It is now 62 years since independence. Setting aside for the moment the issues of corruption and insincerity, we find different people have tried this through different means and methods, and we have made some progress also. However when we compare ourselves with those other nations with whom we began our journey, we see that if we take into account our vast natural resources, population, capabilities etc we have failed to make satisfactory achievements. And this is because we have not worked on the fundamental aspect - development of national consciousness and enhancement of the level of values in our common people. Manavendranath Roy also believes this to be important. This is the work to which the Sangh is dedicated. The development of national consciousness is simpler in other nations. For instance, in a small country like England, where there is just one language made by merging three or four languages, it is simpler.
In our country, there are many languages, many creeds, many communities, and all sorts of diversities that are possible in the world. On what do we base our unity among all these? Luckily our culture has been such that our people have from time immemorial always discerned a unity among all this diversity. They have realized that the fundamental truth is one and all diversity emanates from that one. Therefore do not fight, proceed in harmony, live with a feeling of gratefulness, have a sense of renunciation and forbearance, realize the oneness, that is the highest goal of individual life and we have traditionally believed this. What is known as humanity, brotherhood, is really our culture and creed. This got named 'Hindu' for some reasons. This is the word which exactly expresses this content. There are other words too, for instance, 'Indian'. That is one and the same thing. Therefore the Sangh has declared that it will use this word which expresses this content and work to organise this Hindu society, which uses this word. That is what carries forward our culture, identity and inheritance.
In our country people refer to Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian etc. or Hindu and non-Hindu. However, in reality everyone belongs to this country only. They are the progeny of the same ancestors; none of them are the progenies of the Arabs or the British. Therefore everyone is
Hindu. If someone calls himself Indian, we have no objection to that. However, with India the question arises, which India? That of 14th August 1947 or the one of 15th August 1947, that which existed before the times of the Mahabharat or the one after that? In the future how India will be, whether it will increase or decrease in size we cannot say. It will depend on our hard work. So a geographical conceptualization does not express this idea fully and people who do
not want this liberality can misuse this word to create confusion. Everywhere in the world there is an aggression of fundamentalism and authoritarianism. There is no other remedy for this. Our inheritance and our culture is the only remedy. Using this word which binds us to this content, we say that we will organise the entire Hindu society, foster national consciousness among the people and ensure that they contribute to the national cause. This is the work that the Sangh is doing. With this motivation many svayamsevaks began to work in various walks of life. They founded their own individual, autonomous, independent organizations. Through these they are actualizing various values. Therefore the Sangh has now became pan-Indian, a national force and it has come to stay. Everyone is in agreement on this. However the goal of the Sangh is not to increase its own influence. Reminding the nation and the entire society of its identity, so the people are ready to sacrifice themselves in working for the nation and they develop the ability to carry out this work, is the work that the Sangh is doing. Understanding this fact is slightly difficult and hence I repeat this again and again. This is what all our people say and this is what I have put before you. What is the Sangh doing, where is the field of the work of the Sangh, in which area are the members of the Sangh carrying out which activity? If I go into all this in detail, then it will become a long affair. Over one lakh service ventures are being run by the Swayamsevaks of the Sangh by toiling extremely hard and with their own resources. This statistic comprises only those which are known to the organisation. Over and above these there are many cases where the swayamsevaks are doing work in their own individual capacity, which is not known to the organisation. All in all the Sangh has proven the process of producing the required body of workers which is required to make our society, our country, the top nation of the world. The workers of the Sangh have been produced through this process. Such workers have risen over the mundane concepts like creed, community, caste, language, region and political parties in order to work for the nation. And the aim of the phase of the work that we are in today is that all the creative forces of the nation should unite. They might work, maintaining their own individualities; however they should complement each other such that the entire society emulates these forces. Creating such an environment is our goal. For this, the Sangh began on the centenary of Respected Guruji, the expansion of the work of the Sangh and with great resolve bringing everyone together. And in this we need your cooperation, because this work of building the nation is for all of us. This is not just the work of the Sangh and for the Sangh the achievement of the work is the aim, not whether the Sangh gets fame or not. I believe that this much introduction is sufficient for the journalists of Nagpur. Hence I conclude and welcome questions from you.
Question: In today's address and in the Sangh Siksha Varg you have not given thrust on the issues of Naxalism, Capitalism, and Conversion. Your predecessor Shri Sudarshanji used to emphasize on these issues in each of his speeches. So have you softened your stand on these issues?
Answer: No, we will have the Vijayadashami speech! When speaking for the first time, it is important to present only minimal issues and to bring forth the basic view of the Sangh, which is totally positive. The work of the Sangh is not against anyone; our work is not a reaction to something. Therefore, although the current issues will have to be addressed, at the onset, I have put the fundamental principles of the Sangh, which are directly related to our duties. Whatever Sudarshanji spoke about, I will also speak on those issues. From the time Sudarshanji become the 'Sarsanghachalak' to the present day, Sudarshanji led the Sangh under particular circumstances. That also could have a bearing on this. In ten years circumstances have also changed and if Sudarshanji stands up to speak today, it is possible that he too takes up other issues. However it doesn't mean that if I am not touching on those issues, I have become "soft" and if Sudarshanji was doing so he was "hard" This "hard" and "soft" thing is something else. In the Sangh we are all one. We do not have any hatred towards anyone; however about what is detrimental to the nation, we speak out without mincing words. What we say is not against anyone, it is only for the benefit of the nation.
Change in the style of functioning of the Sangh
Question: I wanted to know: Globalisation is happening and everything is changing. The country and ideologies are also changing. However there doesn't seem to be any change in the style of functioning of the Sangh. So what do you think is required for connecting the youth of the nation with this wave of change? The numbers in the Shakhas are dwindling, the evening shakhas are now becoming very few in number, so keeping in mind all this, what kind of changes do you think are necessary?
Answer: The need for change is ever present. One must change according to the times. However, there are certain things which are invariant even with time, for instance the root of a tree, which does not change its place. When the wind blows, its trunk, leaves etc shall all bend, but shall again come back to its original place. Hence both elasticity and rigidity are essential. This will apply where, will come with discrimination. As far as keeping itself abreast with the times is concerned, I believe that among all organizations of the world, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is the most capable. And I am saying this not as the Sarsanghachalak but on the basis of my own personal realization. However there is a certain mechanism for this change. We work on the basis of consensus. Hence we have free discussions on whatever suggestions come to us. And if a thought is agreeable to all, it doesn't take a moment to make a change. Whatever thought of change comes to my mind, depends on the circumstances I am in. However our work goes on everywhere - in the forests, in the villages, in the far-flung rural areas, among those who have no education, among those who are highly educated. The Sangh has swayamsevaks from all walks of life. They all work according to their own circumstances. So some basic things of the Sangh should be common. If there is no unanimity in these core issues, then we do not make any decisions. Before you ask, I will give you an example. You will ask about our half-pants? The suggestion of changing the half-pants has come before me, in the period from 1987 till now, from the time I was the physical-training head to now that I am Sarsanghachalak, at least four times and four time we have discussed this issue. The day there is a general consensus on this matter, we can change it without any hassles. The Sangh is not in the half-pant. Though the half-pant is part of the uniform, people come to the Shakhas in dhotis, lungis, pyjamas, full-pants as well. Therefore the Sangh is ever ready to change. It might not be so visible from the outside, but ask some insider of the Sangh. Old timers will tell you that the Sangh of today is not the Sangh of the earlier times. Some people will talk of this negatively; however some will talk positively as well.
Question: There is this related question of permitting the pracharaks to marry.....
Answer: This issue too was discussed but was not agreed upon. The ‘full timers’ in Sangh are not mercenaries. They are not forced to become pracharaks. It is related to one’s mindset. These are people with the state of mind that they have nothing else in their lives other than the Sangh. This is my own experience also. I became a pracharak. I was a student at the veterinary college here. I used to study a lot and was also very active. I used to prepare for the exams in just one day; I was so active. However, at that time it did not cross my mind that I would become a pracharak. I took up a job. The then pracharak told my father that he thought I would become a pracharak, however I had taken up a job. My father replied that there was nothing he could do and that the pracharak had let go off an easy catch. However when I came to do my MSc, a change came over me and I could do no other thing. That time Chauthaiwale, who now lives in Reshmibagh, was the pracharak of my division. One day while walking back home from the Shakha, he asked what my future plans were? I knew what he wanted to say to me. But I was already prepared. I told him that he need not ask me; after my MSc I will be on my way. Now what actually happened here? My mind had been made. Those days I did not feel like doing anything else at all. When such a mental state comes and this state remains steady, then one becomes a pracharak. Hence, why should one, for whom there is no other thing than the Sangh, marry? And if he marries, he has to take responsibility for his family and run his household. If later, a pracharak feels like marrying, then he is allowed to go. Pracharaks return and this is not an accident. In fact it is a very natural thing. Not everyone can remain in this state of mind throughout their lives, hence they can go and marry and do the work of the Sangh. Pracharaks are needed in less number in Sangh; there is more need of householder workers to run the Sangh. Hence after a thorough discussion we decided that those who come to this state of mind (to dedicate themselves to the Sangh) and till the time they remain in this state, they can be pracharaks. However they are free to go anytime they like.
Relationship of the Sangh with the media
Question: The Sangh has in general an uncomfortable relationship with the media. And we being the journalists of the Sangh headquarters want a more special relationship. However, in the matter of sharing information, why is the Sangh like an impregnable fort? On the other hand news about the meetings of the Sangh are presented every hour by the news channels. So why does the Sangh not provide this information openly?
Answer: It is not true that whatever appears every hour on the news channels is correct. Having said that, it is also not necessary to be an impregnable fort. You also know that a person who comes in contact with fame may develop a desire to run after fame. We want to avoid this. That is why we advise our Swayamsevaks to be wary of unnecessarily being in the limelight. However it is not correct that we want to keep the media at bay. Till some time back the media too did not have much interest in the Sangh. It is only after the Emergency that the media started taking interest in the Sangh. However we have not been able to keep pace with this increase in interest. Therefore perhaps it appears that we are a little lagging. But note that now Manmohan Vaidya is the prachar pramukh. If we had no intention of maintaining any contact with the media, why would we appoint a prachar pramukh? In fact in the past we had even experimented with the concept of a "spokesperson". That was with the intention that the media should get information. However you know more about journalism. Media does not want only information, it wants 'news'. That type of 'news' we hardly have. We can say ‘there is increase in number of shakhas’, ‘the attendance in Sangh Shiksha Varg has gone up’, ‘there is change in ‘kramika 3’ etc. However you have no interest in these things. We do not have anything to say on a daily basis. You tell us that so and so people are fighting with each other and ask our opinion on it. The Sangh has no opinion on this. Then you circulate certain news by spicing up things. This doesn't matter much to us. You run the media as you want to run it. However our workers feel that if they speak to the media, then the media will publish something totally absurd and cause trouble. This makes the Sangh worker take the attitude: "I do not know anything. When the higher functionaries come, you ask them."."When are they coming?" "I do not know." "Their contact number?" "I do not have it", and so on.
This way the workers try to get rid of the media. This is the result of the mutual misunderstanding. Now we are thinking what should be done about it. However the attitude of the Sangh towards the media is not negative.
Question: Will you think of appointing a spokesperson again?
Answer: No. This is because we do not have any information to share on a daily basis. Now, if we have a spokesperson, you will catch hold of him and he will have to speak. You will ask him even about issues which are no concern of the Sangh, and he will have to speak. How many times will he say: "No comments". That is why we have planned that there will be 6 people available to you. The Sanghachalak of East Zone, Shri Bajranglalji, Manmohanji Vaidya, Madandasji, Ram Madhavji, Mughibhai Kulkarniji, Shrikantji Joshi. These persons you can talk to anytime, anywhere. However there will be no spokesperson.
The image of the Swayamsevak in the society
Question: Sometime back the term 'Naapaas' (failure) Swayamsevak had gained currency. So do you feel that in the past few years the feeling of trust in the social behavior of the Swayamsevaks of the Sangh had taking a beating somewhere?
Answer: No term like "naapas" Svayamsevak is in use within the Sangh. Baburao Vaidya had used something like this to explain a particular situation. He did not use it in a general sense. Everything depends on the power of discrimination of the swayamsevaks of the Sangh. Other
than the bonds of affection, there is no other sanction, no other 'control' on the swayamsevak. After the Emergency and after the Ram Janmabhoomi movement a large number of youths flocked to the organization. They had many good qualities but they were not steeped in the rigors of the Sangh. But what you are saying, that the feeling of trust in the society has diminished, does not appear to be correct. During the past 15-20 years, faith in the Sangh and the acceptability of the Sangh has increased, all sections of the society, followers of all creed are enthusiastic in associating with the Sangh and in understanding the Sangh. This is our direct experience. This does not mean that a fall in the level of the behavior of the Swayamsevaks is
acceptable. That is not acceptable. Whatever deliberation is needed on this issue, we will do. In an organization of this size, we cannot vouch for the behavior of every single person. However, as far as the general level of the Swayamsevak is concerned, there has been no fall in standard and we will not let it fall in the future as well. It is also possible that the Sangh is being watched more carefully now than before, hence there is this perception. It is also possible that the level of the Swayamsevaks as compared to the earlier has gone up. It is difficult to say anything with certainty in this matter. What we can say with certainty is that we will do everything to ensure that the life of the Swayamsevak is pure.
The role of the Swayamsevak in elections
Question: In the Pratinidhi Sabha before the Lok Sabha elections it was said that all voters would be exhorted to vote in favor of Hindutva. Will the same role be there in the coming Vidhan Sabha elections?
Answer: This preamble that I wrote in the Executive Report – hundred percent voting and issue based voting - is not just for a particular election and not just for the Sangh. This is endorsed by the Constitution and is extremely important for democracy. So whether there are elections or not, there is no need to change this preamble. As responsible citizens it is imperative for the Swayamsevaks to follow this. Elections should be based on issues and not on basis of caste and creed or selfish interests. This is something which is always important.
Question: The accusation that EVMs can be misused was made some days ago in this hall. There have been similar allegations in other places as well. What is your take on this?
Answer: I am not an expert on EVMs. It is true that in each election there are allegations of cheating from the losing side. However this time given the number of places (from which the accusations have come) and the type of people who have questioned the machines, the Election Commission must take steps to investigate this matter thoroughly. In a democracy elections must be held in a healthy manner. Therefore the Election Commission must investigate this matter and if there have been any irregularities; it must take stringent action against those responsible for this.
Question: Should voting be made compulsory?
Answer: This is a matter of building a consensus. Everything cannot be done through law. Therefore even if it is to be made mandatory, there has to be a consensus on this. It is beyond the capacity of the administration to bring each person in a nation of 105 crores to the polling booth. If the people's minds are so made up, they come even in the absence of any such law. This we have seen. Hence we have to ensure that the people's minds are made up, and let there be measures in that direction; that is more important.
The Sangh's viewpoint about Muslims and Christians
Question: Are there ongoing steps in the Sangh to bring the Christians and Muslims closer to the Sangh? What are the results of such experiments?
Answer: The Swayamsevaks of the Sangh are carrying out such experiments and their results are encouraging. As the field of contact of the swayamsevaks increases, these things are happening as a natural consequence. During the Emergency the members of the Jamaat e Islami saw the people of the Sangh from up close, which changed their conception of the Sangh. This is how it works. In this process, there were some members of the Christian and Muslim communities who stood up said that they wanted to stand behind the national cause and were ready to give up all thought of creed and community. They asked whether the Sangh was willing to initiate steps for this. We said that if we initiated this it will be circulated that: "The Sangh is now trying to reach out to the Muslims because the BJP wants the votes of the Muslims and so on.” We told that this would only be counterproductive for the work. Hence it was better that they should themselves do this, and in fact it would be to their benefit, and our support would be with them. This is how work happens. The pace is slow because of the circumstances, but wherever they are reaching, they are getting support.
Question: Maulana Mohammad Iliyaasi met you yesterday. So what was discussed?
Answer: It was discussed that we are the progenies of the same ancestors, we are all the inhabitants of this country, therefore the national cause is equally important for everyone and it should be so. Creeds and communities are important in their own places, but on the question of the national cause, we should always be one. We have a common cultural inheritance and our behavior should take that into consideration. All this was said at the onset by Shri Iliyaasi. I did not bring this up; it is he who said it, because he has been meeting Sudarshanji for some time now. This was my first discussion with him.He said that he often met Sudarshanji and this was their view. So he knew that this was the view of the Sangh. Since the person has changed, he wanted to know whether some views had changed as well. I said that we have regular discussions since we stay together. Basically we do not use the word 'Hindu' to represent a particular creed or community; we use this term for our national identity. Everyone should understand this, whether they themselves use this word in this sense or not.
Question: 'The Sangh should try to bring all sections of the society to the national mainstream.' What is your opinion on this issue?
Answer: The Sangh, of course, wants to do this. However for every work there is a particular time and place. We have repeatedly declared that as per our identity and our culture, we are one society. In reality, as per United Nation's definition of minorities, there are no minorities in India. However this needs to be very patiently explained. There is a history of strife associated with such efforts. This has caused ill-will (in the past). Therefore it is not something that the Sangh alone can do; the entire society must do it. If the Sangh comes forward on this issue but the society does not back it, it will not work. Therefore, we move forward looking at how the situation unfolds. Hence the pace depends of the situation. But we are in agreement with what you are saying - everyone should be brought into the national mainstream. Therefore we call ourselves the Rashtriya Swavamsevak Sangh, and not the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh.
Question: After the loss of elections, whatever self-introspection the parties should be doing, they are not doing. Only formalities are being carried out. What is your opinion on this?
Answer: We have no opinion because our work is different. Your question is probably correct but you have addressed it to the wrong person. You have a feeling of goodwill that everything should be all right. We also have a similar feeling of goodwill for all parties.
Question: Recently when some SIMI activists were caught by the police some political leaders came to have them released. On the other hand, MACOCA was deliberately slapped on the Malegaon accused, which could not stand in court. I would like to know your reaction to this.
Answer: There should not be double standards in our country. We have been saying this for years. The example is exactly an instance of those double standards. When such incidents gain prominence, people come to know of it. Whatever happens in our country due to the greed for votes happens nowhere else. The consequence of this is that national integration is hindered. As sometimes businessmen say that the tax system forces people to indulge in corrupt practices, likewise it could be said that our political system forces the people of the country to fight among themselves. This should not be so and the judicial system should be same for all.
Question: Many questions are arising about the attitude of the Chinese towards India. It is also being said that the Prime Minister discussed the issue with the three service chiefs. What do you have to say to this?
Answer: We have been talking about this for a long time. There are many people in our country who know this attitude. Swami Vivekananda had said this Chinese dragon is sleeping, so let it sleep, if it wakes up, its nature is imperialistic, and it will try to gobble the whole world. Rashbihari Bose had said that in the future there will be clash between Western and Islamic civilisations, what will be consequence of that nobody knows, but in this situation the new danger will be China. Just a few days before the 1962 Chinese aggression, Sri Guruji had mentioned this in his speeches. In the present times, Honourable Sudershanji and I have also discussed this subject in some places. China has a plan. It may be Communist and so on, but it is nationalistic and to further its national goals, they say that they will take back all the land which they think belong to them. They claim certain land in India, something which they voice from time to time. The second thing is that if they want to become glorious in international politics and create their influence, then India is a danger to them. They will never let India grow big. Till the time they are not capable of achieving this by war, they will talk of friendship. But see, while talking of friendship they have surrounded India from all sides. And we have been sleeping. We have not developed such relationships with our neighboring countries or with the other countries of the world. I have been to the Caribbean. There are everywhere huge consulates of the Chinese. They are doing a very good public relations job. The people there do not know farming, so the Chinese have called their people there to do it. To gain footholds all over the world and to establish their hegemony is the policy of the Chinese. Whatever China feels about itself, it is free to do so. We are not enemies of China. However they feel it is necessary to suppress India. So taking this into consideration, we should frame our policies towards Nepal, Burma, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and our policies should be such that we have our influence in all these places. At this moment it is the exact opposite. We must find a way through this. We must bear in mind that China is talking of friendship because it does not want any hindrance in the pace of its development. However if the situation is favorable to them, they might use force. They have done that once before. Taking all this into consideration, having goodwill in our hearts, but keeping our mind alert, we must frame our policies.
Question: When there was talk of churning in the BJP, you said that it is for them to think. But now the Congress is making the allegation that the command of the BJP is in the hands of the Sangh. What do you have to say about this?
Answer: It is they who have to answer these allegations. As far as we are concerned, even the commands of the Swayamsevaks are not in our hands. Here there is no question of commanding, it is all a matter of the mind. People come to the Sangh on their own volition; they come to the Shakhas and do the work of the Sangh, apart from this there is no command of the Sangh. Holding the command etc. of another organization is even more out of question. The Sangh has no time beyond its own work to get involved with all this. This language of "command" is that of the followers of another path, not of the Sangh.
Question: The demand for reservation is again and again arising from people of various castes and religions. What will be appropriate in the national interest?
Answer: There has been a history of discrimination in Hindu society. This has caused much harm. For a harmonious society, we should have provision for some reservation for those who have been the victim of societal discrimination. For those who have not suffered so, there is
no need to give them reservations on any other grounds, other than economic. However, because of political reasons, reservations have been used to divide the society instead of developing it. This is wrong. Hence we had said that educationists, sociologists, economists etc. in the country should come together and form a committee. In this committee, there should be representatives of the government and administration as well and this committee should finalize a time-bound program after which time there should be a situation that there is no need for any reservations. All authority of implementing this program within the time frame should lie with this committee. This committee should keep away from politics and accomplish this work within the stipulated time.
National functions and the Sangh
Question: In the Republic Day celebrations of 1963, the Sangh was a partner. Why did it not happen after that? What is the Sangh's view on this?
Answer: At that time we were invited. There is a protocol, the one who is invited, only he should go, so we went. The function to be celebrated 26th January and on 15th August is not of any particular fraction or group, these functions are for the entire nation.Therefore we motivate the swayamsevaks that they should participate with the whole nation and not hoist the flag on their own. But so that people should know, we have to do something. Therefore usually in our offices we have flag hoisting on 15th August and 26th January. If the government or administration expects us to do anything on these occasions, we will definitely do it. When it was decided that the tri-color should be our national flag, it was for the first time hoisted in a place called Faizpur in the Jalgaon district during the Congress session, which was presided by Jawaharlal Nehru. The flagpole was 80 feet high. The flag got stuck midway while it was being raised. Now who will climb up and disentangle it? So a young man named Krishansingh Rajput climbed up and raised the flag. He was highly praised and Nehruji said that he would be felicitated in the session. Then the people said - “He is a member of the Sangh, he goes to the Shakha.” So it did not happen. However when Dr. Hedgewar came to know of this, he traveled to that place and gave him a silver water pot and patted his back. So this is a symbolic incident which shows that respecting our national flag means respecting our nation, and the Swayamsevak derives pleasure from this. Therefore our attempt is that the Swayamsevaks should participate in large numbers in the celebrations of the society on such occasions, without holding too many separate functions.
Service activities of the Sangh
Question: Give us some information about the service activities of the Sangh.
Answer: Over 1 lakh big and small service ventures are running. If I talk about them, even a 2-3 hour session would not be enough. Every five years we evaluate them. And the report is also published, with the name Seva Disha. Seva Disha 2009 has recently been published. We will make a provision that this entire report reaches the journalists of Nagpur. There are all types of service activities, in all the districts of the country. The work is done with the point of view that the deprived section of the society, be it those residing in the villages or be those in the slums, should be able to stand with self-respect and should not become beggars and in fact, our ultimate objective is that they should progress so much that they are in a position to give. That is the specialty of the work. And we are not doing this with any feeling of separateness, but the Swayamsevak works with the feeling that they are our own people. You will get the Seva Disha which gives a detailed account of the service work. However, there are many service projects being run in your neighborhood, which you are welcome to visit and observe for yourselves. And if there are any suggestions from your side, we will welcome them.
Question: What do you think are the challenges before the nation?
Answer: The biggest thing is external and internal security. We must be ready from all angles to accept this challenge. To prepare for this is the duty of the government, the administration, the society and everyone else. The root cause of this is the decay in the feeling of national unity. We have to understand the fundamental thing behind national unity and we have to speak out without flinching. Everyone likes it and this is our experience. There is a grave allegation against us that we talk 'Hindu-Hindu". However when we meet the thinking and discerning people in our country, they say that we are right. Nowadays they meet us and say this, earlier we had to go to them. Therefore we should believe in the truth and move forward. And that truth is luckily all-inclusive; it's a truth that is beneficial for the whole world. And hence there is no problem in calling a spade a spade. This way our problems will diminish, they will not increase, this is our experience. It is important to pay attention to this. Then with this comes the issue of development. The society has to be made capable, to oppose all sorts of threats. So capability must be in all fields. But it is important to note that the model of development is never the same for all places in the world. It can vary according to place. We should not imitate someone else. Our country is in a certain condition, and our resources are also in a certain state. Our people have a certain legacy, which we have to keep intact, and our people have certain expectations. What will be the policy in line with these? We have no objection in taking knowledge from all over the world, but how should be the application of such knowledge here? In what manner, form and to what extent? This is exactly what is called Swadeshi thought. Our thinking is that when there is progress, it will make the people self-reliant, and it will end violence. Now if by keeping out the villages, big ventures are run in the cities, it means there will be violence there. Vinoba Bhabe had said that Swadeshi means self-reliance and non-violence, with such a view, what is the objective of development? Adopting what methods shall make our nation developed? What mechanism should be brought in? What is there and how should we develop them? This type of fundamental thinking should happen. Such a discourse has not happened yet.
Missionary - Naxalite nexus
Question: After the incidents in Kandhmal, Orissa, there have been allegations of a nexus between Missionaries and Naxalites. What does the Sangh have to say on this?
Answer: It seems so there. When Lakshmanananda Saraswati was murdered there, then there was a suspicion about whether he was murdered by the Maoists or the Christians. Later the Maoists split into two groups. There can be some nexus. There was no reason for the Maoists to kill Lakshmananandji. And the murder was committed with an AK 47. Now, would the church have an AK 47? Because their anger was against Lakshmananandji, which they expressed even later.
Question: Can there be a nexus in the entire country?
Answer: The data that is required to make a statement like this, I do not have. Without that it is not possible to make a statement. However about this particular (Kandhmal) incident, one can feel that the nexus is there. And it is true that the local people feel so.
Question: How does the Sangh view the delay on the issues of Ram Mandir?
Answer: A grand temple should be build there. Nobody is backing down from that. However there is a particular situation there. A temple has to be built. This cannot be done in 5 and half hours. For this 2-3 years and the possession of land there is required. It will be possible then, otherwise everyday people will go for construction, and every day the government will arrest them. Only this much will happen. So there are 3 paths. Either Parliament passes a law (for construction of the Mandir), or there is a change of heart (on the part of the opponents), or there is a decision of the court. Keeping all this into consideration, all those saints and holy men, under whose leadership this agitation has been running, have to draw up a program. Whatever program they draw up, the Sangh is with that. The Sangh does not make plans for this. We share our perceptions, and whatever programme gets finalized after proper discussion, the Sangh is with that.
Question: In case of organizations in other fields that run with the inspiration of the Sangh, has the control of the Sangh diminished these days? And do their problems, for instance the internal strife in the BJP, cause distress to the Sangh?
Answer: All organizations are independent. The control of the Sangh that you are talking about was never there in the first place; hence the question of its loosening does not arise. And the Sangh does not even want it. So Swayamsevaks will work according to their abilities; the harder they work the better will be the results, if they make any mistake, then there will be a bad result too. We do not worry about that. This does not cause any distress to anyone. When some swayamsevaks come and ask our opinions, we tell them. Sometimes if we feel something going wrong, we go and tell them as well. However, everything has to be done by them. There are swayamsevaks of the Sangh there, which is the only connection with them.
Question: Have any measures been initiated to make the Sangh Shakhas stronger?
Answer: This is a continuous process. In the past few years, the attention of the Swayamsevaks was more towards agitations and campaigns. There was involvement in the physical or mental level in these activities. Now there is a need to take measures to make them Shakha-centric again. This attempt we have already begun before the Guruji centenary. Consequently more and more people are slowly coming in. The stability of the Shakhas has increased. It is possible that there have been changes in their venues and timings. Perhaps the evening Shakha takes place in the night; however, it looks exactly like what it was earlier. It may be the case that you cannot see it in the evening. But they have started. Balanced thoughts of the swayamsevaks, partaking of the joys and sorrows of the society, steady work - all these are increasing.
Question: There are Sangh Shakhas abroad. However there are atrocities on Hindus. What is the Sangh doing about this?
Answer: There are no Shakhas of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh abroad. There is the presence of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh in the form of registered organizations of respective countries. In some countries, the name is also different. For instance in Nepal, Matribhumi Swayamsevak Sangh. These are all independent organizations. They choose their own course of actions depending on their location. Their inspiration and guidance does come from the Sangh. So they have to take care of the Hindu society in their respective countries and also the Hindu society at large in the world. Whatever help they can provide, as per the laws of their respective countries, they should provide; this is the view of the Sangh, and from this perspective the Sangh does provide assistance as well.
Question: What is the view of the Sangh about the manner in which the Prime Minister concluded an agreement with Pakistan, which is being criticized by everyone? What kind of relationship with Pakistan does the Sangh feel India should have?
Answer: Until this time there had never been any mention of Balochistan in any talks. Now a message has gone to the world that Balochistan is also an issue. This inadequacy in diplomacy which shows up a little every time, got highlighted this time as well. And this is not good. Those who are opposing are also giving some suggestions to the Prime Minister. These should be discussed. Secondly there is feeling that there should be sufficient openness, so that one knows what had really transpired in this whole process. This seems to be somewhat lacking. Everyone in the Parliament, and I not talking of just those in the government, should be informed about what exactly is going on. They should table everything in such a way that no confusion is created. Now when the matter gets messy, they say this or that to create confusion in order to defend themselves and to prevent the people from knowing there's something wrong. There can be occasional mistakes, they can be rectified. The nation is supreme and parties can change. This much we should keep in minds.