Muslims do not live in fear in India: Against RSS' political narrativetext_fields
Fortifying the narrative that Muslims in India are in fear, a portrayal of which the right-wing groups have always been trying to portray to appease the majority Hindu community in India, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said Muslims could live without fear in India only by abandoning their claim of ‘supremacy’, a term widely used by the right-wing groups against the Muslim community.
Bhagwat made this statement in an interview given to the RSS-affiliated magazines-Organiser and Panchjanya, where he tried to underpin the Sangh’s influence in the prevailing political scenario in dictating the role of other communities in a country which is, by and large, known as, and constitutionally bound to be a secular and democratic country.
Talking about the role of Muslims in the country, the RSS chief said that Muslims could live in the country with their choice of faith without fear but they should abandon their 'boisterous rhetoric of supremacy', remembering that the Hindustan should remain as Hindustan.
Political pundits see this statement more as a warning than a statement of conciliation with the members of other communities, implying that harmony among different communities in the country would be possible only by their adhering to Sangh’s diktat.
As a religious community, Bhagwat tried to give much emphasis to the Muslim community, particularly to establish the ideological differences the Sangh has with the Muslims. For this, he tried to induct a narration that Muslims consider themselves an exalted race over everyone else, that they alone are on the right path and that Muslims could not co-exist with others because of their faith. Bhagwat's remarks in this appeared to be more political narration rather than theological position.
Bhagwat stated this is the stubbornness of the Muslim community. “We are of an exalted race; we once ruled over this land, and shall rule it again; only our path is right, rest everyone is wrong; we are different, therefore we will continue to be so; we cannot live together – they (Muslims) must abandon this narrative,” he was quoted as saying in the interview.
The RSS chief also tried to link the aggressiveness found in the Hindu society to this stubbornness of the Muslim community as one of the threats of foreign aggressions, foreign influences and foreign conspiracies, which have been faced by the Hindu community for years. He painted the aggressiveness of the Hindu society as the outcome of a war that has been fought by the community for over a thousand years.
By claiming that the Hindu society has been at war for over 1,000 years, he tried to portray the Hindu community as a whole as aggressive towards the above said foreign aggressions, while tactically redirecting the accusations faced by the right-wing groups allied to the Sangh Parivar for the recent atrocities against the religious minorities and the Dalits in the country.
He generalised Hindu aggressiveness as a trait of the Hindu community against what they call demonic influences, while the truth is that most of the people who follow the Hindu Dharma do not subscribe to the brand of aggressiveness that Bhagwat has talked about.
Bhagwat has also used the term awakened Hindu community particularly, to highlight and justify Sangh’s activities by which the Hindu society could reclaim its lost stature. He said the Sangh lent its support to the cause of fighting against foreign influences and conspiracies, implying that the Hindu society has been in decline doom for years until the Sangh came to its support, to make every Hindu proud.
“You see, Hindu society has been at war for over 1,000 years – this fight has been going on against foreign aggressions, foreign influences and foreign conspiracies. Sangh has offered its support to this cause, so have others. There are many who have spoken about it. And it is because of all these that the Hindu society has awakened. It is but natural for those at war to be aggressive,” Bhagwat said.
For Bhagwat, the Hindu community is still in the midst of war, a war against an enemy within, to defend Hindu society, Hindu dharma and Hindu culture. “Foreign invaders are no longer there, but foreign influences and foreign conspiracies have continued. Since this is a war, people are likely to get overzealous. Although this is not desirable, yet provocative statements will be uttered,” he said.
The RSS chief also talked about LGBTQ rights, stating that the LGBTQ should be protected and should be given a space in society to make them feel they are also part of the society.
Talking about the RSS's engagement with political issues despite being a cultural organisation, Bhagwat said that it is Sangh's policy to keep itself away from day-to-day political activities but it would make its political interventions when matters related to national policies, national interest and Hindu interest come up.