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RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat (file photo)

The fact that the RSS, the backbone and true driving force of the BJP which rules or shares power at the Centre and 18 states with a clear majority, has not yet been able to determine its doctrinal moorings speaks for its ideological poverty that can be called strange or pitiable. Although the Sangh Parivar claims that their philosophy is Hindutva, even its ideologue MS Golwalkar has not been able to define it, as will be clear on an examination of his collection of writings including 'Bunch of Thoughts'. No hard-line sangh thinker has been able to establish that there is a single culture or way of life for the Indian population of thousands of castes and sub-castes, despite the constant assertion that Hinduism is not a religion but a way of life and culture. Although those who proudly claim that Hindus believe in crores of gods argue that it reflects a breadth of vision, experience has shown that beliefs based on diverse conceptions of God are a bunch of contradictions. The experience so far has been that many attempts to reduce Hinduism, marked by innumerable tribal deities, their incarnations and priests, to a single cultural root of Indianness have failed. Even Brahmanism, which represents only fifteen per cent of the population, has not been able to look at the vast majority of other castes with the same lens, as it does not have a single vision or consensus.

In Uttar Pradesh where assembly elections are ongoing, the factor that gives the extremist Hindutva advocate Yogi Adityanath a run for his money is the strong complaint that the non-Brahmin Yogi is treating his own Thakurs with more favour. Yogi and the ruling party are trying to counter all the propaganda against them by sharpening the fampaign against the Muslims whom he sees as the main enemy. This demonstrates that the RSS has failed to see and treat the Hindu community as one. The fact that even after the Supreme Court verdict on Ayodhya temple, one finds the ruling dispensation in a pitiable compulsion of having to make a shadow war pitting Muslims as arch foe, needs to be pondered over by Hindus who are prepared to ponder. It is in this context that we need to evaluate the official position of the RSS on religious minorities. RSS Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat has announced, after holding a series of internal deliberations, that all citizens of the country are Hindus and the outfit will no longer address Muslims and Christians as non-Hindus. From now on, the RSS will address Muslims and Christians under the names of proud Hindu, skeptical Hindu, unfriendly Hindu or ignorant Hindu. There will be no one in India who does not belong to one of these four categories. Other religions naturally fall into the categories of unfriendly Hindu and ignorant Hindu. The Sangh view is that all Indians are always culturally Hindu. Bhagwat argues that some people converted to Islam and others to Christianity after the foreign occupation of India.

RSS theorises that worship can be of different forms, but the way of life of all Indians is Hinduism. What, then, is the answer to the question why a section of 'Hindus' are so opposed to Friday prayers and Muslim girls wearing hijab in educational institutions? What is the justification for destroying even places of worship which bear indisputable evidence of their ownership? How can the denial of citizenship to 'non-friendly and ignorant' Hindus be justified? If it is argued that such acts were the isolated acts of some ignorant people, then peace seekers would seek to know whether the RSS will abandon violence, mob attacks and hate propaganda and instead give calls for friendly discussions and meaningful dialogue. If the great nation of India, and its strongest Hindutva movement are prepared to accept the 25 crore Muslim-Christian communities of the country as citizens with equal rights and responsibilities by accommodating their religious distinctness and diverse rites, that will change the country's very image which is deteriorating day by day. On the contrary, if the attitude and threat of intolerance towards non-Hindus continues, it will undoubtedly dent the stability of the nation and weaken its development in the worst imaginable manner.

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TAGS:Mohan Bhagwat RSS credo four types of Hindus non-HIndus in India 
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