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Shri Mohan Bhagwat ji’s statement- Hindus and Muslims in India share the same DNA- caused ripple effect

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G Indira
G Indira
Author of the book: The India I Know and of Hinduism. Ex-Publications in -charge Pragna Bharati Organisation, Hyderabad. Academician and free-lancer

The latest statement of the RSS chief regarding: Hindus and Muslims in India have the same DNA- sparked reaction in some quarters. They opined, having the same DNA would not prevent schism/division, as is exhibited elsewhere in other countries of West Asia: all Islamic Republics and historically in Germany also, though the statement was mainly meant to iron out differences. 

The Sarsanghchalak added, “A person is not a Hindu, if he says Muslims should not live in India…Those involved in mob lynching are against Hindutva.” This is a strong message to the Hindus that he wanted to drive home. The RSS is perceived to be the organisation of the majority Hindus. However, the meaning of Hindutva encompasses all. 

The first and foremost proponent of “Hindutva” was none other than Shri Veer Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in the pre-independence era. He defined his coinage extensively in his speeches to Hindu Mahasabha, compiled into a book titled: Hindu Rashtra Darshan. He defined ‘Hindutva’ as, Hinduness which is more comprehensive than the word ‘Hinduism’…Hinduism concerns with the religious systems of the Hindus, their theology and dogma…Hinduism is only one of the many aspects of ‘Hindutva’. In any case, many Hindus of the present-day are unaware of this aspect of meaning. 

The Context of the RSS chief’s remarks- needed elaboration:

It was a book-release function. The book: “The Meeting of Minds: A Bridging Initiative,” was written by Khwaja Iftikhar Ahmed, who has been for years striving to bring both the Hindu and Muslim communities together for peace and harmony. The chief guest was Shri Mohan Bhagwat ji. In this context, in the prevailing real/perceived fears within the country among the minority community, he made these pungent remarks. Internationally India’s image took a beating, as the outside world nations view that India has religious-intolerance. Though many in the country brush aside outside world-views, as a matured democracy India needs to dispel those apprehensions. So, Bhagwat ji was right in saying what he said in that book-release. 

India has chosen to be a democratic country after Independence. In a democracy, there is opposition, disagreement, freedom of expression and freedom to dissent and rule of consensus and compromise. All these need a shared identity. That warrants a collective ‘we’ which is not based on religious or ethnic origin but of a nation. That needs integration of minorities within the territory. In any case, most of the Indian Constitution had been framed under the British-rule. The territorial unit as a nation and a common bond had been well-taken into the Constitution while it was framed. Shri Bhagwat ji many times professed his faith in the Constitution of India and upholding the Constitutional values. 

Many equated Bhagwat ji’s remarks with that of Mahatma Gandhi’s message

Throughout his life Gandhi ji stood for Hindu-Muslim unity in India. He leaned more towards Muslim-minority in favouring, when it comes to settle disputes between the two communities. It was quite interesting to see how Gandhi ji answered a question regarding values of Civilization way back. In 1930, in England, a British journalist asked Gandhi ji, what he thought of modern civilization. Gandhi ji observed that “Civilization is to be judged by its (country’s) treatment of minorities.” However, as per modern civilization of today, many believe: a country is judged by its treatment of the poorest members, socially disadvantaged and marginalized people by birth or by design. Of course, a country’s minority also comes under these categories. 

When Gandhi ji stood behind Indian Muslims, be it in the Khilafat movement or Moplah rebellion, many then considered Gandhi ji’s support/unity bid as naïve. And the mind-set of the Muslim-minority to be dubious. Finally, with the Partition of the country, the opponents of Gandhi ji felt they were vindicated. However, it is pertinent to remind that Gandhi ji was not an astute political figure. He was only ardently trying to bring social-change to get independence from the British-rule. To him, Hindus and Muslims unitedly needed to fight for the freedom of the country against the British Raj. Now, Bhagwat ji wanted both the communities to be united for the progress of the country. That way, the emphasis is the same.  

Indian- minority in other countries

Indians, when they are in a minority in other democracies, try voting for a liberal party that caters to them well i.e. their minority-interest. Many Indians in the U.S vote for the Democrats. Their relatives and friends here vote for the BJP, perceiving it to be a Hindu-majority party. Why? Because their interests in India are different from their interests elsewhere in other countries. Being a minority- is being discriminated against.

After the first world-war, the League of Nations made one of the world-famous documents formulating what reasonable safeguards to minorities really mean. Later, its successor United Nations also endorsed it. Since India being one nation, it should ideally have one people, breaking the barriers and building the bridges between the majority-minority. That is the way forward, for economic growth and prosperity of the country. So, Bhagwat ji said rightly, so as to take the nation on the path of development.

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G Indira
G Indira
Author of the book: The India I Know and of Hinduism. Ex-Publications in -charge Pragna Bharati Organisation, Hyderabad. Academician and free-lancer
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