RSS fully supports reservation: Bhagwat

This outreach comes from the RSS chief on the final day of his three-day lecture series

September 19, 2018 11:31 pm | Updated September 20, 2018 08:53 am IST - New Delhi

Mohan Bhagwat. File

Mohan Bhagwat. File

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat said on Wednesday that reservation provided for in the Constitution should stay till the groups benefiting from quotas think these were required.

“The Constitution provides for equality of opportunity in the form of reservations to remove social disparity. The RSS fully supports reservation provided for in the Constitution and will continue to do so,” he said in reply to a question. “Till when should reservation last, is a decision that only those for whom it has been mandated can take.”

This outreach on the final day of his three-day lecture series here marked a contrast with his statement in September 2015, just before the Bihar polls, when he had called for an apolitical committee to examine who all needed reservation and for how long. That statement itself was reminiscent of a resolution on reservation passed by the Sangh’s top decision-making body, Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha, in 1981.

“One organ of our society is weak because of historical reasons. Society should think of reservation on these lines and not on who is getting what. We made one social organ of ours weak. We have to strengthen it. If we have to bend for 100-150 years to cure a thousand-year-old disease, it is not a bad deal. It is our duty,” Mr. Bhagwat said.

Asked about the SC/ST Act, Mr. Bhagwat took a cautious line, saying the law should be implemented well to address atrocities but not be misused. He however refused to comment on the procedures added by the Supreme Court for its application and Parliament passing a Bill to restore the 1989 Act.

Supporting inter-caste marriages, he claimed the proportion of these in RSS volunteers’ families would be higher if a survey were to be conducted.

View on Muslims

Asked how the RSS viewed the minorities, Mr. Bhagwat called upon Muslims to visit RSS offices and see the Sangh for themselves.

“We are children of one country. Let us be brothers. Let there be no distinctions,” he said, claiming that Muslim settlements near Sangh offices felt “safer” than in other places.

He urged Muslims to tell the RSS where they found it wrong, but added that the Sangh would continue to say that Indians had Hindu ancestry, as this was “true”.

“We say this not to ostracise you but to emphasise you are one of us,” he added.

Fielding a question on why former RSS chief M.S. Golwalkar’s 1966 book Bunch of Thoughts named Muslims and Christians as “internal threats”, Mr. Bhagwat said that was “contextual” and not a vision for all times.

“Contexts change. The RSS is not closed that we will agree with everything. Even Dr. Hedgewar had said RSS should grow with new experiments,” he said, adding that the book Golwalkar: His Vision and Mission was the one authentic text for those views of the former RSS chief that stay relevant for all times.

Mr. Bhagwat however attacked conversions, saying these were not required if all religions were equal and that “God isn’t sold in a market”. He, however, said voluntary conversion was different from allurement.

As for the Ram temple, he said it was for the government to decide on an Ordinance or another route, but he wished that a grand Ram temple be built at Ayodhya soon.

“If it can be built through consensus, it will foster harmony and far fewer fingers of suspicion will be pointed on Indian Muslims in future,” Mr. Bhagwat said.

He also backed a Uniform Civil Code, saying the society should make an attempt to move towards it.

On the decriminalisation of homosexuality, Mr. Bhagwat treaded a cautious line, but added that homosexuals should not be socially ostracised.

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