Amid a raging debate over the chanting of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai,’ RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Monday said the slogan could not be forced down upon people but efforts should be made to build an India where it was chanted voluntarily.
“We have to build such a great Bharatvarsh [India] that Bharat Mata ki Jai is chanted voluntarily across the world, it need not be imposed,” Mr. Bhagwat said here. Observers interpreted it as the RSS chief’s softening of stand on the issue as he had earlier this month stated that the new generation needed to be taught to chant slogans hailing Bharat Mata, triggering a controversy.
“We have to show the way to the people of the world with our life. We do not want to win or defeat anyone. Nor impose our ideology and thoughts on anyone. We wish to show them the path because we accept them as our own,” Mr. Bhagwat told Sangh cadre in Lucknow at the unveiling of the renovated ‘Kisan bhawan’ at the historic Smriti Bhawan, the RSS office where the foundation for the erstwhile Bharatiya Jan Sangh was laid in 1951.
He said the RSS was committed to building a great India and termed ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (the world is one family) the core philosophy of Indian culture.
The RSS boss had >stirred a controversy recently with his remark that the younger generation needed to be taught to hail “Mother India”.
In apparent retaliation, AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi had said >he would not chant ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ as he was not obliged to do it under the Constitution and that he would not do so even if a “knife is put to my throat”.
The issue snowballed into a political slugfest with the Shiv Sena, BJP and other parties >slamming the Hyderabad MP over his stand. Maharashtra Assembly >suspended an AIMIM MLA after he refused to chant the slogan, while the Madhya Pradesh Assembly passed a censure motion condemning Owaisi.
Amid the escalating row Advani had said in Gandhinagar, “I don’t want to comment on it. This is a meaningless controversy (’yeh ek vyarth vivad hai’)”.
(with PTI inputs)