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Bid to unite Indic religions

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Guided by senior RSS functionary Indresh Kumar, the Dharm Sanskriti Sangam has decided to celebrate one key festival of each religion born in India.

The RSS has looked to unite Hindus (Sangathan) since its foundation in 1925, but a Sangh offshoot is now looking at uniting all religions born on Indian soil.

Guided by senior RSS functionary Indresh Kumar, the Dharm Sanskriti Sangam has decided to celebrate one key festival of each religion born in India.

“We will celebrate any one key festival of prominent Indian panths – of the Jains, Buddhists, Valmikis, Ravidasis, Sikhs, etc. From sage Valmiki to Dr. Ambedkar, we want to honour all,” Mr. Kumar told The Hindu.

Yatras planned

Before next year’s Buddha Purnima in May, the Sangam will take out yatras from four corners of India to converge at Bodh Gaya, where it would offer Cheevar Daan to the Buddha. Cheevar is the cloth that Buddhist monks wear, said Sukhvir Bauddh, a Buddhist who is an office-bearer of the organisation. Mr. Kumar had performed this ritual this year too.

The organisation has Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs and Arya Samajists in key positions. The idea isn’t new to Hindutva. Its prime ideologue V.D. Savarkar had defined a Hindu as “everyone who regards Bharatbhumi from the Indus to the seas as his fatherland and holy land.” All Indic religions are “Hindu” in this sense.

Seeing unity in Indic faiths

The Dharm Sanskriti Sangam, a Sangh offshoot, seeks to unite all religions born on Indian soil. Within the RSS tradition too, M.S. Golwalkar’s Bunch Of Thoughts sees Christianity and Islam as “threats.”

Guided by senior RSS functionary Indresh Kumar, the outfit has decided to celebrate one key festival of each religion born in India.

To be fair, however, Mr. Kumar mentors yet another Sangh offshoot Muslim Rashtriya Manch, which seeks to reconcile Muslim beliefs to Hindu ethos. This attempt, however, has attracted criticism from fringe right-wing group Hindu Mahasabha.

Politically, the Sangam’s bid is also a reaching out to neo-Buddhists, or Dalit converts to Buddhism. Critical of Hinduism, Dalit leader Dr. Ambedkar had converted to Buddhism and many Dalits in Maharashtra followed suit. While releasing some books on Dr. Ambedkar recently, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had expressed happiness that the Dalit icon had adopted an Indian faith.

At a recent programme of the Sangam, Mr. Kumar said that India could be a uniting factor for all Indic faiths, some doctrinal differences notwithstanding.

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Printable version | Aug 21, 2019 6:53:20 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/hindutva-outfit-in-attempt-to-unite-indiaborn-religions/article7675046.ece

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