While addressing a seminar on ‘Identity and Integration’ on August 2, organised to mark the 50th anniversary of UK-based charity Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat told the audience that Hinduism does not allow forceful conversion by any means.
“After contemplating any philosophy or any religion, if one of his own will and wish decides to convert to it…Our tradition says every individual can independently decide what his faith should be. But using other means and converting people by lure or some other means, that is aggression on individual rights and that should not be allowed,” he said to PTI.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh “Sarsanghchalak” was addressing a seminar on ‘Identity and Integration’, organised to mark the 50th anniversary of UK-based charity Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), in London last evening.
Bhagwat mentioned, “Hinduism is a sanskriti and not a religion” and also “Hindu is a tradition” that believes in “accepting, respecting and celebrating” numerous identities.
“We have no problem with identities; we can live as an integrated society, humanity and universe. It has been achieved and lived by common people and can be found anywhere Hindus live. Hindu identity says diversity is to be celebrated,” he said to PTI.
“Unity in diversity” was the central mantra of Hinduism and Bhagwat mentioned verses from the Atharva Veda, a Hindu text, to show that diversity existed even in ancient times.
“Despite our history, we don’t treat anyone like a foreigner…Only politics sometimes disrupts all this. But these are ripples and then we revert to normalcy because it is in our blood,” he said to PTI.
“Ultimately we are all human beings, all ‘atmans’ (soul). We respect and accept everyone’s identity but have an eye on the underlying unity. That example has been created by Hindu society anywhere in the world and can resolve all conflict,” he added further.
The 65-year-old RSS leader was in the UK and was invited as the chief guest of HSS UK’s Mahashibir 2016, which concluded over the weekend. He was surrounded by heavy security presence at the Navnat Centre in the south London.
The seminar on August 2, concluded his UK tour and included panellists like Dr Girdharilal Bhan, former national president of VHP, Samani Pratibha Pragya, head nun of Jain Vishva Bharati London, and Gauri Das, managing director of Bhaktivedanta Manor ISKCON UK.
While focussing on the Hindu diaspora in the UK, Bhagwat said, “Hindus don’t insist call yourself Hindu. But the values are all the same…We all believe in the unity of existence and doing Sewa (service). Don’t fight among each other, stay united and work for the world’s good, mentioned the PTI report.
With most senior leaders in the BJP having retired from active politics, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) is now looking towards building a new leadership. Later this month, the RSS will be holding camps in Uttar Pradesh to discuss ways to identify and groom young leaders.
According to a senior RSS functionary in Lucknow, the first camp in this regard will be held in Jhansi, possibly on June 29 and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat will be attending it. Another camp is scheduled to be held in Lucknow.
“After Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, there seems to be a dearth of second rung leadership in the bhBJP. There is a need to develop leadership that will carry forward the work initiated by these two leaders.
“Rajnath Singh is a senior leader, but his age is 67. He would have crossed 70 by the time the next general elections are held in 2024. We have to identify and inculcate leadership qualities in the younger lot,” the functionary said.
He further said that identifying young talent that could be groomed for greater responsibilities was a continuous process in the organisation and it never stopped.
“It is not a sudden decision but the RSS leadership always has a vision for the future and thinks ahead. We keep finding young people with leadership skills,” the functionary added.
Earlier this month, the RSS chief had underlined the need for checking misuse of power at a four-day camp that he addressed in Kanpur.
“Those getting elected in a democratic set-up have immense power, but this does not mean that it should be misused. If the government falters at any point of time, the Sangh will give it advice and suggestions with a positive point of view,” he had said.
The RSS chief had also discussed the topics of nationalism, social equality and service in his interaction with over 600 volunteers. He also focused on qualitative development of the Sangh volunteers and apprised them of his views on dedication towards society.
The RSS leadership is also expected to come to Lucknow for a separate camp at the end of this month. In Lucknow, the RSS leaders will pay homage to senior journalist Rajnath Singh Surya, who passed away earlier this month. Surya was also a senior RSS functionary.
Officially, however, the RSS office bearers said that they had yet to receive any programme of Bhagwat and said that such camps were a ‘routine affair’. (IANS)