Central Committee member of the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS), Hastamal Jain who made a brief stopover in Vadodara on his visit to Gujarat, dispelled the “misconception” that RSS was working “only for Hindus” and said a “son of the soil” belonging to any faith was welcome to participate in “instilling national pride”.
In an interaction with reporters in Vadodara, flanked by city RSS President Dr Vrajesh Shah, Jain said the RSS had been “misconstrued” as an organization against particular people, while working tirelessly for everyone alike. Jain said, “In every country across this world, there are people working for its development by way of devotion towards the country. We must remove politics out of it. In any big country, there is diversity and it should not be seen as differences.”
Debunking the debate on “intolerance”, Jain said, “The more devout a Hindu, the more large-hearted. Those who talk of India being intolerant should see other countries where minority religions cannot practice their faiths freely. We embrace everyone.”
Jain said that the term “Hindus” has been confined to those who follow the religion. But for the RSS, nationalists belonging to all faiths are “Hindus”. Jain said, “If Hindus of the country are not united, the country will not progress. Right now we speak of Hindus literally as those who follow the religion, but a Hindu is he who is devoted to Hindustan. Muslims or Christians are not strangers. We see everyone as the son of the soil and they are free to join us in our work of strengthening the country. If they were left alone by certain politicians, they would have been with us long back.”
Jain said that the ISIS was “just a new face of the terror”, spurt out of “elements without love for the motherland, who fall prey to greed”.
Jain added, “Such elements have damaged our country’s pride on many earlier occasions. A weak society will face many problems, which is why we are working towards instilling national pride in people. This is a country of culture and anyone who lives here must respect the culture it stands for.”
When asked about the open boycott a Shah Rukh Khan movie faced in Kutch, in Gujarat, he said, “Those who spread the venom of intolerance should be taught a lesson. We will do that by opposing them. These are the people trying to deviate the minds of people from the issue of development.
Jain said if the RSS indeed believed in the policy of excluding religions, the Swayam Sevaks “would not be first to reach in aid of the predominantly Muslim population of J&K during the floods, last year”. Jain said, “We believe that India is our society and we must stand with our people in times of sorrows and joy. Our values are that of service.”
Voicing out the expectations from the Narendra Modi-led government, Jain said, “The RSS has no agenda. Any government sitting at the center is welcome so long as the intention is nationalist. The previous government also belonged to us, just like this government. But because there are more Sangh members in this government, the expectations are slightly higher.”