RSS Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat Wednesday said “reservations should continue as long as social discrimination remains and go only when those being discriminated against say it can go.” He was delivering a lecture on ‘samajik samrasata’ (social homogeneity) at a programme organised by Nagpur Nagrik Sahakari Bank on the occasion of late Sarsanghchalak Balasaheb Deoras’ birth centenary.
The statement seeks to clear the air over the impression that RSS was against reservation, after his controversial interview in Panchjanya ahead of Bihar elections. “It has always been the RSS stand that reservations are necessary. It was only that my earlier statements were not read and understood in totality,” Bhagwat said exhorting all to steer clear of a feeling of superiority or inferiority.
Observing that discrimination is still there, Bhagwat said, “only difference is it was suffered mutely earlier but not tolerated now. When we talk of reservation, the society gets divided. But should we not think that if they have suffered beastly assault for thousand years, can we not stand (reservation) for even 100 years.”
Bhagwat cited pandit Dindayal Upadhyay, who, he said, told swayamsevaks after they pulled him out of a ditch by extending a helping hand, “the one below has to raise himself up while the one above has to bow down to help him come up. That is how samrasara is.”
“We should also suffer something, that is dharma. One who has suffered will revolt,” Bhagwat added. Invoking Ambedkar, Bhagwat said, “to understand Ambedkar, we must read him entirely with the context. Then, it will not be difficult to understand samrasata.”
“Ambedkar had asked if religion was a set of code or values. Code is not dharma, values are. Samrasata is more about observing it with honesty rather than just discussing or preaching it,” Bhagwat said. He called upon the society to start practising samrasata at home. “Make your domestic help, the mason who built your home or the repairers who come to fix things part of your parivar (larger family). Involve them in your family occasions,” Bhagwat said.
Bhagwat reminded the audience of what Deoras had said decades ago at Pune. “He said if untouchability is not wrong, nothing is wrong. We have to ask ourselves if we really have the sensitivity for samrasata. Our mixing with all sections at workplaces is no measure of that sensitivity. Dining together per force is fine, but are we also ready for inter-caste marriages? We have to stand for it too,” Bhagwat said.
Describing unity as a precondition for the country’s development, Bhagwat said, “equality is precondition for unity. But how does equality come about? In a family, all individuals are different in many ways, but there is equality. Nobody is above or below and each carries out the task given or chosen. The feeling that we are all diverse but one is samrasata.”
Bhagwat reminded people of what Vivekananda said, “that we must relinquish all in religion that does not stand scrutiny of scientific tests. Traditions (like social inequality and untouchability) being passed of as dharma is not dharma.”