Updated: January 2, 2021 12:44:59 pm
A Hindu is an automatic patriot and can never be anti-national, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said on Friday. Bhagwat said this in the context of how Mahatma Gandhi found religion as a source of his patriotism.
Addressing a gathering during the launch of a book, Making of a Hindu Patriot: Background of Gandhiji’s Hind Swaraj, Bhagwat said, “All Indians worship motherland. But Gandhiji said my patriotism comes from my religion. So if you are a Hindu then you will be an automatic patriot. You may be an unconscious Hindu, you may need awakening, but a Hindu will never be anti-India.”
Describing how Indian culture and Hindu religion inspired Gandhi, Bhagwat said, “Gandhiji said my religion is the religion of all religions. Gandhiji wanted to say ‘Dharm’ but there is no parallel to it in English. Gandhiji started the movement for Swaraj (self-rule)… But till you do not understand ‘Swadharm’, you can’t understand Swaraj.”
“The launch of a book dealing with rise of a Hindu patriot in context of Gandhi and the presence of RSS chief can mean a lot of things to the people. People will say we are trying to appropriate Gandhiji. No one can appropriate a great personality. The aim of this book is not that. It is a thoroughly researched book on the life of Gandhiji,” Bhagwat said.
The book, brought out by Centre for Policy Studies and authored by Dr J K Bajaj and M D Srinivas, focuses on Gandhi’s journey from Porbandar to England and South Africa and back to India.
Bhagwat said Gandhi’s understanding of religion was of tolerance. “Unity in diversity is our sentiment and not just a matter of policy. Gandhiji said I will follow my religion strictly but also respect other religions. This is the fundamental of Indian thought. Difference does not mean separatism,” Bhagwat said.
The RSS chief said Gandhi understood the freedom struggle was not just an effort to transform those in power but to transform ourselves. “Gandhiji clearly said the Western civilisation has ruined our own culture and we have become ‘Dharmbhrasht’. …Dr Hedgewar also used to say that do not blame others. You got enslaved because you were ready to be enslaved. There was something lacking in you. I saw a parallel of such thought in Gandhiji,” Bhagwat said.
The book released by Bhagwat focuses on Gandhi’s life in three different stages of his struggle.
The book claims that during 1893-94, Gandhi was pressured by his Muslim employer and Christian colleagues in South Africa to convert but he refused. And by 1905, he had become a devout Hindu, the book says.
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