“Hindustan mein rehna hoga toh Vande Mataram kehna hoga,’’ a stereo blares from one of the small boats anchored near the Narmada. The temple town has acquired a saffron hue on the eve of Maa Narmada Hindu Sangam during which RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat will address the gathering.
Elsewhere, too, the Vande Mataram cry, coupled with other slogans that question patriotism of those who are not ready to shed blood for the country, rent the air but the sloganeering appears more from Hindu activists trying to pep themselves up than a warning for anyone else.
If the organisers are to believed, more than 2.5 lakh activists will arrive here on Tuesday mainly to listen to the message of unity among Hindus. Thousands of small processions and similar events have been organised in the run up to the gathering.
Ever since the event was planned in June last year, RSS volunteers formed Dharma Jagaran Samitis in 4,800 villages in the organisation’s Malwa Prant. Each member paid Rs 50 as registration fee and the money will be spent on transporting them to the venue created by clearing a huge field.
The sloganeering is not in sync with the message of Hindu unity – mythological images depicting Lord Rama and Krishna hugging and interacting with those below them in the caste hierarchy dot the roads leading to Maheshwar. But then there are several large hoardings that describe the country as a “Hindu Rashtra”.
Such a massive gathering of Hindu activists has been organised only twice in the last 11 years. Security arrangements have been put in place to avoid any untoward incident and more than 1,000 policemen have already been deployed. An organiser, on the condition of anonymity, said the event will seek to bring in people from those places that are susceptible to unwanted activities like conversion.