Barely a fortnight after the government called off talks with Pakistan, the RSS has stepped in with a prescription — normalise ties with Islamabad as it was once “a part of our (India’s) body” with shared historical and cultural links.
The Sangh on Friday also said that efforts to have good relations must continue despite provocations by Pakistan as “Kauravas and Pandavas were also brothers” and “everything needs to be done for a righteous cause”.
At a press conference at the end of the three-day Sangh-Government meet in Delhi in which senior ministers — the Prime Minister also spoke today — and top RSS functionaries discussed several issues, RSS Joint General Secretary Dattatreya Hosabale said: “The primary issues discussed were security of the country, both external and internal. RSS is always sensitive and aware about these issues.”
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Emphasising on the need of good relations with neighbouring countries, he said: “India is a member of SAARC. India has good relations with neighbouring countries…Pakistan and Bangladesh were our body parts earlier. People living in these countries are of our family.”
On the Army veterans’ demand for one rank one pension, he said the party is working in this direction and BJP chief Amit Shah will soon “resolve” the issue.
Stressing the need to ignore irritants in bilateral relations, he indicated that being the more sensible brother (Pandavas) India must focus on strengthening ties with these countries that share a sibling bond with us. “Kabhi kabhi sambandhon mein, jaise bhai bhaiyon mein bhi ho jata hai, aise kuch dashakon men hue honge.(Sometimes in relations, as also happens between brothers….such incidents have taken place in some decades,” Hosabale said.
He added that “we discussed how cultural relations with our neighbouring countries, which are linked by history, can be improved.”
The RSS’s latest stance on Pakistan is in stark contrast to its earlier hardline position. And by appearing to advise the government to drop its recent posturing against Islamabad, it seems to be favouring a diplomatic push towards the neighbour.
Hosabale said that while no one can be a hundred per cent satisfied (with the performance of the government), it was moving in the right direction with commitment and dedication and rejected criticism that the RSS was acting like a “remote control”. “Lagan thik hai, pratibadhhta achhi hai. It has raised aspirations and confidence of people. For the first time in history, this government has raised confidence of people in india and abroad,” Hosabale said.
He also underlined that while several ministers attended the meeting and shared their views, it should not be construed as an attempt by the RSS to seek a review report from the government. Twice every year, RSS swayamsevaks in various organisations hold meetings and talk about various issues, he said. Since Swayamsevaks are today ruling the country, he said, ministers would naturally be a part of such baithaks.
Asked whether ministers who apprised the RSS of their work breached their oath of secrecy, he said: “Ministers often visit various forums like FICCI and CII, come before journalists and present their views. We are citizens of this country. We have every right to ask ministers, if necessary. Where does the question of secrecy come here? They (ministers) merely presented their ideas.”
He rejected the Congress charge that the BJP-led government was taking directions from the RSS and said: “Who ran a remote control (for so long) have no moral responsibility to raise this issue.” Asked about the perception that the government is following the RSS agenda, he said: “We have not given any agenda to the government. The Narendra Modi government is following the agenda of people’s hearts.”
Stressing on the need to inculcate what he said was “Bharatiya Chintan (Indian thought)” in economic policies, he said: “Economic models need to be developed on the basis of Bharatiya chintan and vichar. Western models have failed.” We need to have a model that strikes a balance between development and environment, he said.
Underlining the poor condition of villages in India, he said villagers “are moving to cities for kamai (money), padhai (education) and davai (medicine)”. It is important to have a happy village life and ensure that weaker sections of the society live with pride and security.
The meeting also discussed “Indianisation of education”, and ensure that education is “geographically accessible, financially affordable and socially inclusive”. To a question on recent release of Census figures based on religion, he said, “We have prepared a report and it will be discussed at the RSS meeting”.