“It is imperative to give women independence to work and equal rights in all spheres,” Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat said on Wednesday at its annual Dussehra event in Maharashtra’s Nagpur.
“So, beginning with changes within our own families, we will have to take it to society through the organisation. Until women’s equal participation is ensured, the efforts aimed at the progress of the country will not be successful,” Bhagwat said in his speech.
The RSS had invited mountaineer Santosh Yadav to be the chief guest at the event.
“The presence of women who have been achievers, part of the intelligentsia and source of inspiration in RSS functions has been a norm in the Sangh since the time of Doctor Saab (Dr K B Hedgewar). Anusiyabai Kale was present at our event at that time. Then, the chief of the Indian Women’s Conference, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, has also been part of our shivir (camp). In December 1934 also, the chief guest was a woman and it has been going on since,” Bhagwat said. “After the Emergency, an Akola event of the RSS also had a woman as chief guest. I was a pracharak there at the time. Kumudtai Rangnekar from Aurangabad had been the chief guest at that Vijayadashami event,” he added.
Bhagwat said that society is made up of both men and women, and “we don’t debate who is superior”. “Because we know that without either, society cannot exist, and nothing can be created. They are complementary; this is Indian philosophy,” he said.
“So the work of nation-building is done by different sets of organisational units for men and women, but in all social work (taken up by the Sangh), men and women work together…During the time of Doctor Saab, for the objective of character building, two separate units were created. But in every work, men and women come together and complement each other,” Bhagwat said.
If society has to be organised, women and their “maternal power” cannot be ignored, Bhagwat said. “We need to strengthen them. We call them mother, we imagine them as jagat janani (creators of the universe). But while imagining these things, I don’t know what crept into us that we limited their sphere of activity. And later when foreign invaders came, these restrictions got legitimacy. The invaders went away but we continued with the restrictions. We never liberated them,” he pointed out.
“That we imagine them as creators of the universe is good. But because of that, we must keep them locked in the prayer room, [that] is not good,” Bhagwat said. “We either lock them in the prayer room or brand them as second class and shut them in the house. Doing away with this, we need to make them active by giving them equal rights in the domestic and public sphere and independence in decision-making,” he added.
The RSS chief said that in 2017, its women workers conducted a survey of ‘maternal power’ in the country. The sample included women from all walks of life and the survey was inaugurated by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Bhagwat said. “The outcome of the survey was that whatever a man can do, a woman can do as well. But everything that women can do, men cannot. So it is imperative to give women independence to work and equal rights in all spheres. So, beginning with changes within our own families, we will have to take it to society, through the organisation. Until women’s equal participation is ensured, the efforts aimed at the progress of the country will not be successful,” Bhagwat added.
#WATCH | Population imbalance leads to changes in geographical boundaries… Population control & religion-based population balance is an imp subject that can no longer be ignored…So a holistic population policy should be brought & should be equally applicable to all: RSS chief pic.twitter.com/hYU6itnO47
— ANI (@ANI) October 5, 2022
The RSS chief also flagged the need for a “comprehensive population control policy” that applies to all “equally”, adding it was in the national interest to keep an eye on “population imbalance”.
“There should be a comprehensive population control policy, which should apply to all equally, and once it is put in motion, no one should get any concessions,” Bhagwat said.
On why such a policy is needed, Bhagwat said, “A few years ago, the fertility rate was 2.1. We did better than the world expected and we have come down to 2. But coming further down could be detrimental. Children learn social behaviour in the family and for that, you need numbers in the family. You need people of your age, you need those elder to you, and also those younger. When population stops increasing, societies disappear, and languages disappear.”
Elaborating on the need to make the New Education Policy (NEP) a success, he said: “We keep lamenting that our mother tongues are suffering. Now there is a New Education Policy that promotes education in mother tongues. But are we sending our children to institutes that offer education in our mother tongues? There is a myth that one requires English education to achieve a good career. That’s not true. If we observe the top people in the country, almost 80 per cent of them studied in institutes that offered education in their mother tongues till the completion of matriculation. Despite this and the NEP, if we don’t send our children to schools that teach in our mother tongues, will this policy ever succeed?”
“As long as parents keep teaching their children that the aims of their lives are to study, whether they like it or not, and earn good money, we will not have cultured and responsible citizens in the country. They will just become money-making machines,” Bhagwat added.
He also urged the people to focus on their health and wellness and maintain cleanliness around them rather than just expecting the government to provide better healthcare facilities after they fall ill.