The year 2019 will hold a special place in the history of Bharat. It not only marks the 550th “prakash varsh” of Guru Nanak and the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi; the celebration of Dattopant Thengadi’s birth centenary is also starting from November 10. All three figures shared the same cultural values and civilisation. They are the guiding spirits of this nation. This was one of the key messages sent by the RSS across the globe as the sarsanghchalak shared his thoughts at the Vijayadashami celebration in Nagpur.
The annual address by the RSS chief holds great importance as the organisation is seen as an ideological mentor to not only to the ruling government but many other organisations that are run throughout the country by swayamsevaks, with a vision of building character to rebuild the nation.
He appreciated the decision made by the present government to revoke Article 370. The people of Bharat showed faith in the strong leadership of the country in the elections. And the government responded by delivering its promise of “one nation, one constitution”.
Mohan Bhagwat focused on the Indian economy and areas that Bharat needs to work on. The speech highlighted the misguiding of the Indian masses by spreading the fear about the alleged slowdown of the economy. He emphasised the importance of self-reliance by focusing on the need for the growth of the MSME sector. He revisited Thengadi’s vision for a “third way” by not looking at the capitalist or communist models of development but developing an indigenous Bharatiya model.
The great emphasis given in our culture to unity in diversity is also important. The RSS’s idea of diversity is that one might follow any path of worship but we all consider ourselves Hindus. Some may prefer to use “Bharatiya” instead of “Hindu”. The RSS doesn’t have a problem with that. Bhagwat made it clear that “terminologies” are not that important, what is really important is the “essence” and “intention”.
Bhagwat also took up the key issue of Swadeshi. The Sangh believes that Bharat does not need FDI in low-tech products. He categorically reiterated that we need to be careful about who the real beneficiary is and not be misguided by mere optics when it comes to FDI. A classic example to understand what Bhagwat meant comes from the mobile manufacturing market in India. Indian mobile manufacturing companies once had a market share of 58 per cent. This has been reduced to 8 per cent as their manufacturing facilities are being taken over by Chinese companies.
This core idea of the oriental model of economic development is discussed in length by Thengadi in his book, Third Way. Thengadi is one of the most prominent ideologues of the Sangh. He was instrumental in the formation of Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh, Bhartiya Kisan Sangh and Swadeshi Jagran Manch. He also predicted the fall of communism and rise of Bharat in 21st century in 1989, which happens to be the birth centenary year of K B Hedgewar.
Bhagwat’s speech also discussed the fear that has been spread among minorities by introducing words which are alien to Bharat, like “lynching”. Efforts are underway to defame our country and the entire Hindu society. Many of these cases have been found to be false or exaggerated. He highlighted that the legal system in India is competent to curb such incidents. Indian culture has no space for violence but only for peace and acceptance to all. It goes beyond tolerance to coexistence.
For the first time, the need to look at the borders beyond land is highlighted. The world is moving towards new dynamics in maritime security. With huge maritime boundaries, Bharat needs to take care of its islands as well.
Bhagwat concluded his speech by discussing the need to realise the symbolic meaning of Vijayadashmi celebration. The victory of the good over evil is only possible if we strengthen ourselves as individuals, as a community and a nation and to lead the world with an example.
This article first appeared in the October 10, 2019 print edition under the title ‘A Vision For Bharat’. The writer is member of the state executive of Delhi RSS. Views are personal.