Bhagwat favours early construction of Ram temple, disapproves politics of power

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New Delhi : Articulating his position on a range of raging issues, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Wednesday favoured construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya at the earliest and uniform civil code and population control, lauded the work of Modi government but also disapproved politics of shamshan-kabristan and saffron terror in election campaigns.

Bhagwat, who took questions from the audience on the last day of his three-day lecture series "Future of Bharat: An RSS perspective", spoke against religious conversions under allurement and minoritism and said there should be no "double standards" over violence in the name of cow.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), he said, does not approve the word "minorities" as it considers all to be equal citizens. This description was not in use before Independence, he added.

Bhagawat spoke for continuation of reservation, pitched for a firm population policy that covers those with big families and favoured a new education policy that combines modernity with traditional values.

He backed a uniform civil code, abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution and Article 35A in Jammu and Kashmir.

He said Ram Mandir should be built "at the earliest" in Ayodhya which would remove a major cause of discord of between Hindus and Muslims.

"I want a grand Ram Mandir to be built soon at his birth place. Whichever way and whatever the means, it should be built at the earliest. There should be no politics over this. If it happens through consensus, then the dispute between Hindus and Muslims will be over for ever. If it is done harmoniously, the fingers that are raised again and again at the Muslims would not be raised," he said.

He said that there were "double standards" over violence in the name of cow with nobody making any "noise" about cattle smugglers attacking the gaurakshaks.

Bhagwat said Hinduism should not be called Hindutva, noting that the former was the search for eternal truth and the latter the process to achieve it.

Answering a query if progress of the country under the Narendra Modi government since 2014 was in accordance with the thoughts of the RSS, Bhagwat said his answer would be the same if the question pertained to work done since 1947.

"The situation that you have got in legacy... The government has to work accordingly. Moving forward does not happen at once. They (Modi government) have moved ahead in that direction as there is a change in the atmosphere of society. More people are thinking of manufacturing within the country," he said and cited examples including that of Yoga guru Baba Ramdev.

"Entreprenuership has risen, skills have grown...this has given rise to some hope that the country can stand on its own feet. This hope is not due to speeches but due to experience. Those who went abroad are coming back to work in villages. It is difficult to achieve 100 per cent and if it happens it will be golden days but we can say that the country has moved in this direction," he said.

Answering a query about politics of polarisation, he said the politics should be for the welfare of people and the medium of this is power.

"If this happens then what JP (Jayaprakash Narayan), (Mahatma) Gandhi had expected... Then this question will not arise. Shamshan, Kabristan, saffron terror all these issues will not come up. These crop up when politics is practised for power and not for welfare of people," he said.

The remarks could be seen as a veiled criticism of the words of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Assembly election in Uttar Pradesh last year and the Congress description of saffron terror.

Bhagwat said the RSS only supports policies and whoever implements them automatically gets its support. "We do not favour a political party."

He said conversions with lure of money or through trickery should be opposed.

Bhagwat favoured a population policy with a 50-year perspective that should be uniformly implemented without exception and particularly on those who have more children and less resources.

However, he added that this had to be done not merely by law but by mentally preparing people for it.

On reservation, he said the problem was not reservation but the politics of reservation.

"RSS completely supports the reservation given by the Constitution to remove social stigmas. The decision as to how long reservation should continue, that has to be taken by those for whom reservation has been granted. Whenever they feel it is not necessary, they will decide," he said.

He indicated that the Sangh welcomes inter-caste marriages and noted that the RSS would have the largest percentage of such marriages as an organisation.

Bhagwat said it was wrong to say that standard of education was going down, but it was actually standard of teachers and students.

"The education policy should be a combination of modernism and traditional values. Hope the new education policy will have it," he said.

On the question of language, he said mother tongue should be respected and education should be imparted in it.

He said people did not need to make an enemy of English to assert primacy of local languages and that supremacy of English was only in their minds.

"The dominance of English is not in day-to-day work, it's in our minds. We should start respecting our own mother tongues... The existence of disparate languages is necessary for the development of human species."

He favoured women learning self-defence and said that apart from strengthening laws, men should change their attitude towards women.