Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat on Wednesday strongly pitched for construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya at “the earliest”, asserting that it will end tension between Hindus and Muslims.
Describing Lord Ram as “Imam-e-Hind”, Bhagwat said he may not a god for some people of the country, but he is an idol of Indian values for people from all sections of the society.
“As a Sangh worker, head of the sangh and as a part of Ram janambhoomi andaloan, I want that a grand Ram temple should be constructed at the earliest at the birth place (Ayodhya) of Lord Ram,” he said.
“It should have happened by now. The construction of a grand Ram temple will help in ending a major reason for tension between Hindus and Muslims, and if the temple is built in a harmonious way, then there will be no more pointing of fingers at Muslims,” he said on the final day of the RSS three-day lectures series.
This is matter to “strengthen unity” and culture of the country, it is an issue of faith for crores of people of the country, he underlined.
He also supported a dialogue on the issue but said the final decision is with Ram Mandir Samiti which is spearheading the movement for construction of a temple.
A Supreme Court verdict is expected to come soon before the current Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra demits office on October 2.
Bhagwat also said that it is prerogative of the government whether to bring an ordinance on the construction of Ram temple.
He presented Sangh’s views on a number of contentious issues while answering wide-ranging written questions, including on matters like Ram temple, inter-caste marriages, education policy, crimes against women and cow vigilantism.
He strongly backed the existing reservation system for different communities, but said there should not be any politics on the issue.
He claimed there is an increasing acceptance of Hindutva, his organisation’s founding ideology, in the world but anger existed against it in India due to various wrong practices which have crept in over the years. The Sangh is working to remove them, he added.
To a question about changing demographic balance in parts of India and the ‘declining’ Hindu population, the RSS chief said the matter of demographic balance is considered significant world over and it should be maintained here also.
“Keeping this in mind, a policy on population should be prepared,” he said, adding that it should keep in mind the country’s projected population in the next 50 years and its resources to deal with the number.
He added that such a policy should be applied first where the problem (of population) exists, “where there are more babies but means to bring them up are limited... If their upbringing is not good, then they will not become good citizens.”
Many Bharatiya Janata Party leaders and Hindu outfits have often claimed that the Hindu population was dwindling whereas Muslim numbers were on a upswing.
Speaking against religious conversion, Bhagwat said it is almost always done with ulterior motives and also causes demographic imbalance.
He also pitched for protection of cows but disapproved of going against law in the name of cow vigilantism.
The RSS chief said it is a crime to take law in one’s own hands and there should be stringent punishment in such cases, but added, “We have to reject the double-speak as there is no talk of violence by cow smugglers”. He was asked about increasing cases of mob lynching and cow vigilantism in the country.
The three-day event saw presence of several leaders of the ruling BJP, as also Bollywood actors, artists and academicians. However, almost all major opposition parties gave the conclave ‘Bhavishya Ka Bharat -- An RSS Perspective’ a miss though the RSS had said it had invited them.
On the Sangh’s view on the issue of inter-caste marriages, Bhagwat said it supports such weddings and if there is a census on inter-caste marriages, the maximum cases will be those from the Sangh.
Expressing anguish over crime against women, he said an environment needs to be created where women feel safe and secure.
Replying to another question, he also said that it was responsibility of the government and administration to protect its people against any discrimination.
He also said that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community should not be isolated as they were also part of society.
Bhagwat said the Sangh is not opposed to any language, including English, but it should be given its proper place, suggesting it cannot replace an Indian language.
He also said there was a need for a new education policy which is a mix of modern education and our traditions, and added that degrees are being given out by institutions but research work was decreasing.
Among other issues, Bhagwat also talked about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and said the RSS does not accept Article 370 and 35-A of Constitution relating to the state.
While Article 370 deals with autonomy of the state, Article 35-A allows the state assembly to define permanent residents of the state.