On February 25, Vijay relinquished the editorship of Panchjanya to take over the directorship of the Bharatiya Janata Party think-tank, the Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Research Foundation.
In an interview with Senior Associate Editor Onkar Singh in New Delhi, Vijay says the India of his dreams is one where everyone gets an opportunity to flower just like the Jews who found solace in India while they were being persecuted elsewhere in the world.
A journalist since 1976, he began his career with Russi Karanjia at the Mumbai-based tabloid Blitz and then as a freelance journalist for major dailies and magazines before spending five years as an RSS activist in the country's tribal areas. He was the youngest member of the then home minister's advisory committee during Indira Gandhi's government before joining Panchjanya.
Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee once said about him: 'Tarunji looks small in physique, but his brilliance and sharp intellect, his logical writings make a deep, very deep impression on the readers.'
An avid photographer he has covered the Himalayan region extensively and his pictorial book An Odyssey in Tibet has been well received. His photographs on the river Indus had been exhibited in Bangalore, Chennai, New Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai. He also led the first Indus expedition from Demchok to Batalik.
Why is Indian society becoming so intolerant?
I must admit that intolerance is everywhere. This kind of apartheid is due to the Leftist influence in politics and the intellectual arena. Though Charvak spoke against the Vedas he was given a high pedestal of a Rishi by Indian society. He was called one of the six most exalted Rishis. So intolerance against other religions is an un-Indian attitude.
The Indian ethos believes in a million flowers and a million fragrances. The growing intolerance is because of jihadi assaults and the wrong policies of the government which thinks that anything that is linked to Hinduism has to be ignored. It pays to be a non-Hindu in India. There are endless examples like special universities for non-Hindus, special loans for a particular community. If non-Hindus are in trouble the government and the media gets perturbed.
Has the establishment ever thought of including Hindus in Kashmir in this list?
Do you think Hinduism is under attack?
Hinduism allowed all the religions of the world to flower in India. But now the very core of Hinduism is under attack. It is our responsibility to make society awaken to such dangers.
Are you saying that Hinduism must be strengthened?
Certainly so. We must have free and fair society which believes in coexistence, in Vasudeva Kutumbam (The world is one family).
Do you believe that the BJP has a chance to win the next general election?
The present atmosphere gives us hope that the BJP will come to power in the next Lok Sabha election provided the party continues to stick to its ideological moorings. I feel that people have trust in the party. It is a party which believes and propagates the nationalist ideology.
Did the BJP commit a mistake by giving up the Ram Mandir issue?
The construction of a Ram temple is a one hundred per cent certainty. Whether the BJP does it or someone else does it is hidden in the future. The Hindu is the first enemy of Hindu issues. The Ganga is polluted by Hindus. The majority of cow slaughter houses are run by Hindus. Many exporters who export meat including beef are Hindus. Those who give reservation to non-Hindus are Hindus. They find it politically beneficial to assault Hindu issues. This situation has to be reversed.
And this can be done only through Hindu reforms. We must show Hindu solidarity which is the key to most of the problems that we face today. Those who visit temples do not keep them clean. People do not ensure that the priests recite the right shlokas and that the pronunciation is correct. We have to ensure that the priests do not loot pilgrims. This is a kind of reform that has to come from within.
The youth of today must take the initiative and we cannot blame others.
Hindu solidarity is not against any minority and it would be beneficial to all minorities including Christians and Muslims. It is for the national good.
Are you turning into a hardliner once again?
To be a Hindu one is essentially liberal. My liberalism is inherent in being a Hindu. It is part and parcel of my Hindu religion. I would like everyone to share this thought including Muslims and Christians. According to me, if water and education is not provided to everyone and if the women are not empowered there is no Hindutva -- it means that every citizen of India, whichever religion he may belong, achieves progress.
What was the RSS's reaction when Mr Vajpayee announced that he was going to Lahore in 1999?
We were the first to welcome it and I was invited to join the party. Nawaz Sharif, then the prime minister of Pakistan, was there to receive the Indian prime minister. Pakistan has been created on the basis of hate and this must go. Pakistan should not be Arab-centric. This is civilisational disorientation in Pakistan. India and Pakistan have the same roots and just because we worship God or Allah should not make us enemies.
What is your solution to the problems faced by the BJP?
Any organisation needs water to bind it and the answer lies is Bhagwakaran (saffronisation). India's greatness would lie in Vidya (knowledge) and Charitra (character) , Rajju Bhaiya (Professor Rajendra Singh) once told me. I believe he had a point.
My job is to have a manthan (discussion) where both friends and those who do not subscribe to our theory can come together.
Can you emerge from the shadow of leaders like Mr Vajpayee and Mr Advani?
I don't have to. In fact, I do not even think in such terms. I am fortunate that these stalwarts are there to guide me. My post may be director but I will be a student seeking their advice, guidance. I will be providing inputs on ideology and governance. All policies would have to be looked at from our point of view and interpreted accordingly so that they can apply in the areas of their influence. We will be setting up chairs in the name of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya in areas where our nationalism is being challenged and assaulted. This is a very critical period.
What about the nationalism of the kind that Raj Thackeray propagates?
If you sow the seed of poison you would reap the hardest of hate. The fragmented polity of the country provides this kind of space that further divides society and fragments it. It is beneficial to those who are looking for such opportunities to get votes.
In Jammu and Kashmir and the north eastern states you cannot buy land despite the fact that you are a citizen of India. Things like Article 370 create problems.