As long as social discrimination exists in the society, there is bound to be backwardness among the communities. "The reservation needs to stay as long as backward communities feel the need for it. The RSS strongly believes that there should be no change in status quo of the reservation granted under the Indian Constitution" Dattatreya Hosabale, the newly-elected general secretary of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, said in Bengaluru on Saturday, dismissing the charges that the RSS was opposed to reservation.
Hosabale, who addressed the media on the concluding day of the Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha, shared the RSS plans till 2025, when the organisation turns 100.
Giving a glimpse into its plans for the next three years, Hosabale said the organisation would focus on "samajik parivarthan" (social transformation) and "vaicharik prabhodan" (intellectual campaign) to change the "narrative of new India".
"We are hopeful of expanding our activities across 58,542 mandals (one mandal comprises 10-12 villages) by 2025. Our expanding base of swayamsevaks will strive to build social harmony, equality and justice among the Hindu society and to fight all forms of discrimination, untouchabity and social hierarchy. An intellectual campaign is also the need of the hour as we cannot build a new India by rejecting India's civilisational experience and wisdom, but by assimilating it. It is time to set right the narrative on India," said Hosabale.
Announcing the Sangh's ambitious project, "bhoomi suposhan", Hosabale said, "A pilot project across 20 states will be launched to enhance the soil fertility on Yugadi (April 13). Farmers, NGOs, and social and religious organisations will join hands to adopt scientific methods to improve the soil health. It will be part of the Gram Vikas (rural development) initiative. This project will be in addition to programmes like "go seva" (cow protection), "parivar prabhodan" (family counselling) and "paryavaran" (environment) chalked out to engage the younger generation," he added.
During the press interaction, Hosabale hit back at RSS critics, who alleged that the ruling party today was being "remote controlled" by Nagpur, saying, "It is wrong to assume any such control existed. India is a democratic country. It is wrong to say an elected government is being controlled by some outsider. In fact, the RSS has always strongly opposed any outside person controlling the government or the ruling party."
On some political parties opposing the Ram Mandir, Hosabale stated that building the Ram Mandir was the collective aspiration of lakhs and crores of Indians, and it was not just the Hindu society that extended its support to the Ram Mandir Abhiyan, but also the non-Hindus. "More importantly, the Supreme Court gave its unanimous decision to form a public trust to build the Ram temple. We are following the order and those who are opposing it are only doing it for political reasons as they personally are in favour of building the Ram temple," he claimed.
When asked to clarify the RSS's stance on love-jihad, Hosabale said, "The term love-jihad was not coined by the RSS, but the courts of Kerala and Assam. The society should oppose inter-religious marriages conducted through fraudulent means and for fraudulent purposes like conversion or trafficking. Some states have brought in legislation to tackle it and we welcome it."
Responding to a query on the statement made by the current pontiff of Pejawara Mutt, who allegedly called upon Brahmin women to marry within their community, Hosabale reminded that it was the late pontiff of Pejawar Mutt Sri Vishwesha Theertha Swami who had guided the Sangh on the various aspects of untouchability in the past. "All through his life, he fought for eradicating untouchability. The RSS is firmly against all forms of untouchability and caste-based discrimination. We have been striving to change the mindset of people for a long time and will continue to do it. Transformation is a slow process."
The ABPS passed two resolutions lauding India's resilience during the Covid-19 pandemic and the unity displayed by people of the country by extending support to building the Ram Mandir.