RSS leader in conversation with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now
GN Bureau | January 24, 2022
Ram Madhav, a member of the RSS National Executive, has said that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi proudly proclaiming to be a better Hindu is a welcome step and the opposition’s newfound claim that their Hinduism is superior to the Hinduism of RSS is the new competition in India.
In a conversation with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now, during the live webcast as part of the Visionary Talk series held by the public policy and governance analysis platform, Madhav said their efforts paid off with Rahul Gandhi proclaiming he was in the race to prove himself a better Hindu. He said opposition claims of being better Hindus are the new competition in India and a welcome step.
“Today Rahul Gandhi is proudly claiming to be a Hindu, a better Hindu and today everyone wants to wear Hinduism on their sleeve. The oppositions claim that their Hinduism is probably better than that of RSS is a new competition in India. We wholeheartedly welcome it. All of us recognise that we belong to a great cultural civilisational tradition for Hinduism,” he said.
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Madhav said that the opposition's attempt to separate Hinduism from Hindutva is silly and political expediency.
“The problem is... in the so-called race to prove oneself as a bigger Hindu... like today Rahul Gandhi-ji’s claims to be a better Hindu than probably Yogi Adityanath-ji is the funny part... that is purely political Hinduism. Opposition is trying to separate Hinduism from Hindutva. It is very silly and political expediency. Hindu, Hindutva, Sanatan, Indianness, Bhartiyata means one and the same.”
He added, “Neo- and political Hindus like Arvind Kejriwal, not only going for Ayodhya Darshan but also taking senior citizens along is very good... thanks to the changed atmosphere in the country. But to get political mileage and distinction out of this exercise will be useless.”
He said that no one would have imagined a decade ago that Shashi Tharoor would write a book on Hinduism. “He would have probably written a book on secularism. One should feel proud of their Hindu identity and today you feel this realization all over the country.
Madhav, who earlier served as BJP national general secretary, said today a large section of society feels proud of their cultural civilisational heritage. Many books are being written today on this theme and Veer Savarkar and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel are getting a lot of space. “Hindutva as a word came into vogue after Savarkar popularised it,” he added.
“All this shows that discourse in India has undergone a healthy change. The Hindu identity has become mainstream in the country today compared to 10 years ago when the mainstream political discourse used to be centred around the idea of secularism etc... Not to say that secularism is bad. The core of Hinduism is much more secular than what secularism stood for in the west in all these decades,” he said.
Speaking on the perception among many about the Congress being an anti-majority party playing an appeasement card, the RSS leader said for many decades, for the Congress, secularism meant appeasement of minority communities and rejecting what the country’s culture and civilisation stood for.
Secularism, he said, should mean equal respect and treatment for all religions and not rejecting Hinduism as fundamentalism to pander to minority sentiment in the hope of political benefit.
Speaking on Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, he said, to the surprise of many in the country he has given excellent governance in the last five years. He said if he (Yogi Adityanath) returns to power, factors like good governance, strong credentials with respect to law and order and his image as a strong Hindutva leader will play a big role. He added that for the first time multinationals are coming to Uttar Pradesh for investments including in the Indian film industry. He said UP is the most effectively governed state when it comes to law and order and ‘goondaism’ has ended and women are completely safe now.
Asked about five important governance reforms initiated in the last seven years of the BJP rule in the centre, Madhav said decentralisation of the governance mechanism by introducing technology has brought in transparency. As many as 1,600 obsolete laws have been done away with. There is ease of doing business. The foreign policy has been de-hyphenated and there is an attack on black money and corruption. In Jammu and Kashmir, he said, for the first time Panchayati Raj reforms have taken place at the grassroots level by delegating funds, functions, and functionaries to village panchayats – unlike elsewhere where though funds are being given, functions and functionaries remain under the control of the district magistrate (DM).
He, however, added that more work needs to be done to achieve prime minister Narendra Modi’s dream of ‘Minimum Government and Maximum Governance’ and reducing the role of central and state governments by delegating powers to district and village panchayats.
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