Debating India

RSS chief redefines ’minorities’

Sandeep MISHRA

Sunday 25 January 2004, by MISHRA*Sandeep

Article paru dans le Times of India, ?dition en ligne du dimanche 25 janvier 2004.

BHUBANESHWAR: "Muslims and Christians in India should not be labelled as minorities as they have their genetic roots here," Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief K S Sudarshan said on Friday, at the end of his three-day trip to the state.

The RSS chief observed that even though Parsis and Jews settled in our country have a claim on the minority tag, they do not use it. "Parsis and Jews do not have their genetic roots in this country. Still they do not call themselves minorities," he said.

The veteran swayamsevak argued that Muslims and Christians who were rooted to the country’s heritage and culture should be considered Hindus because the term Hindu refers to a "way of life, view of life" and not any religion. "Even the Supreme Court has given this observation," he said.

" Hindustan is one of the most tolerant places in the world. It believes that God is one and there are different ways to reach Him".

"Once Muslims and Christians accept this, all disputes would come to an end," he said. According to him, a person should be allowed to follow any path to attain mokshya (salvation) without severing his ancestral bonds.

"Why should I change my name from Sudarshan to Sanderson if I were to pray in a church? Or, why should I be renamed Sudar Khan to be allowed entry into a mosque? Why should I have to cut off ties with my forefathers to practise any religion?" he asked.

Coming down heavily on proselytisation, Sudarshan said notwithstanding the claims made from different quarters, conversion activities are rampant in Orissa.

"Everybody knows that nobody would change his/her religion without allurements or coercion. The claims that no conversion is taking place are absolutely false," the RSS chief contended, while accusing Roman Catholics of attempting to spread their beliefs across India and Asia .

Eulogising the efforts made by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Sudarshan castigated the Communists for laying a claim on Netaji, even though he was not one of them.

"Netaji’s image is growing in people’s mind because he had played a great role in ensuring our Independence ," he said, adding, "The Congress has all along attempted to relegate to the background freedom fighters other than their own. They have even tried to defame persons like Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Rajguru and Veer Sawarkar."

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