Special Correspondent: RSS or Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat recently started a dialogue with the country’s second largest community of Muslims. Before this, however, he also met Maulana Arshad Madani of Jamiat Ulamae Hind.
Mohan Bhagwat is currently in dialogue with Muslims in two stages. First he spoke to five Muslim intellectuals. They are former head of Election Commission SY Qureshi, former governor of Delhi Nazir Jung, former vice chancellor of Aligarh University. General Jamiruddin Shah, former MP and editor Shahid Siddiqui and businessman and social activist Saeed Sherwani.
According to sources, what RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat discussed with Muslim intellectuals was to outline the ideology of the Sangh and promote religious individualism. Some recent events, such as Gnanavapi Masjid, hijab controversy and population control were also discussed in the meeting.
SY Qureshi told the media that the RSS chief expressed his concern about the atmosphere of disunity that has developed in the country at present. Last August, Bhagwat had said that there is no need to find a Shivalinga in every mosque. And RSS does not want any movement on these issues. Bhagwat also said that one of the things that worried him was cow slaughter. The Muslim delegation told him that almost all of India has stopped cow slaughter. If someone breaks the law, action can be taken against him. Besides, according to Bhagwat, the Kafir’s use of Shadh also injures the Hindus.
SY Qureshi says we tell him, kafir shadh means ‘unbeliever’ in Arabic. It was a neutral word. But now it has become negative. Muslim intellectuals say some right-wing groups call Muslims jihadists, Pakistanis. They also question Muslims’ loyalty to their country. They want Muslims to show their patriotism step by step. The RSS chief replied, Muslims are Indians and our DNA is the same as theirs. Most of the country’s Muslims are converts.
Mohan Bhagwat visited a mosque in Delhi on Thursday and spoke to Umar Ahmed Ilyasi, president of the All India Imams Organization and other officials. This is the first time an RSS ‘Sar Sanchalak’ has entered a mosque. There, Umar Ilyasi addressed Mohan Bhagwat as the father of the nation. He is also called ‘Rashtrarishi’ here. Bhagwat was accompanied by RSS Joint Secretary Krishna Gopal and Indresh Kumar in this meeting.
Many have welcomed the sudden initiative taken by the RSS to engage in dialogue with Muslims. But leaders like MP Asaduddin Wasi say that Mohan Bhagwat has met some elite Muslims who are out of touch with the real state of Muslim society. Asaduddin Waisi also said that the whole world knows the history and ideals of RSS. Asaduddin Waisi said that the RSS is talking to organizations or individuals behind their backs instead of having a dialogue with the real Muslim leadership. But it is a democratic right. There is nothing wrong with that.
In this regard, the observers say that the recent actions of the BJP government and RSS branch organizations targeting minorities have caused reactions in India and abroad. For example, insulting the Prophet, bulldozing Muslim madrassas and homes, banning Muslim girls from wearing hijab, lynching Muslims on various pretexts, trying to take over several other mosques, including Gnanbapi, in the manner of Babri, etc.
In this context, the current initiative of the RSS chief may be an attempt to enlighten Muslims. Also, Mohan Bhagwat may want to restore the image of RSS, BJP and Sangh Parivar which has been destroyed at present.