RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat says patriotism is intrinsic to Hindus and cites examples from Gandhi’s life
If someone is Hindu, they will be patriotic and that will be their basic character and nature, RSS head Mohan Bhagwat said on Friday, citing Mahatma Gandhi’s comments that his patriotism stems from his dharma.
Bhagwat spoke at an event to launch the book titled ‘Making of a Hindu Patriot: Background to Gandhiji’s Hind Swaraj’, written by JK Bajaj and MD Srinivas.
In publishing the book, Bhagwat said there is no need to speculate that Sangh “is trying to appropriate Gandhiji, that is not the case, no one can appropriate great personalities like him.” Describing the book as an authentic scholarly research paper on Gandhi, Bhagwat said that Gandhi had suggested that for him his dharma and patriotism are no different, as his love for his homeland originates from his spirituality.
“Gandhiji had said that his patriotism originates from his dharma,” said Bhagwat stating that dharma does not simply mean religion, it is broader than religion.
“If someone is a Hindu he has to be a patriot, that will be his basic character and nature. Sometimes you may have to awaken his patriotism, but he (Hindu) can never be anti-India. But we have to be aware that if you love your country it does not mean only the land, it means its people, its rivers, its culture, its traditions and everything, “he said.
He stressed that Hinduism believes in the existence of unity. “The difference does not mean separatism and Gandhiji has suggested that Hinduism is the religion of all religions,” he said.
Speaking about Gandhi’s concept of ‘swaraj’, Bhagwat said that with him he is not only referring to changing rulers or becoming autonomous, for Gandhi the struggle for ‘swaraj’ was the rebuilding of society based on values of civilization. Meanwhile, in the book, the authors have quoted Gandhi as having written Leo Tolstoy that, “… my patriotism is patent enough, my love for India is constantly growing, but it stems from my religion and hence therefore, it is not exclusive in any sense. ” Giving an overview of the book, Bajaj said that he traced Gandhi’s life from Porbandar to his visit to England and then to South Africa.
Bajaj said there was a time between 1893-94 when Gandhi was pressured by his Muslim employer and his Christian employees to explore the possibility of converting to their respective religions, but he refused.
In 1905, he became a devout Hindu and also lectured on Hinduism, Bajaj said. He cited cases where while practicing law in South Africa, Gandhi cited Bhagwad Gita and Mahabhrata in his petitions to court. PTI JTR JTR AAR AAR