Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat has flagged the need for a “comprehensive population control policy” that applies to all “equally” and added it was in the national interest to keep an eye on “population imbalance”. He also said when efforts are being made to divide society, “we have to stay together”, alluding to Hindu-Muslim unity.
“There should be a comprehensive population control policy, which should apply to all equally, and once it is put in motion, no one should get any concessions,” Bhagwat said during his annual Vijayadashmi speech at the RSS headquarters in Nagpur Wednesday.
He said that population imbalance has led to the division of countries, and the main reason for it was conversion. “When there was (population) imbalance 50 odd years ago, we suffered serious consequences. It hasn’t just happened to us. In today’s time, new countries such as East Timor, South Sudan and Kosovo were created. So, when there is a population imbalance, new countries are created. Countries are divided,” he said.
The birth rate is only one of the many factors for this imbalance, and “conversion by force and allurement” is the most significant factor, he said, adding that “infiltration from across the border” is also responsible. In the national interest, it is imperative to keep an eye on this imbalance, Bhagwat said.
“To ensure society accepts the population control policy, I should bring it with determination. If the society does not accept it, then the policy will not work,” Bhagwat added.
However, Bhagwat warned against extreme population control measures similar to what China adopted. “We came up with a (population control) policy a few years ago. Its (fertility rate) was 2.1. We did better than the world expected and have come down to 2. But coming further down could be detrimental. Children learn social behaviour in the family, so you need numbers in the family. You need people of your age, you need those elder to you, also those younger. When population stops increasing, societies disappear, languages disappear,” he said.
The RSS chief said that India could benefit from its primarily young population, but the country needs to plan how to manage the resources when this population grows old in 50 years.
Bhagwat cautioned the youth against demanding jobs from the government all the time and urged society to develop an aptitude for entrepreneurship and self-employment.
‘RSS will continue the conversation with minority communities
The RSS chief said conservatism and outside forces were crucial obstacles to India’s progress. “The first obstacle is ourselves. This comes from conservatism. Times change, and so do the understanding and intelligence of man. One has to move forward accordingly. But conservatism tries to stop this. The idea is not to leave our core values, but build on them according to the times,” Bhagwat said.
“The second obstacle comes from outside. These are forces inimical to India’s progress; those who do not want brotherhood and harmony in Indian society. To serve their interests, they spread misinformation. They try to instil hatred in our hearts. They try to divide us… So that we give them space, they try to show closeness with us. They come to us as our well-wishers in the name of caste, community and even their interests. We don’t have to get into their trap. We have to oppose this anti-national activity rising above our interests. We will have to associate ourselves with whatever efforts the administration makes in neutralising them,” Bhagwat said.
The RSS chief reached out to the Muslim community, saying misinformation about the Sangh was spread and that it only aims to defend the nation against terrorist forces.
“We do not want to conquer others. We just don’t want to be conquered, and so we seek strength. … But people scare, ‘arey Sangh wale marenge (RSS people will beat us up), the Hindu Sangathan will kick everyone out’. This misinformation has been spread. Because of this fear, some members of the minority community have been meeting us in the past few years. We are also meeting people from the (minority) community,” Bhagwat said, adding that the RSS will continue this conservation.
Speaking about the recent brutal murders of two people in Udaipur and Amaravati by alleged Muslim radicals, Bhagwat said that people from all communities, not just the Hindus, must condemn such attacks.
“It doesn’t happen always, but this time, some prominent people from even the Muslim community opposed it. Branded it as anti-Islamic. This should not be an exception. All societies must speak out,” he said.
He also cautioned against provocative speeches. “Even while staying within the limits of the law and the constitution, one must make expressions of protest in a manner that does not hurt others or creates division in the society. No one’s shraddha (faith) should be hurt,” Bhagwat said.
RSS chief calls for increasing women’s participation in all walks of life
The event was noticeable for the presence of a woman chief guest: Mountaineer and former Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) officer Santosh Yadav. The Sangh has been criticised for remaining a male-dominated organisation for a long.
“If the entire society is to be organised, then 50 per cent of it is maternal power. It cannot be ignored. We need to strengthen them (women). We call them mothers. We imagine them as Jagat Janani (creators of the universe). But while imagining these things, I don’t know what crept into us: we limited their sphere of activity. And later, when foreign invaders came, these restrictions gained legitimacy. The invaders went away, but we continued with the restrictions. We never liberated them,” Bhagwat said.
“We imagine them as creators of the universe is good. But keeping them locked in the prayer room is not good. We either lock them in the prayer room, brand them as second class, or shut them in the house. We need to make them active by giving them equal rights in the domestic and public sphere and independence in decision-making. Until women’s equal participation is ensured, the efforts aimed at the country’s progress will not be successful,” he added.
Bhagwat downplayed the perception that RSS is male-dominated. “The presence of women who have been achievers, part of the intelligentsia and source of inspiration in RSS functions has been a norm in the Sangh since the time of Dr Saab (Dr KB Hedgewar). Anusuiyabai Kale was present at our event at that time. Then the chief of the Indian Women’s Conference, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur was also part of our shivir. In December 1934 also, the chief guest was a woman,” he said.