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In his address delivered annually on the occasion of Sri Vijayadashami, which also marked the 75th year of India’s freedom from foreign yoke, Dr. Shri Mohan ji Bhagwat, Sarsanghchalak, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, on 15 October 2021, called for unity to confront the challenges that Bharat is faced with and also for creating a harmonious society, which was egalitarian and non-discriminatory. He stressed the need to be conscious of our heritage, where people from all castes and communities and from different regions of the country made noble sacrifices for the cause of freedom. It was a combination of all these efforts, both non-violent and armed rebellion that finally culminated in Independence. Dr Bhagwat also expressed concern that there is a vast constituency within and outside the country that continues to promote a divisive agenda, which was hampering the efforts of all those who are building bridges to promote dialogue and unity amongst the people. Speaking of Guru Teg Bahadur, who stood up against religious bigotry, he called upon the people to take such noble souls as their role models to reinstate the cultural norms of the land—the freedom to practice one’s faith, without the fear of persecution.
There was a strong pitch in Dr Bhagwat’s speech for igniting pride in our heritage, Sanatan value-system and Dharmic world view. Alongside, he reiterated the global challenges facing the nation, making mention of unregulated platforms like Over the Top (OTT) media services, most of which were unregulated and susceptible to be exploited by hostile agencies to undermine the Bharatiya way of life. Mohan Bhagwat Ji called upon the people to be careful of hostile propaganda and build an environment that teaches one to differentiate the moral from the immoral.
Health issues, especially the impact of the Corona virus found focussed mention in his address. While praising the people for their resilience in collectively coming together to overcome the havoc and destruction cause by the second wave of the pandemic and eulogising the efforts of the doctors and health care workers, he cautioned against any lowering of the guard, emphasising the need to continue with covid-safe behaviour, and for the total vaccination of the eligible population.
We are witnessing, he said, the revival of our economy, which makes it incumbent on our part to prevent the occurrence of a third wave of the pandemic. He made reference to the usefulness off India’s Ayurvedic medicinal system, which was a traditional knowledge system and which contributed in no small measure in providing affordable health care to millions of citizens. He spoke of the need to reimagine Bharat’s healthcare system, not just from a preventive standpoint, but also from a wellness point of view. Here, Dr Bhagwat laid emphasis on India’s traditional framework of a balance of diet, recreation, exercise and meditation, to foster an environment that promotes health and wellness and strengthens bodies to be resistant to infections. He then called upon the government to develop a holistic health care system in the country.
To address the nations economic challenges, Dr Bhagwat called for adopting an approach that was in consonance with the traditional wisdom of Bharat, which balanced the development of the individual and the collective in harmony with nature, and which was bound by the principle of dharma or righteousness. A holistic approach, combined with the present national context, and one that took along all stakeholders, could lead to integrated development, best suited for Bharat.
Of particular interest was the flagging of the demographic issue by Dr Bhagwat, wherein he spoke of the demographic changes in parts of Bharat that have been brought about by vast differences in growth rates of different religious groups, infiltration and conversion. The high growth of Muslim population in the border states like Assam, West Bengal and Bihar, was indicative of unabated infiltration from Bangladesh, which has created socio-cultural, political and economic tensions. Such religious imbalance has also taken place in some of the North-Eastern states and some other parts of the country, due to the impact of organised and targeted religious conversion by Christian missionary groups. He said that this has serious security implications for the country and called for reformulating the National Population Policy, keeping in view the availability of resources in the country, future needs and the problem of demographic imbalance—and applying uniform criteria to all. The implementation of policies in this regard would require a high degree of public sensitisation and upholding of the national interest above all else.
Dr Bhagwat also flagged the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan and the challenges that Bharat and the world are likely to face as a result of this development. Of particular concern was the nexus developing from an unholy coalition of China, Pakistan and Turkey with the Taliban. There was thus a renewed need to ensure internal stability, especially in J&K, where attempts are once again being made to alienate the people of Kashmir from Bharat. Such attempts, he said must be crushed with a firm hand. As part of the overall security matrix, Dr Bhagwat stressed the need to keep our borders secure and achieve self sufficiency in the defence and security domain, especially in the field of cyber security.
Dr Bhagwat also dwelt on the concerns of the Hindu society, especially with respect to the freeing of Hindu temples from government control and handing them over to the devotees. While emphasising the need to respect the customs, traditions and the practice of ceremonies and rituals which are peculiar to each temple, he stated that access to worship must be non-discriminatory. He also pitched for devising a scheme to once again make temples the epicentre of our social-cultural life while ensuring appropriate management and operation of the temples.
Dr Bhagwat also spoke of integrating Bharat’s varied linguistic, religious and regional traditions into a comprehensive unit and promoting mutual cooperation among all, as an equal society, with identical opportunities for growth. There was a need for societal awareness to confront everyday challenges, which would require behavioural transformation. Therefore, the understanding and knowledge about the immortal essence of our Sanatan Rashtra, flowing from the ancient times needs to be permeated well in the collective consciousness of our society. All citizens of Bharat, he said, are inheritors of a common eternal civilisation, culture and ancestry and it is this unique inheritance which is the very ground of our religious freedom. He cautioned against a separatist mentality arising out of religious aggression, supremacist attitude and petty selfish interests, stating that the forces of radicalism, intolerance, terrorism, conflict, animosity and exploitation can best be confronted by the Sanatan Hindu culture and its magnanimous Hindu society. Here, he appealed to the latter to erect a stellar example of Hindu view-of-life with their conduct in their personal, familial, social and professional domains.
Finally, Mohan Bhagwat Ji called on the people to remain united at all times, as only a unified, strong and well-informed society with a national character can assert its voice before the world. The fabric that binds our society together, he said, is our heritage and the chorus that rises in our hearts in the pure devotion towards our motherland. The word ‘Hindu’ is the expression of this very connotation. Absorbed in these three elements, he said that we can all wear the uniqueness of our underlying Sanatana oneness as our jewel and uplift our whole country.
It was truly an emotive address, essentially inclusive and forward looking, laying out a clear road map for the future holistic development of the nation.