Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat said on Sunday Pakistan, where ancient Indian civilisation thrived, didn’t call itself Bharat because the word exuded a Hindutva flavour.
Hindutva was the fuel that sustained India whose strength was diversity, the RSS chief said at the Luitporiya Hindu Sammelan, a confluence of Hindus living on the banks of river Brahmaputra in Guwahati.
“Bharat will exist as long as Hindutva, the country’s essence, exists. Ancient Indian civilisations prospered in present day Pakistan, which did not name itself Bharat because the Bharat word radiates Hindutva,” Bhagwat said.
The RSS conclave, said to be its biggest in the Northeast, comes a few weeks ahead of polling in three states of the region. Tripura votes on February 18 and Meghalaya and Nagaland on February 27.
The RSS is the ideological parent of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
“India forgot its enmity with Pakistan on August 15, 1947 but Pakistan has not,” he said as he went on to explain Hindutva as a philosophy beyond Hinduism.
“India’s uniqueness lies in its diversity. Every Indian has the same feelings despite the diversity. It is India’s tradition to go along with everyone, every community, every religion, and every region. India teaches the world through its behaviour and way of life. The world calls it Hindutva,” he said.
Bhagwat also urged parents in the region, which is home to a large number of tribes and also a considerable Christian population, to be a part of Hindutva.
“Mere sympathising with the Sangh will not do. Mothers have to send their sons to Sangh’s shakhas so that they can learn our vision,” he said.
Apart from Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and his ministerial colleagues, the event attracted at least 20 tribal kings, tribal chieftains and religious heads from across “undivided Assam”, which refers to the post-Independence map of the state that included Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram.
Political rivals viewed the “Bhagwat show” as an attempt by the BJP to mobilise support ahead of assembly elections. The BJP is keen on winning these states after Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
“The RSS programme is nothing but pushing the BJP brand of communal politics,” former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi said.