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Hindu way of life

Hindu way of life

Author: Balram Misra
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: September 17, 2002

Much is being written and spoken about the RSS vis-a-vis secularism. Pseudo-secularists claim the RSS is a 'communal Hindu organisation'. This is totally wrong. To put the word 'Hindu' on par with other religions is mistaken. Secularism has been a sort of political compulsion to slacken one's religious susceptibilities. Religion has always been expected to give succour to its followers. Human history, however, shows that it is religion that has played havoc with mankind. It is paradoxical but true that religion has failed to stop bloodshed. Crusade and jihad are its direct offspring.

In ancient India, there was no religion. Dharma was the basis for right conduct and worked as a pivot for society. The Sanskrit word has perhaps no single equivalent in any other language. With foreign invasions came religion, a substitute for dharma. While dharma guaranteed sacramental and intellectual freedom, religion did not. Hence, the discontent, bloodshed and chain of conversions. Religion has a sectarian and limited vision; dharma upholds the unity of mankind. Secularism came as a sort of bridge for the rulers of modern India. While most of the developed world adhered to religion to monitor statecraft, India sought to replace dharma and religion with secularism. Eventua-lly, the formula did not work. Religions refused to unlearn narrowness and forced dharma to learn the language of violence and intolerance.

No unpoliticised Indian could replace religious pursuits with secularism. Had politicians made it clear that secularism was applicable only for statecraft and stressed equality of religions and the goal of peaceful coexistence, religions could have been free to flourish. Sadly, so-called religious freedom has been only a subject of political prattle. No one is free to pursue his religion. Hindu religious susceptibilities are choked by the fact their important places of worship at Ayodhya, Kashi and Mathura are inaccessible and disputed. Muslims are not free to obey some of their Quranic dictates: Absolute intolerance and violence against non- Muslims. Their religious doctrines like kufra, kafir and jihad are being questioned. Their conviction that only their way of life would bring Jannat is being questioned. Christians too have faced restrictions in spreading their ideology, which proclaims only Christianity can ensure salvation.

That religion cannot ensure social harmony and development had been foreseen by the RSS since its inception in 1925. The cry of secularists that it is a body of religious zealots is baseless. The RSS has no leanings; swayamsevaks are free in matters of faith. As a truly patriotic organisation, it has always welcomed any citizen who does not believe in violence and respects the country, its history, culture and ethos.

In their daily prayers, swayamsevaks salute only two entities: The motherland and God. Any reading of the RSS's prayer-recited daily at more than 30,752 places by about six lakh swayamsevaks, weekly at about 8000 places by over one lakh twelve thousand and monthly by more than 8,334 places by about one lakh sixteen thousand six hundred swayamsevaks, throughout India-will prove this.

'Hindu' does not mean community or religion. All Indians were called Hindus by the Arabs, who still maintain that practice. It is only Hindustanis or Hindus who practise true secularism as a way of life. Hinduism historically is not a religion. It is a synonym for nationalism.

(The writer is Chief, RSS Media Centre, Delhi Prant)

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