Gandhi Wasn't Ashamed of His Hindu Identity, His Idea of India May Become a Reality Soon: Bhagwat

Gandhi Wasn't Ashamed of His Hindu Identity, His Idea of India May Become a Reality Soon: Bhagwat

New Delhi: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat said after Mahatma Gandhi was never ashamed of his Hindu identity.

He said after Gandhi came back to India on the advice of Gopal Krishna Gokhale, he went on a mission to understand the country.

“He walked and travelled on train and connected to common people and then he thought about ‘Bharatiyata’. This is the reason he was not ashamed of being a Hindu. He said he was a ‘kattar sanatani’ Hindu. His approach was to accept difference in diverse religions and find similarities,” said Bhagwat.

The RSS chief was speaking at the book launch of former NCERT director JS Rajput’s ‘Gandhi Ko Samajhne Ka Yahi Samay’. Rajput is the government’s nominated representative to the Executive Board of UNESCO.

Speaking on why this is the right time to talk about Gandhi, Bhagwat said, “There was no hope to have Gandhi’s India 20 years ago, but we hope that in the years to come, the country might become the way Gandhi had wanted it to be.”

“What was Gandhiji? The circumstance under which he acted and thought was a different ‘samaj’ and task. What were the basis of his thoughts and practices? We read them and realise that today, we have to find our own way. We cannot have a carbon copy of it. Even he would have stopped us from doing so.”

Bhagwat said Gandhi took steps with fearlessness and he was the embodiment of Bharat. “He did what he believed in. If change is in Bharat’s destiny, then one has to leave the thought of ‘lokpriyata’ (popularity).”

Talking about honesty in Gandhi and how important it is in education, Bhagwat said, “Honesty is not a policy, it is everything. We have to emulate that honesty of Gandhiji. In education, we should tell the truth. One should not teach what he thinks is convenient. Only truth should be taught. There was discrimination with us, we need to accept this. If we continue to follow negationism it will not remove the ills in society.”

Rajput said two things had happened on August 15, 1947 — Independence and Partition.

“There are people who take credit for freedom, but don’t talk about their role in Partition. Leaders like Netaji and Bhagat Singh have not got their due. But with time the new generation will work on it,” said Rajput.

“How did Gandhi become Gandhi? He searched for ancient ‘sanatan’ ethos and found that that all religions are equal. He believed all religions are equal and did not endorse riling of one faith and extoling of another because it brings hatred. Diversity of religions is a reality,” the author said.

Constitution expert Subhash Kashyap said there is Swachch Bharat Abhiyan in Gandhi’s honour, but politics needs to be cleaned up as well. “Our leaders are as good as the Mughals in being lavish and pompous,” Kashyap said.

“There is an attempt to rebuild New Delhi. This will further deepen the divide between the rich and poor. Our Parliament building is in great shape, why are we trying to please the people by rebuilding new north and south block. This is against what the Mahatma said,” he said.