In a bold yet necessary, infirect comment on poet Javed Akhtar comparing RSS, Bajrang Dal to Islam
, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat on Monday stressed that Islam came to India with invaders and Muslims have nothing to fear in the country. "For us, the word Hindu is synonymous to the rich heritage brought to us by our motherland, ancestors and the culture and in this context every Indian is Hindu for us
", he said.
Speaking at an event organised by Pune-based Global Strategic Policy Foundation, Bhagwat noted that Hindus and Muslims share the same ancestry and that every Indian citizen is a Hindu. "Islam came to India with invaders. This is history and should be told in that manner. Sane Muslim leaders should oppose unnecessary issues and stand firmly against fundamentalists and hardliners. The more we do this at the earliest, the less damage it will cause to our society," the RSS chief said addressing the seminar titled 'Nation First, Nation Supreme'.
"Islam came to India with invaders and this fact should not be hidden", he said bold adding that Muslims should not live in fear in India as Hindus don't hold enmity towards anyone. "Those who want to break the nation try to say 'we are not one, we are separate'. One should not fall prey to it. We are one nation. We shall remain united as a nation. This is what we, at the RSS think, and I'm here to convey this to you," he said.
The word Hindu was equivalent to motherland, ancestors and Indian culture. This is not disrespecting other views. We have to think in terms of gaining Indian dominance and not Muslim dominance. The word Hindu is equivalent to the rich heritage of our motherland, ancestors and culture, and every Indian is a Hindu, the RSS chief added.
Besides Bhagwat, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan and Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain (retd), Chancellor, Central University of Kashmir, also attended the event. While noting that for a prosperous society diversity is the key, Khan said, "Indian culture considers everyone equal." Lt Gen Hasnain meanwhile slammed Pakistan and appealed to Muslim intellectuals to thwart Islamabad’s attempts to target Indian Muslims.
Sena termed the Bollywood lyricist's statement as completely wrong. "How can you say those who favour the concept of a Hindu Rashtra are of Talibani mindset? We don't agree with this," an editorial in 'Saamana' said. The VHP also condemned the statement of Javed Akhtar and said that the remarks are aimed at creating confusion in society.