After Constitution, Army, RSS keeps Indians safe: Former Supreme Court judge

Retired Supreme Court judge K T Thomas said he feels the Sangh imparts discipline to its volunteers for “protection of the country”.

Retired Supreme Court judge K T Thomas.

After the Constitution, democracy and the armed forces, the RSS is the factor that has made people in India safe, and that the idea of secularism should not be kept away from religion, retired Supreme Court judge K T Thomas has said. Addressing an RSS instructors’ training camp in Kottayam on Sunday, Thomas also said, “If an organisation has to be given credit for freeing the country from the Emergency, I would give that to the RSS.”

Thomas said he feels the Sangh imparts discipline to its volunteers for “protection of the country”. He said: “Snakes have venom as a weapon to defend (themselves against) attacks on them. Similarly, the might of man is not meant to attack anyone. I appreciate the RSS for teaching and believing that physical strength is meant to guard (oneself) against attacks. I understand that the physical training of RSS is to defend the country and the society at the time of attacks.”

He said, “If asked why people are safe in India, I would say that there is a Constitution in the country, there is democracy, there are the armed forces, and fourthly the RSS is there. What prompts me to say is that the RSS had worked against the Emergency. The RSS’s strong and well-organised work against the Emergency had reached then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi…. She understood that it could not go (on for) long.”

On the concept of secularism, the former apex court judge said that the idea should not be kept away from religion, and that the Constitution has not defined secularism. “The minorities use secularism for their protection, but the concept of secularism is much more than that. It means that dignity of every individual should be protected. The dignity of a person should be seen above partisan approach, influences and activities,” he said.

Stating that he does not agree with the notion that secularism is meant to protect religion, Thomas said: “In India, the word Hindu evokes a religion, but it should be a substitute for a culture. That was why the word Hindustan is being used. In the past, Hindustan had inspired everyone, now that word has been set apart for the RSS and the BJP.”

He said, “In the Constitution, religion has the fifth position —fundamental right of religion should come only below an individual’s fundamental rights.”

Stating that India is the only country which has a commission for minorities, Thomas said the section of minorities has not been defined in the Constitution. But the concept of minority in India is based on religious belief and population size, he said. “Minorities feel insecure only when they start demanding rights which the majority segments don’t have,” he said.