The VHP on Friday said that “it cannot be couples’ (Hindu couples) personal choice to have one child if it impacts on the astitva (existence) of the nation”, a statement that can be described as an audacious attempt to encroach into people’s personal and private space.
It may be recalled that top leaders of the Sangh Parivar and BJP, including Sakshi Maharaj and VHP leader Sadhvi Prachi, have rooted for “Hindus having at least four children”. On Friday, VHP international secretary-general Champat Rai took the issue further by saying “having one child could threaten the existence of the country”.
VHP leaders want Hindus to have more than two children as they feel any less would “tilt the population of India in favour of Muslims”.
If this was not enough, another hardline BJP MP demanded that the cow be declared the “mother of the nation”. Mr Rai, who did not repeat this Sangh sentiment in so many words, kept saying that if Hindu couples had only child it would adversely impact the nation. Mr Rai was reacting to reports that “India will have the biggest Muslim population by 2050”.
Mr Rai also urged the Supreme Court to take up the appeals in the Ram temple case at the earliest. For him this was “not about constructing any Ram mandir but constructing a mandir at Lord Ram’s birthplace”. Asked whether the VHP had softened on the issue, Mr Rai said “nothing has changed”. Without mentioning the demolition of the Babri mosque, he talked about the reasons for an apparent change in the VHP’s moves towards the issue. “Earlier, the sight of a particular structure used to hurt the eyes. Now it’s not there,” he said. He also targeted the West Bengal government for banning the entry of VHP leader Praveen Togadia, saying the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamul Congress government was practising vote-bank politics but that the state’s Hindu population had become aware of this. He said the VHP will hold its scheduled meeting in Raiganj on April 5 and Mr Togadia, who may not go there, might address the gathering via a mobile phone.
To a query on the controversial “ghar wapsi” campaign, Mr Rai said the VHP was formed to tell people about their Hindutva routes and the programme would continue whether someone liked it or not. He also demanded that the government should “construct boundary walls” at the India-Bangladesh border to stop illegal immigrants from entering India.
BJP MP Yogi Adityanath has launched a campaign to declare the cow as “Rashtra Mata”, claiming his demand “embodies the sentiment of every Indian”. His organisation, Hindu Yuva Vahini, has launched a missed-call subscription initiative in Aligarh to solicit support for the cause of “sanrakshan (protection)” and “samvardhan (expansion)” of the bovine clan. Only last month the RSS had made a strong pitch for protecting the “gau vansh”, saying the mere enacting of laws to ban cow slaughter by some BJP-ruled states was not enough.