Stressing India’s identity as a Hindu rashtra, calling for a law against conversions, construction of the Ram Temple at Ayodhya, culling “gaddars” (traitors), scoffing at Mahatma Gandhi’s leadership of the freedom movement, fears of Hindus being under threat, preventing cow slaughter and ensuring that the entire world was converted toHinduism — these were some themes that found prominence in the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s (VHP) ‘Virat Hindu’ sammelan in Mumbai on Sunday as Hindutva demagogues and religious leaders addressed the faithful.
RSS sahkaryavah (joint general secretary) Dattatreya Hosabale, VHP international working president Dr Pravin Togadia and senior leader Ashok Singhal, Kanchi mutt pontiff Jayendra Saraswathi, Narendra Maharaj of Nanij and Buddhist and Jain religious leaders were present.
“If conversions are wrong, then why is no law against conversions passed in Parliament? We will not allow the conversion of Hindus,” said Togadia, with posters of the proposed Ram Temple and Lord Krishna driving Arjuna’s chariot in the background. Lashing out at subsidies for Haj pilgrims, he called on Hindus to follow religious practices, befriend at least one Dalit or adivasi family, help poor Hindus, unite against conversions and cow slaughter, not follow untouchability and use soaps and shampoos made from cow urine and dung. “Bharat Hindu Rashtra hai, yahi hamara nara hai,” said Togadia, while the crowd repeated the slogan after him.
Togadia claimed that earlier, even Arabia, Africa, Europe were Hindu areas, and the number of Hindus which once stood at 700 crore had shrunk to just 100 crore now. “Hindus numbered 30% in Bangladesh, but are just 8% now. In Pakistan, Hindus were 10% but are just 1%,” he said, pointing to how the Kashmir valley had been cleansed of Hindus.
Togadia warned that while 82% of India comprised of Hindus, if they were not alert, their numbers would shrink to half after decades and said that “200 crore hands of Hindus” should rise up to protect their co-religionists. “The Ram Mandir will be constructed, even if anyone wants it or not,” said Togadia, while calling for stopping cow slaughter and conversions.
Narendra Maharaj claimed that Hindus were under threat in India with laws like that against superstitions targeted against them.
Pointing out that December 6, when Hindutva storm troopers had felled the Babri masjidat Ayodhya, was celebrated as “Shaurya Diwas,” firebrand Sadhvi Saraswati said the proper way to celebrate this was not by unfurling flags but through each Hindu cutting the head of at least one “gaddar” (traitor).
Lashing out at the hardline Owaisi brothers who head the AIMIM, Saraswati spoke on the alleged ‘Love Jihad’ campaign to “misguide” the “girls of Bharat” to reduce the numbers of Hindus and increase those of Muslims.
“History is witness to the fact that where the number of Hindus goes down, that part of the country is separated from it,” she warned, while scoffing at claims that the Mahatma had ensured freedom from the British.
Kamal Lochan Das of ISKCON said the deep meaning of the name of the VHP was that they wanted to ensure that the entire world became Hindu. He claimed that the name of Russia was derived from the penance of ‘Rishis’ there. “Isnt Russia a Hindu Rashtra?” questioned the religious leader, while calling for Hindus to work till the entire world became a “Hindu Rashtra.”
The Kanchi pontiff lauded prime minister Narendra Modi as a “good man” and called for the construction of the Ram Temple at Ayodhya. Warkari sect leader Bhaskargiri Maharaj said earlier, the sentiments of Hindus had been trampled upon.
Jain muni Vinamsagarji Maharaj warned of the consequences of taking on Hindus and called for those who had been converted to other faiths to be reverted back to Hinduism.