Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat has triggered a controversy by suggesting that India is a Hindu state, remarks that were panned by the Congress and other political parties.
“The entire world recognises Indians as Hindus therefore India is a Hindu state. This is a very simple thing, if inhabitants of England are English, those of Germany are Germans and the USA are Americans, all those who live in Hindustan are known as Hindus,” Bhagwat said at a function in Cuttack on Sunday.
AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh equated the RSS ideology with that of the Taliban.
“Today, the biggest threat the country is facing is terrorism. What breeds terrorism is communal ideology…In the international arena, Taliban ideology is creating problem. Sangh ideology is equally damaging peace,” Singh said in the Rajya Sabha.
Congress leader Manish Tewari and CPM Politburo member Sitaram Yechury countered Bhagwat and cited the Constitution, which refers to India as Bharat.
“RSS should clarify whether they respect the Constitution or not,” Yechury said.
Speaking in similar vein, BSP chief Mayawati said, “When Ambedkar wrote the Constitution he kept that in mind that our country comprises various religions and people follow them. So the name Bharat was given, the word Hindustan was not used. The RSS chief does not have proper knowledge of the Constitution. He should learn that and then comment.”
JD(U) president Sharad Yadav said India has come so far since Independence by keeping its faith in the Constitution and its future lies in following the same course.
Seeking to downplay the row over Bhagwat’s comments, BJP leader Vinay Katiyar said, “what he (Bhagwat) meant by ‘Hindu’ was ‘Hindustani’. He never spoke about interfering in religious practices of people.”