‘Oppn not adversary, polls not war,’ says RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, urges new govt to prioritise Manipur


New Delhi: Expressing concern about the prolonged unrest in Manipur following the outbreak of violence in May last year, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat stressed on the need to bring peace to the northeastern state.

Addressing a group of RSS leaders and trainees in Nagpur, Bhagwat also spoke about the qualities that a true ‘sevak’ must possess. He said that a ‘sevak’ must take pride in his work, but remain “unattached”, and must be “devoid of arrogance”.

The RSS chief said that the Manipur issue must be ‘prioritised’. 

“Manipur has been waiting for peace for a year. Before this, it was peaceful for 10 years. It seemed that the old gun culture had ended. And suddenly the conflict that was created or instigated there is still burning in its fire, it is crying for help. Who will pay attention to this? It is our duty to consider it on a priority basis,” he said.

Bhagwat, who has spoken on the issue for the second time since the violence hit the state, also highlighted the need to get over the election rhetoric and focus on the problems facing the nation.

The RSS chief also pointed out that elections should not be seen as “war”.

“Election is a process of building consensus. There is a system in place, so that both sides of any question are presented in a like-minded Parliament. Of course, evolving such a consensus is difficult among the people who have reached there with fierce competition. That is why we have to rely on the majority. Entire competition is for the same. But this is a competition, not war,” Bhagwat said.

He went on, “The way things have happened, the way each side has attacked below the belt, the way completely ignored the impact of campaign strategies that would lead to divisions, increasing social and mental faultlines, and unnecessarily drew the organisations like RSS in the same. Using technology, falsehood was spread, absolute falsehood. Does technology and knowledge mean the same?”

“We will have to free ourselves from the excitement of elections and think about the problems facing the country,” he said. 

The RSS has “done our work to awaken public opinion”, the organisation’s chief said. “A real servant follows the decorum. It is necessary to do one’s duty efficiently. To work but not to indulge, this is our instinct,” he added. 

“People have given their mandate, everything will happen according to that. Why? How? Sangh does not get into it,” he said. 

Bhagwat added that the Sangh works for refining the public opinion in every election and that it does not get entangled in the analysis of the outcome.

On the importance of the Opposition, Bhagwat said, “…It should not be considered an adversary. They are the Opposition, revealing one side. Their opinions should also come to light.”

Virodhee ke jagah pratipaksh kaha jae,” he remarked.

“There are two sides, they call it the opposing side, I call it the counter side. He is not an opponent, he should not be considered an opponent. Wo pratipaksh hai, so it is highlighting one aspect (of an issue),” Bhagwat said.

“That should also be considered. When such a thing has to be done… then, there is a decorum even in contesting elections. That decorum was not maintained. Its implementation is necessary because the challenges facing our country have not yet been resolved,” he added.

“The same government is back to power — NDA. It is right that a lot of positive things have happened in the last 10 years… We have made strides in many fields like economy, defence strategy, sports , culture, technology etc. But it doesn’t mean that we are free of challenges now…” Bhagwat said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party lost the Lok Sabha Elections in Manipur. Both seats in the state governed by BJP’s Biren Singh were won by Congress.

Also Read: Section 144 imposed in Manipur’s Jiribam after police recover mutilated body, houses burnt down 


The RSS chief said, “All over the world, society has changed, which resulted in systemic change. That is the essence of democracy. As Dr Ambedkar said, for any major transformation, spiritual rejuvenation is essential”. 

He said a true servant (sevak) is one who does the work, but is not proud of the fact that he did it. “Do the work, but don’t be proud of the work you did,” he told RSS members. 

“One who adheres to the boundaries of propriety while executing their duties, who takes pride in their work yet remains unattached, who is devoid of arrogance — such an individual is truly deserving of being called a Sevak in the most authentic sense of the term,” he added.

Bhagwat admitted that the “discriminatory behaviour of thousands of years has resulted into divisions, even some form of anger”.

“When there is an election, competition is inevitable. In the process, people try to push others behind, but there is a dignity to it. Lies should not be used. People are being elected to go to the Parliament and run our country,” he said.

He remarked, “Why people get elected — to go to the Parliament, evolve a consensus on various issues. Our tradition is of evolving consensus… Rigveda Rishis had the understanding of the human mind… Hence they accepted that there cannot be 100 percent unanimity, but despite that when society decides to work with consensus then it becomes Sah-Chitta.”

He added that the problem with external ideologies was that they presumed themselves to be the sole custodians of correctness.

“Even for the religions and thoughts that entered Bharat, some people became their followers for different reasons. But our culture doesn’t have any problems because of that. The only thing is that we should get rid of the mindset that we are only right, others aren’t,” he said.

Bhagwat said, “By removing the distortions that have come in the flow of time through thinking and understanding, knowing that opinions can be different, methods can be different. Everything may be different. We will have to consider this country as our own, establish a devotional relationship with it, and behave knowing that the sons of this country are all our brothers.”

The RSS chief also said, “There is a need for unity in the society, but injustice has been happening, hence there is distance among the people.”

“There is only one thing, leave aside the thoughts that we are right and everyone else is wrong. There is no need for religious conversion, etc. All opinions are correct and all are equal, so it is better to stick to one’s own opinion. Respect the opinions of others equally,” he added.

(Edited by Mannat Chugh)

Also Read: Public spats, private grumbles — how and why frictions have defined RSS-BJP relations over 7 decades


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