Work quietly, communicate with poor and tribals in their language, help them with health and food, he tells sadhus
Shabari Kumbh Site (Dangs), February 12: RSS supremo K S Sudarshan on Sunday announced a new strategy to ensure that India dominated the world by Year 2011: Bharatiyakaran. Indianisation of the 17 crore Muslims and 3 crore Christians residing here is the only way out, he said on day two of the Shabari Kumbh here.
‘‘2011 will mark the end of sankraman kal for Bharat. We have to prepare ourselves for leadership. And because we can’t throw our Muslims and Christians into the sea, we have to Indianise them. And for this, we have to communicate with them the importance of this objective. For vanvasis, we have to tell them that they are part of the extended Hindu family,’’ Sudarshan told a private audience of sadhus gathered from across the country at the Shabari Kumbh in the Dangs.
Interestingly, the new strategy seems to have been borrowed verbatim from the rule book of missionaries: work quietly, communicate with the poor and tribals in their tongue, live with them, and help them with health and food, among other things.
In that, Shabari Kumbh might well mark a turning point in the way the RSS and its affiliates work.
A resolution was passed by the Dharam Sabha, demanding that the Centre take serious note of the conversion issue in tribal areas and enact laws to prevent them.
Explaining the nuances of the strategy, Sudarshan — in his 30-minute lecture to the select group — stressed the significance of vocabulary (do not differentiate between majority and minority. Both have same ancestors); tribals are vanvasis (forest dwellers) as they live in forests, but do not call them so if they are living in cities.
The Shabari Kumbh itself seems to have been part of this strategy. Apart from the fact that the Dangs as a whole is yet to go the BJP way (all Assembly and Parliamentary seats are with the Congress), the Kumbh is significant for the way a tribal symbol in Shabari, a Bhil character from the Ramayana, has been shown respect by the organisers. ‘‘It’s to instil a sense of confidence and belonging among our vanvasis,’’ is how organising committee joint secretary Sureshrao Kulkarni had explained the idea behind the Kumbh. That’s why there was no repeat of 1998, no display of jingoism by visiting cadres from across the country. In a clear sign of this new understanding, led by Sudarshan, sadhu after sadhu lectured on how the caste system was a deviation that has to be amended and how status of women was no different in the West in medieval times with 90 lakh of them declared witches in Europe.
Sudarshan hoped for the possibility of achieving Indianisation sooner than later, hinting at changes that that need to be made in the Muslim Personal Law among other things.
VHP’s Pravin Togadia also gave up rabble-rousing and called for a focus on saving religion, stopping conversions by launching lakhs of social service organisations for the country’s downtrodden and tribals to counter missionary activity.
To counter jehad, Plan of Action is Hindu-Christian alliance: Togadia
Shabari kumbh site (Dangs): Perhaps George Bush could take some lessons on how to counter Islamic Jehadis around the world from VHP strongman Pravin Togadia. Addressing a large audience of tribals on day two of the Shabari Kumbh, the VHP’s international general secretary floated his theory: a grand Hindu-Christian alliance.
Spewing vitriol at Christian missionaries for their conversion activities among tribals across the country, Togadia digressed somewhat to speak on how Hindus and Christians could come together to tackle jehadi activity being carried out by the ilk of Osama bin Laden.
What was ironic is the fact that the Kumbh agenda was clear: countering conversions in the region.
Togadia laid a condition before such an alliance could materialise. ‘‘The missionaries would have to stop all induced conversions in the country, and then join the crusade against Islamic Jehad.’’ This was followed by a warning: ‘‘If the Vatican did not change, it was in danger of getting Hinduised.’’
Though what he said before this proposal might have put paid to any possibility of this materialising. He warned Vatican of further misadventures in India; asked it to look at its own flock with only 7 per cent of UK population going to Churches; and classified 25 per cent of Americans as Hindus owing to their fondness for yoga and ayurveda through 50,000 centres in the US.
As if the alliance idea was not enough, Togadia went on to hug Ibrahim El Hawa, an Arab from Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives, present on the dais along with other foreign visitors. Hawa was part of a group of foreigners that represented the World Council of Ethnic Religions. With members from Lithuania, Latvia, Canada, Israel and Sweden, they were guests of the Kumbh organising committee at the venue.
Before the concession came a lecture on Hindu pride from the VHP leader, who sought to drive home the point among his tribal audience that Hinduism came before any other religion.
Abhishek Kapoor, Express India, Ahmedabad City,Monday , February 13, 2006