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I'm also a Muslim, a Christian, a Buddhist, and a Jew: Gandhi's memo to Mohan Bhagwat

The RSS chief selectively quoted and ‘interpreted’ Gandhi to ‘prove’ his own take that Hindus are ‘automatic patriots’

Sabrangindia 02 Jan 2021

Image Courtesy:indianexpress.com

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat has invoked Mahatma Gandhi and selectively quoted and ‘interpreted’ the father of the nation  to ‘prove’ his own take that Hindus are ‘automatic patriots’. Bhagwat was of course was quoting Mahatma Gandhi’s personal observations on what Hinduism means for him, and conviniently omitted that Gandhi had also said, "Yes I am, I am also a Muslim, a Christian, a Buddhist, and a Jew.”

Bhagwat also did not mention the Sangh’s own ‘hero’ Nathuram Godse, a strong proponent of Hindu nationalism in his life, who had shot Gandhi thrice in the chest on January 30, 1948.  

According to Bhagwat, a Hindu will never be anti-national. He was speaking at the launch of a book on Gandhi and was quoted in the Indian Express saying, “All Indians worship motherland. But Gandhiji said my patriotism comes from my religion. So if you are a Hindu then you will be an automatic patriot. You may be an unconscious Hindu, you may need awakening, but a Hindu will never be anti-India.”  The RSS chief tried to prove his theory stating that even Mahatma Gandhi had said his religion was a source of his patriotism.

The book, Making of a Hindu Patriot: Background of Gandhiji’s Hind Swaraj, was launched by Bhagwat who said, “All Indians worship motherland. But Gandhiji said my patriotism comes from my religion. So if you are a Hindu then you will be an automatic patriot. You may be an unconscious Hindu, you may need awakening, but a Hindu will never be anti-India.” According to the news report, Bhagwat elucidated on “how Indian culture and Hindu religion inspired Gandhi”, and said, “Gandhiji said my religion is the religion of all religions. Gandhiji wanted to say ‘Dharm’ but there is no parallel to it in English. Gandhiji started the movement for Swaraj (self-rule)… But till you do not understand ‘Swadharm’, you can’t understand Swaraj.”

He added that “The launch of a book dealing with the rise of a Hindu patriot in context of Gandhi and the presence of RSS chief can mean a lot of things to the people. People will say we are trying to appropriate Gandhiji. No one can appropriate a great personality. The aim of this book is not that. It is a thoroughly researched book on the life of Gandhiji.” The book has been brought out by Centre for Policy Studies and authored by Dr J K Bajaj and M D Srinivas, and according to IE it focuses on Gandhi’s journey from Porbandar to England and South Africa and back to India.

Bhagwat’s comment on Gandhi, and the exclusion of all other faiths from his speech invited sharp critique.

Bhagwat did not stop at that and added that Gandhi’s understanding of religion was of tolerance saying, “Unity in diversity is our sentiment and not just a matter of policy. Gandhiji said I will follow my religion strictly but also respect other religions. This is the fundamental of Indian thought. Difference does not mean separatism.” The irony continued as RSS chief then tried to find a link between Gandhi’s opinions with that of  RSS founder Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, “Gandhiji clearly said the Western civilisation has ruined our own culture and we have become ‘Dharmbhrasht’. …Dr Hedgewar also used to say that do not blame others. You got enslaved because you were ready to be enslaved. There was something lacking in you. I saw a parallel of such thought in Gandhiji.”

The book released by Bhagwat claims that during 1893-94, “Gandhi was pressured by his Muslim employer and Christian colleagues in South Africa to convert but he refused. And by 1905, he had become a devout Hindu.”

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I'm also a Muslim, a Christian, a Buddhist, and a Jew: Gandhi's memo to Mohan Bhagwat

The RSS chief selectively quoted and ‘interpreted’ Gandhi to ‘prove’ his own take that Hindus are ‘automatic patriots’

Image Courtesy:indianexpress.com

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat has invoked Mahatma Gandhi and selectively quoted and ‘interpreted’ the father of the nation  to ‘prove’ his own take that Hindus are ‘automatic patriots’. Bhagwat was of course was quoting Mahatma Gandhi’s personal observations on what Hinduism means for him, and conviniently omitted that Gandhi had also said, "Yes I am, I am also a Muslim, a Christian, a Buddhist, and a Jew.”

Bhagwat also did not mention the Sangh’s own ‘hero’ Nathuram Godse, a strong proponent of Hindu nationalism in his life, who had shot Gandhi thrice in the chest on January 30, 1948.  

According to Bhagwat, a Hindu will never be anti-national. He was speaking at the launch of a book on Gandhi and was quoted in the Indian Express saying, “All Indians worship motherland. But Gandhiji said my patriotism comes from my religion. So if you are a Hindu then you will be an automatic patriot. You may be an unconscious Hindu, you may need awakening, but a Hindu will never be anti-India.”  The RSS chief tried to prove his theory stating that even Mahatma Gandhi had said his religion was a source of his patriotism.

The book, Making of a Hindu Patriot: Background of Gandhiji’s Hind Swaraj, was launched by Bhagwat who said, “All Indians worship motherland. But Gandhiji said my patriotism comes from my religion. So if you are a Hindu then you will be an automatic patriot. You may be an unconscious Hindu, you may need awakening, but a Hindu will never be anti-India.” According to the news report, Bhagwat elucidated on “how Indian culture and Hindu religion inspired Gandhi”, and said, “Gandhiji said my religion is the religion of all religions. Gandhiji wanted to say ‘Dharm’ but there is no parallel to it in English. Gandhiji started the movement for Swaraj (self-rule)… But till you do not understand ‘Swadharm’, you can’t understand Swaraj.”

He added that “The launch of a book dealing with the rise of a Hindu patriot in context of Gandhi and the presence of RSS chief can mean a lot of things to the people. People will say we are trying to appropriate Gandhiji. No one can appropriate a great personality. The aim of this book is not that. It is a thoroughly researched book on the life of Gandhiji.” The book has been brought out by Centre for Policy Studies and authored by Dr J K Bajaj and M D Srinivas, and according to IE it focuses on Gandhi’s journey from Porbandar to England and South Africa and back to India.

Bhagwat’s comment on Gandhi, and the exclusion of all other faiths from his speech invited sharp critique.

Bhagwat did not stop at that and added that Gandhi’s understanding of religion was of tolerance saying, “Unity in diversity is our sentiment and not just a matter of policy. Gandhiji said I will follow my religion strictly but also respect other religions. This is the fundamental of Indian thought. Difference does not mean separatism.” The irony continued as RSS chief then tried to find a link between Gandhi’s opinions with that of  RSS founder Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, “Gandhiji clearly said the Western civilisation has ruined our own culture and we have become ‘Dharmbhrasht’. …Dr Hedgewar also used to say that do not blame others. You got enslaved because you were ready to be enslaved. There was something lacking in you. I saw a parallel of such thought in Gandhiji.”

The book released by Bhagwat claims that during 1893-94, “Gandhi was pressured by his Muslim employer and Christian colleagues in South Africa to convert but he refused. And by 1905, he had become a devout Hindu.”

Related

Godse trends on Gandhi Jayanti! Twitter becomes a platform for Us vs Them narrative
Andhra Pradesh BJP man hails Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse as a “patriot”
Godse trends on Gandhi Jayanti! Twitter becomes a platform for Us vs Them narrative
Banned organisations in India
No discussion on who killed Mahatma Gandhi is complete without addressing idea 
Prashant Patel Umrao still spinning fake news on Twitter

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