Fiery Speeches promoting Hindutva were made as Retd Indian Army Generals share Dais with RSS chief, Sadhus; Hinting at the Muslim reign in the country, Bhagwat said that in the last 1000 years, "the people of this country did not get a chance to rule, when that should have been the case in a democracy".
The issue of the communalisation of the Indian Army has always come into focus when an RSS-driven NDA government has ruled the Centre. See Sabrangindia’s IN FACT, “Colouring the Secular Indian Army, Its Implications”.
Now in an interesting, if unsavoury development the Times of India reports that veterans like ex-army chief General NC Vij, former IAF vice-chief Air Marshal Bhushan Gokhale and Lt General Syed Ata Hasnain, whose name figured in the race to become J&K governor, shared the dais with RSS head Mohan Bhagwat and a host of seers at the Dharma Sanskruti Mahakumbh here on December 24. The event held by the RSS had sadhus delivering fiery speeches on Hindutva.
The newsreport quotes the speeches, "Do you know who is with the soldiers guarding the Siachen glacier — the Naga Sadhus. Both soldiers and sadhus lead a strict life in service of the nation and hence should get equal respect," said Amravati-based Jitendra Maharaj, whose devotees include alleged conmen Prashant Wasankar, Sameer Joshi and others now behind the bars for running Ponzi schemes.
When the time came to felicitate kin of soldiers killed in action, the religious fervour was at a high.
Vij is the director of Vivekananda International Foundation which is a think-tank affiliated to RSS. Hasnain is also one of the visiting fellows.
The agenda of the programme to highlight that both soldiers and sadhus do the same job serving the society while going through different rigours life. Others to speak were Shankaracharya Vasudevanand Saraswati and Zafar Sareshwala, the vice-chancellor of Maulana Azad University, better known as Modi's PR man in the Muslim world.
"A sadhu gets respect irrespective of his identity, so why should a soldier not get the same treatment. Governments will change but the people will not, hence all of us must take the responsibility to ensure that no deceased soldier's family faces hardship," said Bhagwat.
Hinting at the Muslim reign in the country, Bhagwat said that in the last 1000 years, "the people of this country did not get a chance to rule, when that should have been the case in a democracy".
"In the ancient times the saints used to walk ahead with the scriptures in their hands with armies following them. Jo shaastra se nahin maantaa thaa, use shastra se samjhaya jaataa thaa (those who could not be won over by knowledge had to be overpowered by use of weapons). Even fighting a war is a penance," said the Shankaracharya.
Gokhale felt that instead of "defence forces", the term "armed forces" should be used as it gives "a sense of weakness" and "no sport or war" can be won playing "on back foot". "In Pune, we impart free training to girls in sports like shooting and horse riding and many of them have joined the armed forces," he said.
Talking to TOI at the function's sidelines, Vij said it would be wrong to term the event an attempt to saffronise the army. "The good things from organisations like RSS can be adopted," he said. Hasnain said that saffronisation is a wrong term used for any kind of "patriotic appeal".
Said Sareshwala: "It was I who had moved the International Court of Justice against Narendra Modi, but I also went against my community supporting him later. For how long can we remain alienated. Initially, when the RSS invited me for the function I was apprehensive but then I realized that we are the same people."
He added that whenever any organization, "even the Jaimt-e-Ismali", holds such a function on soldiers, it should be welcomed.