New Delhi: Making a significant statement in the context of the debate over intolerance and
moral policing, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat said that “Hinduness” accepts
everyone, irrespective of what the person wears and eats. Interaction with a group of ambassadors and
diplomats from around 50 countries, Mohan Bhagwat also slammed online trolls, calling them aggressive.
Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other BJP leaders were criticised for following trolls on
social networking sites who allegedly celebrated the murder of senior journalist Gauri Lankesh.
“Hinduness is about accepting others as they are and Hinduness is the ever-changing quality of
Hinduism,” Mohan Bhagwat said during the meeting, reported Times of India. His remarks come in the
backdrop of BJP and RSS being accused of encouraging cow vigilantes to carry out violence against
minorities in the name of ‘Gau Raksha’. This came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s repeated
warnings that violence in the name of cow protection is unacceptable.
The RSS chief hit out at online trolls, saying that their extreme expressions on the internet amounted
to hitting below the belt. Mohan Bhagwat also asserted that RSS, also known as Sangh, and Bharatiya
Janata Party (BJP) take individual decisions. “Sangh doesn’t run BJP, BJP doesn’t run Sangh. As
swayamsevaks, we consult and exchange notes but (are) independent in functioning,” tweeted Ram Madhav,
quoting Bhagwat. However, the RSS chief added that naturally the Sangh and the BJP sometimes have a
common agenda, which is not engineered.
Speaking about the role of swayamsevaks, Mohan Bhagwat said that the RSS was in the work of “man-
making”, and runs 1.7 lakh service projects in health, education, rural development. The RSS chief said
swayamsevaks were allowed to work anywhere, and were, in fact, also in other political parties. He also
invited the diplomats to visit RSS shakhas as well as the projects undertaken by RSS.
Mohan Bhagwat made these statements at a session called “Breakfast Briefings” hosted by India
Foundation every month for diplomats and policy advisers in foreign missions.