During the interactive exchange between the RSS ideologues and the Muslim intellectuals, the historic keynote address on November 3, 2016 at the Pusa Institute Guest House by Dr Krishna Gopal, in the presence of Dattatreya Hosabale and Indresh Kumar, was not only an eye-opener, poignant and but path breaking as well. 116 Muslim scholars, clerics and intellectuals from across the country were invited to open their hearts out and have a frank debate on how Muslims and RSS can share the common grounds despite revering their differences as India needs this confluence to lead the world. Attending some sessions of Shri Hosabale gave me a clear insight into the RSS psyche. According to Shri Hosabale, the RSS ABCD stands like this — ‘A’: Amity is better than animosity, ‘B’: Beninignity is better than barbarism, ‘C’: Compassion is better than cruelty and ‘D’: Dialogue is better than deadlock. In fact, the few RSS meetings this author has attended, he found the spirit same as stated here. Not one office bearer of the RSS spoke against Muslims.
Being born and a resident of the old Delhi’s walled city Shahjahanabadi area of Ballimaran (a Muslim majority area), I grew up hearing a lot of diatribe and rant against the RSS and the Jana Sangh, that these establishments were after the jugular of the Muslims and that their sole agenda was the annihilation of the Muslims. I trusted the same. In 1967, it surprised Muslims of old Delhi, rather left them aghast when Anwar Dehlvi, a social worker and writer, chose to represent Jana Sangh from Jama Masjid area as a Metropolitan Councillor which he repeated in 1972 and remained till 1977. At that time Jana Sangh was considered to be an untouchable as far as Muslims were considered. He won the seat with a huge margin as Muslims voted him being a worthy candidate.
As per the tainted picture projected by the so-called secularist media and leftists, the RSS, to the Muslim community, is a hardcore Hindu militant pro-Hindu and anti-Muslim socio-political outfit, vying to destroy and demolish their mosques the same way as the Babri Masjid, force them to follow the Shaivite traditions and Sanatam Dharma besides umpteen other allegations.
My best understanding of the RSS comes through Prof Rakesh Sinha, Shri Indresh Kumar, and Shri Seshadri Chari. While conveying their views in the media on umpteen issues, they also try to build bridges by complying with unity in diversity. In their ideology they are committed, in their sincerity, they are unmatched and in their approach they are honest. So are the other RSS ideologues like, Shri Nandakumar and Shri Ram Madhav. Indresh Kumar maintains that Muslims are brothers and the RSS wants to treat them with equality.
Quite interestingly, in 1934, it was in Wardha, Maharashtra that Hedgewar had met both Gandhi and Maulana Azad separately and both of whom wanted him to join the Congress. He refused. When Azad asked him to support Congress for nationalism and freedom struggle, he said that Congress was a political platform and he wanted to go in for cultural nationalism through his devoted swyamsevaks. When Azad asked him whether it was Hindutva that he termed cultural nationalism, Hedgewar stated that Hindutva had nothing to do with religion as it was an inclusive way of life taking all the Indians together. Enthused at that, Azad told Hedgewar that he too shared the same sentiments.
Maulana Azad told Hedgewar how he coalesced with the endogenic creativity, the Vedantic vision of many parts of truth with the Islamic doctrines of Wahdat-e-Deen (unity of religion) and Sulah-e-Kul (universal peace). Hedgewar appreciated and suggested Maulana to work with him separately as he couldn’t have worked with him in the Congress owing to some very sharp ideological differecences. Azad remains a shining example of the fusion of the rationalist heritage of Islam and the compassionate heritage of India.
I am reminded of the sad tragedy of the mid-air crash of the Saudi and Kazakh airplanes over Charkhi-Dadri near Noida in which most people were the ones going for the Haj pilgrimage. In an exemplary act, philanthropic swayamsevaks lent a helping hand in relief activities where, interestingly, no Muslim organisation like the Jamat-e-Islami were there. Finally, the rider is that deadlock simply adds to confusion and contradiction. Dialogue is the most essential ingredient to create that space.
The writer is a social commentator, grandnephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad