“An economist told me that you call it recession only when you report growth rate of below zero. But we are having a growth rate of around 5 per cent. One can show concern towards it, but there is no need to discuss it,” asserted RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Sunday at Nagpur.
He was delivering his annual Vijaya Dashami speech on the Sangh’s foundation day. A pensive HCL founder Shiv Nader graced the occasion as chief guest and former army chief and currently union minister General (Rtd) V.K. Singh was present, wearing the black cap and the trademark trouser of the RSS.
The RSS chief did not stop at that. He frowned upon ‘discussions’ on the economy and adverse reports in the media, which, he suggested, tended to demoralise industry and business. Such ‘negative’ publicity, he said, also affected consumer behavior.
The Indian National Congress (INC) sarcastically tweeted, “Now that the eminent economist has spoken, we can sit back”.
“The country is growing. But the world economy goes through a cycle, and at times it faces some hurdles that slow down the growth. Then it is called a slowdown,” Bhagwat said in the course of his long speech.
He was also quoted as adding, “Discussion over it leads to creation of an atmosphere, which affects (people’s) conduct. Too much discussion about so-called slowdown would make the people in business and trade believe that economy is really slowing down and they would become more conservative in their actions. It will eventually slow the growth of our economy further”.
The RSS increasingly has been behaving like a political outfit contrary to its officially held stand that it is a socio-cultural organisation, the world’s largest NGO, dedicated to character development and nation building. But increasingly it has shed the fig-leaf and bared its political agenda.
Last year, in his annual address, the RSS chief had dwelt at length on India’s security imperatives, the preparedness of the army, the navy and the need to beef up coastal security. He had also spoken of ‘Urban Maoists’. He might as well have been reading out a script meant for the National Security Advisor.
This year too he spoke on Kashmir, the so-called abrogation of Article 370, and congratulated the Union Government for showing the political will to carry out the move ‘skilfully’. He also spoke on the result of the 2019 general election.
On Kashmir, the RSS chief added, “This effort will come to fruition only when justice denied under the influence of Article 370 is restored, injustices occurred are brought to an end. It will happen when our Kashmiri Pandits who were unjustly driven away are brought back and rehabilitated and allowed to remain secure, fearless, patriotic and Hindu.
“Many a right of residents of Kashmir which were denied to them so far will have be restored, and false fears instilled in the minds of brothers of the Valley that there is a threat to their property and jobs due to the nullification of Article 370, will be removed.”
Asserting that Bharat is a Hindu Rashtra, Bhagwat took note of the growing mob violence and mob lynching. But while conceding that such communal violence had wreaked havoc in society, the RSS chief frowned on the use of the word ‘lynching’, prompting another Twitter user to ask if lynchings should be called “Peet-peet-Kar-Maar-Dena”.
"Lynching is not the word from Indian ethos, its origin is from a story in a separate religious text. We Indians trust in brotherhood. Don't impose such terms on Indians. Lynching itself is a western construct and one shouldn't use it in the Indian context to defame the country,” Bhagwat said before adding, “ It must be accepted that these tendencies of violence have somehow or the other crossed the limits of the law and order and wreaked havoc by eroding the mutual relations in the society.
“Neither this tendency is the tradition of our country nor does it fit in the spirit of the Constitution… The Sangh has never supported the people who were involved in such incidents and it stands against each and every such incident. Swayamsevaks are working in this direction so that such incidents do not take place. “
One of the several reactions on Twitter summed up the contention and held, “ Actually, Mohan Bhagwat didn't just deny lynchings, he said that lynchings come from religious scriptures from outside India and named Jesus. In effect he has transferred blame of lynchings to Muslims and Christians”.