Mumbai, October 10: There is no country in the world which treats all its minorities better than India, and the Indian Muslims are the "happiest" compared to their counterparts anywhere in the world, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat has said.
Muslims came to India even before the Muslim invaders, but they came in larger numbers after those invasions, leading to bloodshed, he said.
"There is a history of war and enmity. Yet Muslims and Christians still survive in our country. They are not treated badly and enjoy all the rights here," Bhagwat said.
His remarks came in a marathon interview with Vivek Weekly, a Pune-based publication house owned by the Vivek Group, which was taken by its CEO Amol Pednekar and Executive Editor Ravindra Gole.
However, he pointed out that this was not the case in Pakistan where followers of other religions don't have equal rights, though India was divided on religious lines and Pakistan was carved out as a separate country for Muslims.
"Indians never told Muslims here to leave the country as they have another (Pakistan) created for them, or said they would be treated as secondary to the Hindus here. Our Constitution gave equal rights to all, and Babasaheb Ambedkar ensured it," the RSS chief pointed out. He rued that only certain persons whose 'interests' get affected indulge in such bigotry or separatist tendencies.
But, when it comes to the country and its culture, all differences evaporate and people of all religions stand together to protect it, as was witnessed even during the times of Maharana Pratap and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, when Muslims stood by them and fought against the Muslim rulers or invaders, the RSS chief said.
When asked whether his views would be acceptable to the Muslims and Christians, he said it was the "truth", but it's a matter of choice for them (the minorities), but the important thing is "we are all one as the Indian nation".
"For this enlightenment must come from within, it cannot come from outside. This is the true nature of our country and it's called 'Hindu', though it has nothing to do with the deity we worship. Religion connects and unites the society for material and spiritual happiness of all the people," Bhagwat pointed out.
Responding to a query on the role of women in India's concept of a 'Vishwaguru Bharat', the RSS chief said that women will contribute equally to this, but the doors kept closed must now be opened for them with empowerment and awareness.
"Women are capable of any accomplishment. There is no shortage of their achievements, they need to be unshackled from family responsibilities. But don't make her a goddess and worship her or treat her like a slave," he cautioned.
He also called for the need to give women an "equal place" in society, make her financially independent with proper guidance and opportunities so that she can contribute and lessen the burden of the menfolk.
"Accordingly, 'equal participation' and 'equal preparation' should always be considered for women. That will leave men to devote their energies to other duties better. We are moving in that direction," said Bhagwat.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Oct 10, 2020 07:47 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).