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  India   All India  22 Sep 2019  A queer peek into RSS reveals minority issues

A queer peek into RSS reveals minority issues

THE ASIAN AGE. | NITIN MAHAJAN
Published : Sep 22, 2019, 4:23 am IST
Updated : Sep 22, 2019, 4:23 am IST

On gay and transgender rights issue, the RSS’ views are revealed in the chapter titled, Family and Emerging Modern Relationships.

RSS sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat (Photo: PTI)
 RSS sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is concerned about the “exponential Muslim population growth rate” that, it claims, is “changing India’s demographics” and may have an impact on electoral rolls, especially in states like Assam. The Bharatiya Janata Party’s ideological parent, however, supports same-sex relations and the rights of transgenders given that it can trace their existence to the Ramayana era.

These and other such insights into the thinking of the RSS are revealed in detail in a book that’s being called one of the first insider accounts on the Sangh’s views on contemporary issues.

The RSS’ thinking on what is sees as an “exponential” burst in Muslim population in the country feeds into recent statements by several BJP state governments as well as party chief Amit Shah who have spoken of implementing the National Register of Citizens (NRC) across the country.

The Roadmaps For The 21st Century, written by Sunil Ambekar, Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad’s (ABVP) national organisation secretary, also claims that while the RSS supports the rights of homosexuals and transgender communities, it can’t give its blessings to their demand for legalised marriages, or even man-woman live-in relationships.

The book, which also talks about a connection between Islamic jihad and terrorism in India and abroad, is scheduled to be released by RSS sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat on October 1.

In the chapter titled, Annexure: Being Candid, Mr Ambekar writes, “Undeniable the growth rate of Muslims is outstripping the Hindu growth rate and some sections of the Muslim community are using this as leverage,” and goes on to point that in districts like Dhubri and Barpeta in Assam, illegal infiltration of Muslims from Bangladesh is creating unease among local communities.

“Due to the large increase in their numbers, virulent Muslim parties like the All-India United Democratic Front, which are non-Assamese in character, have planted themselves on the soil of Assam. They openly canvas on a communally divisive agenda, encourage infiltration and have even got the names of illegal immigrants in your electoral rolls... Therefore demographic changes are a matter of grave concern for the Sangh,” he writes.

Interestingly, the Sangh’s view on “changing demographics” comes at a time when the BJP government in Assam is busy implementing the National Register of Citizens (NRC). Several BJP state governments and Mr Shah have also lent their support to the implementation of NRC across the country.

The book states that the RSS sees a connection between Islamic jihad and terrorism, especially in the context of 1993 Mumbai terrorist attacks and 9/11 attacks on the United States.

“This terrorism is prefixed Islamic because innocents were massacred in the name of Jihad. Let’s not say it in a different way. Denying it would be estranging the truth,” Mr Ambekar writes in the chapter titled, In the Globalised World, but then adds, “Muslim majority states are definitely not a monolith. Five are declared Islamic states, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Iran. There are 17 countries where Islam is the state religion. And there are many secular states too… We do not say that terrorism thrives in Islamic states but what we do say on the basis of irrefutable evidence is that Pakistan enables and sponsors terrorism.”

On gay and transgender rights issue, the RSS’ views are revealed in the chapter titled, Family and Emerging Modern Relationships. Mr Ambekar quotes RSS’ senior leader Dattatreya Hosabale: “I don’t think homosexuality should be considered a criminal offence as long as it doesn’t affect the lives of others in society. Sexual preferences are private and personal.”

While the author writes that Mr Hosabale has clarified that “gay marriages should not be institutionalised for it will institutionalise homosexuality. So it should be prohibited,” he writes that inclusion is a key concern and quotes Mr Bhagwat as saying: “Society is changing and we need to accommodate everyone so they do not feel isolated.”

On transgender rights, the author points toward their existence even during the Ramayana era, thus posing no threat to the nation or its sanskar.

The Sangh however continues to stick to its old stand on live-in relationships. “Evidence shows that live in relationships do not culminate in marriage but lead to separation with physical and psychological ramifications. In conclusion, they are a negative role model for society,” Mr Ambekar writes of the RSS’ official view on the matter.

Tags: same-sex relations, mohan bhagwat