Mumbai: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat on Monday said Hindus and Muslims share the same ancestry and every Indian citizen is a "Hindu".
Speaking at an event here organised by Pune-based Global Strategic Policy Foundation, he said "sane" Muslim leaders should stand firmly against fundamentalists and added the minority community does not have to fear anything in India as Hindus don't hold enmity towards anyone.
"The word Hindu was equivalent to motherland, ancestors and Indian culture. This is not disrespecting other views. We have to think in terms of gaining Indian dominance and not Muslim dominance ," he said.
Bhagwat said for all-round development of India, everyone should work together. "Islam came to India with invaders. This is history and should be told in that manner. Sane Muslim leaders should oppose unnecessary issues and stand firmly against fundamentalists and hardliners. The more we do this at the earliest, the less damage it will cause to our society," he said. India, as a superpower, will not scare anyone, the RSS leader said.
"The word Hindu is synonymous to the rich heritage brought to us by our motherland, ancestors and culture, and in this context every Indian is a Hindu for us whatever might be their religious, linguistic, racial orientation," he said at a seminar titled "Nation First, Nation Supreme". Hindus and Muslims share the same ancestry, Bhagwat said.
"Hindu is not a word that denotes any race, religion or linguistic identity. Hindu is a name given to the rich heritage that strives for upliftment of every living and non-living entity. Hence, for us, every Indian is a Hindu," he said.
Indian culture accommodates diverse opinions and respects other faiths, Bhagwat said. "In line with our culture, which accepts all diverse opinions, we assure that there won't be disrespect for other faiths, but, for that we will have to ensure that we think of dominance of India and not that of a particular faith like Islam. Coming and being together is inevitable for a prosperous India...for the progress of the motherland," the RSS chief observed.
In his speech Bhagwat stressed that it's well-established that Islam came to India along with invaders and this historical fact shouldn't be concealed. "Saner voices from among Muslims should speak against acts of insanity committed by sections of the community. They will have to firmly oppose hardliners. These are testing times for us," he said.
Bhagwat emphasized Muslims don't have to fear anyone in India as Hindus don't hold enmity towards anyone and Indians have always been committed to the well-being of all. The RSS leader said people should not fall prey to fissiparous tendencies. "Those who want to break the nation try to say 'we are not one, we are separate'. One should not fall prey to it. We are one nation. We shall remain united as a nation. This is what we, at the RSS think, and I'm here to convey this to you," he said. Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan and Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain (retd), Chancellor, Central University of Kashmir, were among other prominent speakers at the event. Khan said more diversity leads to a prosperous society and added "Indian culture considers everyone equal."
The Kerala Governor quoted several ancient scriptures to highlight the all-encompassing nature of Hinduism. He said wherever in the world diversity was destroyed, civilizations have vanished, while only multi-cultural societies have prospered. "Indian or 'Sanatan' (eternal) culture doesn't consider anybody different because same divinity is experienced in every living and non-living being in this culture," Khan said.
Lt Gen Hasnain said Muslim intellectuals should thwart Pakistan's attempts to target Indian Muslims. He also spoke on the changing geo-political situation in the light of recent developments in Afghanistan. "Pakistan has been promoting terrorism in India under a grand strategy after its defeat in 1971. After a short lull, the efforts are likely to be fanned again. It will be responsibility of the Muslim intelligentsia of India to defy these efforts of Pakistan," Lt Gen Hasnain said.