RSS likely to invite Rahul Gandhi for upcoming event: Sources

Rahul Gandhi (Picture: Wikimedia Commons)

New Delhi: The RSS on Monday was critical of Congress President Rahul Gandhi for drawing comparisons of it with the Islamic State (IS) and the Muslim Brotherhood and plans to invite him for a three-day lecture series here next month to enlighten people about the organisation. The sangh parivar fountainhead, which is holding a lecture series on “Future of Bharat: An RSS Perspective” between September 17 and 19, said it will invite all the political parties, including the Congress, to enlighten them about its vision and also to clarify the misconceptions about it.

Addressing a press conference, Arun Kumar, the Akhil Bharatiya Prachar Pramukh of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) said that RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat will address and interact with a select audience comprising prominent citizens during the three-day event. Responding to a volley of questions regarding Rahul Gandhi’s continuous attacks on RSS, including the recent comparison with the Muslim Brotherhood and the IS, Kumar said that Congress President’s remarks were due to his lack of knowledge.

“If Rahul Gandhi is clear about how the IS, the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic terrorism is haunting the entire world, he would have never drawn such comparisons,” Kumar said.

Questioning Rahul Gandhi’s understanding of India, he said that one cannot understand the RSS until he understands the country.

“Sometimes we feel and even he accepts that he is trying to understand the country. One who has not understood India can never understand the RSS. To understand the RSS one needs to first understand India at least,” he said.

The RSS functionary said that unless Rahul Gandhi understands “Sarva Dharma Sambhava (all Dharmas are equal to or harmonious with each other), We the people and Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (the world is one family)”, he will not be able to understand the RSS.

“Because of lack of knowledge, he is drawing such comparisons (with IS and Muslim Brotherhood),” Kumar told reporters.

Asked about the invitees to the event, he said that top people from the fields of social, cultural organisations, media, columnists and even legal fraternity besides foreign ambassadors and high commissioners, will be invited to the event to get to know and understand the RSS perspective on various issues of national importance.

Asked whether the political parties opposed to the idea of the RSS would be invited to the event, Kumar said: “We will contact all the political parties. All means all.”

To a specific question about inviting Rahul Gandhi, he said, “It is our prerogative whom to invite. We will try to touch all the strata of the society.”

An RSS functionary, however, said that as President of the Congress party, Gandhi will also be an invitee.

Responding to Congress charges that the BJP and the RSS believed in divisive politics, Kumar said that political parties speak a lot for vote bank politics but it is the people of the country who decide.

“I don’t need to comment on it. People will decide,” he said.

Speaking at an event organised by Indian Journalists’ Association in London, Rahul Gandhi had once again compared the RSS with the Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni Islamist organisation. Earlier he had compared the RSS with the IS.

According to Rahul Gandhi, Muslim Brotherhood was banned after the assassination of Anwar Sadat (the then Egyptian president) in 1981, while the RSS was banned after Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination (in 1948).

“So, there are tremendous similarities. And the most interesting one, women are not allowed in either of these organisations. So, they are similar,” Gandhi said.

Describing the purpose behind organising the event, Kumar clarified that it has been organised due to growing eagerness about the RSS amongst larger sections of the society including the intellectuals and the youth and also to clarify about the questions which are being raised about it.

“India is moving ahead towards regaining its special and unique position in the world among the galaxy of nations. At the same time the RSS is realizing that there is a growing eagerness amongst larger sections of the society including the intellectuals and the youth to know and understand the RSS perspective on various issues of national importance. This lecture series has been organised in this context where Bhagawatji will present the RSS’ view on various contemporary issues of national importance,” he said.

To a question pertaining to Rahul Gandhi’s claim that Congress was not involved in the 1984 riots, Kumar said it would not hold water because late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, himself had said: “Jab bada ped girta hai to dharti hilti hai (when a big tree falls, the earth shakes)”.