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Engagement with RSS: Aggressive Intellectual Dialogue

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Dr. Javed Jamil The recent meeting between RSS Head Mr. Bhagwat and President of Jamiat-e Ulema-I Hind, Maulana Arshad Madani appears to have generated hot debate in the Muslim community with many questioning the need, timing and motives of the meeting. I personally believe that dialogue should always continue and dialogue with RSS should have begun much earlier. In my address as Chief Guest in the Conference on “Challenges before Muslim Minority Institutions” organized at Bhatkal (on 17th and 18th Aug), I stressed the need of coming together of all religions to beat the internationally dominant atheistic forces of economics and politics. I also talked of the need for engaging with RSS on the issues of morality.
Last year, in the three-day enclave at Bangalore organized by Jama’at e Islami, I had called upon Muslims to launch a “peace and friendship offensive” with all the politically relevant groups of the country. I had argued that “politically speaking”, India comprises 5 minority groups: Hindu Dalits, Hindu OBCs, Upper Caste Secular Hindus, Upper Caste Sangh-inspired Hindus, and Minorities. Muslims need to open dialogue with all of them on common issues. I stressed that even Hindutva has to be engaged on the ground of common religious morality and Indian culture, which abhor alcohol, drugs, the disintegration of the family system and gambling.
Muslims always tend to behave as a minority and forget their role as “ideologically second biggest majority” and “socially a part of the deprived majority”.
Abou15 years back, I organized a seminar entitled, “In Search of a Comprehensive Solution for AIDS” at New Delhi in collaboration with National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), Government of India. One of the speakers was Late Mr. K R Malkani, the RSS ideologue, who was at the same time Chief Editor of “Observer” and “Panchjanya” and was also Vice President of BJP then. Inviting him to speak, I had said the following: “Mr. Malkani! You are Vice President of BJP and an RSS ideologue, and I am a Muslim. You know very well what the feelings of Muslims are for RSS. I share most of them. But I have some positive views too about your organization. What I like about it is its insistence on Indian cultural and moral values. Hindus and Muslims are similar in the sense that we both have faith in God through while we Muslims pray to One God, you pray to many gods. We both hate alcoholism, gambling, nudity, sex outside marriage and homosexuality. We both detest Western style of living. We both would not like our daughters roaming freely with boys in the nights. Why then do we keep fighting for Ayodhya Mandir-Babri Masjid and not against these vices?

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