With Dadri-like incidents triggering outrage, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat today said "small episodes" cannot damage "Hindu culture" and praised the Modi government for ushering in hope and confidence in the country and enhancing India's standing abroad.
In his annual Dussehra address at RSS headquarters in Nagpur, Bhagwat hailed Dalit ikon BR Ambedkar for making provisions in the Constitution to remove social and economic inequality faced by the weaker sections, a reference to the quota system, whose review he had recently suggested that pushed BJP on the backfoot in Bihar polls.
In his 55-minute speech, telecast live by Doordarshan for the second consecutive year, he also called for a holistic discussion on population, saying its continuous rise becomes a burden.
"Small episodes happen. They get exaggerated and presented in a big way... Small incidents keep happening but it does not distort Indian culture, Hindu culture. Since time immemorial, it respects diversity, coordinates among diversities to establish unity... This is Hindutva," he said.
"Our country has stood as one and will stand as one. The Sangh has been doing the work of keeping the nation one on the basis of Hindutva for the last 90 years," he said.
Bhagwat, however, refrained from making any direct reference to recent incidents of communal and caste tensions.
With several fringe Hindutva elements repeatedly demanding a curb on Muslim population, Bhagwat, without naming any community, favoured a "uniform population policy which is applicable to all".
He deplored that no holistic discussion has taken place in the country on controlling population.
"With rise in population, the burden on the country will grow. Population growth can be an asset too. If we have more mouths to feed, we will also have more hands to work. We have to plan for 50 years hence. How to provide for the education and health of the people," he said.
Praising the Centre, he said it had brought about hope and confidence among people that had hit rock bottom under the previous government and spoke about the pet schemes of the Modi government like Jan Dhan, Swachh Bharat and Mudra bank.