New Delhi: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat on Sunday claimed that 'Hindutva' as an "expression of our identity" was applicable to 1.3 billion people living in the country.
"Hindutva is a word expressing our identity along with the continuity of spirituality-based traditions and an entire wealth of value system in the land of Bharat. Therefore, this word is applicable to all the 1.3 billion people," Bhagwat said in his Vijaya Dashami speech at the RSS's single largest annual event.
He said that 'Hindu' word is a common denominator that honours and encompasses innumerable distinct identities, adding that it "is not the name of some sect or denomination, not provincial conceptualisation, neither a single caste's lineage nor privilege of speakers of a specific language".
"When the Sangh says Hindustan is a Hindu Rashtra, it does not have any political or power-centered concept in its mind. Hindutva is the essence of this nation's 'swa'(self-hood). We are plainly acknowledging the selfhood of the country as Hindu," Bhagwat said.
The RSS chief said that the Hindu culture had expressed itself in diverse forms, but some groups were trying to spread hatred and aggression in certain sections of society by creating a sense of insecurity among them on the pretext that the country's diversity would be finished if they identified themselves as "Hindu" .
"Acknowledgement of the fact that the emotional spirit of India, its acceptance of and support for multiple belief systems and faiths, is a byproduct of the Hindu culture, traditions and Hindu thought is necessary," Bhagwat asserted.
He also made a pitch for 'Swadeshi' during his speech. He said that the philosophy of 'Swadeshi' was in discussion once again. In view of the current Indian context, India needs to rebuild paths based on its time-tested values, he stated.
Connecting it to Hindutva, he said that the swa' or 'self' in 'Swadeshi' refers to the same Hindutva. That spirit or 'swa', he stressed, should be the compass directing our intellectual brainstorming and plans of action.
"If we work to raise the general level of consciousness of the common man and nurture his intrinsic spirit of oneness with Hindutva as the guiding force, then in the near future Bharatvarsh will emerge as the torchbearer for the rest of the world," the RSS leader said.
He added that such an organised society was the precondition for the invincibility of our nation.
During his speech, Bhagwat also dubbed China as "expansionist" and said that India needed to be militarily better prepared against the neighbouring nation.
He urged the government to forge an alliance against China with its immediate neighbours like Nepal, Sri Lanka and others.
"Indian defence forces, government and the people remained unfazed and responded sharply to China's boisterous efforts to invade our territories," he said.
He was referring to the India-China border tensions that saw violent flare-up earlier in the Galwan Valley.
"We intend to be friendly to all -- this is our nature. But mistaking our benevolence for weakness and attempts to disintegrate or weaken us by sheer brute force is unacceptable. Our reckless detractors should know this by now," Bhagwat asserted.