Bengaluru. Recently RSS Sah Sarkaryavah Dattatreya Hosabale spoke to Kannada newspaper Prajavani on ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’ and Challenges and Opportunities during and Post-Covid19 Lockdown for the country. Following are the translated excerpts from the interview in Kannada.
Entire world is fighting the menace of Corona virus. How are people in India responding to the pandemic?
The Corona crisis has brought in a mutual distrust between the nations and 61 countries have demanded a probe the origin of Corona. An age of distrust has begun wherein countries which have had excellent relations are looking at each other with suspicion. Apart from this, the economic repercussions are huge. The fall outs of Corona are also many like the migrant crisis in the country. One is the direct loss of lives, and others fallouts are manifold.
However, there are some gains too which can be attributed to Corona crisis. Humans have realised, that despite being highly civilised, with regards to nature, we have a limitation. This is a huge lesson for us. What have to realise that we need to develop a multilateral mutual co-operation with each other. India has supplied medicines to several countries, and we shouldn’t be snobbish about it as we too import substantially from other countries. We need this mutual co-operation, and interdependence is inevitable at the global level.
From decades we have a resentment for the government workers, police, government doctors and other civic agencies in our country. But in the past 3-4 months we have seen a sea of change in this perception after seeing how our police has worked in this situation. Government doctors, paramedics and NGOs and media have actually worked to keep our countrymen alive. This is what I mean by interdependence in a society not just in a global level.
Special mention of our pourakarmikas. These people have been doing the same work forever but we’ve never noticed their hard work but now we are ready to garland them and honour them. This is because we now know their real value. This is what I mean by interdependence and how it has brought the society closer.
On being ‘Atma Nirbhar’ and opting for Swadeshi
We need to realise that the economic models that we have adopted is not suitable for all times. Migrant workers have left their homes and travelled to other states for work. In 5000 years of our history, this sort of mass displacement have taken place in very rare instances. It’s understandable that these workers want to get back to their families and it’s basic humanity instinct as well. But what will they do after they return to their homes, in today’s economic situation? How will they manage until we change this economic model which might take years to change.
This is the right occasion to churn out a discourse in the country regarding desi and swadeshi aspects. PM gave out the “atmanirbhar” slogan. Apart from this, the UNDP brought out a conception of localisation, quite aggressively. Our economic and political system must be reformed, it must be decentralised, it’s essential for our atmanirbharta (self-reliance). Today a village, can’t be self-sufficient, so a cluster of villages must be created, cluster for glossaries and cluster for industries. And apart from conventional electricity, several alternative sources like solar energy has been explored. The entire Cochin airport works from solar energy, which shows its possible. Our local handicrafts and industries must be exposed to international markets, we must take the local to the global. Along with localisation, we should not stop exploring towards globalisation, we should always posses a global vision. We must also internally absorb the best of the global prospects.
Gandhiji, Lohia and Deendayal Upadyaya gave a lot of importance to culture building along with economic development. When Gandhiji propagated Sarvodaya, he didn’t mean just food and cloth. Just the economical progress is not an ultimate truth. This is a Bharathiya thought. We should be implemented in accordance to the changing times. Many people have conducted experiments in this. Nanaji Deshmukh did it in Chitrakoot.
DeenDayal Upadyaya has told that the three pillars of technology are economy, ecology and ethics. Our technology should be compatible to the economy. It shouldn’t gobble up jobs and create unemployment. It should create employment. We suddenly woke up to the requirement of PPEs and masks amidst the Covid crisis. We didn’t have enough PPE’s and ventilators but today we can manufacture 2.5 lakh PPEs.
Another thing is, the labourers who have returned to their villages should be provided with locally enabling self employment skills training, to run small businesses or cottage industries. They have been working in large scale industries from past 10 to 20 years, once or twice they would visit their natives, with some savings, now when they visit their villages, they own no farms, even if they have it, its very small, so therefore, facilitating and educating on animal husbandry, vegetable farming, floriculture fruit cultivation, subsistence farming or various cottage industries, handicrafts, such wide range of locally viable skill sets must be imparted on a large scale. For this, government along with self help groups(SHG), NGO should work together. RSS is already strategising in this area, we are actively involved in 5 to 6 states already.
How has the RSS been responding to the situation in the country?
RSS Swayamsevaks with societal co-ordination have always strived to serve the needy almost immediately across the country. Usually when there’s a calamity or an accident, we can see the destruction in front of our eyes. Though we couldn’t see the destructive effects of COVID on a large scale, it wasn’t easy for our Swayamsevaks to work due to social distancing and lockdown.
Despite all this 3.5 lakh Swayamsevaks have worked relentlessly on field, every day in the past 2.5 months. The society has contributed tremendously, and we have distributed it to the needy. We have distributed cooked food as well as ration kits in all the states, also we have distributed masks and sanitizers and in large parts of North India and Tamilnadu we made Kashaya (health brew) and distributed to increase the immunity of the people. Now, the migrant workers, who are coming back in large numbers, have to reach villages and have to be quarantined. In order to boost up their morale during quarantine, we are teaching them pranayama, making them play games etc. Wherever government/administration has given permission, we are conducting it with due regard.
Many migrants in north India are returning by walking barefoot in blazing heat. Thousands of our Swayamsevaks have distributed foot wear and food to several thousand workers every single day. And, several Mothers who were carrying small children who were unable to feed them, were provided with milk. Animals like cows, buffaloes, sheep, monkeys in temples, which were starving since several days bereft of devotees, were taken care by us. Our world doesn’t consist of just humans. Other than humans, we need to take care, feed of the animals and birds too. We widely carried out this exercise too. Patients with non-Covid illness were taken care too. Nationwide Lakhs of patients needed blood, so our Swayamsevaks conducted blood donation camps in many locations, all over the country in this phase.
Next stage of our work, is surveying for skill development. Another thing, that we are now planning is, the family counselling centers. Troubled couples, brothers who live in joint families, where there is socio-economic constraints, child’s education has halted. Those who ran small businesses and petty shops have lost their livelihood and income in the past 2.5 months. All these people will need counselling to cope with the mental stress they they have been through; we are starting this at several places. For example in Pune, Delhi and some parts of Bangalore, we are taking the help of trained counsellors to train our Swayamsevaks to conduct counselling . Many women counsellor are also being trained as they have to counsel other women. These are the facets of rss’s social work, at this juncture.
Allegations have been made against the Muslim community for the spread of Corona virus. What do you have to say over such allegations?
Mohanji Bhagawat has said two things. Firstly, we cannot blame one entire community for the mistake of one group. This statement wasn’t made as a political strategy. Secondly he also said that a responsible leadership has to be created in all communities to make sure that the community does not go wrong. This applies to all communities.
This is a global crisis and we cannot run away from this responsibility. If someone says they have to go to a mosque to pray or to a temple, it is the responsibility of the religious leader of that community to make their community understand the gravity of the situation and abide by the rules.
Communal harmony is to be necessarily sustained when there is a national crisis. I again reiterate, not for a party’s sake, the entire people of our country, must stand united, in the state of crisis, on a war footing.
Economic scenario in the country which was under stress has further been affected by the Corona pandemic. What needs to be done to revive the economy?
We will face challenges for a year. First, we have to cut down on our urban lifestyle for a few days. Second, we have to learn to live in harmony with nature and society. Third, we can narrate to the future generation, as to how our nation stood by during this crisis. We can instil self-righteousness in our children. Social and religious leadership must also stand up to that trustfulness.
We have reached that state of rebirth. As RSS is doing social service, we have felt several times, that even at a small level, several people are doing service in their own way. work. They might not be an all India organization, but people of various sects and dominions and at several places, a lot of people have worked for the society.
The Tirupati TTD trust, several mathas and temples have contributed for the cause. In a Delhi temple 25000 meals were prepared per day. They have adhered to their social responsibility. They dint complain about governments not allocating grants of any sort, they did as per their capacity. A lot of common people have contributed to PM CARES fund, it’s not just the Industrialists/Businessmen only.
There is a eternal vigor in our society and we have to use that energy to harmonize our lives. For that, socio political system, right utilization of technology, and economic restructuring has to happen. Decentralized leadership is key to this phenomenon, from the central leadership as a directive, to light up the spirits in people, was done once upon a time, by Lal Bahadur Shastri and, now Narendra Modi is doing it. Local leadership for its implementation is also necessary, because people need an immediate role model. We have to open up our doors to the world, as we are people who believe in the virtue “ entire world is one family”.