Vishwa Hindu Parishad convener Ashok Singhal talks to New Indian Express Editorial Director Prabhu Chawla about the Uniform Civil Code, Ram Janmbhoomi issue and communal harmony on Sachchi Baat on News X.
PC: You are welcome to the studio, Ashokji. Has the Hindu sarkar has arrived?
AS: No. Rashtravaadi (nationalist) sarkaar has arrived.
PC: Rashtravaadi (nationalist) sarkar has come.
AS: Yes. Rashtravaadi sarkar (nationalist) has come.
PC: You must be having a lot of expectations.
AS: We had a dream of bringing a nationalist government to the country. Many problems that the country was facing will now be solved.
PC: What are your expectations?
AS: There are two big sections of people living in this country—Hindus and Muslims. We should live in peace. Vote bank politics has been dividing the country for so many years. Living in the country peacefully hasn’t been possible. The nation got divided to such an extent after 1984, that governments couldn’t be formed or run without allies. It’s Narendra Modi’s achievement that he has got a government that is not dependant on anyone. It has won clear majority. There are many issues that should have been resolved by now (and haven’t been resolved).
PC: Like the Ram Mandir Issue… You have been working on that issue for very long. There was violence. That is a priority for you. Isn’t it?
AS: I don’t want the Ram Janmbhoomi issue to immediately come up. There are other priorities.
PC: But it should be made during these five years.
AS: It should happen in the coming five years. But it should happen in peace. The 1857 Mutiny saw the Hindus and Muslims fighting together for the country. Britishers ruling us broke the country into pieces and ruined our communal harmony. The divide increased. I think Narendra Modi will be able to bridge the divide.
PC: Modi has a huge role to play in the BJP’s victory. BJP was on the way to extinction.
AS: The government has been formed owing to a clean majority. It was possible because of Modi.
PC: What about issues like the Uniform Civil Code? Should it be implemented?
AS: An inter-faith Millennium meeting was held at United Nations. There were 108 holy men present in that conference. Atal (Bihari Vajpayee) ji was also present there. Everyone thought of organising a programme for the Indian community. There Atalji was reminded of on the stand on Ram Janmbhoomi he had taken in Palampur, and his stand on Section 370. They told him that now that he has formed the government, he must bring in the changes he had promised. Atalji said that he would fulfil the promises if he was given a clear majority. He had said that his status, that of a Swayam Sevak, would remain. Today, they have got a clear majority.
PC: And Modi is a Swayam Sevak…
AS: Yes and he has the emotion.
PC: You expect Modi to repeal Section 370 and implement the Uniform Civil Code and build the Ram Temple.
AS: We have expectations. But we also hope Hindus and Muslims to respect each other and live in harmony in the country. It’s a huge responsibility.
PC: You are talking about Hindus and Muslims because you have come in power. Forgive me, but your language has softened. If Modiji doesn’t do it in five years and no one wants the Temple, they should stop pursuing the matter.
AS: The temple will be built.
PC: And the Uniform Civil Code will be implemented.
AS: They were waiting for the court judgement.
PC: The court passed the judgement. They didn’t do anything about it.
AS: The judgement was that Ram Temple will be where Ram sits. No one challenged it. The site for Ram was decided. The previous government had made some commitments. Those commitments should be fulfilled. In regard with that, the subject was given to the Supreme Court for reference by Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma. When the Supreme Court probed into the intentions, it was clearly mentioned that the decision would go in the favour of the Hindus if they found (in the study) that a temple existed in 1528.
PC: But the Lucknow High Court bench decision has been challenged in the Supreme Court. You will have to wait for it even if it takes 10 more years.
AS: I don’t think it’s a legal subject. A decision on the subject can be taken even in Parliament. People can ponder over the fact that if a government can be made without the Muslim vote bank, then everyone, the Muslim community could respect the religious feelings of the Hindus and everyone should stay together in harmony. May be they think about it soon.
PC: Atalji could not take a decision (on the Temple issue) because he didn’t have the majority. He (Modi) doesn’t have the “majority” excuse. If he is not able to deliver on the Temple issue, will the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Sangh parivar go into protests?
AS: I don’t think a situation (of protests) would arise.
PC: Modi will make the Temple...
AS: Definitely. He will make the Temple.
PC: You had also raised the Kashi Vishwanath Issue.
AS: The temple issue is not the only issue affecting the country. There is terror spread across the country. There are big global powers that have to be tackled. And there are so many problems that demand a solution. We need to focus on them.
PC: You are talking about terror. The PM has invited the PM of Pakistan, the birthplace of terror, for the swearing-in ceremony. The same person had created the atmosphere for the Kargil War.
AS: We need to look them in the eye and ask them to bring down terror.
PC: Atalji had said the same.
AS: There is a difference between the two.
PC: The terror won’t go. You feel it was appropriate to invite him.
AS: Looking them in the eye and talking about curbing terror is one subject. But previously, the governments in the country have been meek before Pakistan. They bend before Pakistan.
PC: Even they (this government) is bending (before Pakistan). He was invited the very first day. Was it appropriate to invite him? BJP had earlier maintained a stand of not calling Nawaz Sharif. The perpetrators of 26/11 were to be taken to task. You invited him without keeping conditions.
AS: The conditions will come only when they are invited here.
PC: When you were in the Opposition, you were against the dialogue.
AS: We have to see whether he turns up or not.
PC: It will be even more insulting if he doesn’t.
AS: We will probe the conditions and topics of discussions when he comes. There is a huge difference in the pedestal on which the dialogue with Pakistan was addressed earlier and the pedestal on which it is addressed today.
PC: Was it appropriate to invite him?
AS: Whether he comes or not. The pedestal for the dialogue should remain the same.
PC: But you are not commenting on whether it was appropriate or not.
AS: I won’t say anything on that.
PC: You neither support nor oppose.
AS: No. I don’t support it.
PC: But you spoke about vote bank politics. You say with confidence that he will build the Temple. But he has sworn on the Constitution. If the Temple issue goes against the Constitution, will you oppose the Constitution and favour the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
AS: Every demand made by the Hindu community can be fulfilled under the Constitution. This is what I believe in.
PC: So, the building of the Temple will fall in the Constitution.
AS: It will come under the Constitution. There have been many situations and contexts in the country …. that have demanded a decision in Parliament against court decisions.
PC: There are issues like conversions. You have raised questions on conversion. You have asked for a ban on it.
AS: There are other issues the country is facing. I can take up all the issues with you one by one. There is the issue of security. The country needs security against terror. Women of this country need to feel safe. It’s a huge challenge. Terrorists have posed challenges before us. The temples and maths in the country need security. The previous governments have kept the temples and maths under their control. Why? The temples need autonomy. The cash with the maths and temples can’t be used for the Hindu community.
PC: You mean to say that the temples and the maths should be taken out of the government’s control.
AS: Yes. The temples will be safe only when they are freed from government control.
PC: Name the temples.
AS: There are lakhs of temples in the country. All the temples in South India are under government control.
PC: So you would expect the PM to (free the temples from government control).
AS: Definitely. There are many temples in North India that are under government control. They should be made autonomous. The temples belong to the Hindu community and they should be governed by the community. There should be a law for the same.
PC: That’s your expectation from Modi.
AS: Definitely. I expect him to do this. Also, India’s culture is facing challenges. The intellectual heritage being thrust upon us is a huge threat to our tradition and culture.
PC: I am talking about the issue of conversion. Should there be a law?
AS: There is the issue of intrusion that happens on very a very large scale. All the intruders should be sent back to their place of origin. They should be de-franchised. Conversion is taking place on a huge scale in our country. The shrinking of the Hindu population is a huge concern. Hum do humare Do …. The intruders should be de-franchised. It should be investigated where they have come from. We need to figure out what action should be taken against them once they are in the country.
PC: You said Hum do Humaare Do. Do you believe in the maxim that Hindus should have five children?
AS: Uniform Civil Code should be implemented. The Hindu population is shrinking. It’s surprising that the 2011 Census does not state the figures of the Muslim and Christian population. The details should be published at the earliest.
PC: What are your expectations? You feel Hindus should have five children.
AS: That’s not the government’s concern.
PC: Family planning is the government’s concern.
AS: It’s a social issue. Uniform Civil Code is the government’s concern. The Supreme Court has said that the Uniform Civil Court should be implemented. The Muslim community should accept it.
PC: But you said that Hindus should have five kids. What’s your point?
AS: I am not saying it. The saints and ascetics have expressed their thoughts during the Kumbh on the drastic shrinking Hindu population. They have said that Hindus should have five children and that the Uniform civil Code should be implemented. It’s a huge issue in the Hindu community.
PC: So you mean that Hindus should have more kids.
AS: That’s the only way to maintain a balance in the population.
PC: Why don’t you educate the minorities?
AS: The Uniform Civil Code should be implemented. Family Planning should be applied to them as well. I believe that all the unsolved and unresolved problems in the country are owing to the vote bank politics. This election has proved that vote bank politics won’t work anymore.
PC: You talked about de-franchising. There is a feeling of insecurity among the Muslims. The number of Muslim MPs has reduced from 49 to 22. You deprive the people from a particular community from entering Parliament. Isn’t that wrong?
AS: Reaction won’t work. They are beginning to understand it. Hindu reacts whenever there is reaction.
PC: But they should have a political representation. They have dwindled to 22.
AS: Why were there three consecutive governments (of the BJP) in Gujarat? There was a reaction to the atrocities of the Jehadi Muslims on the Hindus. It’s a mandate.
PC: BJP made a Muslim contest and he could not win. There weren’t any Muslims victorious in North India. It is a communal mandate.
AS: No. It’s a national mandate.
PC: Is defeating Muslims a national mandate?
AS: How can you say that Muslims did not support the BJP?
PC: I am not saying that the Muslims did not support the BJP. I am saying that it (the representation) went down from 49 to 22. There wasn’t a single a Muslim candidate who came out as a winner from your party.
AS: This has to be studied by those who encouraged a Muslim vote bank.
PC: But it’s your government now. It’s you who have to keep the country united.
AS: They have to decide whether to walk with the vote bank wallas or the BJP. I believe that in the coming times, Muslims, in huge numbers (because Hindu community believes in the Almighty and the Muslim community believes in the Almighty) can walk together. They were subjected to vote bank politics by the atheists. Religious people can walk together.
PC: How will the Modi Model affect the people of India? The memory of the 2002 riots still lingers. He never even asked for forgiveness.
AS: If someone has committed any crime he should be punished. What’s with asking for forgiveness?
PC: Sonia Gandhi asked forgiveness even 20 years after the riots.
AS: If someone has committed any crime he should be punished. Asking for forgiveness doesn’t mean anything. He hasn’t committed any crime. Why should he ask for forgiveness?
PC: He should do it as a gesture coming from a big heart being the CM and now PM.
AS: Why should he ask for forgiveness? Just to please people?
PC: Will the RSS used to put a lot of pressure on Atalji. Now they can’t because the government has got a clear majority. You have lost the agenda.
AS: There is no agenda. There is a manifesto.
PC: The manifesto mentions the “Temple” in just one paragraph.
AS: All the promises made in the manifesto should be fulfilled. Reactions will bear reactions. There should be mutual respect and harmony in the coming times. I am expecting a change in psyche. The vote bank psyche will take a beating. The mutual respect between communities will grow. Eighty five per cent of Muslims want peace in the country.
PC: Will Ashok Singhal protest if the Temple is not built in five years?
AS: The situation won’t arise. It will begin in some days from now.
PC: Are you going for the swearing in ceremony?
AS: I am going. A few ascetics and saints will be going too. People are happy. In a century, a ruler of that stature has arrived.
PC: So will you go and bless Modi or will you threaten him with conditions?
AS: I will bless him. Everyone is happy. He has worked a lot.
PC: But he hasn’t mentioned “Temple” in any of the 500 meetings.
AS: There is no need for that. He never expressed his reverence for Ganga (in his speeches) and he proved his reverence with the worship of Ganga.
PC: He had stated that Ganga (The Ganges) is his “Mother”.
AS: He had said that it comes within the Constitution that he would make the RamJanmabhumi and we will build (the Temple).
PC: Thanks for coming to our studio.