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Nationalism means Nazism, use terms like ‘nation, nationality’: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat

The Indian Express logo The Indian Express 20-02-2020
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(Video by Hindustan Times)

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat Thursday said one shouldn't use the word "nationalism" as it is associated with Hitler's Nazi Germany.

RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat © Raj K Raj/Hindustan Times via Getty Images RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat

Speaking at an RSS programme at Mukherjee University in Moradabadi, the RSS chief said that "nationalism means Nazism."

"..'nationalism' shabd ka upyog mat kijiye. Nation kahenge chalega, national kahenge chalega, nationality kahenge chalega, nationalism mat kaho. Nationalism ka matlab hota hai Hitler, naziwaad. (Don't use the word nationalism. 'Nation, national, and nationality' are okay but nationalism means Hitler, Nazism)," ANI quoted him as saying. Recounting his encounter with an RSS karyakarta in Englad, Bhagwat said the term alludes to Hitler, Nazism and fascism.

With the BJP riding on, and perpetuating, the concept of nationalism in its electoral campaigns and speeches of its top leadership, the RSS, the ideological parent of the BJP, has maintained a distance with the term.

In October last year too, Bhagwat had linked nationalism with Hitler but said it is different in India. “Nationalism scares people because they immediately link it with Hitler and Mussolini. But nationalism in India is not the same because this nation is built on its common sanskriti (civilization)”, he had then said.

Last week, RSS Joint General Secretary Manmohan Vaidya said “nationalism isn’t a Bharatiya concept."It was born in the Western concept of nation-state and comes with a baggage of ideologies like fascism and personalities like Hitler and Mussolini. In Bharat, the concepts are rashtriyata which are different from nation and nationalism. Hence Rashtrvad for nationalism isn’t an acceptable parallel word,” he said.

On the other hand, the present dispensation has repeatedly vouched for "saving" nationalism in the country, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi once saying "nationalism is the identity of the BJP". In an interview with The Indian Express last year ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, then BJP president Amit Shah had said a "large country (like India) cannot remain without nationalism. Several other party leaders have repeatedly called for promoting "nationalism and patriotism" in the country.

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