Nagpur: RSS joint general secretary Manmohan Vaidya on Saturday said that India has always been an accommodative and a multipolar country. He was speaking at the 'Second Nagpur Literary Festival' here.
"India always had a spiritual democracy. It has always been accommodative. Doing dharma has been Bharat's swabhav (character/nature)," he said.
"Dharma means to give to the society considering as its own. It means to share and give to the society. Dharma means enriching social capital," he said.
"Dharma does not necessarily mean religion, it means giving and sharing with society. Similarly, 'rashtra' means people. 'Rashtriyata' does not mean nationalism. It is a western concept," Vaidya said.
"Dharma does not discriminate. It connects society and brings it together. Dharma unites and connects everyone," he said.
"Why Bharat could not be converted to Islam or Christianity despite 800 years of Islamic and British rules? One of the reasons is that Bharat was always a multipolar country, where the society commanded and executed its own decisions, while the rulers played a supportive role," Vaidya said.
"That's why the society must hold the country together even today," he added. "Dharma opens your eyes to get connected. You feel
related, you are prompted to do something... that is dharma. Our society has always been 'dharmanishth' (following principles of dharma). It was not state-based, but community-based. I feel the makers of the Constitution were very clear that secularism was not needed in India at that time," he said.
"Bharatiya values were completely different," he said. Vaidya called for the need to use Bharatiya words for English terms, which he said "tend to change the whole way of looking at concepts like religion, nationalism, secularism, tolerance and ideology".
"Nationalism isn't Bharatiya concept. It was born in the Western concept of nation-state and comes with ideologies like Fascism and personalities like Hitler and Mussolini. In Bharat, the concept of 'rashtriyata' is different from nation and nationalism. Hence, 'rashtravad' is not an acceptable parallel word for nationalism," he said.
"Bharatiya concept of rashtra is different from that of nation. For us, 'rashtra' does not mean geography, but people and society," he said.