An interview published by right-wing affiliated Organiser and Panchjanya magazines has revealed that Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat is in favour of gay rights.
Reportedly, during the course of the interview, Bhagwat said that the newfound aggression among Hindus all over the world was the result of a new awakening in a society which has been at war for the past 1,000 years.
“People with such proclivities have always been there; for as long as humans have existed… This is biological, a mode of life. We want them to have their own private space and to feel that they, too, are a part of the society. This is such a simple issue. We will have to promote this view because all other ways of resolving it will be futile,” he stated.
Bhagwat continued: “You see, Hindu society has been at war for over 1,000 years – this fight has been going on against foreign aggressions, foreign influences and foreign conspiracies. Sangh has offered its support to this cause, and so have others. There are many who have spoken about it, and it is because of all these that the Hindu society has awakened. It is but natural for those at war to be aggressive.”
His remarks are particularly timely as the Supreme Court continues to hear petitions in support of same-sex marriage and equal rights for LGBTQ+ citizens. The Hindu community does not consider transgenders as a problem, according to Bhagwat. He discussed how the issue of protecting the rights of the LGBTQ+ community is not new in either the Indian or the Hindu society, quoting the story of Jarasandha, and his two generals – Hansa and Dimbaka. According to Bhagwat, people with such “proclivities” have existed since the existence of humankind began. Noting his observations as a veterinarian, he added that such traits can also be found in animals.
While mentioning the RSS’s 100 year celebration in 2025, Bhagwat also spoke extensively about women’s participation in the organisation, saying that the ‘Sangh’ already had its women’s wing in the Sevika Samiti, suggesting the merger of the two.
According to the RSS chief, India has been “akhand” (undivided) as per the earliest records, but was divided when the core Hindu sense was forgotten. “Hindu is our identity, our nationality, our civilisational trait – a trait that considers everyone as ours; that takes everyone along. We never say mine is only true and yours is false. You are right at your place, I am right at mine; why fight, let us move together – this is Hindutva,” said Bhagwat.
“The simple truth is this – Hindustan should remain Hindustan. There is no harm to the Muslims living today in Bharat… Islam has nothing to fear. But at the same time, Muslims must abandon their boisterous rhetoric of supremacy. ‘We are of an exalted race; we once ruled over this land, and shall rule it again; only our path is right, rest everyone is wrong; we are different, therefore we will continue to be so; we cannot live together’ – they (Muslims) must abandon this narrative. In fact, all those who live here – whether a Hindu or a communist – must give up this logic,” said the RSS chief.
Bhagwat said that the RSS has always engaged with politics, despite its cultural nature, but consciously avoided day-to-day politics, saying that it only engaged in politics that affected “our national policies, national interests and Hindu interests”.
“The only difference is, earlier our Swayamsevaks were not in positions of political power. This is the only addition in the present situation. But people forget that it is the Swayamsevaks who have reached certain political positions through a political party. Sangh continues to organise the society for the organisation’s sake,” he said.
Bhagwat added, “However, whatever Swayamsevaks do in politics, Sangh is held accountable for the same. Even if we are not implicated directly by others, there is certainly some accountability as ultimately it is in the Sangh where Swayamsevaks are trained. Therefore, we are forced to think – what should be our relationship, which things we should pursue (in the national interest) with due diligence.”
He recalled that the Sangh had been treated with contempt before, but now those days were gone. “The thorns we encountered earlier on the road have changed their character. In the past, we had to brave the thorns of opposition and contempt. Those we could avoid. And at times we have avoided them too. But the new-found acceptance has brought us resources, convenience and abundance,” he said.
Bhagwat shared that under the new circumstances, popularity and resources have become thorns which the Sangh should brave, adding that the resources and means the RSS has today should only be seen as instruments that serve the organisation’s work. “Our old habits of facing hardships must never die. Times are favourable, but that should not lead to vanity,” he said.