What things to eat, what things to wear, how to enjoy birthdays and advice on public conduct – all of this is a part of the RSS’ family counseling programme launched in Apr. The pan-India campaign absorbs going to people’s homes to “instill values and ethics” aside from advocating vegetarianism and promoting Indian apparel. The Kutumb Prabodhan named family counseling campaign will continue till the 2019 general elections. This move comes amid wide-spread outrage and anger over mob assault in the name of the cow, which is considered holy in the Hindu religions.
The RSS insiders said the mature swayamsevaks, along with a couple of swayamsevaks and a Rashtra Sevika Sangh (RSS’ women’s wing), visit households and ‘inform’ them on the benefits associated with vegetarianism and how to save oneself from being affected by the foreign culture, especially as shown in the various TV channels and social media platforms. A group led by the RSS leader Ashok Bhatt, the Vidarbha convener of Kutumb Prabodhan, went to the family of the Suresh Deshpande in Nagpur’s Sadar area the past week. The team suggested those to wear sarees and Kurta-pyjamas during festivals and advised them to not blow candles and cut cakes during birthday celebrations as that had not been an integral part of the Indian culture.
The Deshpandes, a family group of four, were informed about traditional Hindu practices such as chanting mantras before eating food. They said everyone in the family must eat alongside one another at least one time in a week and really should not watch TV at that time, instead of bond with one another. Throughout their family time, they have to avoid talking about politics and cricket. Besides this, everyone must value women, a battle against casteism, and inculcate the habit of reading good literature that feeds one’s intellect. The Deshpandes were advised to take up sociable work. “The RSS team enquired about our food habits, favorite TV channels and shows, how we celebrate a birthday and our preference of attire,” said Suresh.
He added that it was a good idea aimed at building up the connection between members of the family. “Besides, through the interaction, we could understand the problems faced by our children and other members of the family,” said Sunita, wife of Suresh. Bhatt said they are getting a good response. “We are also asking the families to sit together at least once a week to help to create bonhomie and strengthen ties among the members,” he said. Atul Pingle, a senior RSS leader, and Vidarbha Prant Pracharak Pramukh said this initiative was a necessity of the hour when individuals were becoming more materialistic and self-centered. “We will also visit the families of minorities like Muslims and Christians,” said Pingle, adding that the campaign would help bring back harmony, companionship, and community connection among people.
The Kutumb Prabodhan campaign is a significant effort of the RSS, the ideological mentor of the ruling BJP, following its pet job of “one temple, one crematorium and one well for all in each village” that premiered last year in the United States on Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s 125th birth anniversary in order to propagate cultural equality and tranquility. The task was valued by noted industrialist Ratan Tata when he met RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in Nagpur previous year. The political observers believe that such projects would supply the swayamsevaks a primary access to family members and enjoy dividends for the BJP in the ensuing elections.