New Delhi: A controversy erupted on Friday when Doordarshan telecast live RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s speech on Vijaya Dashmi (also the RSS founding day) in which he described Hindutva as India’s ‘national identity’. The Opposition slammed the government for “misusing” the state broadcaster. However, both the BJP and the government defended the decision to telecast the RSS chief’s speech on the grounds that it was a ‘newsworthy’ event.
Applauding the Narendra Modi government for “positive signs” about the emergence of India as the ‘guide and torch-bearer of the whole world’ since the ‘nai vyavastha (new administration)’ has taken over, Mr Bhagwat described Hindutva as the country’s ‘national identity’ and said it was the ‘thread of unity’ running through its diversities. “The Sangh believes in unity in diversity, which does not ask anybody to leave anything except their vices and arrogance, which is the thread of unity running through the country’s diversities, this is Hindutva,” Mr Bhagwat said.
While Prasar Bharati CEO Jawahar Sircar refused to comment, Doordarshan DG (News) Archana Dutta said, “It was just like a news event to us. So we covered it.” Mr Javadekar, who was in Mumbai, suggested that Doordarshan may not have covered the RSS chief’s speech live in the past because of “restrictions” placed by earlier regimes. He said when “all private news channels are showing it, why should DD be banned?” However, none of the major channels showed the entire speech live.
Mr Bhagwat also found backing from the highest level of government with Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying, “Mohan Bhagwatji talked about important national issues in his speech. The issues of social reform that he raised are very relevant today.”