Mohan Bhagwat, the chief of India’s Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) has advocated self-reliance to defeat COVID-19. In an address live-streamed from RSS headquarters in Nagpur, Maharashtra on Sunday, Bhagwat said that India should build a self-reliant development model, integrating modern science and ancient wisdom. He called citizens to go for Indian made goods and learn to live without imported ones. If an import is unavoidable, it should be accepted on our terms, suggested the Hindu leader.
"If self-reliance is the message we get from the present health crisis, we have to go for it, such as energy-conserving, employment-generating, environment-friendly means to tide over the crisis. We have the capability to create a global ecology based on our economy, our development, based on modern science and imbibing the spirit of our ancient wisdom,” said Bhagwat.
The Hindu leader suggested that the COVID-19 triggered crisis should be treated as an opportunity to shape up a new India and emphasis should be given on making quality, home-made products.
“The crisis reminds me the need to integrate our ancient wisdom and modern science. We have to build a development model based on it; the government has to consider it. The society also needs to do something – use made in India products, it should try to learn to live without imported goods. If import is unavoidable, it should be accepted on our terms,” he added.
— ASHWANI MAHAJAN (@ashwani_mahajan) April 26, 2020
Narendra Modi was a functionary of the RSS for a long period, before becoming the Chief of Gujarat State and later Prime Minister of India.
COVID-19 has accentuated the financial crisis India has already been facing. The Modi government has announced several austerity measures to manage the revenue deficit resulting from the ongoing 40 days of lockdown, which has badly affected industry, services, employment and foreign trade.
Ever since the first case of Coronavirus or COVID-19 was detected in India on 30 January, the caseload has spiralled to reach 26,917 cases, including 5,914 cured or discharged patients, while 826 people have lost their lives to the viral infection, according to data released on Sunday by the federal health and family welfare ministry.
Prime Minister Modi announced a complete lockdown for 21 days from midnight on 24 March to 14 April, but extended it by another 19 days, as the viral infection did not abate. Though the norms of the lockdown have been relaxed in a graded manner, several states including Delhi, Punjab and Odisha have sought its further extension beyond 3 May.