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FACT CHECK: Did RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat ask people not to use Nationalism and likened it to Nazism and Hitler?

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Summary

Some media houses cherry-picked RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's statement from his speech at Ranchi, misquoted him and published reports with misleading headlines. Bhagwat never likened nationalism to Nazism or fascism.

On the 20th of February,  Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat attended and addressed an RSS program held at Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee University in Morabadi of Ranchi. Following the event, a number of media houses started claiming that in his speech, RSS chief said that the word 'nationalism' should not be used as it is likened to Nazism and Hitler. 

The claim initially started when Asian News International (ANI) published an article titled  "Avoid using word 'nationalism', as it is derives from Hitler or Nazi: Mohan Bhagwat." Subsequently, a number of media houses, including NDTV and Economics Times picked up the story.

To name a few other media houses, Times of India, Quint, The Hindu and Hindustan Times published articles on similar lines.

In its video report, NDTV attributed the statement to Bhagwat. 

Congress leader Digvijay Singh sharing a report tweeted, "Word 'nationalism' can be likened to 'Nazism' by some: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat | India News - Times of India If Mohan Bhagwat ji really believes in what he has said, why doesn't he order ModiShah to withdraw CAA,NPR and NRC?"


The truth behind the claim

The claim that Mohan Bhagwat Likened Nationalism to Nazism and Hitler is false, and the media houses reporting this have also misquoted Bhagwat. 

The scroll tweeted its report, in which it correctly attributed the statement. 


In his speech, Bhagwat recalled an anecdote of an RSS worker in the UK urging him to avoid using the word 'nationalism'. He never himself advised people to refrain from using this word. You can hear Mohan Bhagwat's speech down below. 

In his speech, he says, "Several countries in the world rose to power and lost it too. Today, several countries have become powerful, we call them superpowers. What do they do after becoming superpowers? They influence other countries, use the resources of the world for themselves. They have been doing it for long and will continue and therefore several intellectuals around the world think becoming a superpower is not a good thing. Nationalism, the word, is not viewed positively these days. A few years ago I had gone to the UK for some RSS work. I interacted with intellectuals there. One of the Sangh workers told me to be cautious about the usage of words as English is not our mother tongue. Words written in a book can differ from spoken words. Hence, you should not use nationalism. Nation is fine, national is fine, even nationalist is fine but don't say nationalism. Because nationalism has roots in Hitler, Nazism, fascism. The word now has several connotations. But we know that every time India became a powerful nation, it has benefited the world. The world today needs India."

Clearly, at no point does Bhagwat himself liken nationalism to Nazism or fascism. He was recalling an incident when an RSS worker asked him not to use the word nationalism during his visit to the UK. In other words, he was quoting an RSS worker.

In conclusion, some media houses cherry-picked RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's statement from his speech at Ranchi, misquoted him and published reports with misleading headlines. Bhagwat never likened nationalism to Nazism or fascism.

Note: You can reach out to us at facthunt.in[at]gmail dot com if you find any issue with our articles.

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