Hyderabad: Several prominent national media outlets recently reported that Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat, while speaking at a programme held on 19 February at Mukherjee University in Morabadi, Ranchi, asked people to stop using the term nationalism since it referred to Hitler and Nazism.
This report was first published by the ANI with the headline "Avoid using word 'nationalism', as it is derives from Hitler or Nazi: Mohan Bhagwat".
The report was then shared by other prominent media outlets like NDTV, Times of India, and The Hindu. It was also widely shared on social media.
The ANI also tweeted part of Mr Bhagwat's speech in which it correctly attributed the statement to an RSS worker whom Mr Bhagwat met in the UK a few years ago. The tweet read "#watch Ranchi: RSS chief recounts his conversation with an RSS worker in UK where he said "...'nationalism' shabd ka upyog mat kijiye. Nation kahenge chalega,national kahenge chalega, nationality kahenge chalgea,nationalism mat kaho. Nationalism ka matlab hota hai Hitler,naziwaad (sic)." A video was also posted along with the tweet.
When Newsmeter searched for Mr Bhagwat's full speech we found a Youtube video that had been uploaded in two parts on 19 February 2020, on a channel named VSK Jharkhand.
In part 1 of this 26-minute video, Mr Bhagwat says that some people in several parts of the world think that 'nationalism' is dangerous for the world. He says, "Intellectuals in a large geographical area think that nationalism is a dangerous thing for the world. The nationalism world is not considered as a good word in the world. Several years ago, when I had gone to the UK, I was having a discussion with some people about the Sangh. There one RSS worker told me to be careful about the meaning of words as English is not my first language."
Mr Bhagwat recalls that the worker said to him, "Meanings of words change here during conversations. That's why you should not use the word nationalism. You can say nation, national or nationality, but do not say nationalism. Because nationalism means Hitler, Nazism, Fascism."
Hence, the claim that RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat was asking people to avoid the word 'nationalism' is FALSE. He was quoting an RSS worker from the UK to show how some intellectuals outside India understand the word and how he was asked to avoid using the word 'nationalism' as he could be misunderstood.