London, Aug 3: Hindu tradition does not allow conversion by means that amount to aggression on an individual's human rights, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has said, emphasising that Hinduism is not a religion but a tradition which believes in accepting and respecting all identities.
"After contemplating any philosophy or any religion, if one of his own will and wish decides to convert to it...our tradition says every individual can independently decide what his faith should be. But using other means and converting people by lure or some other means, that is aggression on individual rights and that should not be allowed," he said.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh "Sarsanghchalak" was addressing a seminar on 'Identity and Integration', organised to mark the 50th anniversary of UK-based charity Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), in London last evening. Bhagwat also said that "Hindu is a sanskriti and not a religion".
"Hindu is a tradition" which believes in "accepting, respecting and celebrating" all other identities, he said.
"We have no problem with identities; we can live as an integrated society, humanity and universe. It has been achieved and lived by common people and can be found anywhere Hindus live. Hindu identity says diversity is to be celebrated," he said.
Bhagwat quoted verses from the Atharva Veda to prove that diversity existed even in ancient times and "unity in diversity" was the central mantra of Hinduism. "Despite our history, we don't treat anyone like a foreigner...only politics sometimes disrupts all this. But these are ripples and then we revert to normalcy because it is in our blood," he said.
"Ultimately we are all human beings, all 'atmans' (soul). We respect and accept everyone's identity but have an eye on the underlying unity. That example has been created by Hindu society anywhere in the world and can resolve all conflict," he added.
The 65-year-old RSS leader, who was surrounded by heavy security presence at the Navnat Centre in south London, was in the UK as chief guest of HSS UK's Mahashibir 2016, which concluded over the weekend.
Yesterday's seminar concluded his UK tour and included panelists like Dr Girdharilal Bhan, former national president of VHP, Samani Pratibha Pragya, head nun of Jain Vishva Bharati London, and Gauri Das, managing director of Bhaktivedanta Manor ISKCON UK.
In his message to the Hindu diaspora in the UK, Bhagwat said, "Hindus don't insist call yourself Hindu. But the values are all the same...we all believe in unity of existence and doing sewa (service) Don't fight among each other, stay united and work for the world's good."