By PRADEEP KAUSHAL
NEW DELHI, March 29 – The Sangh Parivar’s expansion plan has a new target — the Buddhists. The RSS has launched a campaign to ‘‘reach out to four crore Buddhists inhabiting the length and breadth of Himalayas, 1.25 crore of them in India — from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh.’’
Though launched two years ago, the Himalaya Parivar drive reaches a landmark with the First Parliament of Himalayan Culture at the Chandiwala Trust complex at Kalkaji, New Delhi, on April 19 and 20.
Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat is scheduled to be the chief guest at the inaugural function. RSS Sarsanghchalak K.C. Sudershan will be present throughout the two-day proceedings.
The 300 participants, drawn from Tibet, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and 12 states of India, would include Prime Minister of the Tibetan Government-in-exile Samdong Rinpoche, former Nepalese minister Prem Bahadur Shakya, National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes vice-chairman Chosphel Zotpa, Ladakh Buddhist Association president Tsering Samphel and former Minority Commission member T.K. Lochen Rimpoche.
The moving spirit behind the exercise is RSS joint public relations chief Indresh Kumar, who, as the ‘prant pracharak’ of both HP and J-K earlier, conceptualised the idea. To ensure that its presence does not cause any alarm, the Sangh has placed over a score of NGOs in the front.
According to Girish Juvial, co-convenor of the proposed ‘parliament,’ 22 issues have been identified for deliberations, the key areas being the cult of violence being enforced by external forces.
Kumar said foreign forces are ‘‘vitiating the entire Himalayan region’’ by promoting over 200 extremist groups in India, Nepal and Bhutan. All weapons seized from extremists bear US and Chinese markings. He said: ‘‘They are trying to exploit the Mongloid physical features of people by telling them that they are different from Hindus. This is not true. Dalai Lama told me once that we have had open borders for centuries, with no parallel in the world.’’
The show marks the culmination of a string of developments spanning nearly six years following a meeting between the Dalai Lama and the then Sarsanghchalak, Rajju Bhaiyya, at Dharamsala in 1997. He deputed Kumar for follow-up action next year.
The Himalaya Parivar was born at a seminar on the Himalayas at Chakmoh in Himachal Pradesh on November 2, 2001.