"Dr Ambedkar had said that due to Constitution, everyone has got economic and political freedom. But for it to benefit people, social freedom is necessary," stated Mohan Bhagwat on Wednesday, 5 October, while speaking at the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's annual Dussehra event.
"Laws were enacted in the past, new ones are being legislated now also, with the purpose of ending discrimination in society. But discrimination lives in our minds... Discrimination needs to leave from mind," he added.
In his speech in Hindi, the RSS chief covered many themes ranging from population control, national security, employment, mother tongue to women empowerment.
While talking about ending discrimination, Bhagwat alluded to the instances of individuals not being allowed to mount horses.
"At societal level, temple, water, mosque should be one for everyone. People should not fight among themselves over petty reasons. Foolish things like 'this one can get on a horse, that one cannot' should be given up by people... We all will have to work towards achieving this. Then only we will attain the social freedom necessary to enjoy economic and political freedom," he said.
In January this year, upper caste villagers had attacked the home of a Dalit bridegroom in Madhya Pradesh's Sagar district after the groom took out a wedding procession on horseback.
In a similar incident in Gujarat, in 2019, the Savarna community in a village in Mehsana district had imposed society boycott on Dalits after a Dalit man rode on a horse in his wedding procession.
While Bhagwat probably had these incidents in mind while talking about discrimination in his speech, he avoided using the word jaat, jaati or its derivatives.
While talking about women's empowerment, Bhagwat said, "Until women’s equal participation is ensured, the efforts aimed at the progress of the country will not be successful,” Indian Express reported.
“So the work of nation-building is done by different sets of organisational units for men and women, but in all social work (taken up by the Sangh), men and women work together…During the time of Doctor Saab, for the objective of character building, two separate units were created. But in every work, men and women come together and complement each other,” he added.
Mountaineer Santosh Yadav was the chief guest at the RSS event this year.