Growing strength of RSS is its pure nationalistic ideology

Dr. Manmohan Vaidya
Today people talk about Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh everywhere. Opponents of Sangh ideology are irked by the growth of Sangh work and they are the ones who drag the name of RSS off and on. How come in spite of opposing the Sangh ideology with all their strength and by all ways and means, this national force is gaining strength instead of getting weakened?’ -- this is the reason for the irritation and fury of the opponents. On the other hand we find good persons who think in terms of national interest feel more reassured about Bharat’s future the impact and reach of Sangh increases and they become eager to actively associate with Sangh or any of the service activities that are run with Sangh cooperation. In 2012, the number of persons who displayed eagerness to join RSS through Sangh website was 1,000 per month. This figure rose to 2,500 in 2013 and touched 9,000 in 2014 -- an indication of the increasing support to Sangh. The reason behind this growing strength of Sangh is its pure nationalistic ideology based on eternal truth and the unbroken line of Karyakartas, who dedicate their physical, mental and financial strength for this.
On one side, wide spread Banyan tree seems to touch the heights of the sky, on the other side many of its branches reach out and search for new grounds to procure nutrients for the wide network. How highly potent and pure the seed of this strong, sprawling and soaring banyan tree would have been? This imagination itself thrills the mind. The seed of this tree namely Sangh was its founder Dr. Hedgewar, who is completing his 125th year on Pratipada of this year. How this seed was?
Born on April 1, 1889 at Nagpur on the auspicious Varsha Pratipada, Keshav Hedgewar, was a born patriot. Even though there was no whisper about freedom movement in the Central Province where Nagpur is located. Neither there was any tradition of political struggle in Keshav’s family. But kid Keshav was furious about the Britishers who had enslaved us. He had the irrepressible desire for freedom. Many incidents of his childhood are proof of this. Eight-year old Keshav threw away the sweet that was distributed in his school on the occasion of the Diamond Jubilee celebration of queen Victoria’s crowning. Nine-year old Keshav denied viewing illumination of government buildings and fireworks during George V’s visit to India.
In 1907, Keshav executed his plan to welcome the school inspector in every class with the slogan of Vande Mataram as a protest against Rislay circular which had banned uttering Vande Mataram in public as a measure to put down the Anti-Bengal Partition movement. Through this Keshav let all know his qualities like bravery, patriotism and organizing skill. Even though there were facilities for medical education in Mumbai, he decided to go to Calcutta, the revolutionary hub, to study medicine. Soon he found a place in the innermost circle of Anusheelan Samiti, one of the major revolutionary outfits.
In the year 1916, after returning to Nagpur, he never thought of practicing medicine in spite of poor financial condition of his family, nor leading a married life; he threw himself heart and soul into the freedom movement.
Doctor Hedgewar was in charge of managing arrangements at the 1920 Nagpur Conference of Congress. He enrolled 1200 volunteers for this purpose. He gave two proposals to subjects committee of Congress: One, total independence for India and two, to set free the world from the clutches of capitalism. He wanted this to be the aim of Congress. It was in 1930, after RSS was founded, that Congress passed a resolution demanding complete independence. So Doctorji sent out a circular to all the Shakhas of Sangh instructing them to organize programmes to congratulate Congress. This throws light on the farsightedness and world view of Doctorji.
In spite of difference of opinion all should unite to fight against imperialism and we should not allow the fight to weaken, so thought Doctorji. That is why, though he was opposed to Gandhiji’s announcement of Congress support for Khilafat movement, never did he give vent to his anger.  On the other hand, he participated, without any hesitation, in the non-cooperation movement led by Gandhiji.
Every society ought to attain independence and it is a point of honour for it; but to make independence  everlasting and to make the society capable to face all challenges further on, the basic work that is required is to build a society that is full of national qualities, and free from flaws. At the same time it should have the desire to conquer, imbued with self confidence, self respect and well organized.
Having this in mind, Doctorji founded Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in 1925. He started gathering the youth. He inculcated in the youth a firm faith in the ideal and boundless love through the medium of Shakha. Worship of strength, social awareness, discipline, patriotism, pride of country, boundless love for the entire society and inspiration to sacrifice for the society selflessly -- to inculcate these qualities many programmes evolved in the unique technique namely Shakha. By strenuous efforts and touring throughout Bharat, Doctorji succeeded in expanding sangh work in the entire country within 15 years.
Having faith and belief in our ancient culture and traditions, he never hesitated to use modern day tools to impart necessary social qualities. Staying in background and promoting his colleagues - he give all credits to them – because of such organizing technique alone the foundation of sangh work got  strengthened.
Even after founding Sangh, he was in touch with all the contemporary freedom struggle movements. Not only that, he personally participated accompanied by Swayamsevaks in those movements from time to time. To support the 1930 civil disobedience movement led by Gandhiji, he personally participated in Vidarbh Jungle Satyagraha along with Swayamsevaks and underwent imprisonment for nine months. During this period he deputed his friend and colleague Dr. Paranjape as Sarsanghchalak, so that activities of personality development and social coordination can proceed uninterruptedly. Similarly, he made planning with karyakartas regarding Shakha-visits. During that period the society was divided into twins like Congress-revolutionary, Tilakist-Gandhian, and followers of Congress-Hindu Mahasabha. Doctorji skillfully navigated the ship of Sangh successfully without getting entangled in such groups.
He took due care to develop the Sangh not as one of the organizations in the society but as a complete organization of the society itself. To make Sangh self-sustained and self-dependent, he never opted for the habit of getting external financial support. He started novel tradition of Gurudakshina to make members of the Sangh, namely Swayamsevaks themselves offer all the money, time, toil and sacrifice for Sangh work. He installed saffron flag, a continuous source of inspiration, in the place of Guru, which is ancient and appropriate symbol of age-old and contemporary Hindu society. This reflects his farsightedness. Doctorji’s emphasis was never on an individual, however big a person he may be, but was always on commitment. That is the reason that even after nine decades and passing of seven generations Sangh never deviated from the path, never got divided nor stopped midway.
He never had even a slice of ego as a founder of Sangh. His being Sarsanghchalak was also a decision of group of colleagues. In 1929, he accepted this responsibility but in 1933, in a meeting of Sanghchalaks, he expressed his heartfelt desire thus:
 “I know very well that it is not me but you all founded Rashtriya Swayasevak Sangh. So I am working as a servant, as per your wish in the Sangh founded by you. In future also I will keep working as per your wish and as you command me. While doing this I will not worry about any problems, recognition or insult. Whenever you feel that Sangh looses because of my inability, you are free to give charge to the any other capable person. As I happily do Sangh work as per your wish, I shall happily surrender all the rights to new Sarsanghchalak whom you choose and from that moment onward I will work as a faithful Swayamsevak under him. Personality matters nothing to me; what really matters is Sangh work. So I will never hesitate to do anything that benefits Sangh”.
This thought of Sangh founder Dr. Hedgewar illustrates his personality of selfless dedication to the ideal.
To instill in swayamsevaks desirable social qualities like discipline in a group, giving up self-importance etc., Doctorji instituted most modern tools like uniform, drills, exercises, ghosh, camps etc., which were new to the Bharatiya tradition as inseparable components of Sangh work. He prescribed unbounded love for all ignoring criticism about Sangh work and avoiding arguments. His role was like Vaado naalambayah and Sarvesham Avirodhena. Either it is praise or a criticism, Dr. Hedgewar was never shaken from his goal, nature and attitude. Considering praise for Sangh as inspiration for increasing responsibility and criticism as immaturity of the critic, he demonstrated his firmness.
Shankaracharya Vidyashankar Bharati honoured Doctor Hedgewar with the title “Rashtra Senapati”, in Nasik in 1936. This was published in newspapers. Doctorji started receiving greetings. But he instructed Swayamsevakas that, “None of us should ever make use of this title, awards are irrelevant to us.” He discouraged people who were writing his biography. Tera Vaibhav Amar Rahe Maa, Hum Din Chaar Rahen Na Rahen, (O! Mother, we may live for a few days, but your glory may last forever!) He initiated this tradition in Sangh.
Not to preach but by show in practice was his style of functioning. He believed that it is not the popularity of Sangh work but its impact that makes people understand, cooperate and support the Sangh. His thinking and working style was of “Phalanumeya Prarambhah”, that is after sowing a seed one need not do publicity or discussion about it; a day will come when the seed will turn into a big tree and people will enjoy its fruit. At that time people will also understand that definitely someone had sowed the seed.
That is why now, even after Doctorji’s demise, even though Sangh has seen many ups and downs and even though there are many changes in the national scenario, sangh work is proceeding in the set direction, with definite speed and leaving its impact in the society. It not only reaches up to the society but it also shapes the society.In this saga of Sangh lies the saga of dedicated, visionary, successful organizer that Dr. Hedgewar was.
On the sacred occasion of completion of 125 glorious years of Dr. Hedgewar, we bow down to him.

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  1. A visionary prooved to be correct by time and his followers