By Basudeb Pal
When a section of the society feels distressed, the Sangh swayamsevaks come forward to assist the helpless persons to overcome their plights. The RSS swayamsevaks have proved it in the North-eastern States where they, apart from the daily shakhas, have started a number of service projects to extend a helping hand to the people in need.
The Sangh work in the North-East began in the late forties and the region had been treated as a single province since 1994. With a view to spreading the Sangh activities to the hitherto untouched areas, the region was divided into two states?North Assam and South Assam in 1995. South Assam consists of Barak valley (Hailakandi, Karimganj and Cachar districts) and North Cachar hill districts, as well as Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura and Mizoram. North Assam consists of Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya as well as Karbi Anglong and Brahmaputra valley. South Assam'sSangh headquarters lies in Silchar. Thirty-two Pracharaks, six Vistaraks and 20 Vidyarthi Karyakartas are engaged in Sangh work with a view to strengthening the society.
These full-time workers, with the help of thousands of grihasth karyakartas, run dozens of schools in urban and rural areas as also hundreds of single-teacher schools in the remote areas especially in the tea gardens. Free medical treatment centres are being run by more than a hundred Arogyarakshaks. Some village development projects and self-help groups have also come up to assist. A few registered societies like Keshav Smarak Samiti, Janajati Vikas Samiti, Keshav Smarak Sanskritik Surabhi, Seva Bharati have been serving the people of the region for fulfilling the ideal of service to man, service to God. As a result, a sizeable section of the Hindu society has united against the spread of crime, infiltration and proselytisation.
It is a known fact now that a large number of insurgent groups are active in this region and they are mainly backed by the Christian missionaries.
Last year on July 28, more than 2,000 Hindus gathered at Lathirghat under the banner of Bajrang Dal for a march to Bangladesh with the avowed objective of rescuing some kidnapped Indian citizens. The security forces, however, stopped the march. A few months back some Muslim hooligans killed a 15-year-old Hindu girl after they gang-raped her. More than 500 women assembled at Nilambazar, a semi town in Karimganj district under the banner of Rashtra Sevika Samiti and Smt Purnima Advani, Chairperson, National Commission for Women, to protest against the gruesome act.
Nearly 160 service projects are directly run by the RSS and another 518 service projects are being run by other organisations through the Swayamsevaks. With a view to making people of rural areas and tea-gardens aware of the Hindu culture and dharma, 72 Ramkathakars are working as full-time workers. Every year thousands of Vanvasis assemble in a number of rallies organised by the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram.
When certain segments of the Hindu society feel threatened the swayamsevaks are found first in discharging their duty. Last year due to ethnic clashes between the Hindu Dimasas and Christian Hmars, more than 2,000 Dimasas were rendered homeless. They are still living in relief camps in Cachar district. Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Keshav Smarak Samiti, Kalyan Ashram and Rashtra Sevika Samiti came forward to rehabilitate them with the active help and cooperation of the Hindu society in general and the swayamsevaks in particular. As Dimasas are weavers, it has been decided to give one handloom and weaving equipment to every two families. Other means of livelihood are also being provided so that they can survive on their own. Sarsanghchalak, K.S. Sudarshan started the projected by handing them four handloom equipments on December 1, 2003 at Silchar. Shrikant Joshi, Akhil Bharatiya Prachar Pramukh, also distributed another 18 handloom equipments to the Dimasas at Sivasthan village on February 17.
As a result of these activities, the dormant Hindu feelings are being reawakened and the society appears ready to accept the challenge posed by the missionaries. Small groups of Vanvasis are now convinced that the whole Hindu society is behind them and they are not alone in their endeavour to resist the proselytising moves of the Christian missionaries.