By Manju Gupta
Shri Devendra Swaroop, historian, journalist and thinker has written four books in Hindi on contemporary issues, which are reviewed below in brief.
Sangh: Beej se Vraksh: This book of 271 pages tries to show that just as widespread is the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's(RSS) nature, equally intriguing is its origin and journey to progress. Emerging out of the darkness of non-entity and anonymity, the RSS has been a source of curiosity and inquiry. In today'sworld it is becoming difficult for those accustomed to Western style of working to identify with the seed of RSS'sorigin and how it has become as huge as a banyan tree. People have always wondered at what was the initial aim of it, how did it acquire the form of a tree from a seed, what is the source of its growth and what is the distinguishing feature of its working?
In 1925, on the day of Dussehra, when Dr Keshav Baliram Hedgewar and less than a dozen of his friends decided to constitute the Sangh, they could not have known that without a proper name, constitution, membership or identity the organisation would one day acquire the form of such a widespread movement after seventy-five years of its birth. The author has tried to give a glimpse of these founder personalities. On reading about them, one finds that the Sangh has not had a smooth, obstruction-free journey; the changing situations have created internal squabbles and torment within it. The author has described Dr Hedgewar'slife and even wondered if he had come to earth as an incarnation of Swami Vivekananda! He portrays the growth of the organisation that began as a movement by describing the lives and roles played by Guru Golwalkar, Rajju Bhaiya, Madhavrao Mule, Vasantrao Oak, Yadavrao Joshi, Lakshmanrao Bhide, Moropant Pingle and Mahatma Chamanlal and ends with a question-answer session with Eknath Ranade.
The book, by describing the faith and devotion of Swayamsevaks, is bound to encourage others to take to a similar path as taken by these trendsetters.
In Jaati Viheen Samaj ka Sapna (252 pages), the author states that the caste system is an integral part of India. The book provides answers to questions like-in the 19th century when the modern industrial culture had penetrated India to loosen the hold of economic and social support structures, how did the caste system, instead of altering the system, become so strong? Why did the British give so much importance to religion in its policy? Why did it establish these artificial divisions of high, middle and lower strata in the hierarchical system of caste? How did such divisions affect the Indian politics?
To provide answers to such questions, the author has thrown light on leaders like M.C. Raja and Dr B.R. Ambedkar of the Dalits. The round-table conference in 1930-31 of Britain'sPrime Minister Ramsay MacDonald and ?divisive decisions? and agitation against the Raja-Munje Pact, Gandhiji'ssatyagraha and the emergence of the Gandhi-Ambedkar Pune Pact have been described in this book. It was this Pune Pact that gave birth to the policy of reservation, which instead of removing the caste divisions encouraged use of it as a weapon for earning votes.
The main message of this book is that the problem of caste will not end with politics-what is needed is a pledge to direct efforts towards social growth.
In Sangh: Rajneeti aur Media, the author highlights the cultural and creative nature of the efforts of the Sangh to strengthen itself. In different spheres of life, the strength of the Sangh has helped to establish new organisations for the progress of the nation. Along with labourers, Vanvasi, students, education, the Sangh has entered the field of politics too. To expound on and clarify the source of encouragement and principles, the thought process of the three prime Karyakartas of the Sangh-Deendayal Upadhyay, Nanaji Deshmukh and Atal Behari Vajpayee have been described in this collection.
Despite the constructive role played by the Sangh during the movement for complete freedom (swarajya) and also at the time of Emergency, the Sangh had to confront attacks by the Opposition'spolitics-the contemporary details have been provided. Subsequently the entire attention of the media was focused on the Ayodhya struggle and the political role of the Bharatiya Janata Party. The media itself became a part of the political campaign against the Sangh. Is it true that the media knew so little about the Sangh? Was it incapable of understanding completely the working style of the Sangh?
The author has extensively reproduced articles published in newspapers, many of which reveal the prejudice, ignorance and feeling of envy for the Sangh.
Ayodhya ka Succh is a collection of articles written during the period between 1986 and 2003. A realistic picture of the various stages in the Ayodhya struggle is presented. The author Devendra Swaroop was himself a participant in the debate on the historic aspect of the controversy. On reading these essays, it will become clear that the author, instead of viewing the Ayodhya controversy as a local temple-mosque dispute, sees it as a sign and symbol of expansionism and religious intolerance of the foreign invaders and their powers of thinking during the Middle Ages.
He further believes that for the destructive tendencies of the invaders the present generation of Indian Muslims cannot be held responsible though, this too is true that so long as this present generation does not break itself away from its religious intolerance and expansionist tendencies, cruelty and destruction and does not accept its historical culture before the advent of Islam, till then in this divided India the feeling of nationalism and communal harmony cannot bloom. Hence, says the author, ?The Ayodhya controversy is not a war between the majority and minority; it is a creative national struggle to unite the principles of Sanatan India with nationalism and communal harmony.?
Each of these four books described above costs Rs 250.00 each.
(Granth Akademi, 1659 Purana Daryaganj, New Delhi-110 002 and Prabhat Prakashan, Delhi, 4/19, Asaf Ali Road, New Delhi-110 002.)