For those who knew him closely H.V. Seshadri was an icon, who personified in himself all the virtues that a great, ideal swayamsevak should be. He was a leader with common touch. Simplicity was his uniqueness. That loving smile, encouraging nod?that inspiring life has come to an end.
There are millions of swayamsevaks who had seen Manya Seshadriji as the Sangh Adhikari. The elder who steered the course of the Sangh Parivar and therefore the nation'spolitics. But many in the Sangh had the good fortune and privilege to see Seshadriji as the man who loved to narrate anecdotes, was fond of reading short stories, who had immense interest in contemporary literary trends in not only his mother tongue Kannada but also in Hindi, English and other Indian languages. He was himself an acknowledged litterateur. Humour ran through his conversations. He had indepth knowledge of Indian scriptures. He insisted on children learning the true history of India. He always stressed on family values. Till the end he used to regularly write for Sangh publications.
?Do you read?? ?what is your area of interest?? are some of his early questions on acquaintance. He probably gauged the person from the answers. He had very keen interest in science and the latest technological developments too.
Once, commenting about the communications technology and the common use of the mobile phones, he narrated an anecdote. The period was World War II. He was returning from a week-long Sangh camp in Karnataka. During the camp, in those days, Seshadriji said, one had no clue about the world outside. One was so engrossed. On the way back home, he heard people in the bus discussing ?surrenders.? So he asked a fellow passenger, ?is the War over?? He looked at him curiously and asked ?which world do you live in, the War ended two days ago.? And today, he said information travels in seconds and the Sangh camps are no exception.
Seshadriji was one of the early builders of the Sangh in South India. Here, upto the Shakha level he was familiar with individual swayamsevaks. He was a great narrator and story teller. His smile and innate witticism were so endearing and reassuring that even bal (child) swayamsevaks mingled freely with him. Working with a national vision, with universal appeal, Seshadriji remained a keen observer of little things that shaped human destiny.
During the NDA days, Seshadriji played a major role in keeping the alliance going, ensuring political stability and assuaging the feelings of swayamsevaks who had great expectations from the first truely non-Congress government.
He had many many incidents to relate about Doctorji and Guruji, especially Guruji. Hearing him, one would realize that he had Guruji'sthoughts and words by-heart. The last book he wrote was also the translation of his own short biography on Guruji, originally written in Hindi into English. This concise book offers the essence of Guruji'slife and thoughts on most of the topics concerning the Sangh and the problems confronting the nation today. It was Seshadriji'sdream to see the publication of the Complete Works of Guruji in English, the work on which is in progress.
Seshadriji believed that swayamsevaks should be very familiar with the literature, functioning and the lifestyle of the Sangh. Outside the circle of workers too, whoever came to meet him, he would recommend the choice books on Sangh, so that they understood the RSS better. He also took extensive notes from the books he read. What he enjoyed reading and learnt from it, he wanted to share with others. Recently he wrote a nine-part series in Organiser on a book ?The Many Mansions? by Edgar Cayce. He felt that the book, written by a westerner, a Christian preacher, endorsed the Hindu faiths and philosophies, explaining them scientifically.
He did not merely preach conservation and saving. He practiced. He extensively used one-side sheets, his writings were small and close and he did not waste space in pages. His habits of switching off excess lights, avoiding the air conditioner and using even cooler sparingly, measured eating, taking care not to leave even a morsel behind, were all natural to his personality. A person deeply committed to his ideals, to what he preached. He believed in sustainable consumption of the meagre resources. His life was his message.