Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, popularly known as Shri Guruji, was created in the mould of the rishis of yore. He was a rare blend of a thinker and a doer, following in the footsteps of Dr Keshavrao Baliram Hedgewar, the great founder of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Guruji'scontribution to the rebuilding of Bharat was only next to Swami Vivekananda and Maharishi Aurobindo. He can be rightly called a visionary and an architect of national resurgence. He spearheaded a silent revolution to lift the Hindu samaj from an abyss of disunity, despair and degradation. In order to organise the Hindu youths and awaken Hindu samaj from the torpor of slavery, sloth and disunity, Guruji undertook hectic travels from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and Kutch to Kamrup, addressing thousands of public gatherings which awakened the patriotic fervour among Hindus and stirred up spirit of national service, adventure and sacrifice among youths. Hearing the clarion call of the great master to rescue the motherland from the clutches of firangis and to take ?(our) nation to the pinnacle of glory once again?, hundreds of thousands of youths left the comforts of their hearths and homes and dedicated their lives to fulfill the mission of national rejuvenation advocated by Shri Guruji.
First came the unfortunate partition of the motherland, which was the result of the policies of Congress leadership of appeasement of Muslims. The Partition was followed by a great holocaust in which more than 10 lakh innocent Hindu men, women and children died at the hands of butchers, millions were uprooted from their hearths and homes and became destitute. Sangh played a stellar role in rescuing suffering and beleaguered Hindus from the territories handed over to Pakistan. Lakhs of people came to Hindustan as refugees. Sangh helped to set up refugee camps and provide relief. Shri Guruji was in the forefront guiding Swayamsevaks and exhorting Hindu samaj to maintain cool and show fortitude in this hour of national calamity. He took great care to see that the enemies within and without did not exploit the situation to further damage the nation.
In spite of this great challenge, Shri Guruji continued his journeys through out the country exhorting Hindus to strengthen unity. Through his speeches he elaborated the concept of Hindu Rashtra and the tenets of cultural nationalism. He laid great emphasis on making the nation strong and formidable.
In one of his speeches, Shri Guruji elaborating his concept of Hindu Rashtra said, ?Our concept of Hindu Rashtra is not a mere bundle of political and economic rights. It is essentially cultural. Our ancient and sublime cultural values of life form its life breath. And it is only an intense rejuvenation of the spirit of our culture that can give us the true vision of our national life and a fruitful direction to all out efforts in solving the innumerable problems confronting our nation today.
The partition was followed by a great holocaust in which more than 10 lakh innocent Hindu men, women and children died at the hands of butchers, millions were uprooted from their hearths and homes and became destitute. Sangh played a stellar role in rescuing suffering and beleaguered Hindus.
Explaining Sangh'smission before a gathering, Shri Guruji said, ?Many people in our country hold the view that any venture that we undertake should be based on a grand world thought capable of rendering good to the whole of humanity eschewing all narrow limitations of country, community or religion. In support of this view, some proclaim that in this age of missiles and rockets distances have vanished, boundaries of countries have become meaningless and the whole world has shrunk. They, therefore feel that the very concept of country, nation etc. has become outdated, that the spirit of world unity alone should inspire all our activities. They conclude that the modern ?issues? which have taken up ?internationalism? as their watchword can alone lead us to that cherished goal. Concluding his remarks Shri Guruji observed, ?It is inevitable, therefore, that in order to be able to contribute our unique knowledge to mankind, in order to be able to live and strive for the unity and welfare of the world, we stand before the world as a self-confident, resurgent and mighty nation. The RSS has resolved to fulfill this age-old national mission by forging, as the first step, the present day scattered elements of the Hindu society into an organised and invincible force both on the plane of the spirit and on the plane of material life. Verily this is the one real practical world mission-if ever there was one?.
Shri Guruji'swhirlwind tours, stirrings created in the Hindu samaj by his speeches and meetings, net work of thousand of full time young Swayamsevaks, Partition and its aftermath, slowly but steadily resulted in waking up Hindu samaj from its slumber. This effort was bolstered by Shri Guruji'swider perspective of setting up (1) Bharatiya Jana Sangh (2) Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, (3) Vishwa Hindu Parishad and (4) Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram. These organisations were led by eminent Sangh Pracharaks with the exception of Jana Sangh founder, Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee.
When Dr Mookerjee approached Shri Guruji for setting up a political party, Shri Guruji told him that he was an apolitical person and had no interest in party politics. However, on Dr Mookerjee'spleading for support, Shri Guruji agreed to give him some trusted Pracharaks for the party'swork with a rider that Sangh, being a non-political organisation, would like to keep away from political parties. Jana Sangh and the BJP, however, did work to support RSS'sobjective of strengthening Hindu samaj and building up a Hindu Rashtra and project Hindutva as a mainstream ideology.
The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, ably led by the late Shri Dattopant Thengadi, created niche in the labour movement of the country dominated by the leftist. The BMS became number one labour organisation in the country, extending the RSS hegemony in the area hitherto dominated by the communists and Congress (INTUC).
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad, led by Shri Ashok Singhal and various sadhus and saints became a real mass organisation and attracted a large number of Hindus from India and abroad belonging to various castes, sub-castes, panths, uppanths, Jains, Buddhists, Vanvasis and dalits.
Manjari Katju, in her book Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Indian Politics, narrating the development of VHP writes: ?The main role in the formation of the VHP was played by the RSS-especially by its Sarsanghachalak, Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar (1906-1973), who led the RSS from 1940 to 1973. Golwalkar'saustere lifestyle and his attempt to keep the RSS and the VHP at a low profile partially explain the latter'snegligible political activism in its early years. He was able to draw a number of religious leaders towards the VHP on an appeal that the sadhus and saints should work for the unity of Hindu society. This not only enabled the RSS to ?lobby for its views among a larger audience? (Anderson and Damle 1987:163), but also attracted to it sections of the non-RSS Hindu elite such as former rajas and ex-Congress members.
Shri Guruji'swhirlwind tours, stirrings created in the Hindu samaj by his speeches and meetings, network of thousands of full time young swayamsevaks, partition and its aftermath, slowly but steadily resulted in waking up Hindu samaj from its slumber
However, it is important to ask why a separate organisation was required to work for the unity and integrity of the Hindus and for reinterpretation of the Hindu dharma. Could the RSS not take this work upon itself? In the words of the former Sarsanghachalak of the RSS, Prof. Rajendra Singh, ?It would have been difficult taking up this work too. Guruji (Golwalkar) believed that there were many vices in society and that the message of unity, oneness, equality and harmony could be conveyed more effectively if it were delivered by the sadhus and saints because people held them in greater reverence. In his opinion, an organisation was required in the dharmik sphere, which would take within its fold the various sects of Hindu society.
Our (RSS) work is not in the dharmik sphere as such but it has more to do with social awareness. It can be called national activity to some extent and it includes building of character, discipline and patriotism. Guruji had an extremely spiritual bent of mind. He was even proposed for the post of Shankaracharya, but he did not accept it. He felt that social maladies could be eradicated more effectively through the efforts of sadhus and saints.
Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram is yet another organisation set up by the Sangh to bring the Vanvasis and the girijan in the mainstream. The Ashram was founded by Shri Balasaheb Deshpande in 1952. Shri Guruji was present at the inauguration of the Ashram building in the year 1963 when nearly 10,000 Vanvasis attended the celebration. (The recent Shabri Kumbh in the Dangs, Gujarat, where nearly 5 lakh Vanvasis, janjatis, girijans participated, was the culmination of the movement to assimilate Vanvasis, girijans and janjatis in the mainstream Hindu samaj).
Speaking about the problem of ?religious minorities? Shri Guruji had said: ?The answer to the so-called problem of ?religious minorities? can be found only in the historically correct, rational and positive approach of Hindu Rashtra. Otherwise, the so-called minorities are bound to become more and more hardened in their separate shells of religion and turn into a dreadful source of disruption of our body-politics.
So, all that is expected of our Muslim and Christian co-citizens is the shedding of the notions of their being ?religious minorities as also their foreign mental complexion and merging themselves in the common national stream of this soil. As far as the national tradition of this land is concerned, it never considers that with a change in the method of worship, an individual ceases to be the son of the soil and should be treated as an alien. Here, in this land, there can be no objection to God being called by any name whatever. Ingrained in this soil is love and respect for all faiths and religious beliefs. He cannot be a son of this soil at all who is intolerant of other faiths.?
Guruji had an extremely spiritual bent of mind. He was even proposed for the post of Shankaracharya, but he did not accept it.
Shri Guruji had a broader vision to bring about consolidation of disparate and divided Hindu samaj. He inspired several movements to achieve this objective and sent a number of Pracharaks in various organisations. During his lifetime he had drawn the attention of the authorities and the Hindu samaj towards impending danger in the north-eastern states from demographic changes through infiltration and conversions.
Shri Guruji was very particular about the character of workers in the public field. He considered it most important for the success of the work while taking utmost care of ?end and means?.
Shri Guruji was a man of ?India'sdestiny?. The impact of his work on the Hindu samaj was multi-dimensional. But, the lofty mission set before us by Shri Guruji remains partly unfulfilled. In order to fully achieve his mission, let us respond to his call: ?Today, more than anything else, Mother needs such men -young, intelligent, dedicated and more than all virile and masculine. When Narayana-eternal knowledge-and Nara-eternal manliness, combine, victory is ensured. And such are the ones who make history-the men with a capital ?M??.
(The author is former MLC, Mumbai.)