Shri Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar who became the Sarsanghachalak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in 1940 at the young age of 34 and steered it till his death in 1973 was a multi-dimensional personality. He was a scholar, saint and organiser with a mission and a vision. His students at Benaras fondly called him Guruji and he remained so all his life.
My association with Shri Guruji began in 1939 at Lahore. I was then a student of BA in the DAV College and he was the Sarkaryavah of the RSS. With my sanskars of Arya and study of ?Hindutva? by Veer Savarkar and ?We, our nationhood defined? by Shri Golwalkar, I had become an advocate of the ideology of Hindutva and the concept of Hindu Rashtra much before I joined the RSS. Therefore, my meeting with him proved to be a meeting of minds. He was then a thin lean man with a bushy beard and sharp eyes. I was impressed by his ability and open mind.
Apart from listening to his discourses in which he dilated upon ideology and methodology of the RSS with clarity and conviction, I had the opportunity to know and understand his mind and thinking more intimately on different occasions. One such occasion was his visit to Srinagar in mid October, 1947 soon after Justice Mehar Chand Mahajan took over as Prime Minister of the Jammu and Kashmir state. Pakistan had realised that Maharaja Hari Singh would not accede his state with Pakistan. It was then planning to force its hands or get control over the state by force. Hari Singh was in a dilemma.
In his heart of hearts he wanted accession of his state to India. But he was not prepared to accept the pre-condition of handing over the administration to Sheikh Abdullah on which Prime Minister Nehru was insisting. He needed the moral backing of national leadership.
As the Chief of the RSS setup in Kashmir I was trying to influence him in my own way. Rai Bahadur Dewan Badri Das, Sanghachalak of Punjab, had met him and given him the much needed advice and guidance. Meeting of Shri Guruji with the Maharaja was the culmination of such efforts. The positive and constructive role played by the RSS at the time of Pak invasion and the signing of the Instrument of Accession by Maharaja Hari Singh on October 26, 1947 changed the course of history. It was a good example of back door diplomacy.
The ban on the RSS after the assassination of Gandhiji on January 30, 1948, created a new situation. Nehru and his leftist and communist friends tried to exploit the situation to suppress the growing Hindu consciousness in the country. To that end not only top Hindu leaders like Veer Savarkar were arrested under false charges of complicity in the murder of Gandhiji but the RSS also was put under ban and its top leadership including Shri Guruji were detained. Since I had been externed from the Jammu and Kashmir state by Abdullah Government for my activities as Secretary of Jammu Praja Parishad, I could freely move about in Delhi and elsewhere and watch the developing situation. The Satyagraha launched by the RSS in 1948 was a great success. Even though the state controlled and pro-Congress media totally ignored it, it had a great impact on the people in general. Sympathy and support for the RSS began to grow fast. When the ban was lifted and Shri Guruji was released, there was spontaneous outburst of popular acclaim for the RSS and particularly for the Sarsanghachalak, Shri Guruji. He could have then taken the country by storm and built a popular nationalist alternative to Nehru Congress in no time. The real sanyasi in Shri Guruji then came out. Instead of emitting any kind of bitterness in his speeches he laid stress on the need to forgive and forget and work for solidarity of all nationalist forces for peace, unity and security of the whole country. He wanted the RSS to become the flag bearer of nationalism.
I was advised that I should not appoint Shri Deendayal Upadhyaya as general secretary, the post he had been holding since 1953, because Shri Guruji wanted to give him a big responsibility in the RSS. But Jana Sangh needed the services of Shri Upadhyaya since 1967 was an election year.
Growth of the RSS after lifting of the ban was phenomenal. Formation of Bharatiya Jana Sangh, initiative for which was taken by Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee, in 1951 was a major development. The RSS response to Dr Mookerjee for support and cooperation was positive and constructive. The RSS workers and pracharaks helped in building the infrastructure of the Jana Sangh which got recognition as a national party on the strength of the total votes it polled in the general election of 1952, which put it on par with the Congress, the communist party and the socialist party while the RSS could maintain its distinct social-cultural character and identity. Its ideological and moral influence was an important factor in making the Jana Sangh a party with a difference.
Shri Guruji kept himself on the move continuously. It brought him in touch not only with the swayamsevaks but also the people in general all over the country. That gave him new insight into the problems of Hindus and the need for their consolidation on the social and cultural plain. It required a wider platform for all Hindus irrespective of their panth, caste, region and political organisation to which they belonged. That was the rationale for the formation of Vishva Hindu Parishad. Shri Guruji met a number of Hindu leaders including Master Tara Singh, the top leader of Akali Dal, Shri Sada Jiwat Lal Behl a respected Hindu leader of Bombay, particularly of the Sindhis, and a number of other leaders drawn from various fields. Decision was then taken to form Vishva Hindu Parishad as a common platform for Hindus of all shades, castes and panths. It was to function independent of the RSS while having the benefit of its cooperation. It projected the concept of world wide Hindu parivar as distinct from the Sangh Parivar.
When I was elected President of Bharatiya Jana Sangh in 1965, I was advised that I should not appoint Shri Deendayal Upadhyaya as general secretary, the post he had been holding since 1953, because Shri Guruji wanted to give him a big responsibility in the RSS. But Jana Sangh needed the services of Shri Upadhyaya since 1967 was an election year. I therefore flew to Bombay to meet Shri Guruji and requested him to permit Shri Upadhyaya to continue as general secretary of the Jana Sangh for some more time. I had free and frank talks with Shri Guruji on the subject. I got the impression that he wanted to appoint Shri Upadhyaya as general secretary of the RSS. But when I explained to him the need for keeping Shri Upadhyaya as general secretary of Jana Sangh for the election year, he accepted my request.
When I look back on the developments that followed, I feel that it would have been better if I had not insisted on Shri Upadhyaya and cleared the way for his appointment as Sarkaryavaha of the RSS. But perhaps providence willed otherwise.
As the Chief of the RSS set up in Kashmir I was trying to influence him in my own way. Rai Bahadur Dewan Badri Das, sanghachalak of Punjab, had met him and given him the much needed advice and guidance. Meeting of Shri Guruji with the Maharaja was the culmination of such efforts.
Two years later when I stood alone in the post-mortem room of the civil hospital of Varanasi near the dead body of Shri Upadhyaya, Shri Guruji along with Shri Rajju Bhaiyya walked in. Shri Guruji embraced me and wept bitterly like a child. I well remember his words: ?Balaji yeh kya ho gya.? Murder of Shri Deendayalji proved to be an unbearable blow for him.
On another occasion in 1971, I was informed that Shri Guruji wanted me to meet him. He was staying at the house of Lala Hansraj Gupta, Sanghachalak of Delhi. As I reached there he called me into his room and closed the door and said: ?I want to talk to you in confidence about what I have been hearing about the rift in the Jana Sangh?. After listening to me, he said, ?Balraj, I know everything. I am pained. But I have to keep the sangathan united and therefore like Shiva I drink poison every day. You also do the same!!?
I last met him at the RSS Central Office in Nagpur in the middle of March, 1973. I had gone there to inaugurate the annual session of All India Sindhi Conference. Shri Guruji was then ailing. He was suffering from cancer. As I went near him with folded hands he asked me to sit down. He wanted to talk to me. I was eager to hear him. But soon after, his medical assistant came there and told me that doctors had advised him not to talk. I then took leave of him with a heavy heart. He breathed his last two months later.
Memories of Shri Guruji keep reminding me of the man he was and the mission for which he lived. That mission needs to be carried on to re-establish the resplendent Hindu Rashtra of which he dreamed always.