Recently I received an invitation from Ratnagiri to attend the Silver Jubilee function of a primary school run in the memory of the late Shri Madhavrao Mule at Ozarkhol village in Ratnagiri district.
When he referred the name of Madhavrao Muleji I visualised his smiling face with a scar on his forehead wearing a dhoti and kurta. He was the stalwart of RSS who came in contact with Dr Hedgewar, when the RSS was founded. He joined the freedom movement and also participated in the satyagraha and went to jail. Though he was born in Konkan, he did his schooling from Nagpur. He was the person who started the Sangh work in Konkan region and the first shakha was started by him at Chiplun.
When Dr Hedgewar visited Chiplun, sometime in 1935/36, he declared my father, a leading laywer of the area, as Sanghachalak of Konkan division. From that day onwards Madhavraoji had been a part of our household. He went to Punjab for Sangh work but used to visit Chiplun every year since his mother was at Ozarkhol village, near Chiplun town. Because of his visit to his mother we used to get an opportunity to meet him every year.
He had a very inspiring personality and a clear-cut mind. Whenever he visited our place we asked him various questions about Punjab and also about the Sangh work there.
When I got myself involved more in Sangh activities my contact with Madhavraoji grew further. Whenever we met, he used to inquire about all my family members. He was a very able organiser. When Shri Vasantrao Oak withdrew himself from the Delhi activities of the Sangh, Madhavraoji shifted his headquarters to Delhi. When I started visiting Delhi, I realised the kind of respect he commanded in the organisation. During Emergency he was holding the responsibility of Sarkaryavah even though he was not keeping well. Madhavraoji, Bhaurao Deoras, Moropant Pingleji and some other leaders were underground and most of the time they stayed in Mumbai and operated the underground movement. He used to have all the information about the Sangh activities.
I recollect one incidence, sometime in the year 1969, when I was entrusted with the work as pracharak as one of the all-India organising secretaries, the Vidyarthi Parishad had organised a demonstration in front of Parliament House on the issue of unemployment. We courted arrest at Vijay Chowk and were kept in Tihar Jail. We had come from various places and never thought that all will be put up in jail for more than a day. We were required to remain in jail for more than seven days. I remember that Shri L.K. Advani along with Shri Madanlal Khurana visited us in jail. Khurana was one of the ABVP activists from Delhi before joining the political work. Then Bharatiya Jana Sangh had come to power in Delhi. In those days Shri L.K. Advani was the Speaker of Delhi Metropolitan Council. When Shri Advani visited us, some of the workers complained certain problems faced by them in jail. Some of them also just for fun shouted slogans. It was all in fun actually, but I was surprised when we were released from the jail and went to meet Madhavrao Muleji, he was aware of the incident, which took place, including slogan shouting at Tihar Jail.
Last I met him was during the Janata Party rule when he was admitted in a Nursing Home of Delhi. Even though he was not well he started inquiring about the Sangh activities. He was very alert when he was in the bed. Whenever I had an occasion to hear his speech, I found that the clarity and straight forwardness were the important aspects in his speeches.
The primary school, which was started in his memory by people of Ozarkhol, his native village, is completing 25 years. The importance of this activity could be realised if we understand the difficulties faced by this area in 1925, when Madhavraoji was required to go to Nagpur for his education. His memory will always inspire the young mind with the spirit of nationalism and for the values and ideology for which he dedicated his life.
(The writer is a senior advocate, Mumbai.)