Whether one likes the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or not, wisdom lies in knowing more about it: its vision, its approach, its organisation and the services it has rendered to the people. Many are familiar with the work of the Christian missionaries. But how many are aware of the splendid work done by the RSS and its subsidiary bodies? The sheer magnitude of the constructive work done by the RSS is so dazzling that it beats one'simagination.
What Shri Seshadri has done is to compile many of the unrecorded services rendered by the RSS in the course of the years and let the reader make his own judgment.
This book was first published in 1988 and the second edition has been updated, but such is the interest it has aroused that it has been sold out. Significantly, it has been published in almost all the major languages in the country. A peculiar feature of this compilation is that name of volunteers who have rendered service are seldom mentioned, because, says the editor, they ?run into thousands?. Quit believable.
Every time there was a national calamity, the RSS volunteer?swayamesevak?was there with his helping hand. Whether it was during the large scale massacre of Hindus in East Pakistan in 1950, or during the devastating Bihar famine in 1966, or during the cyclone havoc in Andhra Pradesh in 1977, the Macchu Dam disaster in 1979, the Bhopal gas tragedy in 1984, the Uttarkashi earthquake in 1991 and in several such occasions when volunteer help was desperately called for, it was not the secular Congress that rushed to help the distressed, but the RSS swayamsevaks in their thousands. One suspects that if there was no RSS, we would have needed to invent one. What is significant is that the aid is given irrespective of the sufferer'scaste, creed or religion. Everyone is treated as a human being. During the 1965 Pak aggression, during the entire period of 22 days of war, police duties like traffic control in Delhi were transferred to the RSS. The military looked upon the RSS as a friend in need. Whenever they felt the need for any kind of civil assistance, they would just ring up the Sangh karyalaya. When the war was at its peak, a military train carrying wounded jawans arrived in Delhi. Hundreds were urgently needed for blood transfusion. The army officers telephoned to the Delhi Sangh karyalaya. It was midnight. The very next morning 500 swayamsevaks reached the military hospital to donate blood. According to the hospital rules, each of them was offered Rs 10 but the swayamsevaks returned the amount saying it could be better used for the wounded jawans.
To read this book is to be inspired. It records RSS efforts at meeting internal threats, at upholding symbols of national veneration, the various dimensions of social service rendered by the Sangh, its striving for social harmony and equality and its tale during the Emergency. When it set up a home for abandoned children called Matru Chhaya, it could hardly have dreamt what service it would be rendering to the kids. Childless couples came forward to adopt many. Out of 90 babies brought up in Matru Chhaya during the last decade as many as 60 out of whom 34 are girls, have been given up in adoption.
The trouble with the RSS is that it seems it does not know how to blow its own trumpet, despite the fact that it has now spread to nearly 30,000 places, encompassing a total of 50,000 actual working centers which are engaged in launching jana jagran?public awakening. How one wishes our secularists would compete with the RSS in the very fields they are active in! That it has won the unqualified admiration of such patriots as Jayaprakash Narayan speaks for itself. Sacrifice is its watchword.