Dr Bajranglal Gupt, national secretary of Shri Guruji Birth Centenary Celebration Committee, is overwhelmed with the tremendous response the events organised to celebrate the birth centenary of Shri Guruji received from various sections of the society world over. The concluding ceremony of the centenary celebrations will be held in Delhi on February 18. Over two lakh people are expected to participate in the function. Organiser correspondent Pramod Kumar spoke to Dr Gupt in Delhi to know the outcome of the year-long centenary celebrations. Excerpts:
The birth centenary celebration of Shri Guruji was started with a particular objective. How far has that objective been achieved?
We have achieved it more than our expectations. The central theme of the birth centenary celebrations was social harmony. For that we had chalked out three types of programmes. The first was ?social get-together?, covering all castes, sub-castes, sects, communities, and we have seen all over the country that the people responded beyond our expectations. They even crossed the political and caste boundaries, came together and interacted with each other without fear. They questioned so many things and then realised that we must unite and come forward to solve our problems.
The second type of programme was ?Intellectuals? Meet?, which included college, university, research and general level meets. In those meets we discussed the scientific relevance of Hindutva in the present context, demographic imbalance and defence scenario. In all these meets the intellectuals realised that these issues should be above all sorts of politics and sectional interest. The intellectual section particularly the university circle, realised that they must do some research work on these lines, must come out of the western mindset and must try to develop our own intellectual framework. Then, we organised ?Hindu Sammelans?, where too we got overwhelming response. A film on Shri Guruji?Karmayogi?and a film on service activities of the Sangh?Sewa Disha?were also made and screened this year all over the country.
How many non-RSS people have been contacted this year?
I cannot tell you the exact number at the moment. It was a very big gathering. Particularly for the Intellectual Meets we had told our workers that the major section to be contacted should be the non-swayamsevaks. I think about 60-70 per cent non-RSS intellectuals participated in our meets.
So far as ?Social Harmony Meetings? are concerned, there too the majority of participants were non-swayamsevaks. And as far as the Hindu Sammelans are concerned, it was a very big gathering and number cannot be counted. The exact number will be available only after February 18 when all members of the Birth Centenary Celebration Committee would meet in Delhi.
How was the response in rural areas where the Sangh is said to have less work?
It was a wonderful response. I will tell you some instances. Recently I was in Sonbhadra district of Kashi Prant. Reaching there I was told that a meeting has been organised in a very remote Vanvasi block, which is also a Naxal-affected belt and we do not have any shakha there. The swayamsevaks had distributed pamphlets and invitation cards. Despite of the fact that the area is Naxal-affected there was a tremendous response from the local people. A woman saint had addressed the meeting. After the meeting for over three hours people lined up to seek her blessings. In other parts of the country also there are some blocks where kalash yatras, yajnas, havans, etc., were organised. By and large in the rural areas we got very good response.
How was the response from Muslims and Christians?
Whosoever feels that India is his/her motherland, came and participated in the conferences. In an intellectual gathering held in Chandigarh recently, Prof. Hashmi from Ratlam was one of the main speakers. He spoke on the relevance of Hindutva.
How was the response in north-eastern states?
There too we had organised all the three types of programmes. We got good response in all states. The local units there had planned some special programmes, which received overwhelming response from the local people.
How was the response in sewa bastis?
Wonderful. In Delhi we organised a programme on Raksha Bandhan day in which Sarsanghachalak Shri K.S. Sudarshan also participated. All people of that sewa basti participated in the function and everybody was eager to tie the Rakshasutra on the hands of Sudarshanji. In Samajik Sadbhav meetings, we basically targeted the sewa bastis and we received an overwhelming response.
What are the preparations for the concluding ceremony on February 18?
The specialty of this concluding ceremony will be the three day all India ghosh camp. Experts in ghosh will present an impressive demonstration on February 18. Six luminaries who will address the gathering are Vice President Shri Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Shri Guruji Birth Centenary Year Celebration Committee Chairman, Swami Satyamitranand Giri, Sarsangha-chalak Shri K.S. Sudarshan, Junapeethadhishwar Swami Avadhesanand Giri, Gayatri Parivar chief Dr Pranav Pandya and Sadhvi Ritambhara. In the morning, we will have the last meeting of the Birth Centenary Celebration Committee in which all the 122 members will participate. We hope people belonging to all sects of the society will come. We have invited different categories of people. The work of inviting different people has been allotted to different people. People from all walks of life have been invited.
What type of activities were undertaken by the Sangh associated organisations?
Not only all the associated organisations, the other organisations representing various sections of the society who had good relations with Guruji also actively participated in the programmes organised by the Celebration Committee. Vidya Bharati organised Essay Competitions and Sports Competitions at large scale. The VHP, apart from other programmes, organised the Third Vishwa Hindu Sammelan in Prayag from February 11 to 13. The Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram organised big Vanvasi meets in various parts of the country. One big meet recently completed in Ranchi and another meet will be held in Udaipur on February 25.
Could you share some experiences related to the centenary celebrations?
When we chalked out the birth centenary year programmes, we were a little hesitant whether it will be possible for us to do such programmes at such a big level. But when we proceeded, we experienced wonders. I don'thave words to express myself how we organised such programmes. Whenever, wherever and whomsoever we contacted, he agreed readily to participate in the function. These programmes have given confidence to our workers. It is one of the biggest achievements we have got.
There are a number of big people who had not met Shri Guruji in their life and had not even read him. Some of them, because of their preconditions and notions, had even some wrong picture in their mind about Guruji. But when we contacted them and gave literature regarding Guruji, they wondered. I give you one example of Swami Chidanand Muni Saraswati of Haridwar. He presided over an Intellectual Meet. He said before the gathering, ?When I read Shri Guruji I wondered such a great saint ever appeared on this land. We are saint by name but he was really a saint and a Mahatma. Then I tried to understand the RSS. Now I can say that the RSS is doing the same work, which our rishis said.?
When we met Dr Pranav Pandya of Gayatri Parivar for his cooperation, he said it was good luck for him to join the celebrations. I have a similar experience of Bhubaneswar, Orissa. For an intellectual meet our workers met an eminent Oriya literary person to preside over the function. He said he would come but he would speak against the RSS, as he disagreed on some points with the RSS. The workers were hesitant as they could not withdraw the invitation then. Finally they agreed. It was very awkward situation for the workers. But when he spoke at the function, he spoke so nicely about Hindutva. He himself pleaded how scientific is the Hindu philosophy. It was a miracle for the workers.
In Rajasthan, the workers organised a yajna in some of the remote villages. It was a caste-ridden society and they had caste barriers. The workers had invited some pairs from Brahman and non-Brahman families. The villagers objected how all the people could sit together and perform yajna. The workers said the yajna would be held only if all the villagers participate in it. Finally the villagers agreed and they all together participated in the yajna and also had meals together. It was for the first incident in the village when all villagers together participated in any function.
How was the response to the all India Essay Competition for college and university students?
We got a wonderful response from college and university students. We have received more than 900 entries. All the entries are being evaluated and the five best will be prized. The winners will be given prizes on February 18 function. The first prize is of one lakh rupees.
Is there any move to compile the whole information of the birth centenary year?
Yes, the work of compilation has begun. There will be documentation of all the functions and events organised at different levels. A Compact Disk (CD) is also being prepared. It will be a very useful and interesting compilation.