The Sangh successfully organised mass awareness programmes like Rashtra Raksha Sanchalan of Ghosh Vadaks, national seminars and Hindu Mahamelas, during the birth centenary celebrations of Shri Guruji. Organiser correspondent S. Chandrasekhar spoke to Shri A. Gopalakrishnan, RSS Kerlala Prant Pracharak, to know the impact of the birth centenary celebrations in Kerala.
Apart from the mass awareness programmes, what other programmes were organised to show-case the message of Shri Guruji and the RSS in Kerala?
Vaicharik Sabhas, debates and dialogues were organised in every taluka and district of Kerala. Representatives of all political parties, organisations and sections of the society along with the Sangh and other Hindu leaders participated in the functions. It was totally a different experience for the swayamsevaks and the other political or social leaders. They expressed their ideological differences openly and our people heard them with full respect and truthfulness. The dialogues, debates and intellectual discussions gave an opportunity to even the taluka and village level swayamsevaks to openly ask questions and elicit convincing replies. It gave confidence to the swayamsevaks to organise ideological programmes.
How was the participation of political parties and the communities in these meetings?
The CPM displayed its ideological pauperism by not attending the open ideological discussions. Although, Education Minister M.A. Baby and DYFI all India president Rakesh, agreed to attend, they backed out at the last minute citing party dictate. But Attingal Municipal Chairman and DYFI leader advocate Rajesh Kumar attended a dialogue. Prof. Kunhikrishan of pro-CPM literary body, Pukasha, attended the discussions. Minister T.U. Kuruvilla of Kerala Congress (J) inaugurated a Hindu Mela office. Congress MLAs and leaders like Vishnunath, Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, M.I. Shanavas, Justice K.T. Thomas, CPI leader Dr Unnikrishnan, Naxals like K. Venu, Civic Chandran, left intellectuals like M.P. Parameswaran, Sethu, T. Radhakrishnan, former ICHR chairman M.G.S. Narayanan and Muslim intellectuals like Hameed Chennamangaloor, O. Abdul Rehman and Kasim Irikkur attended various programmes throughout the state.
Would you like to elaborate on the taluka-level Hindu leadership meets?
A total of 112 taluka-level leadership meets were organised in which leaders representing 114 castes participated. The leaders of political parties who attended the meets belonged to LDF, UDF and BJP. Leaders of NSS and SNDP and major caste organisations like Pulayars, Nadars, etc. took part in various meets. About 82 saints and Mutt heads from Ramakrishna Mutt, Chinmaya, Shivagiri, Amritanandamayi, Sri Sri Ravishankar and Theerthapada Ashrams gave saintly blessings to the Hindu meets, proclaiming the message of Hindu unity. The Hindu meets expressed confidence in the work of RSS and its social impact. The leaders promised to attend more meets and expressed desire that they should meet three or four times a year. Homecoming was also an important aspect of the Hindu meets. It demonstrated the will of Hindus to move more with the RSS.
Could you throw light on the participation of women, fisher-folks, Vanvasis and weaker sections?
The presence of women was evident in all Hindu leadership meets and Hindu melas. In southern districts especially in rural Parashala and Neyyatinkara the presence of women was above 50 per cent. The presence of women orators like Sasikala teacher, V.T. Rena evoked the sense of pride among women participants. In the Vanvasi areas of Waynad and coastal belt from Thrissur to Kannur the response was spontaneous. The weaker sections also participated in large number. Due to the wide publicity of Shri Guruji'sphoto, many old and illiterate women who attended the melas asked, ?When will the bearded Swami come on stage and speak?? In fact, there was no nook or corner in Kerala, where there was no saffron flag or Shri Guruji'sphoto. Another silent feature was the participation of Pratyaksha Deiva Raksha Sabha, an organisation of neo-converts, in our programmes. Although they belong to Hinduism, their prayer methods are similar to Christianity. Also the participation of Prajapita Brahmmakumari sect in the Hindu meets gave universal appeal to the cause of unity.
How is the impact on Sangh work?
We have been able to strengthen shakhas even in Kannur, despite the CPM'smurderous attacks. In several old places, shakhas have restarted. We were able to visit 25 lakh houses and spread the Sangh message. Satyam Sanatanam, a book by Mata Amritananda-mayi, which elaborates on Hinduism, in simple language, was also distributed in one lakh houses freely. We conducted Rath Yatra and Aikya Deepa Yatra in 162 places in the state in which social workers, politicians, literary persons and defence personnel participated. By and large our mass base has strengthened enormously in the state.
Finally what about the resolutions?
The 200 odd Hindu Mahamelas in which about 25 lakh people participated, passed prominently three resolutions. Renaming the Kochi International Airport after Jagadguru Adi Shankara, a statue of Thunchathu Ezhuthachan at Tirur and freeing the temples of Kerala from political exploitations.