The Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha respectfully salutes to the sacred memory of the martyrs of the 1857 War of Independence on the occasion of its 150th anniversary.
This war was fought all over the country on the issues of Swarajya, Swadharma, Swadeshi and Goraksha. Kamal (lotus)?the symbol of Hindu Dharma?and roti (bread)?the symbol of the basic needs of common man?were used as war symbols and people participated in large numbers from urban, rural, forest and hill areas. Precisely for this reason, the then British government had perpetrated heinous atrocities on common people along with freedom fighters.
The British derided this war as an ordinary and localised ?Sepoy mutiny? and an attempt to protect kingdoms and feudal states, so that the ordinary masses would not get any inspiration from it. Unfortunately, a section of our countrymen joined this chorus and started describing it as merely a ?Sepoy mutiny?. Even our history textbooks too present it in the same manner. In spite of all this, the scintillating image of this war as a glorious War of Independence remained intact in the hearts of the people.
Swatantryaveer Savarkar authored a well-researched treatise on this War of Independence and threw light on its popular and countrywide character and its impact on the freedom struggle that followed. It played a very important role during the Independence Movement despite the British imposing a ban even before its publication. The post-1857 history is a standing testimony to the fact that on one hand the revolutionaries and other freedom fighters drew inspiration from the narratives of sacrifices and valour of this great war until the time of Independence, while on the other hand, it provided a major source of inspiration in the struggle for the liberation of Goa and Puducherry (Pondicherry) after Independence.
Some people interpret this war as a symbol of Hindu-Muslim unity. While there is nothing objectionable about it, it cannot be kept in the category of the efforts for Hindu-Muslim unity based on mindless appeasement that took place in the latter part of our freedom struggle. It should be kept in mind that all these efforts had culminated in the tragic Partition of our country in 1947. The participation of the Muslims in the 1857 war was based on positive grounds rather than on religion-based separatist mindset. Honouring the Hindu sentiments, the then Muslim leadership agreed on matters like ban on cow-slaughter, death penalty to the slaughterers of cows, handing over the Ramjanmabhoomi in Ayodhya to Hindus etc. This dimension of Hindu-Muslim co-operation of 1857 should always be kept in mind.
Sacred memories of the freedom struggle and its martyrs are ever-inspiring. In this context, constitution of a Committee by the Union Government to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the 1857 War of Independence is a welcome decision.
The ABPS calls upon the countrymen in general and swayamsewaks in particular, to keep the memory of this glorious history alive through various programmes so that the spirit of supreme sacrifice for the sake of the country remains ever lasting.
A call for social harmony
The Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha expresses its immense satisfaction over the fact that the year-long celebrations of Shri Guruji Janmashatabdi have achieved unprecedented success in delivering the core message of social harmony (samajik samarasata) to every section of society.
A variety of programmes like Samarasata Yajna, Kalash Yatra, Samarasata Daud, Hindu Sangam, Sant Samagam, Samajik Sahbhoj, etc were arranged all over Bharat and around the world, along with the seminars-symposia (vichar sangoshthis), sadbhav baithaks and Hindu sammelans to spread the message of social harmony among the elite and general public alike. A commendable contribution has been extended by honourable members of Janmashatabdi Samitis and Samrakshak Mandals of national, state and district levels, and also various socio-religious organisa-tions through their participation in planning and execution in making all these programmes a great success. As a result, cutting across the differences of caste, sect, religion and political party, the society has experienced a strong feeling of social harmony and goodwill (samajik samarasata and sadbhav).
It may be recalled that through the sustained efforts of Shri Guruji, the saints of several religious denominations came together and formed the Vishwa Hindu Parishad at Sandipani Ashram of Pujya Swami Chinmayanandji, in Mumbai in 1964, and also made the proclamations: ?Na Hindu patito bhavet? (A Hindu is never fallen) and ?Hindavah sodarah sarve? (All Hindus are brethren) later at VHP'sconferences at Prayag (1966) and Udupi (1969) respectively. In the year of Shri Guruji Birth Centenary, the 3rd Vishwa Hindu Sammelan of VHP at Prayag in February 2007 reiterated this spirit by passing a resolution to open the doors of temples to all Hindus for entry and darshan. Saints of several religious denominations participating in various programmes of centenary celebrations advocated the necessity of samarasata, thereby strengthening the same spirit in one voice.
All the participants in these programmes expressed a desire to continue efforts for sustaining the atmosphere of samajik sadbhav. The ABPS, ever committed to samajik samarasata, expresses its unreserved agreement with this desire which is in tune with Shri Guruji'smessage soon after the historic Udupi conference??The programme is over, but the real work is ahead.?
It is the considered opinion of the ABPS that in the present situation, we can fulfil the pious task of creating harmonious and healthy society by securing social justice and economic empowerment to the deprived sections, which can be achieved only by providing equality of opportunities and social dignity on the basis of social harmony and goodwill. The mission will succeed only when all the swayamsevaks strive continuously towards that end and act in consonance with this aim in their personal and family life. The ABPS, therefore, appeals to all the swayamsevaks to make this resolve of the centenary year fulfilled by their unwavering commitment.
The ABPS expresses its humble gratitude towards all revered saints for their blessings and active support to this great cause. The ABPS wholeheartedly thanks all the socio-religious organisations, intelligentsia and other countrymen for the co-operation and support extended by them.
The ABPS appeals to all sections of the society in general and revered saints, socio-religious leadership and intellectuals in particular, to take up various plans and projects, so that the atmosphere of social harmony emerged in the centenary can become the lasting foundation of glorious Bharat.