Dr Hedgewar tried to avoid name and fame. Like traditional saints of India he talked nothing about himself nor he liked anything to be published about him by his colleagues. RSS established by him is now 85 years old and it has spread to every nook and corner of India and among the people of all ages and sections. This is the true autobiography of Dr Hedgewar.
Maharshi Aurobindo has written a book named Among the Great. In it
he has mentioned his conversation with Romain Rolland, the great French scholar. He has said at one place that it is true that if all the great men of the world could achieve something important, they got it by their sheer and strong willpower and complete faith in their mission.
DR Keshav Baliram Hedgewar was not as famous as so-called other great men of his time. Like Shankaracharya and Swami Vivekananda he passed away at an early age of 52 in 1940. The RSS established by him in 1925 had spread in almost all the states of the country during his life time yet people outside RSS did not knew him. There will be no exaggeration to say that even today when the RSS is not only known in India but also abroad, few people know his name. Why is it so?
It is due to the fact that Dr Hedgewar tried to avoid name and fame. Like traditional saints of India he talked nothing about himself nor he liked anything to be published about him by his colleagues. RSS established by him is now 85 years old and it has spread to every nook and corner of India and among the people of all ages and sections. This is the true autobiography of Dr Hedgewar.
It is a matter of thinking where lies the distinguishing greatness of Dr Hedgewar. There is no standard instrument of measuring the greatness of people. Generally it is found in all the great men that they proceed on their way with a sense of dedication and sacrifice without caring for the obstacles and difficulties that come on their way while trying to achieve their goal. Some of them are fortunate enough in achieving their goal while others are not successful in their life time and then their goal is achieved by their succeeding generations.
We know that Mahatma Gandhi had reached the zenith of his success in his life time. In USSR Lenin also got the same fame and honour. In China Mao-Tse-Tung also got name and honour in his life.
But the life of Dr Hedgewar was completely different from all of them. Now let us see the reverse of it how many true followers of Gandhiji are there in our country. We have already seen the decline and dismemberment of USSR. The name of Mao has become the matter of the greatest criticism in China.
Dileep Kumar Roy the disciple of Maharshi Aurobindo has written a book named Among the Great. In it he has mentioned his conversation with Romain Rolland, the great French scholar. He has said at one place that it is true that if all the great men of the world could achieve something important, they got it by their sheer and strong will power and complete faith in their mission. But he further said that it is also a matter of thinking how many men after them today take inspiration from them. So the essence of Rolland’s remark seems to be the feeling that the greatness of a man does not depend upon the fame of ideas and ideals, but the fact that how many of his followers follow his ideals with how much faith and truthfulness.
The words of Romain Rolland truely apply on the greatness of Dr Hedgewar. He was born in 1889 and died in 1940. Today thousands of shakhas of RSS are spreading every where and lakhs of swayamsevaks attend them everyday and crores of people in the country and abroad are working with selfless dedication and service on the path shown by Dr Hedgewar. Is it not a testimony to the unique greatness of Dr Hedgewar. Today untold number of people want to know the name of the founder of RSS and this tendency is increasing day by day.
History tells us that it is a sad experience that the ideals laid down by great thinkers and scholars which were propagated during their life time are totally reversed after their departure. Mahatma Gandhi was very much inspired by Leo Tolstoy of Russia for his love and upliftment of the poor but what happened in Russia after the so-called great revolution there? Similarly the rise of Nepoleon Bonaparte totally reversed the ideals and ideas of the French Revolution inspired by Voltaire and Robus Piere. In Ireland the ideals of DE Valera were also destroyed after him. Is it not a fact that ideals of Mazine and Garibaldi were not fulfilled by Mussolini in Italy.
So in this historical perspective when we think about the life, ideas, ideals and achievements of Dr. Hedgewar, what do we find? During his life time RSS may not have spread in almost all the states and cities of the country but today almost 500 districts have come under the influence of the RSS and are getting insperation from Dr Hedgewar’s ideals. Not only that but outside the country his message through RSS and its allied organisations has reached to dozens of countries. The followers of other religions should have no grievance against RSS. Gandhiji even is his life time had started praying God, “O. God! Nobody is ready to listen me”. It is also said about Swami Vivekananda that before his death once he exclaimed, “Who am I to change society? The will of the Mother shall be done.”
But Dr Hedgewar before his death in 1940 while addressing the RSS training camp in Nagpur had remarked happily, “I am witnessing the idol of the Bharat Mata in miniature.”
Today apart from RSS branches its allied organisations like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram. Vidyarthi Parishad, Bharatiya Majdoor Sangh, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, Vidya Bharati and other service projects are spreading and executing the ideals of Dr Hedgewar in the country and abroad. It is not a monumental contribution of Dr Hedgewar to humanity.
(The writer is a former editor of Panchjanya and can be contacted at 6/769, Vivekananda Puri, Civil Lines, Sitapur-261 001.)