SENIOR RSS Pracharak Shankarrao Shastri passed away at the ripe age of 88 in Nagpur on July 13. He was going to Nagpur for treatment from Ambarnath, but before responding to the treatment, he breathed his last. His last rites were performed at Sahkar Nagar Ghat. The funeral was attended by senior RSS leaders including Shri MG Vaidya, president of Dharampeth Education Society Shri Vishram Jamdar, Trimurtinagar Sanghchalak Shri Govindrao Gahane, Radha-krishnan, Shivshankar Pillai and many others.
Shankarrao Shastri, who originally hailed from Kamptee near Nagpur, became a Sangh Pracharak at the age of 22. He was sent to South India where he started his activities in the then Madras Province. Braving very difficult and adverse situation he spread the work and message of Hindu consolidation. He was instrumental in the growth of RSS in Kerala. Growth of RSS in those early days can be attributed to the selfless service and praiseworthy leadership of this great leader. He extended his karmabhoomi to coastal and tribal regions of Malabar. The famous Seva projects like Vivekananda Medical Mission in Waynad were made possible under the guidance of Shastriji. By the time, Shastriji left for Tamil Nadu in 1957 to continue his yeomen service to the nation, RSS had taken deep roots in Kerala. Later, due to health problems he came back to Nagpur and associated himself with the Vivekananda Medical Mission at Khapri near Nagpur. He was also given the responsibility of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad as national secretary.
In his condolence message RSS Sarkaryavah Shri Bhaiyaji Joshi, who also paid visit to Shastriji’s house and offered homage to the departed soul and said, with Shastriji’s demise the RSS has suffered a great loss. “Shastriji went to a very difficult province of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, where he attracted youth to RSS because of his magnetic personality and inspired them to work for the motherland and society. He was concerned with the condition of forest-dwellers for whom he started a hospital at Wyanad in Kerala. He was also instrumental in launching Kesari, a weekly to propagate the Hindutva ideology and thought among the masses,” Shri Joshi said.
(By Virag Pachpore)