IF only the Congress general secretary had just remembered his forefathers, he would have acquired the good sense to distinguish between the national and anti-national forces. By painting the nationalist organisation, the Rashtriya Swaymamsevak Sangh with the same brush as the Student Islamic Movement India (SIMI) which teaches terrorism, not only has he revealed his political immaturity, but even hurt the sentiments of millions of nationalists engaged in serving the nation. This only goes to prove that Congressmen, by calling Rahul Gandhi the Crown Prince and what not, are indeed showering false praise on him instead of advising him to learn something from history. His criticism of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh only goes to show not only does he lack even the basic understanding of the Sangh, but has also not read about the Sangh’s history.
The country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who was also the great maternal grandfather of Rahul Gandhi, may have had certain ideological differences with the Sangh, but Nehru was greatly impressed by the role played by the Sangh when China attacked India in 1962. As soon as China launched its attack, it was Sarsanghchalak Shri Guruji who exhorted the people and the Swayamsevaks to rise up and work for protecting the motherland. Though just a week prior to the Chinese attack, Shri Guruji had warned the nation of an imminent Chinese attack and appealed to the people to remain vigilant.
In the remote areas of Assam, it was the Swayamsevaks of the Sangh who took up positions on the front against the Chinese troops. Besides boosting the morale of the people, the Swayamsevaks offered their services to providing security to the electric department, telephone towers and bridges. It was because of this reason that Nehru invited the Swayamsevaks to participate in the Republic Day parade held after the war at Rajpath in New Delhi on January 26, 1963 and the Swayamsevaks proudly participated in their full uniforms at the parade (refer to the photograph above). Ironically the Sangh, which had been invited by Pandit Nehru to participate it the Rajpath parade due to his appreciation of the Sangh’s patriotic spirit, is now being compared by Nehru’s descendant with an organisation which is blatantly engaged in terrorist activities. Has Rahul Gandhi learned only this since 1963 till today in 2010, that is, from the history of 47 years?
Soon after Independence, when the Pakistani armed forces, dressed as tribesmen, attacked Jammu & Kashmir, the state army sought the assistance of the Swayamsevaks. The ordnance depot/garrison being launched by the Indian army initially got caught between the crossfire between the state troops and Pakistani infiltrators. The Swayamsevaks of the Sangh put their lives at stake as they crawled their way to recover the ordnance depot/garrison before returning it to the state troops. At that time, it was the Swayamsevaks of the Sangh who slogged throughout day and night to help in boosting the morale of the citizens of Amritsar and of adjoining Gurdaspur without hindering the movement of the troops and making arrangements for them and other such work.
At the time of the country’s Partition in 1947, more than 500 Swayamsevaks put their life in peril to bring many Hindu and Sikh families safely to India from Pakistan. Even Pakistan’s leading newspaper, Dawn in its editorial of August 14-15, 1947, had written that had the RSS been founded in 1935 instead of 1925, then Pakistan would have received twice the area of what it did and if the RSS had been set up in 1915, then maybe Pakistan would have not been born.
Rahul should read history of the country a little bit. During the 1965 India-Pakistan war, I, as the legislator from Amritsar helped the Sangh to constitute special contingents to assist the Indian army. The Swayamsevaks launched a special campaign to facilitate movement of the army to and from border points. Canteens were started at Atari border, Garenda police post, Chherata, Putlighar, Ajnala, Khalada, Bhikhi Vind and other places to make goods of daily use available to the Indian soldiers. Tea, coffee, bead, biscuits, sugar and other necessities were provided at these canteens to the soldiers within 24 hours. I with my companions used to transport daily these essential items loaded in my jeep to take to the border posts. These goods were supplied by us without fail. On seeing the role played by the Sangh, the business community of Amritsar too came forward to help with an open heart.
This apart, the world is witness to the social service of the Swayamsevaks of the Sangh at times of natural calamities from time to time – be it the earthquake of Latur in Maharashtra or Bhuj in Gujarat. Who is not aware of the sacrificing spirit of the Swayamsevaks of the Sangh? The Sangh adopted many villages which faced devastation due to earthquakes and re-settled the homeless and destitutes. After the havoc caused by the tsunami in South India, every child came forward to assist the Sangh in its rehabilitation work.
The Sangh never lags behind in offering its services during calamities, but also plays a regular role in the development of society. Through its many sisterly organisations, the Sangh is setting new dimensions for creating awareness through its social activities. The Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram is imparting education and making available health and other essential facilities to their Vanvasi brethren living in the dense forests of the interior. There was a time when the backward areas along with other regions used to consider themselves divided from the rest of the country in the field of development. Through the efforts of the Sangh, the desire for education has arisen and many backward communities have become part of the social mainstream. Earlier only the Christian missionaries entered these regions but now the RSS, with the cooperation of Sewa Bharti, Bharat Vikas Parishad, Vidya Bharati, Swadeshi Jagaran Manch and other such organizations, is engaged in social work day and night. This is the reason why the BBC of London declared the RSS as the greatest non-governmental voluntary organisation in the world. The government gazette of both the UK and the USA corroborated this truth.
On the other side, there is this aforementioned Crown Prince who is comparing this national organisation with the terrorist laboratories of SIMI which is the banned Islamic organisation. The Students Islamic Movement of India, which is called SIMI in brief, has now become a severe headache for the intelligence agencies. Has anyone ever heard of SIMI being engaged in social work? Whenever SIMI’s name hits the headlines, it is in connection with its involvement in terrorist activities.
It goes without saying that the SIMI runs the madrasas and other Islamic educational institutions. No one can object to imparting education on Islam and neither is there any even now. If the Muslim children are given education only as per the Quranic verses, then it can be accepted, but the SIMI, under the pretext of religion, is spreading terrorism in these educational institutions. The terrorists captured at various places have been found to have links with the madrasas run by SIMI. This truth came to light during police interrogations of Ameel Pervez, one of the 13 members of SIMI captured at Indore in the month of March. Pervez revealed that SIMI has very close connections with the Hyderabad-based Islamic organisation, Darsgah Jihad-o-Shahadat and is working in collaboration with it.
Has no one told Rahulji about this? At least someone can tell him now that it is one thing to have differences with the Sangh over certain issues but questioning the nationalism and patriotism of the Sangh and comparing it with an organisation like the SIMI is difficult to swallow. Even a staunch enemy of the Sangh would think twice before making such an allegation. The current friendship between Rahul Gandhi and the Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir is known to the world. Very recently Omar Abdullah had said that Jammu & Kashmir is not yet a complete integral part of India. It is feared that Rahul Gandhi, who places the Sangh and SIMI on the same weighing pan and flows in the same stream as his friend Omar Abdullah were to place his seal on the latter’s anti-India stand.
Rahul Gandhi has set forth to become the nation’s youth icon but a person who does not even know the history created by his great maternal grandfather, is expected to show the path to the promising youth of this country can be gauged from his statement about the Sangh and the SIMI.
(The writer is a Former Senior Cabinet Minister Punjab Government)