Dr Sanjeev Kelkar is not known in literary world. Neither, he is a well acknowledged personality in the vast world of critics of social and political issues. Yet his Lost Years of RSS, a maiden treatise on Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has invited mixed reaction countrywide even before it went into print.
The title may sound provocative to some readers. But, in fact, it is inquisitive. It seeks to explore by delving deep into the original design and critically examining the later trends that have crept into it diluting that original design. It tries, according to the author, to portray the original design of RSS, correct the misgivings about it and give a few words of advice to all concerned so that the matters can be viewed more objectively.
RSS, the only organisation that speaks on behalf of the Hindus of Bharat and is the only largest organisation of the Hindus world over, is the most misunderstood and misrepresented in the social, political, religious and other areas of our national and social life. Since the early days, the RSS remains a whipping boy of the ruling Congress Party, their opportunistic political allies—the Communists and the Socialists, the Muslims and the Christians. The RSS, in spite of its selfless service to the society, its openness and all inclusive character, remained shrouded into the veil of secrecy as far as the common man is concerned.
Of late, with the rise of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its ascendency to political power at the Centre and in various states, the RSS has found itself in the eye of various controversies. The recent being the tag of Hindu terrorism attached to it with the UPA Government desperately trying to implicate some of its senior functionaries and thereby regain the lost confidence of the Muslims and Christians to some extent.
Dr Sanjeev Kelkar’s book comes against this background and provides a historical analysis of the events that have shaped the RSS since its inception in 1925 till today. It is written from an insider’s perspective as Dr Kelkar, who is the ex-Medical Director of Novo Nordisk Education Foundation and founder secretary of Diabetic Foot Society of India, comes from a hardcore RSS family and devoted some valuable years of his youth to serve the countrymen living in deep, inaccessible areas in Karnataka through a medical hospital run by the RSS activists. His experience as management expert and strategic consultant, and institution builder has found reflections in this book.
The Lost Years of RSS critically analyses the major turning points in the history of RSS from the viewpoint of both a follower and a critic, while digging deep into the socio-political history of RSS. Beginning with the political ethnography of the RSS, the author charts its growth over time—from the Partition, the first ban following the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948, the post-ban period of rebuilding the RSS, the Golwalkar and Deoras eras, the 1975 Emergency, the RSS’ contribution in reinstatement of democracy in India, the post-Emergency dialogue with Muslims, the Ayodhya issue to the recently held Bihar Assembly elections of 2010. In this entire exercise the author provides suggestions for a way forward for the RSS, wherein lessons learnt in the past can be put to use and the original values can be reinstated. The author has forcefully and logically contradicted the media projections of the RSS and tried to portray the Sangh in its correct perspective.
There are references to Golwalkar era which many an RSS workers may not like, or even detaste them. But these are the sincere and honest personal convictions of the author which he has put to discussion in the open.
The author strongly believes that the RSS has a future in India provided it uses its numerical strength, its vast accumulated experience in many areas of national life, recognise the subtle differences in its convictions and dogmas, rejuvenates their character building efforts, emancipate themselves to an inclusive Hindutva imaginatively to serve the nation as its saviour and builder in days to come.
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