FORMER RSS Sarsan-ghachalak Kuppalli Sitara-maiya Sudarshan, popularly known as Sudarshanji, passed away in Raipur, Chhattisgarh, on September 15. He was 81. He was cremated in Nagpur the next day.
According to RSS Sarkaryavah Shri Bhaiyaji Joshi, Sudarshanji was in Raipur on his routine pravas. After morning walk he started doing pranayam and in that position he suddenly passed away. As per his wish, his eyes were donated to Madhav Netra Pedhi. His corneas were removed post death, which would be grafted in the eyes of a needy person.
Sudarshanji had reached Raipur from Jabalpur in connection with the release of a book of Chhattisgarh Rajya Sabha MP Srigopal Vyas. The book release function was held on September 14 evening and Sudarshanji was staying at Jagriti Mandal, the state headquaters of RSS in Pandari locality.
The news of his passing away sent a shockwave across the country. Swayamsevaks from Raipur and adjoining areas rushed to Jagriti Mandal, where his body was kept for last darshan. Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh, his cabinet colleagues and top RSS leaders thronged Jagriti Mandal and placed wreaths on the dead body. With a choked voice, Dr Raman Singh said “in Sudarshanji’s death, we and the BJP have lost a guardian”.
Then his body was taken to Nagpur in the evening by a special aircraft provided by the Chhattisgarh Government. A large number of RSS functionaries and volunteers were present at Nagpur Airport to receive the body. Later, a silent procession led by two wheelers took the body to Smriti Mandir. The body was kept for darshan of swayamsevaks and general public at Maharshi Vyas Hall in Smriti Mandir, the memorial of RSS founder Dr Keshav Baliram Hedgewar. Thousands of people from various sections of the society paid their tribute.
With the heavy waves of emotions, senior RSS, Sangh Parivar and BJP leaders offered their tribute at Reshimbagh. Top RSS leaders including Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat, Sarkaryavah Shri Bhaiyaji Joshi, Sahsarkaryavahs Shri Suresh Soni, Shri Dattatreya Hosabale, Dr Krishna Gopal, veteran Sangh leaders including Shri Madan Das, Shrikant Joshi, Shri MG Vaidya, National Executive Member Shri Indresh Kumar, Akhil Bharatiya Sah Sampark Pramukh Shri Ram Madhav, Akhil Bharatiya Prachar Pramukh Dr Manmohan Vaidya, Pramukh Sanchalika of Rashtra Sevika Samiti Shantakka Tai, former Sanchalikas, Ushatai Chati and Pramilatai Medhe, Swami Akhileshwarananda and several others offered their tributes to the great leader. Shri Rajdatta of Sanskar Bharati, Kshetra Pracharak Shri Sunil Deshpande, Prant Pracharak Shri Sunil Bapat, Prant Sanghachalak Shri Dadarao Bhadake, Sah Sanghachalak Shri Ram Harkare paid tribute at Gangabhai Ghat crematorium.
A large contingent of people from across the country turned to pay homage to Sudarshanji at Reshimbagh and the crematorium. Veteran VHP leader Shri Ashok Singhal, international working president of VHP Dr Pravin Togadia, senior BJP leaders Shri LK Advani, Smt Sushma Swaraj, Shri Arun Jaitley, Shri Nitin Gadkari, Shri Gopinath Munde, Shri Ananth Kumar, Shri Balbir Punj, Smt Smriti Irani, Chief Ministers of different states including Shri Narendra Modi of Gujarat, Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan of Madhya Pradesh, Shri Jagdish Shettar of Karnataka, Dr Raman Singh of Chhattisgarh also offered last tributes and remembered the contributions of Sudarshanji. BMS leader Shri Uday Patvardhan, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh president Shri Annasaheb Murkute also paid tributes.
After the tribute, the mortal remains were kept in a chariot decorated with the flowers and displaying a portrait of Sudarshanji. The chariot was pulled by swaymasevaks from Reshimbagh to Gangabai Ghat (crematorium) in a procession. Shri Bhaiyaji Joshi, Shri Suresh Soni, Shri Dattatreya Hosabale, Dr Krishna Gopal and Sudarshanji’s brother Shri K Ramesh, sister Vatsala were accompanying the mortal remains on the chariot, while other leaders including Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat were following the chariot on foot with leaders like Shri LK Advani.
People from both sides of the road were showing flowers. It took about two hours to cover the distance of two km from Keshav Dwar to Gangabai Ghat. Shri K Ramesh, performed the last rituals amidst the chanting of Veda mantras under the guidance of Prafulla Nandangiri, Givind Patrale and Shekhar Chinchalkar.
Many broke into the tears when Sudarshanji’s mortal remains were consigned to the flames with the chanting of Shri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram. The Gangabai Ghat was so full with the gathering of people that there was no space even for an ant. Heavy police bandobast was deployed on the path of the funeral procession. The roads were full of the citizens who wanted to pay their tributes to the departed soul. Even the galleries and terraces of the houses around the path of the funeral procession were full of the people wanted to take the last glimpses of Sudarshanji.
Since Sudarshanji was much respected across the religious spectrum of the society, many religious leaders from Muslim, Christian and Buddhist sects were also present to pay tribute. Jamat Ulema-e-Hind’s president Maulana Kazmi and Minority Commission’s Shri Siddiqui made a point to visit Reshimbagh to pay homage. Many dignitaries from Tibetan Government in Exile were also present, as Suadrshanji was active in gathering support to the Tibetan independence struggle.
Sudarshanji was an engineer by training and spent more than five decades in the service of Bharatmata as a Pracharak. A strong votary of swadeshi, Sudarshanji was very persistent about the shakha functioning and active involvement of youth in national politics. He became the fifth Sarsanghachalak on March 10, 2000 succeeding Prof Rajendra Singh who was popularly known as Rajju Bhaiya. Due to ill health, he stepped down as RSS chief in 2009 and handed over the charge to Shri Mohan Bhagwat.
Born on June 18, 1931 in Raipur, Sudarshanji did his Bachelor of Engineering in Telecommunications (honours) from Sagar University. He joined the Sangh shakha at the age of 9 years and became a Pracharak in 1954. His first posting as Pracharak was in Raigarh district. In 1964, he was made Prant Pracharak of Madhya Bharat at a fairly young age.
This was followed by a stint in the North-East (1977) and then he took over as Akhil Bharatiya Bauddhik Pramukh two years later in 1979. In 1990, he was appointed Sah Sarkaryavah. He had the rare distinction of having held both posts of Sharirik and Bauddhik Pramukh on different occasions. Sudarshanji originally hailed from Kuppalli of KR Pet in Mandya District in Karnataka. He was known for his wisdom, deep knowledge on concepts of Hinduism, various social aspects, and nationalism.
He was known for doing new experiments in the Sangh. It was during his tenure of Sharirik Pramukh that the training of kharag, shool, chhurika etc. was replaced with niyuddha, yogasan, and sports. Similarly, the bauddhik activities at the shakha also got new dimension during his tenure as Akhil Bharatiya Bauddhik Pramukh.
“He stressed so much on the daily shakha that even after becoming Sahsarkaryavah he, whenever in Delhi, attended the shakha and trained a full gan of Yog Chap swayamsevaks. These swayamsevaks, mostly from Sewa Bastis, later displayed the Yog Chap at annual function of the shakha and received applause from one and all,” recalls Dr Yogendra, who has been looking after medical needs of the Sangh leaders at Keshav Kunj, New Delhi.