THE man who shaped the shakha-based village development work of the RSS, Surendra Singh Chauhan, passed away in his village Mohad on February 1. He was 79. The last rites were performed at his village by his eldest son Shri Sangram Singh Chauhan.
Minutes after the passing away of Bhaiyaji, as Surendra Singh Chauhan was affectionately called, RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat, Sarkaryavah Shri Bhaiyaji Joshi, veteran Pracharak Shri Madhubhai Kulkarni, Nagpur Karyalaya Pramukh Shri Ramnarayan and many other senior Sangh leaders phoned Shri Sangram Singh and expressed their condolences. Many senior Sangh and BJP leaders of Madhya Pradesh joined the funeral procession and paid their tribute. The ashes were immersed in the Ganga at Benaras on February 6 in the presence of many eminent Sangh and BJP leaders of Kashi Prant.
Born on August 7, 1933 at Mohad village of Madhya Pradesh under Kareli Tehsil of Narasinghpur district, Surendra Singh Chauhan was post graduate in English literature from Benaras Hindu University. He held many responsibilities in the Sangh right from the district to Prant and then Akhil Bharatiya Sah Sewa Pramukh. Presently, he was a member of the RSS National Executive. His contribution in initiating the shakha-based rural development work of the Sangh is highly acclaimed. Before taking up the RSS village development work, he developed his own village Mohad as an ideal village and then spoke others to start the work. His village development model was followed by thousands of people all over the country.
I had the opportunity on September 1, 2008 to see the wonderful work done by him in Mohad. It was a marvelous experience. At that time the village had 98 per cent literacy rate with majority of villagers speaking fluent Sanskrit. There were 50 types of small and cottage industries in the village of 450 families with a population of about, 4,000 population. Every inch of the agriculture land was irrigated. Majority of the farmers had firmly said no to chemical fertilizers and pesticides and adopted organic farming. No family used woods for preparing meals; almost every house had a bio-gas plant. Awareness about protecting the environment was so deep that it became a tradition to tie a rakhi to trees on Rakshabandhan Day. Every house had a tulsi plant and flower garden in the premises. Every building had a sign of Om/Swastik and other ethical messages on the walls. Every house had a toilet. The village was free from theft, violence and all kinds of addictions including paan, biri, cigarette, gutkha, liquor, etc. No dispute of the village was pending in any court or police station. Every family had a Sangh swayamsevaks.
After creating this unique work in his village Surendra Singh Chauhan first encouraged the people of his surrounding villages and then spread the work in different parts of the country. He was basically influenced by the village development work of Nanaji Deshmukh, but the model he created in his village was a little different to the work being done in Gonda and Chitrakoot. His work was based on the principle —Gaon ki pratibha gaon mein, gaon ka paisa gaon mein and gaon ka paani gaon mein (talent, water and money of the village should remain within the village). It was his charming personality that even the highly qualified people having degrees of Ph.D, LL.B, engineering, etc took up the farming work and those who got retired also settled in the village.At the time when villagers are migrating to cities in search of employment and facilities, Surendra Singh Chauhan set an example as to how to develop villages and how the facilities available in the urban areas can be made available in villages. (Pramod Kumar)