Intro: The article first published in the Vishwa Sangh Shibir Souvenir, 2010 is reproduced here for understanding the nature of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh and its work.
Intro: The swayamsevak of RSS carries with him the discipline inculcated in him by RSS. Thus wherever he goes it naturally comes with him.
The Vishwa Vibhag is not an outcome of any pre planning, nor is it a product of any systematic survey and its implementation. The swayamsevak (Volunteer) of RSS carries with him the discipline inculcated in him by RSS. Thus wherever he goes it naturally comes with him.
It all started in 1946 when one Shri Jagdish Sharda (Shastri) a Professor who was heading for Kenya from Amritsar. Incidentally one Young Trader from Gujarat Shri Manikbhai Gugani was also travelling for the same destination. From Mumbai the ship carrying both of them to Mombassa started its journey. The journey was to last 18 days. Both these travellers were unknown to each other but were ardent members of RSS regularly attending the shakhas. On the first day they both became restless since they thought they will miss their evening shakha. They independently decided to conduct the shakha on the boat and dressed up in the tradition uniform of swayamsevak and went on Deck of the boat at the same time. They were so pleased to see each other in RSS outfit. That was the first shakha of RSS held outside India on high sea. Later they got introduced to all Indians on the boat and were pleasantly surprised to know that there were 17 RSS volunteers on the ship. Needless to add that thereafter every day till they reached Mombassa RSS shakha was conducted on the Deck of that ship. They decided to conduct the Shakha after reaching at Nairobi. They then consulted the then Prant Pracharak of Punjab Shri Madhavrao Mule and Jeshth (Senior) Pracharak Shri Chamanlalji and with their consent on the eve of Makarsankranti of 1947 the regular Sangh Shakha was started in the name of “Bharatiya Swayamsevak Sangh” at Nairobi.
Thus on the same pattern wherever the swayamsevaks went in the foreign countries, there they started the Sangh Shakhas. This was a spontaneous activity.
With the inspiration of Mananiya Deendayalji, ‘Sangh Shakha started in the name of ‘Sanatan Dharma Swayamsevak Sangh’ at Myanmar (then Bramhadesh), in Nepal in the name of ‘Matrubhumi Swayamsevak Sangh’ and in other countries in the name of ‘Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh’ All these names were duly registered as per the law of the respective lands.
Presently this work now is being conducted in the name of ‘Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh’ all over the world, barring some exceptions.
While this spread of RSS started in Kenya in 1947, in 1950 it started in Bramhadesh. At the start of 1960s the work extended to England and at the end of that decade it spread in America. In 1990 decade the work of Vishwa Vibhag took the great leap and then the need to give it an organised, systematic look was felt. Respected Chamanlalji was already coordinating the work from the beginning. Some senior office bearers of RSS were making their presence felt by guiding the swayamsevaks at various functions organised at various countries. In 1958 Jeshta Pracharak of Sanyukta Prant Mananiya Laxmanraoji Bhide visited Kenya. He was then the head of UP, Bihar and Nepal.
During the Emergency period when the freedom of press in India was gagged and the need arose to appraise the world about the apathy of Indian people and suppression of their human rights, it was decided to use Sangh Swayamsevaks in the foreign countries to accomplish this task. This work was delegated to Mananiya Laxmanraoji Bhide. The elite class of Indians abroad were approached and with their help “Friends of India Society” was formed. Significantly M/s Subramanyam Swamy, Makarand Desai on this platform publicised the issue abroad and brought the sustainable pressure on dictatorial regime of the country.
Later Mananiya Laxmanraoji till 1994 undertook extensive tours to various countries and established the strong network of the RSS in different parts of the world.
The present Pramukh Pracharak of Videsh Vibhag Mananiya Shankarrao Tatvavadi is the swayamsevak of Nagpur. Since 1994 he has been delegated the responsibility of Sanyojak of Vishwa Vibhag.
The system of Sangh work in Videsh Vibhag
In all over India Sangh conducts daily shakhas but in other countries this is practically not possible due to various constraints. However in Nepal, Bramhadesh and Kenya daily shakhas are conducted at some places but in other countries the periodicity is weekly. However the Adnya (commands), Dhwaj (flag), Achar padhati, (conduct) and Utsav (ceremonies) are the same everywhere. There is slight difference in performing prayers. The prayer in Vishwa Vibhag is different.
In place of the Typical Pranam, Namaskar is adopted. Duration of Sangh Shiksha Varga is 8 days. After completing 3 such vargas the participants are sent to India for dvitiya varsha (2nd year) and thereafter for tritiya varsha (3rd year) at Nagpur. Sangh Shiksha Varga and conducted in 12 countries. The uniform is also slightly different. In Bharat Sangh shakhas are attended by only male members but in foreign countries this is not the case. Participant have to travel long distance for the shakha and hence they bring their wife and children with them and hence while conducting the shakha three groups are formed for males, females and children. This system facilitates the development of the work of samiti along with Sangh work.
With the development of Sangh work, the work of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Sanskar Bharati, Bal Gokulam, Vidyarthi Kshetra (National Hindu Students Forum) and Sevika Samiti is also initiated and spread in many countries. Many new temples are coming up and with that many religious programmes are held and its organising committees (samitis) are also functioning. Sangh volunteers have to work in coordination with such organisations.
The entire work of Videsh Vibhag outside India is divided in 5 geographical Areas.
- USA, Canada, Carrebean Islands, The countries in South America
- Europe continent
- Africa and Central-Eastern countries
- Countries in South-East Asia and countries in Indian subcontinent.
- Australia, Japan, New Zealand
Presently the work of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh is in progress in 35 countries., while in other 100 countries it has made its inroads to some extent.
Samwad the mouthpiece of Vishwa Vibhag is circulated in 100 countries. In England the work is more regulated. 80 shakhas are conducted there. There are Milan Kendras (Meeting Centres) of Balgokulam in 80 places. In USA there are 150 shakhas while in Mauritius these are 20. All over the world the number of shakhas held are more than 550. In 20-25 countries we could make contacts to the extent of forming Sampark Samitis.
Presently 10 Pracharaks are sent from Bharat to work for Vishwa Vigbhag while 7 Pracharakas are from Myanmar local and they are working in Myanmar itself. One pracharak is from Malasia and is working locally. Shri Subhash Bhagwat working in Air India shoulders the responsibility of Sangh Shiksha Varga regularly. Shri Ravi Ayar is the assistant coordinator of Videsh Vibhag. Shri Soumitra Gokhale is the Pracharak for America continent while Shri Ram Vaidya is the Pracharak for Europe region. Shri Ramchandra Pande is the Pracharak for Africa continent.
For the training and updating the volunteers and to meet the need of cultural upbringing of Hindus abroad many periodicals are published. Samwad is published from Delhi, Sangh Sandesh from UK, Sandesh Bharati from Hongkong, Amar Bharati from Kenya are regularly published and circulated. Tatwa and Bal Gokulam are published from USA. In addition many more periodicals are published from other Hindu organisations.
Special Programmes of Videsh Vibhag—Hindu Gatherings
Organising the Hindus all over the world is a continuous and unrelented process. To imbibe the trust in the minds of all volunteers about our organising strength, to develop the leadership qualities in them by letting them plan and conduct the various programmes and to create awareness in the minds of all the Hindu segments of the society about Hindu organisations and none the less to create a positive image of Hindu society in the minds of inhabitants of different countries, various public functions are organised. These programmes are arranged either by Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bal Gopalam, Student Council or Seva International.
Wherever such functions are organised by any affiliated organisation in large scale all other related organisations come together to discuss various aspects and work together with all their strength to make the function a grand success.
Shankarrao Tatwadi (The writer is former Sanyojak, Vishwa Vibhag)