The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) founded in 1925 on the auspicious day of Vijayadashami by Dr Keshav Baliram Hedgewar has developed into a huge banyan tree. In its journey of nine decades the Sangh has passed through the stages of neglect, opposition and inching towards acceptability. The society at large wants to know more in details about the RSS.
In these 90 years the Sangh has made a list of achievements that have given a new direction to the nation and presented Bharat as a strong nation in the global scenario today. This is the reality and nothing else. The organisation that started its journey with a handful of swayamsevaks and has carved out a niche for itself in these 90 years is due to the dedication, devotion, commitment and sacrifice of crores of its swayamsevaks who took the RSS to the households in the country.
Dr Keshav Baliram Hedgewar (1925-1940)
Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar (1940-1973)
Madhukar Dattatreya Deoras (1973-1993)
Prof Rajendra Singh
Kuppahalli Sitaramaiah Sudarshan (2000-2009)
The RSS always remained the centre of both positive and negative discussions in any field—be it politics or education. No one would disagree with the fact that the RSS is the only organisation that remained embroiled into a number of controversies related to its background and ideology. Especially, the kind and nature of opposition and discussion that has emerged in the last couple of years related to RSS seems to be more politically oriented.
In the past, leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Jaiprakash Narayan failed to understand the social aspect of the RSS. They always looked at it as a political competitor of the Congress Party and as such the RSS seldom elucidated any word of praise or public acceptance from them. But when they were confronted with the devotion and commitment of these RSS swayamsevaks towards the society, they had to change their views. However, the problem of not understanding the RSS or knowing it is not new. In 1934, when the RSS was in its infancy, the Congress Party barred its members from joining the RSS, Hindu Mahasabha and Muslim League. Hindu Mahasabha and Muslim League were political opponents of the Congress Party and thus restricting their members from joining these two can be understood. But what about the RSS? Did the Congressmen developed hatred against RSS as early as in 1934? Did they thought it as untouchable?
The problem with the RSS is that its adversaries have always spewed venom against it under the influence of political conspiracies against it. There are many such examples in the history that shows that the politicians strengthened themselves by resorting venom spewing against the RSS. As per the tradition, the RSS swayamsevaks under discipline do not indulge in opposition or reaction to their criticism. They are least interested in such counter attacks. But this indifference on their part has given leverage to these anti-RSS parties and groups and ideologies to a great extent. But in spite of this the RSS succeeded in getting a massive public support as compared to its political adversaries. The RSS conducts many programmes and projects country-wide to protect the unity and integrity of the country but never discusses about them mainly because it does not have any interest in
RSS teaches discipline, fearlessness and sharing sorrows and happiness with others. It preaches devotion to motherland in the form of a Goddess and demands flawless devotion and commitment from its swayasmevaks towards the nation and society. In RSS the country has a non-political organisation that is always ready to save the country from any danger and help the people in times of distress. Organising Hindu society is its mantra, its symbol consisting of Saffron Flag is considered as its ‘Guru’. Its uniform is its speciality. It celebrates and observes some festivals which are important from the social assimilation and homogeneity point of view. They are Vijayadashami, Makar Sankranti, Varsha Pratipada, Hindu Samrajya Dinotsava (coronation of Shivaji), Rakshabandhan and Guru Purnima. The RSS has an objective in celebrating these festivals and that objective is to inculcate virtues like respect for Hindu culture, courage, velour, dedication, zest, amongst the Sangh Swayamsevaks.
The RSS conducts over 1.6o lakh sewa activities all over the country. It has appealed for hundred per cent voting in 2014 Parliamentary elections to bring about the desired change in the country. It was due to this massive voter awakening programme that the country witnessed a massive surge in voting during the Lok Sabha polls. The RSS has a very clear idea of rural Bharat. It believes that Bharat lives in villages and therefore, the people in villages should have higher literacy, better healthcare and education facilities, pleasant environment, cleanliness, roads, etc. The villages should have no discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, religion, language etc.; the village folks should frame their own development schemes and the government should help them in implementing them.
The RSS always supported the cause of the oppressed, exploited and neglected sections of the society. The RSS believes in taking the fruits of development to the last man standing in the row to make the country strong, vibrant and progressive. RSS and its projects have always concentrated on imparting patriotism and commitment to the society. Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS), Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), Sanskar Bharati, Durga Vahini, Sewa Bharati, Rashtra Sevika Samiti, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), Deendayal Shodh Sansthan (DRI), Shiksha Bharati, Sanskrit Bharati, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM), Vidya Bharati, Saraswati Shishu Mandir, Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, Bajrang Dal, Rashtriya Muslim Manch , SC/ST Arakshan Bachao Parishad, Bhartiya Vichar Kendra, Vishwa Samvad Kendra, Rashtriya Sikh Sangat, Vivekananda Kendra etc. have been busy in spreading the message of patriotism and nationalism in various sections of the society through service activities with hundred percent success rate. In terms of statistic the RSS runs more than 1.60 lakh service activities at 12,000 places in 30 provinces of the country.
These service projects are covering a number of fields such as healthcare, education, economic progress, social justice etc. From geographical point of view over 16,000 projects are conducted in rural areas, 4,000 in vanvasi areas, 3,000 plus in slums and others have over 1,000 service activities. Lakhs of swayamsevaks dedicate their lives to make the RSS mission a success. With this speed and dedication that day is not far off when the entire society and RSS would merge with each other making Bharat a world leader.
(The writer is an Indore based
journalist and is writing a book on
the history of RSS)