Cover Story : RSS Vijayadashami 2016
On the 91st foundation day of the RSS, Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat gave a call to all the sections of the society to participate in the process of social transformation and national reconstruction
Virag Pachpore, from Nagpur
As expected the annual Vijayadashami address by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat evoked a good amount of interest this year on two counts—one, the major change in the RSS uniform, and two, the successful surgical strikes by the Indian Army inside the LoC.
The RSS completed 90 years of its purposeful existence this year and has now begun its journey towards a century. This was yet another reason that caused much curiosity about the address of the RSS Chief.
Touching upon a wide variety of issues of national importance in his hour-long address which Shri Bhagwat delivered at the historic Reshimbagh Ground on the auspicious Vijayadashami day—the foundation day of the RSS, he open-heartedly congratulated the Indian Army for the successful surgical strikes, and the government for carrying out efficient diplomatic campaign to isolate Pakistan on the issue of terrorism. “This firmness and the efficiency shown in the matter of diplomacy and defence should permanently reflect in our policy”, the RSS Chief said.
Invoking Great Minds
Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat started his speech by invoking four names in his Vijayadashami address, namely, Kashmiri Shaivaite Saint Acharya Abhinavagupta, Acharya Ramanujacharya – a Vaishnavite Guru from South, Guru Gobind Singh – a Sikh Guru and Shri Gulabrao Maharaj—an intellectual miracle from Maharashtra, whose either birth or death centenaries have some significance. Some people with clandestine intention, against which Shri Bhagwat also warned us, may try to find caste or communal colour in these names. But if we go by the complete context of his speech he has delivered a profound message: firstly, seeing unity in diversity is the fundamental spiritual principle of Bharat and is common to all sects, irrespective of their differential expression; secondly, all of them stood and fought for the cultural and emotional integration of Bharat; and thirdly, they provide holistic perspective towards life and not divisive, as many interpreters with Western paradigm would like to understand.
Jammu and Kashmir
The present situation in J & K makes “our concern all the more confounded’ the RSS Chief said and advised the State government and administration to “act with a nationalistic feeling, and perform in a clean, considerate, impartial and transparent way” so that the people of the State can have
simultaneous feeling of victory and confidence, and the “process of assimilation of the people of the Valley moves forward”.
He stressed for proper coordination and consonance between the Centre and the State government in J & K and called for a “perpetual coordination and cooperation between the Defence Forces and the Intelligence Agencies” to foil any terrorist attack in future.
Kashmir problem has become a very complex and complicated one. Because of the certain policies followed and pursued by the previous governments in New Delhi and Srinagar, the otherwise peaceful regions of Jammu and Ladakh besides a large part of the Kashmir Valley remained underdeveloped and neglected. Shri Bhagwat mentioned this fact in course of his address and called for corrective steps.
Shri Bhagwat also referred to the plight of refugees who came to India at the time of Partition from West Pakistan, those who migrated to Kashmir from PoK and the Kashmiri Pandits who were forced to seek refuge in other parts of the country under a systematic ‘ethnic cleansing’
At the same time, the RSS Chief made it amply clear that entire Kashmir including PoK areas of Mirpur, Baltistan, Gilgit, and Muzzafarabad belonged to India. Welcoming the ‘strong resolve of the government and the Parliament’ in the matter, he took the Kashmir issue to a larger perspective rather than only looking at it as problem created by some miscreants. He called for the vigilance from the entire nation to safeguard our borders and nation’s security.
Unfortunately, so-called experts on Jammu & Kashmir get carried away by the separatist narrative as if ‘Kashmiriyat’ is nothing but ‘Islamic Wahhabism’.Shri Bhagwat reminded them that Wahhabism entered Kashmir Valley only with terrorism and separatism, while the roots of real Kashmiriyat are in Shaivaism, which believes that ‘all ways of worship leads to the same God’. This stern reminder by the RSS with supporting the
national claim on Pakistan occupied J&K is in tune with our Constitutional and diplomatic position which no one can dispute.
The annual Vijayadashami address contained a social message also on two issues i.e. cow protection and caste-based discriminations. Cow is being seen and revered as a sacred symbol in Hindu religion and the RSS’ commitment to its protection is well known. The RSS Chief linked cow with the village development, cottage industry and farmers’ economy besides being a source of non-conventional energy and fertiliser.
However, in the recent past, cow has become a symbol of social tensions and strife. Some media houses and politicians tried to play mischief by giving it a communal colour. Warning against such attempts, the Sarsanghachalak clarified the position by giving it a larger dimension. What he stated is that cow protection is the vision laid down by the Constitution makers, many laws have been promulgated by successive governments regarding the same which should be implemented in letter and spirit and there are many people and organisations who are constructively working in the field of gou sewa as it is essential in economic, social and cultural interest of the nation. While saying so he did not defend the unlawful activities of some, in fact his message that ‘cow protectors cannot be compared with those undesirable elements, who raking up the issue of cow-slaughter or spreading unfounded rumours about cow-slaughter’ is perfectly articulated.
The RSS Chief took the issue of cow protection to a higher level by giving it a dimension of a valuable partner in the village economy, organic farming and small farmer and the role of cow in his earnings. This is far from looking at cow as a mere religious symbol.
Another very important social message his speech echoed was related to ending the caste-based discrimination in the society. Eradicating caste-based discrimination has been the core mission of the RSS since its inception. But what has happened over the years is that due to the propaganda unleashed by the political adversaries of the RSS, the image of the organisation that has been painted in the public mind is that of a upper caste dominated body which tries to impose a sort of Brahminical social structure. But within the Sangh there have been tremendous efforts to enrol people from all walks of the society into the organisation. The RSS swayamsevaks would reach out to the villages, meet and mix with the dalits, tribals and backward sections and rehabilitate them.
The RSS Chief pointed that it is the sacred duty of each one of us to shun discrimination from our life permanently. He said that the Sangh swayamsevaks have stepped up their efforts in this direction and surveys of social condition have been conducted in many states and efforts are on to prepare people’s mind to find a solution to this problem through the Sangh shakhas.
It may be mentioned that Mahatma Gandhi and Dr Ram Manohar Lohia hailed the RSS efforts to eradicate caste-based discrimination through their behaviour.
He referred to criticism of the government by the Opposition parties and advised the government to take this in a positive way. Such criticism is part of the federal democratic polity which we have accepted and paves the way for constructive criticism.
Shri Bhagwat also touched upon another important issue of education and expressed concern over the fast deterioration of education as a trade or business. The role of education in developing students’ personality is unquestionable. But the wanton commercialisation of education system has neglected this aspect of education. He expects the government to take positive steps to ensure affordable and accessible quality of education for all sections of society.
Invoking ancient wisdom of great savants like Acharya Abhinavgupta of Kashmir, Acharya Ramanujacharya of South who appeared on this land thousand years ago and gave the message of oneness and equality to the society; Guru Gobind Singhji Maharaj who sacrificed his everything for the protection of nation and Sant Gulabrao Maharaj of Vidarbha who offered themselves to redeem the society from all the social and religious ills and saved it from disintegrating further, the RSS Chief tried to send an appeal to the society to follow the teachings of these great savants to tide over the present problems confronting our society. The core of Vijayadashami speech was working for emotional integration for the larger objective of national reconstruction. Though the message was essentially for swayamsevaks, his open call to all to join and experience the RSS work instead of being mute spectators or a critic is a clear sign that it was meant for larger masses.
The annual programme attended by about 4,000 swayamsevaks was presided over by retired Indian Engineering Service (IES) officer and President of All India Safai Kamgar Sangh, Shri Satya Prakash Rai. Among the audience Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadanvis, Nagpur Mayor Pravin Datke, Pramukh Sanchalika of Rashtra Sevika Samiti Shantakka, singer Anuradha Paudwal, and BJP MP Manoj Tiwari were some of the prominent figures among audience.
(Full text of the Sarsanghchalak's Vijayadashami Speech is available on website www.organiser.org)