RSS with all RSS-inspired organisations around, has come about as a unifying platform for well-meaning citizens who have a dream of harmonious and emotionally integrated society and a strong, self-reliant nation
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has many unique features. But the most distinctive of them is despite it being the largest voluntary organisation of the world, the world of voluntary organisations is blissfully oblivious of it. Besides, while several mass organisations and movements have been studied threadbare in the past by scholars and researchers, no significant studies could really be relied upon or referred to in so far as the RSS world-view is concerned. More particularly, the grand design with which the RSS is working, the functional systems that have been placed also the significant contribution of the RSS and RSS inspired mass organisations (RIMOs)
Like charity the idea of autonomy also begun at home for the RSS. Several mass organisations inspired by RSS ideology (that are referred to as RIMOs for the sake of convenience) were established in the late forties and early fifties. At the core of the RSS scheme of things is the idea of strengthening autonomous society. Societal autonomy has been inherent to the idea of India from times immemorial. Monarchs were in power, but society as a unit was largely unaffected and in several cases uninfluenced by the Kings and their Kingdoms. Hence, it was understandable that RSS chose the path of evolving very strong and well-founded mass organisations with a view to establishing the idea of Nation First and the essential cultural unity and integrity of the Indian people. The stated goal of RSS is also that of creating a self-reliant, strong, dynamic and healthy society where the fundamental oneness of the people manifests in multiple ways and forms, shapes, colours and flavours.
All mass organisations that were inspired by the core thought of RSS including the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram (VKA) and even Rashtra Sevika Samiti share the common goal of national reconstruction.
Again, in tune with the idea of autonomy, all these organisations worked on their own on their organisational doctrines, theoretical positions on issues of their chosen sector as also policy views etc. None of these organisations got either of these ingredients readymade. The leading lights of these mass organisations evolved all these in a span of time on their own. There were many unique features of the homegrown doctrines that these organisations (RIMOs) evolved. The only common feature between the positions of these organisations was the completely non-compromising approach towards the idea of 'Nation First'. Again, in order to bring the people out of the ill influence of the Communist idea of class conflict; these organisations very thoughtfully evolved ideas such as Educational Community (by ABVP) where commonality of the interest of students, teachers and the non-teaching staff was considered as a cardinal principle. BMS came with hitherto unheard of ideas like Nationalisation of Labour and Labourisation of Industries. The centrality of integrationist view was more prominent in Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram; the leadership of which was conscious of the ill effects of the traditional ‘Sarkari’ terminology of Adivasi or original inhabitants. RSS has, right since its inception; rejected lock-stock-and-barrel; the notion that among the people of India, there are some original inhabitants and some came here later and hence some distinction is called for. RSS believes that regardless of a series of onslaughts on India and its people, today Indian society has internalised all and has become an indivisible, integrated ‘One People’. Nomenclatures could perhaps be decided on the basis of where one dwells. Hence, while city-dwellers are Nagarvasis, forest-dwellers are Vanvasis. No question of any discrimination at all!
Decades later, in the eighties; when Samajik Samrasta Manch (SSM) was founded in Maharashtra. In RSS scheme of things, the relationship is essentially organic in nature and hence mutuality, sharing and inter-dependence are its mainstays.
RIMOs have successfully evolved their theoretical approaches that are decidedly grounded essentially in the Indian philosophy and approach towards human life. Another important feature concerning the profile of RIMOs is about the inter-organisational relationship. Unlike the Communism-inspired organisations or for that matter Congress-linked organisations, the respective political party doesn’t have any dominant, hegemonic role with the group of RIMOs. Here, RSS has a more decisive role and hence politics and political party (in this case, BJP) cannot influence the policy perspectives of RIMOs beyond a point. Sociologically, this is a more sound and healthier relationship-model.
But perhaps, the most remarkable aspect of RIMOs is the science of organisation evolved by them to build an enduring organisational network. Cultivated essentially on the basis of the time-tested system of RSS, these organisations too have made deep inroads in every nook and corner of our far-flung nation. More importantly, they have teams of organisers with strong ideological
motivation and refined organisational skills. The most remarkable feature in these RIMOs is an interesting
interplay between unflinching commitment to ideology and enduring bonding evolved through healthy
There are three cardinal principles of the Science of Organisation evolved within the RSS system. Firstly, it has an unshakable, firm faith in the theory of human transformation. ‘Like the melting point of a metal, every individual needs a particular amount of warmth of relationship to transform and hence the ability to provide that warmth of affection and fellow-feeling is always put to test’ believe many in RSS. Secondly, influenced by the principle of supremacy of organisation; RSS also believes that in a given organisation; all are important but nobody is indispensable. Third important principle of course as understood by me, is accepting an individual as he/she is with an essentially receptive approach and working for his/her transformation for the sake of organisation through sustained collective efforts. Typically, such efforts comprise ingredients like adhesives of human emotions, correctives through dialogue and a lubrication of ‘affection-without-expectation’! For those who consider RSS as an enigma, it would be educative to understand that the RSS has spread, grown and sustained mainly due to these well-crafted features of Science of Organisation which, perhaps no Business School has ever taught. Besides the principles and policies mooted by RIMOs have indigenous thinking at its core. Using Mahatma Gandhi's words, it could well be said that RSS and Sangh inspired mass organisations have “kept intact the ‘genius of our civilisation!”
As a movement that was initiated way back in 1925 with the inception of RSS has come a long way. There are many sterling contributions to its credit. It has served society in multiple ways and also added a different value to Indian polity. Regardless of whether media understands or academia recognises these contributions, RSS and inspired organisations have certainly established themselves as a nationalist force.
The writer is a Parliamentarian, national vice-president of BJP