An article written by Suruji in March 2015 highlighting how the Sangh swayamsevaks are ensuring equality, cohesion and harmony in the society through simple and the most natural way
K. Suryanarayana Rao
In our Bharatiya, tradition and culture, sewa or service has been part of our dharma. Sewa hi paramo dharmah – “Sewa is the greatest dharma”, it is said. It is also mandated that human body is meant to do sewa –paropakarartham idam shareeram. A well known Sanskrit shloka explains Ashtadasha puraneshu vyasasya vachana dvayam: paropakaryaya punyaya papaya parapeedanam. There are two precepts as essence of the eighteen Puranas of Vyasa. To gain punya — merit — you must help others and to do harm to others is paap or sin. The well known adage is Atmavat sarva Bhuteshu… – treat all living beings as yourself that is as you wish to be treated. All our saints and Sadhus were full of compassion and served the suffering with love and dignity. Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa says, Shiva Bhave Jeev Sewa. All living beings are to be served with a feeling that you are serving the God.
The swayamsevaks of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) are ingrained with all these ideas and the Sewa Vibhag of RSS is working persistently to relieve the sufferings of our brethren and also eradicate all the discriminations in the name of caste, untouchability, high or low in the society.
In all the Sewa activities taken up by the swayamsevaks, attention is paid to see that there is no discrimination. Not only that all efforts are made to remove the superiority and inferiority complexes but also to instil in every person, who is served, self-respect, self-confidence and self-reliance. Service is offered without hurting the dignity of any person so that at once he would feel one with the mainstream of society. One can find a considerable change in the mental attitude of all who are involved in these service activities, both who serve and who are served. A person who is served today, after some time stands up on his own and gets ready to serve others.
A few years ago, in Kundapur Taluk of Karnataka an attempt was made to run Sanskrit Sambashan Vargas in every village. Example of two villages will enlighten the speciality of the Sangh Sewa Vibhag in whatever field they work. One Sewavrati, a trained lady teacher of Samskrit Bharati, went to a village and contacted persons belonging to all sections, literate as well as illiterate. To run the classes she searched for a house which could accommodate about 50 persons in one hall. A retired senior government officer was living in that village, who had a big house, accepted to allow the classes to be run in the hall inside his house. When she announced that all should assemble at a particular time in that house, the villagers surprisingly asked, will we be allowed to enter an orthodox rich Brahmin’s house? On the first day all came and sat in the hall. The owner found that persons of all castes including the so-called untouchable have come to participate in the classes. With curiosity, he was observing from a distance how the class will be conducted. He found the class was conducted in a unique interesting manner–most informally, sometimes with peels of laughter. After sometime he also sat with all in the class. Next day, he asked his wife and other members of his family to come and sit as it was very interesting to learn Sanskrit in a conversational style with simple, short sentences like what is your name? My name is such and such. What are you doing? Etc. There was participation of everybody. Everyone was asked to put the question to other in Sanskrit. The turn came to the owner and his family members. Even so-called untouchables put the question in Sanskrit as tutored. The answer was also tutored. Everyone enjoyed. After four days the house owner asked the lady teacher to wait for some time after the classes got over, as he desired to talk to her.
She was very anxious about the talk. The owner remarked, “You are successfully running the Sanskrit classes and make the common man converse in Sanskrit. More than this you have brought about a big transformation in the society with a very simple programme by bringing all sections together on equal level making them forget all the differences of high and low, touchable and untouchable and make them interact freely in the name of Sanskrit. A great achievement indeed. This house is always open to you for such activities.”
Another Sewavrati in another village conducted a public valedictory programme after completing the ten day classes. As per the advice of the locals she had called a popular school teacher to preside over the function. She had trained some to enact a drama in simple Sanskrit, to demonstrate to the villagers that even the illiterate will be able to speak Sanskrit. As the programme started, the president was in tears, overwhelmed he got up to make his presidential speech. In tears, he said I cannot believe my own eyes and ears, what I have seen and heard here. I know many of the persons who enacted the drama. Some belong to higher caste like Brahmins and some belong to my own caste, which is generally considered untouchable to which I also belong. But persons belonging to all castes and classes in our village have come together in this assembly forgetting their caste and status in life and all are speaking the divine Sanskrit as equals. This one unassuming young lady has brought about this great transformation without making any propaganda about it. This is simply wonderful and beyond any body’s imagination.
These two examples make it clear that how in a most natural way social equality and harmony is brought about in the Hindu society making them ignore all the discriminations and complexes. A special Sangh Shiksha Varga for a month was held at Varanasi, where swayamsevaks aged above 45 years had only participated. All six hundred shiksharthis were asked to spend half a day in the slums interacting with various families living there and also take their afternoon food there in some families. The experience of each one was reported in a meeting in the Varga and next day the people of those Bastis also expressed their feelings. All spoke about their happy experiences which was unique, in superlative expressions. After the camp was over, one retired IAS
officer from Kolkata who had
participated in the training classes, wrote a letter to Sarvadhikari of the camp. He wrote: “I enjoyed the Sangh Shiksha Varga and learnt many things. But one day was the happiest day in my life which I can never forget. That was the day when we visited Sewa Basti and I took my food in the hut of a poor cobbler. How much affection and respect they showered upon me. We have committed a great sin by calling such innocent but noble hearted people as untouchables!”
Such examples make it sufficiently clear that how equality, cohesion and harmony are being brought about by swayamsevaks in a simple and most natural way without talking about the differences and making much ado about it. n