The first two waves of the challenge of the Covid–19 pandemic that erupted in March 2020 were extremely painful. It was observed that while the livelihood was severely affected during the first wave, a large number of deaths took place during the second wave. An innumerable number of families had to pass through unprecedented miseries due to physical discomfort born out of the disease and untimely death of their near and dear ones. A serious shortage of beds in the hospitals, lack of various clinical instruments as well as medicines on one side, and, on the other, the economic crisis due to the lockdown and its impact on trade and industry and the resultant challenge of unemployment- all this created an atmosphere of desperation and serious worries.
In such a situation, not only did the Government make every effort to keep the situation under control, but the Swayamsevaks of Sangh, innumerable brothers and sisters of the society and social, Sewa and religious institutions also excellently demonstrated their commitment to social and national duty through wonderful performance with their sensitivity. Swayamsevaks were at the forefront in rendering various types of help like the supply of medicine, arranging types of equipment for oxygen, food distribution, blood donation, cremation of dead bodies etc. The Central Government, while interacting with the State Governments from time to time, declared necessary protocols and coordinated official relief operations.
During the trying phase of the second wave, important work of keeping the mind of public optimistic and positive in the country was also done by our Karyakartas. Keeping in mind the possibility of the third wave, a detailed plan of training was prepared, which was meticulously implemented up to the district and Khand (block) level across the country. Swayamsevaks, along with millions of conscious brethren of the society became the organisers and participants of this mass training programme. Swayamsevaks also effectively contributed in the success story of more than 150 crore vaccinations to achieve the Government’s target of 100 per cent vaccination. In many other aspects also they played the role of joint planning and cooperation with various social institutions and the official administration.
In the situation arising out of this crisis of COVID–19, the need for rehabilitation was felt mainly in three areas, they are –
1. Education (obstruction in teaching and learning due to closure of schools and the loss to students thereby)
2. Employment (Problem of unemployment of lakhs of people due to crisis in the fields of trade, industry and transport)
3. Families with miseries and uncertainty (situation created by the death of the breadwinner in the family; future challenge)
In the context of the above three challenges, Swayamsevaks and various organisations in many places have made several efforts to help the people by finding effective avenues.
- Various endeavours took place to keep the continuity of children’s education, reading and learning by running Basti Pathshala, free classes etc. But much needs to be done in this regard.
- Governments have tried and are making efforts to overcome the situation by introducing various economic plans to create employment. Although this effort is commendable, yet in such a vast country the challenge is also immense. Best efforts were made by the Swayamsevaks in many urban and rural areas for the creation of small and easy jobs, skill enhancement and necessary training for the same. With the separate and joint efforts of our Gram Vikas karya, Sewa vibhag and various organisations of economic sector, fruitful work has been done in this direction. However, there is a great need for employment generation. In the resolve of the AatmaNirbhar Bharat (country’s self reliance) self-reliance) and in its realisation, the emphasis of the Government and the society, especially the industry and business world, should be on according priority to employment generation.
Contemplating new dimensions and possibilities of employment, experimentation should be encouraged. It is necessary to lay more emphasis on rural areas, agro-based and cottage industries, handicrafts, small scale industries etc. Planning in this regard is a must, keeping in mind decentralisation, environment-friendly approach also.
• To help the distressed families that are facing crisis due to the death of the main earning member, Swayamsevaks have come forward by planning with the help of society. Many such inspiring works have also been done. Efforts should be made, wherever the need is felt, to reach the government scheme available for children’s education, marriage of girl child, caring the aged people, and some arrangements related to livelihood etc.
We have also learned many lessons in this period of pandemic. The experience of living a balancedlife, getting relief from pollution, enjoying pure river, water, air, etc. should not only be a temporary phenomenon but permanent and lasting too, for which the insistence on the suitable lifestyle be kept.
While resolving these challenges of Corona, we should also pay attention to other situations of the nation.
Sewa Vibhag: 28,866 Sewa projects in 2011-22
In 10,704 Vyavasayi Shakhas, the responsibility of Sewa Karyakartas is assigned. In 9,953 Sewa Bastis, all round development will be done by Shakhas. The concept of Sewa was explained among the Vyavasayi Shakha Karyakartas.
In 29 prants, “Sewa Week” was observed by Shakhas wherein various Sewa projects were undertaken. Apart from these, the total number of Sewa projects undertaken during the year is 28,866.
The App and website Sewa Gatha launched 3 years back is now available in 6 languages viz. Hindi, Marathi, Kannad, Gujarati, Telugu and English.
Total number of Sewa Karya + Matru sangathan + Sewa Bharati 19,927 + 41,955 = 61,882
The advanced preparedness in view of the possible 3rd wave of Covid–19 was done. Training of Karyakartas was held and Niramay kits were distributed in many places. Easy availability of blood and hospital beds was ensured in view of the possible 3rd wave of Covid–19. Many units of blood were made available.
(Source: Annual Report)
Over 60,000 RSS shakhas running across country
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is currently holding 60,929 shakhas across the country. It added 5,277 new shakhas last year. According to the annual report presented by Sarkaryavah Shri Dattatreya Hosabale at the Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha, the top decision-making body of the RSS, the Sangh also witnessed an increase of more than 2,000 in its ‘Saptahik Milan’ (weekly meetings) from 18,553 in March last year to 20,681 in March 2022.
“Akhil Bharatiya Sharirik Varg, that takes place every five year, was held in Ayodhya during October 17-22, 2021. In all 452 Karyakartas of 10 Sharirik streams from all Prants participated. Practical training of 50 new games, 20 new Samuhik Samata Prayog and 1 new Anikini Samata Prayog was imparted. This year 4,76,375 Swayamsevaks from 36,063 Shakhas and 4,938 Milans did 24,87,13,509 Prahar in Prahar Maha Yagya in December 2021,” the annual report stated.
Despite the Covid-19 crisis during the last two years, 98.6 per cent of Sangh Karya (activities of RSS) has resumed as compared to 2020. The number of Saptahik Milan (weekly meetings) has also increased. Of the daily Shakhas, 61 per cent are of Vidyarthi Swayamsevaks and 39 per cent are of Vyavasayi (working) Swayamsevaks. As per arrangement for RSS work, there are 6506 khands (blocks) in the country out of which 84 per cent have Shakhas. Out of 59,000 Mandals, about 41 per cent of the Mandals have Sangh Karya in the form of basic Shakhas. Shakha work is going on in 94 per cent out of 2303 urban areas and efforts will be made during the next two years to have Shakha of Sangh in all the Mandals (a cluster of 8-10 villages). During the period from 2017 to 2021, about 1 lakh to 1.25 lakh youth between the age group of 20 to 35 expressed their desire to join Sangh through 'Join RSS' made available on the website of RSS. (Source: Annual Report)