Most people believe that Revered Dr Keshav Baliram Hedgewar simply worshipped the motherland and founded a well-known organisation to devote his entire life to the security and honour of India. He was best known as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s founder and skilled organiser, but he was also an eloquent revolutionary, freedom fighter, ardent speaker, and great thinker. Only a few people are aware of it.
Those who wonder what role the “RSS” played in the freedom struggle should learn about Dr. Hedgewarji, his struggle, his rigorous imprisonment, and how he inspired people to fight British rule. After the formation of the RSS in 1925, not only Sangh Swayamsevaks but also many nationalists were inspired by his speeches and ground actions. Read on to learn how he inspired millions to fight British rule against all odds.
In May 1921, in response to Dr. Hedgewar’s aggressive speeches at Katot and Bharatwara, he was arrested on charges of treason by the British colonial government. The trial began in the court on June 14, 1921, with a British judge named Smemi watching the proceedings. After a few days of hearing, Dr. Hedgewar decided to use this opportunity for national awakening and decided to defend himself.
On August 5, 1921, he read his written statement, in which he stated, “I am accused that my speeches have instilled dissatisfaction, hatred, and sedition against European people in the minds of Indians.” I consider it an insult to our great country that a foreign government is questioning and judging a local citizen here.
I do not believe that India has a legitimate government today. if such exists It is astonishing if it claims. Whatever government exists today is a snatched power, from which an oppressive regime derives its power. Today’s laws and courts are artificial creations of this unauthorised regime. There is an elected government of the people that is made for the people in every part of the world, and this government is the ruler of the laws. All other forms of government are simply frauds that have been snatched by the exploiters—the exploiters have adopted helpless countries to pillage.
What I tried to do was sufficient for me to live in the hearts of my countrymen. I can arouse a sense of reverence for my motherland, which I now consider to be a pity. I’m attempting to persuade people that Bharat exists. It is intended for the people of Bharat.
If any Indian wants to spread nationalism for his country and speaks something with the intention of making countrymen feel better about their own nation, should not be treated as traitor and those who spread nationalism, the British government of India treats them as traitors, then I would like to say that that day is not far away. when all foreigners are forced to leave India.
The government’s interpretation of my language is neither accurate nor comprehensive.
Some deceptive words and absurd sentences have been levelled against me, but it makes no difference. When dealing with people from the United Kingdom and Europe, the principles that govern the relationship between the two countries are kept in mind. Whatever I said, I asked to reinforce the idea that this country belongs to Indians and that we should be given our independence. I accept full responsibility for every word I say. Although I do not wish to comment further on the allegations levelled against me, I am prepared to defend every word I say in my speeches and declare that whatever I said was correct.
Hearing his statement, the judge exclaimed, “His own defence statement is more anti-national than his original statement.” The court was filled with malice and hatred as this statement was read. Dr. Hedgewar followed this statement with a brief speech. He stated, “India is for Indians.” That is why we are calling for independence. So says the essence of all my speeches. People must be told how and when to achieve freedom. How should we act in the future if we get this? Otherwise, it is entirely possible that people in independent India will begin to imitate the British. Although the Englishmen attack and rule other countries through oppressive means, when it comes to the freedom of their own country, they are willing to shed blood. This was demonstrated by the recent war. So it is our duty to tell our people, dear countrymen, not to imitate the British’s angry antics. Obtain your freedom peacefully and without taking anyone’s land, etc. Simply be content with your own country.
“I will not stop bringing up current political issues to make this point.” It is obvious to everyone that the British are imposing their oppressive rule on our beloved country. What is the law that says one country has the right to rule over another? I have a simple and straightforward question for you, Government Advocate. Could you please respond? Isn’t this a violation of natural justice? If no country has the right to rule over another, who gave the British people the right to rule over India? And crush people beneath you? If the British are like this, how can they enslave us? and declare themselves masters of this country? Is this fair? Isn’t that the most publicised murder of morality?
We have no desire to take over Britain and rule it. like the British People in Britain and Germany rule themselves, just as we Indians want the right to self-government and the freedom to do our own thing. Our brain rebels against the very idea of slavery to the British Empire, adding to the point that we can’t bear it. We will accept nothing less than “complete freedom.” If we do not do this, we will not have peace. I feel liberated, in defiance of morality and the law?
I believe in legal ethics, and that laws should not be broken. I agree that the law does not exist to be broken, but only to be maintained. That should be the primary goal of the law.”
After Dr. Hedgewar wrote a patriotic letter to the court, the court issued its decision in August. The court ordered him to give an undertaking that he will not use seditious language for the next year and to deposit a security deposit of Rs.3000.
Dr. Hedgewar’s response was, “My soul says that I am completely innocent.” Repressing me and my fellow Indians is like pouring gasoline on a fire that is already burning due to the government’s policies. I am confident that the day will come when the foreign rule will pay for its mistakes. I have complete faith in the omnipotent God’s justice. As a result, I state unequivocally that I will not obey orders.”
The judge sentenced him to one year in prison as soon as he finished his answer. Dr. Hedgewar emerged from the courtroom, where a large crowd had gathered.
He addressed them and said, “As you are aware, I personally defended myself in this case of sedition.” However, people are now confused that arguing in favour is also an act of fraud against the national movement; however, I agree that it would be a foolish thing for a person to leave himself to be killed when he is falsely prosecuted. It is our responsibility to bring foreign rulers’ sins to the attention of the entire world. It will be referred to as patriotism, but failing to protect ourselves will be equivalent to committing suicide in some ways. If you want, you can protect them yourself, but for God’s sake, those who disagree with you are less patriotic. Don’t believe it. If we are asked to go to jail in the performance of our patriotic duty, or if we are punished and sent to Andaman, or why not be allowed to hang on the gallows, we must be willing to do so of our own volition, but no one should be under the impression that going to jail is everything, and that this is the only way to achieve freedom. In fact, we have many other opportunities to serve our country outside of the prison. I’ll get back to you in a year. I’m sure I won’t be in touch with you all until then, but I’m sure the ‘Total Freedom’ movement will have gained momentum. It is no longer possible for India’s foreign colonists to remain at the government’s mercy. I’d like to thank you all and say good-by.”
Dr Hedgewar was released on 12 July, 1922 from Ajani Jail. The same evening, a public reception was organised in which the then senior Congress leader Motilal Nehru (father of independent India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru) and Hakim Ajmal Khan also addressed the gathering.
At the public reception, Dr. Hedgewar stated, “The fact that I have been in government prison for a year as a ‘guest’ added nothing new to my qualifications; and if it really increased my qualifications, If this is the case, then the government must take credit. Today, we hold the highest position in the eyes of our country and have the most brilliant ideas. Any idea that is less than total freedom will get us nowhere. I’m not going to do it. To tell you how we intend to achieve our goal, your intellect will be insulted, if we dont learn from history’s lessons. Even if death is ever in our path, we must continue on our journey. Do not be perplexed; we must constantly keep the lamp of the ultimate goal burning in our minds. And keep on your peaceful journey.” (Source: Arun Anand, Panch Sarsanghchalak book)
Sangh does not believe in large-scale publicity of their work, so Sangh’s work during the freedom struggle and after independence is unknown to many people in the country.