Certain media personalities and intellectuals have closely monitored every detail of what Sarsanghchalak Mohanji Bhagawat says on various occasions. The goal is to find a single word or sentence that can be twisted to fit their agenda of demonising RSS. This is especially true in today’s context when some intellectuals interpret it to suit the agenda of anti-India forces.
This intentional misinterpretation of Sangh’s ideology and work is flawed and deeply prejudiced. To demonise RSS, the false narrative spreads across all media platforms. However, as the organisation’s grassroots work with so many affiliated organisations developed strong faith among the masses, RSS has risen step by step and is becoming more powerful as people all over the world recognise the importance of seva activities and working with the principle of “Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam” without any caste discrimination, sect or religious bias.
Those who come into contact with the RSS through Shakha and Sewa activities or who study the organisation’s ideology and functioning notice and instill the most important point: no one asks about caste, and there is no evidence of caste discrimination. Everyone comes together under the banner of the “Hindu” society. This is an entirely natural occurrence.
The recent controversy and false narrative that has spread across all media platforms concern the use of the word “Pandit” in a speech on the occasion of Guru Ravidas Jayanti. He delivered his speech in Marathi, but Hindi and English media quickly used the word “Pandit” to show that SarSanghchalak targeted the “Brahmin” community as being responsible for caste discrimination.
The meaning of the word “Pandit” is “intellectual,” but the media twisted the truth and managed to create little space among the minds of the “Brahmin” community, but this will not last because truth cannot be hidden for long. Mohanji frequently mentions ‘One Village, One Temple, One Crematorium’ in his speeches.
This major statement clearly points out that caste discrimination needs to be finished soon, and everyone should unite and work for a better society and nation under the umbrella of “Hindu” society. The Sangh ideology has always remained the same since its inception, as evidenced by the facts listed below.
A study of the RSS’ by JA Curran (1951)
This well-researched document provides a unique glimpse into the RSS’s formative years and insights into its ideological foundation. Curran was unequivocal in his assertion that the RSS’s social conduct and programmes were inclusive in nature in order to strengthen Hindu society.
The RSS’ Hindutva project has always included Dalits as an essential component from the start. Initially, the RSS was an appealing proposition for young men from scheduled castes in Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh because it effectively demonstrated the absence of caste discrimination.
There is a story about first Sarsanghchalak Doctor Keshavji Hedgewar. Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar once stated that he was born a Hindu but will not die a Hindu. Doctorji did not mock or chastise him because he understood the ordeal Dr Ambedkar had gone through in order to say those words.
So he invited him to the Sangh to speak to the Swayamsevaks. When Dr Ambedkar came to visit, he inquired about the location of the people on a caste basis. Doctorji responded that there are no touchables or untouchables in a Shakha, only Hindus! Dr Ambedkar realised at that point that the Shakha was a completely equal place with no caste discrimination.
Every Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, and Shudra is a Hindu, and every Hindu could be a Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, or Shudra, depending on the nature of their work at the time. It provides interesting insights into how the Sangh leadership has dealt with the caste conundrum in Indian society. The views and actions of Sarsanghchalak Madhavji Golawarkar Guruji regarding caste discrimination.
In 1966, the VHP held its first conference at the Prayag Kumbh Mela. For the first time in Hindu civilisation’s long history, the presence of heads of every sect, community, math, Jain seers, Buddhist monks, and Sikh saints on a single platform astounded the world and Hindu society.
While Guruji was in the audience, all of the saints and Gurus sat on the same level. Guruji’s most significant accomplishment at the conference was convincing the attendees to reject the caste system, and they unanimously passed the resolution “Hindavaha sodaraha sarve, na Hindu patito bhavet” (All Hindus are born from the same womb of Mother India).
As a result, they are all the same, and no Hindu can be considered untouchable. This was the most significant reformist push anyone could have imagined.
Guruji believed in a positive approach to Hindu society’s problems. When Sadashiv Katre, a swayamsevak who had been cured of leprosy, complained that churches used such medical care to convert people, he suggested that he channel his energy into creating another organisation that worked without bribes or such unethical acts, which resulted in the formation of the Kushtha Nivarak Sangh in Madhya Pradesh. Similarly, he advised Ramakant Keshav Deshpande to establish Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram to serve tribals rather than complain about churches deceiving or luring them into conversion.
Guruji was not anti-Muslim. He told swayamsevaks doing social service that there would be no discrimination based on religion, caste, or creed in sewa (service). In an interview with The Illustrated Weekly’s editor in November 1972, he stated, “Hindu Rashtra does not mean making all people Hindus… Let us recognise that we are all descendants of the same ancestors, that our great forefathers were one, and that our aspirations are also one. This, I believe, is the essence of Hindu Rashtra.” (Shri Ratan Sharda’s book “Secrets of RSS”)
Third Sarsanghchalak Shri Balasaheb Deoras on seva without regard for caste or religion Balasaheb had always been opposed to the practice of untouchability. He spoke against the social evil at his famous discourse in Pune’s famous ‘Vasant Vyakhyanmala’, insisting that “untouchability must go and go lock, stock and barrel”.
This statement is regarded as a watershed moment in the RSS’s history, as it inspired the organisation to fight the demon of caste-based discrimination with renewed vigour. Balasaheb was the Sarsanghchalak for 21 years and tirelessly campaigned against caste discrimination and untouchability. Deoras ji had a clear vision of the Hindu consolidation mission. Balasaheb is and will be remembered for his long-lasting contributions to the RSS and society at large.
He was the man who added a social service dimension to the RSS mission and established a formal structure to carry out the various service activities across the country, particularly in remote and inaccessible areas. During the centennial of RSS founder Dr Hedgewar’s birth, he announced the establishment of “Sewa Vibhag” within the RSS and the launch of 5000 service projects. Today, the RSS and other inspired organisations run lakhs of such multifaceted service projects across the country, ranging from health to education, bio-farming to village development.
Many swayamsevak was inspired by his passion and commitment to an equitable and harmonious society (Samajik Samarasata) to launch the movement to bring people of different hues together to solve caste system problems and achieve the common goal of social harmony.
Rajju Bhaiyya and K Sudarshan ji
Little known to the outside world, Rajendra Singh, popularly known as Rajju Bhaiyya, who left a brilliant academic career as a professor of Physics at Allahabad University to become a full-time Pracharak of the RSS and later became the fourth Sarsanghchalak, and K Sudarshan ji, an engineer and the fifth Sarsanghchalak, had worked tirelessly to eliminate caste discrimination.
Few well-known individuals and their RSS experience
In his speech to RSS volunteers, Field Marshal Cariappa stated, “RSS is my life’s work. Don’t be alarmed by unkind remarks from interested parties, my dear young men. Take a look ahead! Go ahead and do it! The country is in desperate need of your services “.
In 1977, noted Gandhian leader and Sarvoday movement leader Jayaprakash Narayan, who had previously been a vocal opponent of the RSS, said, “RSS is a ground-breaking organisation. No other organisation in the country comes close. It alone has the power to transform society, end casteism, and wipe the tears from the poor’s eyes.” “I have great expectations from this revolutionary organisation that has taken on the challenge of creating a new Bharat,” he added.
According to Christopher Jaffrelot, director of the Center for Studies and Research (CERI), although the RSS, with its paramilitary style of operation and emphasis on discipline, has been viewed by some as “an Indian version of fascism,” he believes that the RSS’s Hindu nationalism has been to downplay the role of the state, and thus it cannot be classified simply as a fascist movement.
He goes on to argue that RSS ideology views society as an organism with a secular spirit, which is implanted not so much in the race as in a socio-cultural system and will be regenerated over time through patient grassroots work. He claims that RSS ideology “did not develop a theory of the state and the race, which were crucial elements in European nationalisms such as “Nazism and Fascism.” He also claims that RSS leaders were more interested in cultural unity than racial homogeneity.
“RSS has played a honourable role in maintaining Hindu-Sikh unity before and after the murder of Indira Gandhi in Delhi and in other places”. It was the Congress(I) leaders who instigated mobs in 1984 and got more than 3000 people killed. I must give due credit to RSS and the BJP for showing courage and protecting helpless Sikhs during those difficult days,” Kushwant Singh wrote.
Sangh believes in developing each individual’s personal and national character, continuing seva activities, and serving Bharat Mata rather than managing media, whether constructively or destructively criticised.