sulabh swatchh bharat

Tuesday, 17-October-2017

The Unsung Heroes

The RSS volunteers lend a helping hand to the country in times of trouble, be it partition or a natural calamity

In October 1947, soon after India became independent, Pakistani troops had reached the borders of Kashmir. All the efforts of political leaders had failed. Time was ticking. In these conditions, Sardar Patel sent a message to the chief of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), MS Golwalker, requesting him to use his influence to prevail upon the Maharaja to accede to India. ‘Guruji’, as he was fondly called, cancelled all engagements and rushed to Srinagar from Nagpur to resolve the delicate matter. 

A meeting between Guruji and Maharaja Hari Singh was arranged. This historic meeting on the issue of national honour ended successfully, after which the Maharaja sent the accession proposal to Delhi, and Guruji directed the RSS workers in Jammu and Kashmir to shed their blood to the last drop for the integrity of the nation. Thanks to the important contribution of these unsung heroes, along with that of our army, we were able to save Kashmir from the clutches of Pakistan and protect and preserve our national honour. During the Partition, it was RSS that helped organise over 3,000 relief camps for the refugees from Pakistan providing them with food, clothes, and shelter. Whether it was charging the entire atmosphere by taking out processions during the independence struggle, or collecting information about Pakistan’s military activities and of the possible Kashmir invasion, or even the famous ‘Martyrs of Kotli’ incident where the heroism and gallantry of swayamsevaks proved they are even ready to lay down their lives to protect the honour of their Motherland.

During the Sino-Indian War in 1962, the contribution of the RSS was immense. Swayamsevaks from across the nation assembled in the northeast of India to help the army as well as the locals during those trying times. Their dedicated contribution was recognised by the whole nation when then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, as a special gesture, invited the RSS to take part in the Indian Republic Day parade of 1963. During the 1965 India-Pakistan war, at the request of then PM Lal Bahudar Shastri, RSS volunteers maintained law and order in the country and donated blood. When Pakistanis were trying to take over Jammu and Kashmir, it was the dedicated and sacrificing swayamsevaks who cleared the snow from the airstrips and repaired airfields so that the Indian air force could land their aircraft. 

Also, not many people know the RSS also actively participated in the liberation of Dadra and Nagar Haveli from Portuguese occupation. Noted journalist Khushwant Singh, who had otherwise been critical of the RSS, acknowledged the fact that the RSS was instrumental in helping Sikhs in large numbers when rioters went on rampage during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, where even government machinery failed. Even today, whether it is natural disasters like the Tamil Nadu Tsunami, the Gujarat earthquake, the Andhra Pradesh and Uttarakhand floods, or manmade disasters like the Bhopal gas tragedy or the recent Assam riots, RSS  swayamsevaks are the first to reach those in need of help.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) was founded in 1925 by Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar with an aim to unite Hindus. He was the one who took the RSS to spread across India. His successor Madhav Sadashiv Golwarkar after taking charge in 1940, held the reign for 33 years. The nationalistic ideology of the RSS made it popular throughout India. Currently the RSS is active in India as well as abroad.  The RSS has near about 4.5 million active members across India and over 100 affiliate bodies. In fact the basic founding principle of the RSS is “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” – the vision of the whole world as one family. The guiding principles towards this vision are voluntary service to the nation for socio-economic welfare and development. Their ultimate goal is to inspire in every Indian the spirit of unity, self confidence and the feeling of national pride. They strive to make India most prosperous and a powerful world leader.

It is these strong ideals of the RSS that have gone into the making of great visionary leaders like the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Their policies of inclusive growth have become a benchmark for all and their good governance that is talked about in very high regard. The strong character of a swayamsevak is built by inculcating the virtues of nationalism, selfless service and discipline. The RSS preaches that Hinduism is not a religion but a way of living. The ruling party at the Centre, the BJP is strongly influenced by RSS as a large section of its members and leaders belong to the Sangh. The core ideology of the RSS is based on Hindutva, the philosophy of Hindu Nationalism which believes in Ekam Sat Viprah Bahudha Vadanti. (Truth is One, Sages Call it by Many Names). Initially only upper caste Brahmins were part of the Sangh but with time the RSS has had many Dalit and middle caste people as its members. Many of these are now holding key positions in the Sangh.

In October 1950, Jana Sangh, a new party was launched by the members of the RSS. The RSS was banned thrice on frivolous grounds because of political motives but the ban was lifted as no evidence could be found of iits involvement in any illegal activity. The RSS was banned in 1948 after Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination, during the 1975 Emergency in India, and after the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition. Sangh has a very simple method of working. Shakhas are the basic units of Sangh to carry out its work. In each locality Daily Shakhas are held, generally in an open ground for an hour. The place where the meeting is held is known as Sanghasthan. Swayamsevaks are the members of Sangh who take part in these meetings. So growth of the Sangh since its inception is through personal contact.