There can be two different scenarios to imagine state of nation. Firstly, had RSS been formed 90 years earlier in 1835, how could it had influenced life of the nation? In 19th century we find Hindu patriots, thinkers, leaders but not any organisation to hold the view that cultural nationalism was not a slogan which comes from up to bottom but from bottom to top. It was not meant to protect individual’s petty interests or fiefdoms or reactionary elements/traditions but to reinvent a new, modern and progressive man, to quote Shri Guruji (Golwalkar), ‘committed to corporate life.’ It provides wider horizon, obliterates narrow feelings and develops a sense of cultural world view which increasingly transcends limits of ‘self’. RSS founder Dr K B Hedgewar in his one of the last speeches delivered while presiding Maharashtra Yuvak Parishad in Poona in 1939 explained it beautifully. Dyanprakash, a Marathi daily, reported it on May 3, 1939. Dr Hedgewar observed,
“We say that we must be ready to sacrifice for our nation. By making such propositions, we treat our nation as different entity, not belonging to us. When we perform certain rituals like marriage or hair cut of a new born baby in our family we do not term our investment of time and energy as sacrifice. If I perform the ritual of thread ceremony of my son, spends time, money and energy to accomplish the ceremony, and call it my sacrifice then I ought to be sent to mental asylum for such a lunatic claim. Words like” sacrifice” and “help” are to be used for others and not for those who are ours. The duties that we perform for the country belong to us. Therefore we cannot use words like sacrifice and help for our own motherland.” It was this organic thought which lacked in our nation leading to fragmented life and allowed outsiders to define us either through confrontations emerging as victors or through negotiations. In both the cases we had been losers. How to create a modern progressive man with a sense of corporate life? A challenge remained unaddressed for centuries which led Swami Vivekananda to wonder why five Hindus couldn’t think and act together. Another Marathi daily Kal quoted Dr Hedgewar’s speech which answers the unaddressed concern,
“if there is a reason for decline of Hindusthan that is Hindu people have developed apathy towards the feeling of nationalism. Individualism shadowed our national life. Everyone confined to himself or glory of his family. RSS aims to establish pure nationalism and to root our rabid individualism which weakens the foundations of nationalism.” His tryst with nationalism became a rare path, a pure process and undying movement. He succeeded to create mental revolution when transformation of individual gets amplified into larger change. A prominent thinker of his time G S Panchabhai wrote in Mahrattaa on January 5, 1940, “There is no demi-god or over men in this institution (RSS). Every member of RSS from its revered founder to the newest recruit is a volunteer.” That is a reason RSS goes to the doors of individuals. It enjoys highest order of autonomy, self confidence and sense of nationalism. The three words mantra (formula) is ‘Organisation for Organisation’. This narrative privileges it with newness and continuity with change and annoys those who believe in counter narrative that organisation borns to die by serving the ends. RSS is undying movement and it has been confronting friends and foes who subscribe counter narrative. The confrontations are not farfetched. During the pre independent period it faced physical confrontations with imperialists and ideological and mental confrontations with nationalists forces, like Indian National Congress and Hindu Mahasbha.
Such ideological creed which became a practical narrative was bound to prevent evolution of hybrid political creed in our national life which partitioned the country. There is a reason to believe so. Less than five years after its formation the British Empire realized seeds of potential threat in it. The reason was not any big movement it had unleashed or it had indoctrinated cult of bullets. They saw new patriotism preached by RSS was a full time nationalism which generates unbound strength to do and undo anything. In 20’s there were dozens of organisations, which like RSS, were engaged in parades, drills, rigorous physical trainings and also semi military formulations. For instance, one of such organisations, for example, was Hanuman Vyayam Prasarak Mandal in the Central Provinces. All of them got imperialists patronage. But the British military department reported in 1930 that the growth of RSS would be ominous for the Empire.
Maharashtra reported on July 29, 1929 that Dr Hedgewar said in his speech in Nagpur shastra puja that the ultimate objective of RSS was ‘complete independence’. It was not polemics for Dr Hedgewar. He was one of the first nationalists who unequivocally declared ‘absolute (complete) independence’ as a goal as early as in 1919, a decade earlier of the Congress’ vow in December 1929. He formed Nagpur National Union (NNU). The interventions of NNU in two sessions of the Indian National Congress, held in September (Calcutta) and December (Nagpur) 1920 demonstrate its vital role. It sent a detailed programme of non cooperation to Calcutta Congress. No one can say whether the Congress resolution was a copy of NNU resolution or a coincidence. NNU led by Dr Hedgewar opposed the candidature of Vijay raghavachariyar as the president of the Congress. The reason was his presence in the Governor’s tea party after the Jaliawalan massacre. Maharashtra reported on October 13, 1920 the proceedings of the meeting of the Reception Committee. Dr Hedgewar opposed Dr B S Moonje’s pro- Vijay raghavachariyar move and said, “The Congress President should be spotless person.” He found support of Maharashtra from Nagpur, Sandesh from Bombay and Indian Review from Madras. His assertion for uncompromising nationalism was an open declaration as Maharashtra reported his speech on 24 August 1921, before he proceeded to jail for his anti imperialist role, “I am sure that an attempt for complete independence will now begin. We do not have desire to make Britain our slave and rule over it. But we simply want to rule on affairs of our own country as Britishers do in Britain and Germans do in Germany. We want independence and we will not accept defeat in this matter.”
It was the reason RSS was increasingly seen as a threat by forces inimical to pure nationalism and India’s independence. A popular song sung in Shakha was
PHADAK PHADAK TUN AASA NIRANTAR DET AASE AADESH, UTHA! CHALA! SWADHIN KARA HA AAPULA DESHA (The saffron flag gives us order rise and move forward to free our country).
Another song made a militant appeal,
“A star has arisen : the star of the RSS,
come, ye brave,
To the field of battle girt with your
beloved, beautiful Sword
The bugle has sounded :on the field.”
Severe repressive measures by the British government against RSS began after Dr Hedgewar’s participation in the Civil Disobedience Movement. They declared it an unlawful body in December 1932 and subsequently in December 1933 prohibiting employees of government and local bodies and their wards not to associate directly or indirectly with RSS.
A Police report observed, “the sentence passed on Dr. Hedgewar and the first party of satygrahis at Yeotmal on 21st July (1930) have had satisfactory effect and no other leader of prominence has since come forward.” The government move was defeated by the popular democratic forces in the CP Legislative Council in March 1934. Repression remained unabated and even increased during the Quit India Movement. Censuring letters, dismissing govt employees linked with RSS, raiding RSS camps were regular features. For instance, RSS swaymsevak from Madras and an employee of railway Lakshminarayanmurti’s letter dated December 13, 1943 to an RSS leader was intercepted and his whole family witnessed harassment by the authorities. Railway department constituted enquiry against him threatening to terminate his job.
Mahratta 28 June 1940
As an alternative scenario, had RSS been not formed in 1925, in other words had not come into existence in 1925 what would have been the state of the nation? Cultural and intellectual legacies would have been a forgotten as reactionary elements and competitive Christian and Islamic forces would have remained un-combated. Could anyone then imagine construction of Vivekananda Rock Memorial in Kanyakumari? One example unravels the magnitude of internal threats India has been facing on its culture and society. They want to see seized Hindu mind, fragmented Hindu society and forgotten Hindu culture. Sangh’s down to up process of nationalization of Hindu mind paved the way for resurrection of civilizational nation state. Its Hindu Rashtra represents non theocratic concept of cultural foundation of the nation which embodies civilization in its womb. There is no nation except India which coincides with and carrier of a civilization. Therefore Hindu Rashtra is an adjective which is not merely a literary or self satisfying terminology but unfolds mission to regain strength, role in the world order and leading renaissance for vasudhaiv kutumbkam. Dr Mohan Bhagwat aptly said everything is negotiable except Hindu Rashtra. This is a cardinal idea which gives RSS unbounded strength and makes it futuristic.
Purity faces danger from pollution. Therefore purification is unstoppable, unfinished and unending task. It faces four corner threats. RSS lives and grows in such inimical discourse surrounding it. What Britishers alleged in 1934 that it was a ‘communal and Fascist’ continues to be core theoretical idea of anti RSS forces. People knowingly or unknowingly, consciously or unconsciously oppose it when they place themselves beyond corporate life. Politics of perception has been used to combat RSS by Nehru’s-Marxists who constituted Red-Green Club of intellectuals. They use logic of power to create guilt conscience among Hindus about their own identity. Efforts of RSS to remove ambiguities on the question ‘Who am I?’ is unlikely to meet happy comradeship with colonized mind, Eurocentric thoughts and religious expansionists. At a time the Congress president Subhashchandra Bose questioned RSS ideology on 21 October 1938 in a letter to Shankarrao Deo, president of Maharashtra Congress and two years later he came to meet Dr Hedgewar on June 20, 1940 to solicit his support for revolution. In 1968 Jay Prakash Narayan was key note speaker in an anti Communalism convention organized by dominant Red-Green Club led by Subhadra Joshi to abuse RSS. As JP himself commented on the proceedings, “the impression should not be given that the only purpose of the convention was anti –RSS”. Less than a decade later JP joined hand with RSS in 1974 which led to restoration of democracy in India. When the similar people organized second such convention in March 1978, Zahoor Siddiqui of the CPI (M) who countered those who were projecting RSS as a threat to democracy and secularism, “It was not the RSS that imposed the Emergency. There was no Golwalkar at Turkman Gate, Muzaffarnagar or Pipli”.
Dr. Rakesh Sinha
It has emerged as a hard reality. The determination to go by its tried and tested formula organization for organization frightens neo liberals to pseudo secularists, individualists to anarchists. Ninety years journey is journey of impacting national life by the shadow of its strength. Mahratta’ s observation in its editorial on June 28, 1940 is pertinent even after 75 years,
“The wind blows and the grass grows. While several other organisations blow like wind, Dr. Hedgewar’s organisation grew like grass. While sceptics and theorists went on discussing whether Hindu Rashtra idea is correct or not, sound and scientific” a body of “trained, drilled, disciplined youths pledged to the ideal and creed of Hindu Rashtra’ spread over all India has come into being.” Every juncture of history RSS finds challenging forces and tasks. Self generating and self correcting forces as it has been, transcends limits of time and contexts. Neither it leaves anything inimical to nation as uncontested nor does it hesitate to support any idea of force privileging nation’s endurance. Its century year 2025 will coincide with new India with strong egalitarian foundation. The task before RSS is third scenario of new India emerging from its womb.