Vision In Action
The Role of Sangh in Independent Bharat
After 1948, fervent discussions were doing the rounds about the necessity of the role and existence of the Sangh in Bharat, as Pakistan had come into being and as such there was no cause for a Hindu-Muslim conflict. In this regard, Shri Guruji’s guidance was very clear and emphatic: “The Sangh was never established to have conflict with anyone; nor for countering any attack. The main objective of the Sangh is character-building of the nation.... If the Hazrat Mohammed Saheb had not been born and the Hindu society had been disoriented as at present, the organization of Hindus by the Sangh would have been as inevitable as it is today.”
The All-Embracing Swadeshi Style
The most important task of any leadership of any newly independent nation is to bring about the necessary change in the mental make-up of the people. Shri Guruji was very well aware of the mentality of the newly independent Bharat. The British had not only enslaved Bharat politically and financially but also culturally in every sphere of life. They had even succeeded in their evil designs to a very large extent. The leaders of our Independence war had recognized this fact and they had tried to remove this suicidal mentality by speaking emphatically about Swadeshi, Goraksha, Swabhasha, Hindi etc. After Doctorji, Shri Guruji too undertook several steps to awaken the masses to these principles through the Sangh. His ideas about Swadeshi were all-embracing. His idea of Swadeshi was not confined to the use of indigenous things alone; they included all aspects of day-to-day life like-the invitation for marriage or programme greetings etc. in our own languages as also observing birthdays in the Hindu tradition etc.
Right from the time of Doctorji, Hindi was used as the communication-medium by the Sangh. The mother of all Bharatiya languages (and even of languages the world over) Sanskrit was also not left behind. Keeping this in mind, all the Prarthana, commands, Ekatmata Stotram, Ekatmata mantra, Bhojan mantra etc. were prepared in Sanskrit. Gradually, the English tunes and compositions were replaced by Bharatiya tunes and compositions in the band of the Sangh. New and appropriate compositions for the band were composed in Sanskrit. In all the schools managed by the Swayamsevaks, the local languages were made the medium of instruction. As on today, there are more than 20,000 such schools right from nursery to twelfth, which are functioning throughout the country by the name – ‘Vidya Bharati.’
To Save the Holy Cow: A Point of Nation’s Veneration
In Bharat, the cow has been an object of reverence from very ancient times. The Goraksha was a main issue during the struggle for independence also. Shri Guruji also raised the issue and constituted an all-Bharat forum called ‘Go-hatya Nishedha Samiti” (Anti-cow slaughter committee). Noted cow-devotees, saints and sages from all over Bharat, participated in it. In support of the demand to ban cow-slaughter, the Swayamsevaks collected nearly 1.75 crore signatures of adult Bharatiyas from all over the country from 81,524 villages, towns and cities. These were transported to Delhi and on 7th December 1952, taken in a procession of 22 bullock carts and presented to the then President of Bharat, Babu Rajendra Prasad, with Shri Guruji as the head of the delegation. The Central Government was not in a mood to make an all-Bharat law on the issue but some states did make a law banning slaughtering of cows.
Linguistic Division of States: Ringing the Danger Signal
Those days, linguistic division of the states was the point of serious discussions. Shri Guruji warned against the inherent danger there in: “This may in future lead to fanatic instances in the name of languages. This may well become an issue of friction and ill-will amongst neighboring states.” He wrote an impressive article on this issue in which he appealed to the leaders of the country to ‘have guts and accept a unitary state for the entire nation.’ In this context, he had reminded the historic role of Abraham Lincoln in shaping the unified America. Unfortunately, the then leadership did not have the nerve to take this vital decision in the cause of the unity of the country. As a result we are now experiencing the dire consequences of that failure. There is constant conflict over the distribution of the waters of Kaveri, between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka; and of Narmada, between M.P. and Gujrat. Likewise, in north India, Haryana and Punjab have been subject to water and territorial conflicts.
The linguistic division of states also gave birth to a controversy in Punjab in the name of Punjabi Suba. The Arya Samaj had called upon the Punjabi speaking Hindus, other than Sikhs, that they also should get Hindi to be recorded as their mother tongue. But Shri Guruji clearly stated, “Punjabi, Hindi are all our national languages. Hence, the Punjabi speaking Hindus, other than Sikhs, should honestly record Punjabi as their mother tongue.” Although this statement upset the Arya Samajis, the Sikhs’ respect the honesty of the Sangh even today.
In Freeing Goa
In 1955, Swayamsevaks of the Sangh played an active role in freeing Goa from the atrocious anti-Hindu rule by the Portuguese. Shri Guruji in a circular said, “This is a golden opportunity for police action in Goa. This will not only liberate Goa but also enhance our national prestige.”
Towards a New Direction
The President of ‘World Fellowship of Buddhist’ Justice ‘U-Thant-Thun’ of Myanmar came to Bharat, met Shri Guruji and frankly declared that Buddha had preached the Sanatana Dharma only and Buddhism is very much a part of Sanatana Dharma.
The Constructive Aspect of Dr. Ambedkar
In 1956, on the occasion of Vijayadashami, lakhs of people from the Mahars belonging to schedule castes adopted Buddhism under the leadership of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. Shri Guruji’s reaction to this was noteworthy: “Dr. Ambedkar has made an extraordinary effort to uplift a huge section of the ignorant and oppressive Hindu society. By this he has tried to restore self-honor to those who had been humiliated for long. Thereby he has done a great service to the nation.”
An important point to remember in this connection is: Babasaheb Ambedkar had inculcated the holy Samskaras (doctrines) of the Hinduism right from his childhood. Hence, for a very long period, he had tried to make the so-called high-caste Hindus to accept, embrace and give equality and respect to their brothers who were being called untouchables. But unfortunately, his efforts had not succeeded. That was when he started thinking of going out of the fold of Hinduism. Babasaheb rejected the attractive offers from Islam and Christianity by saying, “Accepting Christianity is like strengthening the British all the more, and in Islam there is not even a shade of freedom of the human mind.” In a letter to Mahatma Gandhi, he wrote, “I want to assure you that my forthcoming step shall not be in the least detrimental to the fundamentals of Bharatiya culture and tradition.”
Camp at Indore: Timely Guidance
The Sangh would organize camps from time-to-time to communicate guidelines for the forthcoming activities of the Sangh to its main workers. The first such meeting was held in 1954 in Sindi and the second was organized in Indore in 1960. This was attended by the divisional level office-bearers of the Sangh as well as important workers serving in different fields. Therein Shri Guruji would daily talk at length with the Swayamsevaks. He made the twofold nature of routine and occasional activities of the Sangh very clear. He said, “Under no circumstance should the daily routine of the programme be hampered.”
While speaking about the Varna vyavastha he clarified that as the older, dried branches fall off a growing tree to give place to new ones, likewise, the society would shed Varna vyavastha the existing social structure at one time and give place to a new necessary one. This is a natural process of the development of the society. Later, he also explained the true concept of discipline and nature of Sangh work in the light of spiritual aspect to the Swayamsevaks.
Shri Guruji had deputed some important Pracharaks into different areas of the national life with the objective of infusing Hindutva in these areas. Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherji had approached Shri Guruji seeking workers to consolidate the existing Jansangh as an all-Bharat body. Shri Guruji deputed Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Nanaji Deshmukh and others as his prominent co-workers. At that time, he made it very clear, “RSS should not be dragged into politics as it cannot function under any political patronage. Its main objective is to nurture the true cultural life of the nation.” Dr. Mukherji gladly accepted this role of the Sangh and also said he totally agreed with the ideal of the Hindu Nation.
Likewise, Shri Guruji gave his valuable guidance to Dattopant Thengadi, who was working in the labor movement, the workers of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and the Pracharaks in the field of education, to each according to their area of operation.