The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has kept on renewing and evolving itself. It tweaked its organisation and helped roll out new organisations in its nearly 100 years of existence, to keep expanding its reach. Sometimes, they are so imperceptible, that many observers miss them till they take a big form and show their impact. Ekal Vidyalaya movement is one such example. In my book, ‘RSS – Its Evolution From an Organisation to a Movement’, I have expanded on this theme.
RSS Chief Dr Mohan Bhagwat once said in a meeting, “You are all welcome to do new experiments. If they are successful, let us know and we will try to replicate them. If you fail, there is nothing to worry about. However, there can be no compromise on Hindu Rashtra and Hindutva.” One of the most respected Sarkaryavah (general secretary) of the RSS, H V Sheshadri, had noted that Hindutva is the sap, the prana, that has kept this ancient Banyan tree of Hindu civilisation alive, with vital energy remaining uncompromised. If the sap dries up, the tree dies.”
One can feel a sense of urgency in the resolution and the discussions during the current Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha (ABPS). Having reached the landmark of celebrating its centenary in the next two years, it feels that it must fulfil the vision that its founder had given to the organisation by the time it completes 100 years. Dr Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, the founder, had said that the RSS should not be an organisation in society, but an organisation of society. His stated aim was to organise society and not create another organisation in society. It has been an easy journey in a society that has seen organisations split. The multiple splits and decay of the Congress, the splintering and weakening of the communist and socialist parties, and many other organisations point to this inevitability that the RSS has ably defied.
The ambitious resolution passed by the RSS shows that it believes the time has come to take a huge leap to fulfil its mission. In its statement in the recently concluded ABPS or All India Delegates Conference, RSS said, “RSS aims to bring transformation through social harmony, family values, ecological conservation, Swadeshi (Bharatiya) conduct, and awareness about civic duty. It believes that sewa or service and family education about Bharatiya values is not possible without the help of women.”
The meeting concluded with a resolution that the national resurgence that we witness today needs to be taken to its logical conclusion, based on the spirit of ‘Swa’ which is ‘selfhood’; a nation built on Bharatiya knowledge, Bharatiya philosophy, not copying any other nation’s march.
Any organisation would have happily planned centenary self-congratulatory celebrations, but the RSS hasn’t. It has, instead, resolved to reach out to every section of society. The work in the areas that the Sarkaryavah talked about, has already seen pilot projects, experiments and work on the ground. Now, these are to be taken across Bharat. This means a change in orientation of the basic unit of RSS, that is its ‘shakhas’. The swayamsevaks of shakhas will need to study the social realities of villages and settlements and work towards addressing their problems by involving the local communities.
The resolution wishes to fulfil the ultimate vision of the founder of the RSS. Dr Hedgewar refused to follow any existing model, for realising the goal of a free and strong Bharat, after working with other big organisations and began anew with a new humble organisation that would work on the basis of Bharatiya genius with its own model and its spirit of ‘Swa’. This sense of ‘Swa’ went on to spin off organisations in different dimensions of national life that rose on Bharatiya ideas – whether it was student movement or labour movement or religious movements or work in the tribal areas. We saw an entirely ‘swadeshi’ philosophy of ‘integral humanism’ based on ‘Chiti’ of this nation as described by Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay. We saw the strengthening of the spirit of ‘Swadeshi’ that was ridiculed at one time.
Hence, the resolution notes that “the prolonged journey of Bharat’s ‘Swa’ to realize the noble objective of global wellbeing has always been a source of inspiration for all of us. During the period of foreign invasions and struggle, Bharat’s societal life got disturbed and social, economic, cultural and religious systems were severely mutilated. In this period, under the stewardship of revered saints and great personalities, the entire society preserved its ‘Swa’ while being in a continuous struggle. The inspiration for this struggle was based on the ‘Swa–trayi’ of Swadharm, Swadeshi and Swaraj in which entire society participated.”
RSS realises that mere economic well-being does not guarantee a healthy society. The crumbling down of family as an institution, and the weakening of social bonds and society has seen the weakening of once powerful and prosperous Western societies. Hence, it notes that we need to make special efforts for achieving the objectives such as strengthening the family institution, creating a fraternity-based harmonious society and developing entrepreneurship with Swadeshi spirit.
In all its resolutions, RSS has always exhorted its swayamsevaks and then the society, to come forward for the resolution of various issues and fulfilment of its ideas. It believes that governments alone cannot bring in change and evolution. Society has to exert itself. Hence, the resolution notes that the entire society, especially the youth, will have to make concerted efforts in this regard. RSS calls upon the entire society including enlightened people to participate, with full strength, in this endeavour of evolving contemporary systems in all the fields of social life including educational, economic, social, democratic and judicial institutions in the light of Bharatiya thought process.
We, as a society, have finally recognised that though we attained freedom, we were slaves to a colonial mindset for the last seven decades. The resurgence of a Bharatiya mindset has begun only now. The resolution stresses that we need to establish a social life free from the colonial mindset, committed to civic duties for realization of the abovementioned objectives.
RSS is not oblivious to the efforts of various forces within and outside to frustrate any efforts of Bharat to rise in the comity of nations as a leading power. Hence, it underscores the fact that “while many countries have respect and goodwill for Bharat, some forces in the world are not accepting this Bharatiya resurgence based on its ‘Swa’. These forces opposing Hindutva within and outside the country are devising new conspiracies for creating mutual distrust in society, systemic alienation and anarchy by instigating selfish interests and divisiveness. While being vigilant towards all these, we also need to defeat their designs.”
Though the indications are clearly given, I wish a separate resolution was passed to underline the serious threat of the new Left and its international collaborators so the people could understand the seriousness of this threat and its insidious use of education and media to spread disaffection and break the society and the nation. Time has come to be more forthright in naming the enemies. Their attacks are vicious and unsparing. If they are going all out with no holds barred, why should RSS, the leading organisation of Bharatiya renaissance, be reticent? It is an open war against the integrity of this nation and a concerted effort is on to stop India from fulfilling its destiny. Swami Vivekananda had envisioned it nearly 130 years back when we were lost in despair. The evil axis of the West, the new Left controlled academia, their old allies the Church and the newfound allies, the Islamists and the illiberal secular groups of Bharat are out in the open, aided by enemies of Hindutva and Hindu dharma, the Soros and Omidyar networks. They need to be named, shamed, and defeated. Polite interaction is not an option anymore.
RSS senses that the time has come when Bharat acquires its rightful place on the global stage as a strong, prosperous nation committed to universal well-being. Dr Hedgewar had noted, “We are not here to celebrate the silver or golden jubilee of this organisation and we wish to see strong prosperous united Bharat with these very eyes and this very physical body.” However, it has taken four to five generations of self-sacrificing unsung millions to come to this stage where its vision is now shared by common citizens of our society. RSS is right in sensing the mood of the nation to fulfil the vision of a united strong prosperous Bharat. Destiny as Maharshi Aurobindo foresaw, beckons us.
The reviewer is a well-known author and political commentator. Views expressed are personal.
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