The people who share the same values of patriotism and are dedicated to social change are bound to attend the RSS camps on invitations despite different political ideologies
Former President of India, Dr Pranab Mukherjee is at the centre of blazing debates in the mainstream and social media. The debate has stormed in because Mukherjee has accepted an invitation extended by Rashtriya Swayamevak Sangh (RSS) to attend the convocation of ‘Tritiya Varsh Varg’ at the Sangh headquarter in Nagpur. Mukherjee will be the chief guest in the convocation and he will address hundred of Swayamsevaks there. Sarsanghchalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat will be the chief speaker in this programme. Annually, ‘Tritiya Varsh Varg’ of 25 days is organised in Nagpur which is attended by Swayamevaks from around the country. This year the Varg started on May 14 and it will end on June 7. Some 709 Swayamevaks from all the provinces of the country have been trained in this programme.
For those of you who have known Sangh closely, bear witness to the fact that RSS has always been inviting people across the political spectrum that are active in social services and public life. In continuation to its tradition, RSS invited Dr Pranab Mukherjee this time, and he reciprocated by accepting the same.
A Long List of Invitees
It is a well-known fact that Mahatma Gandhi had graced a RSS event at Wardha (Maharashtra) in 1934. Next day, the founder of RSS, Dr Keshav Baliram Hedgewar met Gandhi ji in his ashram. Years later, on September 16, 1947, while addressing Swayamsevaks again, Gandhi ji recalled that, “I went to a RSS camp in Wardha, when the founder Dr Hedgewar was alive. Shri Jamanalal Bajaj had taken me to the camp and I had been very well impressed by their discipline, complete absence of untouchability and rigorous simplicity. Gandhi ji continued, “Since then Sangh had grown. I am convinced that any organisation which was inspired by the ideals of service and self-sacrifice is bound to grow in strength.” (‘Speech at RSS Rally’,CWMG, Vol. 89, p. 193)
Sangh has been extending red carpet welcome to patriots who are active in public life since 1930s. Former Vice-President of India Dr Zakir Hussain, and Jayaprakash Narayan were also invited and they also appreciated the works of Sangh when they closely watched it. General Cariappa also visited a Sangh camp in 1959 at Manglore. He said that, “Sangh’s work is close to my heart. If a Muslim can be very vocal while eulogising Islam, what is wrong if Sangh safeguards the values of Hindutva? My dear young friends! Never get discouraged by the fake propaganda against you. Dr Hedgewar presented you with an ideal of selfless service. You must advance on the same! Today, Bharat is in a dire need of selfless volunteers like you.”
Having been affected by the tireless services of Swayamsevaks during the Indo-China War (1962), then PM Jawaharlal Nehru invited RSS to officially take part in the Republic Day parade. More than three thousand Swayamsevaks participated graciously. Similarly, in 1965, PM Lal Bahadur Shastri invited Shri Guruji Golwalkar to attend the ‘All-Party Meeting’. This was a reflection of Sangh’s ideal of ‘Nation First’ which Shastri ji knew of.
During the celebration of Swami Vivekananda Centenary celebration, Sangh reached out to leaders across the political spectrum and mobilised the support for the construction of Vivekananda Memorial Rock in Kanyakumari. Shri Eknath Ranade successfully procured the signatures of some 300 Members of Parliament as an endorsement.
In 1977, when a severe cyclone hit Andhra Pradesh, bearing witness to the tireless efforts of rescue operations by RSS’ Swayamsevaks, Sarvodaya leader Shri Prabhakar Rao gave a new name to the Sangh asserting that “RSS means Ready for Selfless Service”.
Sangh has been readily and persistently working for a harmonious society which is bereft of any differences. A long journey of 92 years is going on well and multiplying everyday in its pursuit. Those people who share the same values of patriotism and are dedicated to social change are bound to attend the RSS camps on invitations despite different political ideologies.