Despite all pressures from intolerant voices Dr Pranab Mukherjee decided to address the RSS third year Sangh Shiksha Varg in Nagpur
It is a great tragedy that Indian politicians are generally averse to studying anything but the art of deception and subterfuges, to serve their selfish political end India’s former President of India Dr Pranab Mukherjee, in the wake of his visit to Nagpur to address the RSS congregation, had been getting unsolicited advice from all around. P. Chidambaram, former Union Minister, who has absolutely no political standing of his own, and Jayaram Ramesh, the self-styled intellectual and former Union Minister, came to the ‘rescue’ of the former President, donning the mantle of Lord Sri Krishna in the battlefield of Kurukshetra, as if the former President was in a state of despondency and confusion, as was Arjuna at the warfront. These were not the only people, but the long list included Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Subrata Mukherjee, a long-time associate of Pranab Da, who is in the Trinamool Congress now, and Debabrata Biswas of All India Forward Block, etc.
“I sincerely believe that though the country is going downhill pretty fast, we see corruption everywhere, anti-social activities have become widespread, communalism is raising its ugly head, provincialism is vitiating the national atmosphere – all these wrongs will be set right if we learn something from the life, work and ideology of Dr Hedgewar....When I go through the recently published book on Bharat by eminent scholars of the world, I simply wonder how great we were in all spheres of life....Many of the modern scientific discoveries owe their origin to India. So there is no doubt that we will flourish again and become a great nation. But we must have the vision and leadership of men like Dr. Hedgewar.” Who said this? Prafulla Chandra Sen, a freedom fighter and former Chief Minister of Bengal!
“The allegations against RSS of violence and hatred against Muslims are wholly false. Muslims should learn a lesson of mutual love, cooperation and organisation from RSS,” said our former President Zakir Hussain, who was addressing a Milad Mahfil in Monghyr (Bihar) on November 20, 1949.
“The RSS is not the enemy of the Congress. It is not a communal political organisation.” This was Pattabhi Sitarammayya, Congress President, who was addressing the Congress workers in Kanpur. Ravi Shankar Shukla, the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh was a person who had taken the Sangh Pratijna (oath). Mahatma Gandhi had participated twice in the Sangh programmes- once at the Sangh Camp in Wardha and second, in the Sangh Shakha at the Bhangi Colony, at Delhi. Acharya Vinobha Bhave said: “I am an honorary member of the Sangh.”
In the beginning of 1950s, at the request of a well-wisher of the RSS, Jayaprakash Narayan had participated in a Sangh programme at New Delhi, with much reluctance and reservations. However, what he witnessed at the programme and the dedication and patriotism of the workers with high educational qualifications, who had resolved to serve the Sangh their whole life as Pracharaks, an honest person, Jayaprakash ji had to change his hostile opinion about the RSS. And finally, addressing a training camp of the Sangh, at Patna, on November 3, 1977, he said: “Friends, I am overwhelmed when I think about the matters concerning the country. I know that I don’t have long to live. I am living on borrowed time, and am on the brink of death. Even then I am determined to serve my country, my society, my people and the poor and the miserable of the land to the last ounce of my energy and the last breath in my body. I command to you the ideals of service, renunciation and sacrifice. I have no doubt that you are already imbued with these ideals and are of self-sacrificing nature and noble conduct. Here is the arena of a vast country open to you. You can accomplish a lot. May God give you strength and may you live up to such expectations.” Those who are now terming the RSS as fascist and accusing it of communalism, parochialism, etc. are, in effect, questioning the wisdom and integrity of these great men.
Former head of National Commission of Minorities, the late V.V. John had to say this about the RSS: “A disingenuous version of secularism is now being employed as an electoral slogan. In the current style of politics, it seems to be possible to establish ones secular credentials by denouncing the Rashtreeya Swayamsevak Sangh while making deal with the communal parties and seeking the political support of religious demagogues.” And, in my opinion, all those politicians who came forward to ‘advise Pranab Da, belonged to the category described above by late the V.V. John.
It is a great tragedy that Indian politicians are generally averse to studying anything but the art of deception and subterfuges, to serve their selfish political ends.
The Sangh is, as said in its Prarthana, fulfilling God’s mission, and this work is impersonal. So the tradition of inviting even people entertaining ideological differences of opinion with the Sangh, started right from the time of Doctor ji, the founder of the Sangh, speaks volumes about the tremendous self-confidence of the organisation, born out of the conviction that what it does is God’s work.
Pranab Da also, who, in spite of expected opposition and resistance from the Congress Party of which he was once a member, and the ‘secular brigade,’ was quite unperturbed and had opted to stand firm on his commitment, requires to be commended for the self-confidence he had shown in accepting the invitation to be chief guest at the customary public function, marking the culmination of the 25 days long third year Sangh Siksha Varg in Nagpur.