The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has always stepped up its efforts during any calamity or natural disasters and stood with the society to tide through the crisis. True to this attitude, the RSS has again rendering yeoman service during the present crisis due to COVID19 and the pursuant lockdown across the country. The RSS Swayamsevaks have given support to authorities and the common people in this fight against the coronavirus outbreak. The RSS had directed its units across the country to form local-level plans and distribute food packets, masks and soaps to the needy and help anyone affected by the lockdown.
It is for this endeavour more than 70,000 Shakhas and Milans of the Sangh and over three dozen of RSS inspired organisations are working to help the country fight the virus. The focus of the RSS work is to ensure that the needy sections of the society is supported throughout the lockdown period so that there is no lasting impact on their lives.
RSS inspired organisations like Sewa Bharati, Arogya Bharati and National Medicos Organisation (NMO), Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarti Parishad, Bharatiya Mazdooor Sangh, and many others have devised ways to support the government’s efforts to check the coronavirus outbreak. The RSS is focused on utilising its network, to conduct mass awareness and vigilance campaign about the Corona virus along with seva activities.
NMO has tasked more than 5,000 doctors who are members of the organisation to spread information about the virus along with contacting old age people on the phone regularly checking about their health so that no case goes undetected. Doctor of NMO are also helping people get medical care in case of an emergency at home.
Sewa Bharati which runs over one lakh welfare projects, largely for the marginalised sections of the society is using all its branches and self-help groups to work for the crisis. In Anoopgarh unit of Sewa Bharati, the self help group of women are making masks in large numbers on ‘No Profit, No Loss’ basis so that they can be distributed to the people. Sewa Bharati has asked all their volunteers to also create awareness and distribute masks and food wherever needed.
Arogya Bharati, a RS-inspired organisation is distributing medicines among the marginalised sections to boost their immunity. They are also creating awareness about personal hygiene and social distancing.
1.Cleaning the Government Hospital of Hosur, Tamil Nadu
2. Distribution of Grocery Kits to needy families at Nallurahalli near Whitefield, Bengalur
Swayamsevaks rise to the occasion
RSS Swayamsevaks eagerly jumped to serve the needy as soon as the lockdown was announced. Since then and for the last 3 weeks, RSS Swayamsevaks have been at the forefront of serving the needy. Here is a glimpse of such selfless service from across the country.
Delhi— More than 4,500 RSS Swayamsevaks are involved in relief work in Delhi. They are distributing 1,30,000 food packets to needy people everyday. Till Wednesday, the RSS had distributed more than 50,500 ration kits at 630 locations across the national capital. Swayamsevaks are further helping people in around 300 slums in NCR by distributing food packets, masks and soaps. While doing this they are also ensuring that there is no crowding. They are also working on creating awareness, making affordable masks available wherever they are required.
In another unique initiative, Swayamsevaks have distributed ration among sex workers in GB Road. For this, they prepared a list of 986 sex workers living there and categorised them into 250 joints (groups of workers living together). Later, 250 kits were distributed.
Assam and North-East— In Assam, RSS Swayamsevaks have distributed food and other materials to 14,513 families in over 410 villages. More than 750 volunteers are working day & night to provide food materials to the poor & needy families.
RSS Volunteers distributed grocery kits, packed food, kits with daily essential items to needy families affected by lockdown at Mongaldoi, Goalpara, Hojai, South Kamrup district, Keshab Nagar in Guwahati, Palasbari, Kamrup, Sivsagar and Dhubri in Assam.
ABVP volunteers distributed food and other essential items to the lockdown affected students from other states studying in Tripura.
Uttar Pradesh— RSS Swayamsevaks are delivering food items to more than 8,000 people through 35 relief centers daily. So far 74000 food packets and 2000 families have been provided ration materials. In Muradabad, they are distributing more than 2500 grocery packets to needy families everyday. RSS in collaboration with Dabur Memorial Trust and Sewa Bharati prepared 2000 food packets for lockdown affected needy people at Agra.
RSS has also started relief camps in the state. Two such camps in Lucknow are at Saraswati Vidya Mandir in Aliganj and in a guest house near Buddheshwar crossing. Vidya Bharti has set up 10-bed isolation camp in Madhav auditorium in Niralanagar, Lucknow.
In Meerut, Sangh swayamsevakas and volunteers of Seva Bharati formed 28 Jilla units grouped in 9 vibhagas having 1720 Swayamsevaks. They with guidance of the administration distributed relief materials to 8,221 households and 49,186 families at 448 places. Food is being cooked at 249 places and 31,000 hungry people are having meal daily on an average. A total of 2500 masks have been distributed so far. More than 4400 Swayamsevaks were involved in this endeavour.
Madhya Pradesh— RSS volunteers are distributing vegetables to needy people in Dhar district, Madhya Pradesh. RSS volunteers are distributing ration packets to more than 350 needy families in Barwani district.
On April 6, 17,534 face masks made by RSS inspired Ekal Bharat’s 24 skill centres, were distributed by volunteers in various areas of Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh. Total 74,913 masks have been made till date.
Rajasthan— Since March 15, around 8,213 Swayamsevaks from 893 Shakhas have provided food packets and ration kits daily to over 1.5 lakh families in the state apart from all round assistance to the governments efforts. This involves providing guidelines for prevention, distribution of pamphlets about coronavirus, running public awareness programmes on social media including steps to follow lockdown measures, distribution of food packets, special care of veterans, cleanliness, sanitizer spray, mask making and soap distribution.
When S.M.S. Hospital in Jaipur went through a crisis over the lack of masks, a team of RSS Swayamsevaks provided it with 5,000 masks in a short time. Many families of Swayamsevaks are involved in preparing masks. Around 87,775 masks have already been prepared.
Across Rajasthan, 65,033 kits of ration for 20 days have been made available by RSS Swayamsevaks to laborers and migrant population in Pratapgarh, Udaipur’s Sayra, Sanganer, Dausa and Bharatpur.
Karnataka— More than 8,400 RSS Swayamsevaks have worked round the clock in Karnataka Dakshin Prant to provide 71,667 ration kits, more than 1 lakh food packets, and over 51,000 face masks to the needy affected by the lockdown. This has benefited more than 3 lakh families in the prant.
Regular food and ration packet distribution are organised in several parts of Bengaluru, Bagalkot, Mysuru, Mangaluru, Hubballi and Shivamogga. RSS Swayamsewaks have come to the aid of students and workers from the North-Eastern states who were stranded during the lockdown. They were provided with food and essential items to last for the entire duration.
The next major task for RSS was to organise blood for the blood banks which wer facing huge shortages due to the lockdown. Blood donation drive were organised at Kengeri, Vijaynagar, Deepanjalinagar and other parts. More than 721 units of blood was collected and handed over to Rashtrotthana Blood Bank.
Kerala— Apart from distribution of food packets and grocery items to the needy, RSS volunteers have arranged for drinking water facilities for cattle, birds, and also arranged food for stray dogs in few parts of Kerala.
Seva Bharati volunteers jumped to help the laborers from Amethi who were stranded in Wayanad without food and other items. They were provided food and ration to last for several weeks.
In a unique initiative, RSS volunteers in alliance with the Kerala State Barbers and Beauticians Association organised free hair cut service and hygiene awareness for more than 200 orphaned senior citizens residing in various orphanages at Palakkad.
1.Distribution of Grocery Kits to needy families at Nallurahalli near Whitefield, Bengalur
2. Distribution of essential grocery items to needy people in
urban and rural areas of Chamba, Himachal Pradesh
3.RSS volunteers distributed rice, vegetables and other essential
grocery items to needy families at Sonarpur, West Bengal
4.Distribution of food packets to curfew affected needy families in Punjab
Telangana— More than 2,700 Swayamsevaks have so far distributed grocery kits to about 25,000 families in need at 369 locations in Telangana. The Swayamsevaks have also been creating awareness about precautions to be taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
RSS in alliance with Seva Bharati is also distributing masks, sanitisers, kits of essential commodities to people whose livelihood have been affected due to the lockdown in Hyderabad, Sangareddy District, Bachupally, Bollaram and other areas. These kits were also provided to 200 trainee police constables in Police Training Institute, Puranapool, Hyderabad. RSS volunteers served tea to municipality workers at Adoni, Andhra Pradesh.
In addition, Swayamsevaks have been volunteering to ensure that social distancing is followed at ration shops and other places where people gather to buy essentials, besides volunteering to help the police and sanitary workers.
1.Swayamsevaks from Attur (Tamilnadu) distributed face masks to Fire Service Personnel
2. “Annapurna Yojana” kitchen setup by RSS and affiliated
organisations in Mumbai is providing food to over 1 lakh people in the city
Maharashtra— In Mumbai, a massive effort was undertaken by the RSS in alliance with Janakalyan Samiti and the Keshav Srushti My Green Society. Over one lakh people in the city of Mumbai are being served food daily for the past week.
Named “Annapurna Yojana”, the scheme is being implemented in 24 wards of the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) wherein around 1.2 lakh people are being served hot cooked meals twice a day through 17 community kitchens.
The food cooked at these kitchens is being served through different channels. The BMC collects 40,000 food packets from these kitchens every day to serve its own staff and the medicos and police engaged in emergency services and to serve the, labourers and the migrants. Another 60,000 food packets are distributed through the RSS network at various underprivileged localities across city while around 20,000 food packets are given to daily wagers in the city.
Around 7,000 RSS Swayamsevaks are currently engaged in running these kitchens and distribution of the food.
Exemplary service by VHP
The VHP has distributed over 7 lakh food packets to the needy in over 2500 locations across the country. Since March 26, VHP has started helpline facility in every state of the country. In many states like Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab etc. this arrangement has also been done up to the district level. Several thousand people have availed of its services.
Preventive materials like safety masks and sanitizers have been distributed to more than 40,0000 people. Various relief works such as arrangements of milk for children, food for security personnel and sanitation workers engaged in duty, potable water for them, daily food supply for all patients in many hospitals in many cities are going on in association with many temples, Gurudwaras, Derasar (Jain temples) and other social and religious organizations. In many states like Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, thousands of migrant labourers have been provided with food for several days.
‘Matrishakti’ and ‘Durga Vahini’, the two wings of VHP, are also provide masks to people and are also arranging fodder for cows and stray cattle. n