Battle with COVID19 in Pune’s Slums - RSS Swayamsevaks ‘To live and die for the nation’

    27-May-2020   
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Sarsanghchalak Mohan Ji Bhagwat had said that with little training, RSS swayamsevaks would be able to work with our soldiers. Pune fight against COVID19 was an example of the same. Hundreds of RSS swayamsevaks joined the humongous task despite knowing that their lives were in danger, and no one boasts of what they have done.”  
The number of reported Corona virus cases in India is increasing daily and now it has crossed the 1-lakh mark. Unfortunately, lots of people have lost their lives and many of them are feared in the situation. However, certain sons of the soil even in the worrisome situation are repaying their debts on motherland by owning up the sacred duty of combating the virus and rescuing their brothers and sisters of the land. The sons of the motherland are non-other than the Swayamsevaks of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
 
In the pandemic, Pune, the city of happiness has also been swallowed up by the deadly virus. Till now, 3000+ cases were reported in the city. Under the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), doctors, nurses and paramedical staff have controlled the pandemic outbreak; however, the task is too strainful. Hence, to aid the PMC doctors, swayamsevaks composed themselves to counter the Corona Virus in the containment zones (Hotspots) of the slum areas in Pune. The promising aspect for the nation is that most of the swayamsevaks involved in this task were youths. Interestingly, the parents of youth swayamsevaks like Rutuwal Navle happily granted permission for the cause.
 
The necessary arrangements of swayamsevaks were made in the hostels of Abasaheb Garware College, Pune and then the swayamsevaks were medically checked-up before their involvement. Under the expertise of doctors of various leading hospitals, the swayamsevaks were trained about the use of PPE, Infrared Thermometers et al. To boost morale and immunity power, ‘Shakhas’ involving physical exercises, Pranayam, Suryanamaskar was held early morning daily. Finally, on April 28, the Corona ‘Yoddhas,’ i.e. PMC doctors along with swayamsevaks set out to defeat the virus in the battleground.
 
In these red zones, many were found to be positives, and a lot of them were kept in segregation centres. Every man was screened and recorded in the slums, body temperatures were checked, everyone was asked some questions and if required masks were provided. If some citizens were found to be different, they were marked and listed, necessary medicines were provided and the norms related to social distancing were explained. Screening in such slum areas showed that people were living in a congested manner in each house, few of them believed in wrong rumours and feared to come out openly however many citizens considering the seriousness of situation cooperated the doctors and swayamsevaks.
 
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Screening in the scorching heat of more than 40-degree Celsius and the narrow lanes of slum meant utmost dedication and minute level of precautionary measures. Hence, the PMC ensured that at the end of the day, small parts of PPE kits were sanitised and necessary measures were taken for the swayamsevaks.
 
The swayamsevaks worked tirelessly for three days continuously and after four days of segregation, and on the understanding that the results of their reports were negative, they were welcomed proudly by their families.
Rutuwal Navle on achieving the unprecedented task says, “After putting on the PPE kit on the first day, I realised how difficult the task would be!” However, on completing the three-day task, he adds, “Today I received a report, the mail in the beginning addressed us as ‘Corona Warrior’. I could immediately recall the words of Sarsanghchalak Mohan Ji Bhagwat. He had said that after a little training, the Sangh swayamsevaks would be able to work with our soldiers. This was an example of that! Hundreds of Sangh swayamsevaks jumped on for the humongous task despite knowing that their lives were in danger, and no one boasts of what they have done.”
 
Another swayamsevak involved in the activity says, “It should be mentioned here that without any discrimination as Hindus, Muslims, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, Christians, Jews, Sikhs, Sangh swayamsevaks are working relentlessly! Because Sangh’s thought process is of ‘Sanatani Hindu’ this thought is ingrained in the minds of each and every Swayamsevak. On the ideas of ‘Nation First’ and ‘Brotherhood’ youths have jumped on to this big Ship named ‘Seva’ amid an infinite ocean of Corona! At last, I would say just one thing, let anyone think whatever they want to but on doing this activity, I remember a Geet which says, ‘सेवा है यज्ञकुंड, समिधा सम हम जले ||’ (Seva is a ‘Yadnyakund or Sacred fire’, we (Syayamsevaks) would burn like the sacrificial woods.)” 
 
Rutuwal Navle on achieving the unprecedented task said, “After putting on the PPE kit on the first day, I realised how difficult the task would be!” However, on completing the three-day task, he adds, “Today I received a report, the mail in the beginning addressed us as ‘Corona Warrior’. I could immediately recall the words of Sarsanghchalak Mohan Ji Bhagwat. 

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Swayamsevaks of RSS attends daily ‘Shakhas’ which forms the energy source of all their activities. The activities in a Shakha can be mainly divided into ‘Sharirik’ and ‘Bauddhik’. In ‘Sharirik’ part of improving upon one’s inner and outer strength, ‘Pranamyam’, ‘Suryanamaskar’ and physical exercises are held while in ‘Bauddhik’ Subhashits, poems and verses are sung. The following verse sung in daily Shakha is imprinted on the minds of Syayamsevaks,
 
देशासाठी जगायच र...
शिवबा न सांगवा धाडलाय र...
येळ पडली तर मरायच र...
देशासाठी जगायच र...
(One has to live for the nation, Shivba (Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj) has called upon us that if time demands one should sacrifice himself for the nation)
 
Amid humid conditions and the thronged slums everyone inspired themselves through the verse and thought this was the time to live and die for the motherland, remembering the Chhatrapati, Swayamsevaks fearlessly achieved this unprecedented feat of countering the COVID-19 virus in the battlefield of containment zones of Pune.
 
To achieve this feat, Swayamsevak’s emotion of ‘राष्ट्र सेवा’ follow the Guruji’s mantra of, ‘राष्ट्राय स्वाहा | राष्ट्राय इदम् न मम ||’ in all three dimensions of ‘मनसा’, ’वाचा’ and ‘कर्मणा’
 
(The writer is Mumbai-based social activist)