With the passage of time, the relevance of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in public life is becoming more and more evident. The Swayamsevaks of the RSS are contributing positively in bringing developmental changes in each and every sphere of public life, which is being observed by a large section of the society. Thus, it is obvious that now curiosity has arisen to know who was founder of this organisation and what his ideas were.
Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar was a patriot since childhood. The nationalist ideas regarding independence of Lokmanya Tilak were extremely popular in Nagpur during those days, which influenced Doctorji, too. He used to enthusiastically lead anti-British rule activities like giving speeches against colonial rule on the day of Vijayadashmi and leading the “Vande Mataram” movement in his school. It was the result of his brave personality and patriotism which resulted in the formation of such dynamic organisation like RSS.
He was a foresighted person.That is why even after completing 100 years of its formation, RSS as an organisation is still relevant in the present scenario and acts as a positive force. The working of the RSS and its cadres reflect the qualities and pious ideas which were part of his personality.
As Doctorji himself was a born-patriot, RSS, too, as an organisation is naturally patriotic organisation. This trait is an integral part of the activity of each and every Swayamsevak. “Nation First” is the motto which forms the base for the working of the organisation as well as every decision made by the RSS.
For Doctorji, nation’s independence, sovereignty and culture were not the matter of political bargaining. Dr Hedgewar was active in the freedom struggle in Nagpur and received hero’s welcome when was released from the prison. He believed in encouraging people to do good work by himself taking the back seat. Similarly, RSS too believes in focusing on doing constructive work which strengthens the society, instead of chasing publicity.
During Doctorji’s lifetime, Mahatma Gandhi and Dr BR Ambedkar witnessed the social equality and cohesion in the shakha of RSS; on similar lines today RSS is working actively to unite the different sections of the society
Doctorji was opposed to the caste-based discrimination prevalent during his days. His ideas on religion, culture and society were based on Hinduism’s principle that one sameGod resides in each and every human being. Based on this notion, RSS since its day of inception is open to each and every section of the society; even in the programmes and camps as well as in the organisational structure of RSS, the social caste or economic class of its cadre is never mentioned. During Doctorji’s lifetime, Mahatma Gandhi and Dr BR Ambedkar witnessed the social equality and cohesion in the shakha of RSS; on similar lines today RSS is working actively to unite the different sections of the society. Doctorji was highly influenced by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj; just like the different sections of the society were united under Shivaji Maharaja’s army as a united Hindu society, Doctorji wanted to unite the entire Hindu unity in the umbrella of RSS on similar lines. Even today, the Sangh, instead of trying to develop the organisation of Swayamsevaks, is dedicated in uniting entire society.
Since his school days, Doctorji used to be surrounded by friends and he used to inculcate patriotic values in his friends as well. To cooperate with others and to engage in social work was part of his nature. The first programme of RSS was to serve the people in Sri Rama Navami Utsav held in Ramtek near Nagpur. Even today, Swayamsevaks in a friendly manner keep connecting with new people and keep helping them. During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the society directly witnessed how the different organisations of the Sangh actively participated in relief work.
Doctorji used to say that patriotism is not our opinion but our vow. He once said how the heart pumps blood and keeps the body alive by remaining invisible from outside, a patriot is expected to work in the similar way
In big cities where the socialisation of people has decreased, the friendly socializing attitude of RSS as an organisation has proved to be a blessing. In such scenario, even the presence of just one Swayamsevak in the building or apartment brings vibrancy to the social life of that particular locality. Where the rural areas were getting neglected, the Swayamsevaks connected different people to those villages and ensured the development of that particular rural area by building a bridge of mutual understanding from both the sides.
Doctorji used to say that patriotism is not our opinion but our vow. He once said how the heart pumps blood and keeps the body alive by remaining invisible from outside, a patriot is expected to work in the similar way. He believed that a social worker should churn the curd and serve the butter to the society whereas should be content with the buttermilk left, only then one can ignite the quality of sacrifice in the society. Doctorji’s ideas were not limited to this, he worked tirelessly by imbibing the qualities of hard work, sacrifice and service to awaken the masses of the nation. RSS today is similarly marching ahead on his footprints.
(The writer is the Akhil Bharatiya Prachar Pramukh of RSS)