Chapter 19: An achiever par excellence, a great mentor, leader Prof. Rajendra Singh.
A nuclear physicist and RSS Sarsanghchalak??!!! If anyone is searching for a ‘Westren’ connection, you are into a pleasant surprise! Yes Prof. Rajendra Singh the fourth Sarsanghchalak of RSS was a Nuclear Physicist and that too from a time when it was very a rare academic course to be persued.
Prof. Rajendra Singh (29 January 1922 – 14 July 2003 ), popularly known as Rajju Bhaiya, was the fourth Sarsanghchalak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
He was chief of that organisation between 1994 and 2000.
He worked as a professor and head of the Department of Physics at Allahabad University but left to devote his life to the social service through RSS in the mid-1960s.
Rajendra Singh was born to Jwala Devi and Balbir Singh ji on 29 January in either 1921 (or 1922) in Shahjahanpur city of Uttar Pradesh, when his father was posted there as an engineer. Originally his father Balbir Singh belonged to village Banail Pahasu of Bulandshahr district.
Rajju Bhaiyya matriculated from Unnao. After that he was enrolled at the Modern School (New Delhi) for a brief period before moving to St Joseph’s College, Nainital. Progressing to Allahabad University, he obtained B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees.
Rajju Bhaiyya was acknowledged as an exceptionally brilliant student by Sir C. V. Raman, the physicist and Nobel Prize-winner, when he was his examiner during M.Sc. He had also offered Rajendra Singh a fellowship for advanced research in nuclear physics.
He joined Allahabad University after majoring in Physics to teach Spectroscopy. He taught at the university for several years, where later he was appointed head of the Physics Department.
Rajju Bhaiyya was also considered an expert in nuclear physics which was very rare those days in India. He was a very popular teacher of the subject, using simplicity and clear concepts.
It was during the time of Quit India Movement time that he came in contact with the RSS. From then onwards the Sangh influenced his life.
He resigned from his university post in 1966 and offered full-time services to the RSS as a ‘prant pracharak’. Beginning in Uttar Pradesh, Singh progressed to be the Sar Karyavaha (General Secretary) in the 1980s.
In 1994, he was nominated to succeed Bala Saheb Deoras as RSS chief.
While in Uttar Pradesh, Singh worked with Lal Bahadur Shastri, Chandra Shekhar and V.P. Singh. Murali Manohar Joshi was one of his best students.
Rajju Bhaiya’s term of six years as Sarsanghchalak was one of the most crucial for both Sangh and India.
Rajju Bhaiyya shared an excellent rapport with political leaders cutting across ideological lines besides academicians, social workers and intellectuals.
1998 saw the pragmatic shift of Indian politics when the main opposition party, The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) scaled new heights by emerging as the largest party in the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition at the Centre. This was a crucial period for the RSS and BJP. The BJP and the RSS shared many common ideologies.
He abdicated the post of Sarsanghchalak on account of his failing health in February 2000 and nominated the K. S. Sudarshan for the post.
During emergency he went underground and toured whole India. Singh was also responsible for organizing human rights convention presided by Justice VM Tarkunde in Delhi in 1976. He was also responsible for setting up friends of India Society International.
One of the most important beliefs of Singh was: “All people are basically nice. One should deal with every person by believing in his goodness. Anger, jealousy, etc. are the offshoots of his past experiences, which affect his behavior. Primarily every person is nice and everyone is reliable.”
An interesting story is proof for this belief of Rajju Bhaiyya.
In 1995, the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh had arranged a program for which the Khalisthani supporters had arranged a protest. When the Scotland Yard police called up the Chief of Swayamsevaks there, it was made clear that Sarsanghchalak will be received and program will take place without any disturbances.
Previously too from an incident from 1984 Scotland Yard had come to known about Sangh’s superior ethics and composure.
The Hindu Sammelana that took place had faced protests from Khalisthani supporters. Police were anticipating some disturbance to take place, but even amidst slogans being called out aganist Hindu Dharma, Swayamsevaks and participants maintained their calm attitude and the program was a grand success without any disturbances taking place.
So, when Bhaiyya ji visited London, a retired Police Officer of Wembley, Mr. John Hambleton had come down to receive Bhayyaji out of pure respect for Sangh.
This time the ‘Hired’ Khalisthani protestors took a march in front of the Venue and had shouted slogans against Hindu and RSS, but soon after all of them left and the Sikh brothers who had joined them in protest were left behind.
It was a sunny afternoon and they had no idea what to do next, when Bhaiyya ji saw the hungry protestors and instructed Swayamsevaks to serve food and water to them.
Though with some hesitation protestors finally accepted food and water and their mind set had completed changed about RSS.
Next day, the same people had hosted Swayamsevaks and served them food in Gurudwara.
Rajju Bhaiyya was a firm believer in the concept of swadeshi and empowering rural economy. Initiating the rural developmental activities, he had declared in 1995 that the utmost priority should be given in making the villages hunger-free, disease-free and educative. Today, there are over 100 villages where the rural development work done by swayamsevaks has inspired the people of surrounding villages and their experiments are being emulated by those people.
Addressing the Vijayadashami festival at Nagpur in 1995, Singh remembered Mohandas K. Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri. He challenged the way in which the central government was working on fulfilling the dreams of these two statesmen.
Rajju Bhaiyya wanted to establish a memorial named after Bismil in Delhi, the capital of India. He left to his heavenly abode on 14 July 2003 at Kaushik Ashram in Pune, Maharashtra.
He was the first non Maharashtrian Sarsanghchalak and was a non Brahmin. Sangh doesn’t even speak of caste within it’s system but it important to convey the same message to those who oppose RSS.
Dr Sindhu Prashanth