The mission behind the beginning of RSS
“The Hindu culture is the life-breath of Hindusthan. It is therefore clear that if Hindusthan is to be protected, we should first nourish the Hindu culture. If the Hindu culture perishes in Hindusthan itself, and if the Hindu society ceases to exist, it will hardly be appropriate to refer to the mere geographical entity that remains as Hindusthan. Mere geographical lumps do not make a nation.The entire society should be in such a vigilant and organized condition that no one would dare to cast an evil eye on any of our points of honour.
Strength, it should be remembered, comes only through organization. It is therefore the duty of every Hindu to do his best to consolidate the Hindu society. The Sangh is just carrying out this supreme task.The present fate of the country cannot be changed unless lakhs of young men dedicate their entire lifetime for that cause. To mould the minds of our youth towards that end is the supreme aim of the Sangh”
The words of the founder of RSS – Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, is Crystal clear as to why he thought of organizing the Hindu population. It is important to note that, ‘Doctor ji’ came up with an idea to ‘Organize’ ,not ‘mobilize’ the Hindus of India.
The Reasons: that instilled an idea of need for an organization like Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
When the Sangh was founded on September 27, 1925, Dr Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, popularly known as ‘Doctorji’, was still a Congressman. He had already spent a year in jail in support of Gandhiji’s Khilafat andolan in 1921-1922. He would spend another term in British prisons during the noncooperation movement in 1930-1931.
Hedgewar parted ways with the Congress because he felt Intensely restricted by its methods, including the personality cult around leaders such as Gandhiji.
Though he respected the latter and had discussions with him, Doctorji believed that over emphasis of non-violence as the sole method to throw out the British would be counterproductive in the long run.
He was also alarmed at what he saw as the incessant appeasement to the increasingly dangerous Muslim demands, all in the interest of the goal of Hindu-Muslim unity.
He felt, instead, that the best safeguard of the future of India was the unity and empowerment of Hindu society. The Congress could not be entrusted with this all-important task. A new, largely non-political organisation, based on Hindu ideological, cultural, and spiritual principles was needed. Hence the RSS.
The idea of ‘Sangh’ was conceived at a time when self-oblivion had overtaken the society. The struggle for political independence occupied the minds of people; this was but natural.
However, what was askew was the assumption that the arrival of freedom would automatically lead to the revival of genuine nationalist values which had receded during foreign rule.
Looking to the West as the pinnacle of civilization, irrationally perpetuating the Britishers self-serving theories of the ‘White Man’s burden’ –
That the Hindus were ‘a nation-in-the-making’, that the Hindus had achieved nothing of significance in the past, that Westernisation was the only hope for ‘the dying race’ that were the Hindus, unquestioning acceptance of myths floated by Westerners even in the name of history, that life in Bharat was and had always been at a near primitive state.
Acceptance of such numerous myths had virtually become mandatory for anyone with the slightest pretensions to education or intellectuality.
All the father-figures of national renaissance from Swami Vivekananda to Lokmanya Tilak and Mahatma Gandhi had laid great stress on the fact that releasing the society from such mental slavery was as necessary as throwing out the imperialist rulers.
While efforts to hasten political independence were being pursued in various forms, there were few or no sustained efforts for restoration of the Hindu mentality to its pristine form. Indeed, it is the Hindu psyche which should have constituted the content or core of freedom.
Such was the backdrop for envisioning a country wide movement such as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
Is it not the lack of social cohesion which enabled a handful of traders – who were no match to us either in intellectual brilliance or physical prowess- to establish their empire here?
It was the native chieftains who facilitated the repeated destruction of the sacred Somnath shrine. It was likes of Raja Mansingh who, by becoming a kingpin of Akbar’s regime, had betrayed the interests of the Hindus.
‘Doctor ji’ was a learned man. He knew history is going to repeat itself when India will finally be freed from the clutches of British and Hindu will again be betrayed of his interest. Hence he dedicated himself for the cause and laid foundation to the organization.
One of the hazards of organization-building is allowing one’s vision to be clouded with immediate concerns, resulting in dilution of perception of the ultimate goal.
Dr. Hedgewar’s especial strength was that he never allowed demands of the immediate present to veer him away from the ultimate mission he set to himself.
Keeping aflame the spirit of freedom and endeavouring simultaneously to strengthen the cultural roots of the nation marked the twin features of the character of the Sangh from the beginning.
Every passing day has confirmed the validity of this basic philosophy. Erosion of the nation’s integrity in the name of secularism, economic and moral bankruptcy, incessant conversions from the Hindu fold through money-power, thought-patterns and education dissonant with the native character of the people, and State-sponsored denigration of anything that goes by the name of Hindu or Hindutwa.
These pervasive tendencies provide ample proof of the soundness of the philosophical foundation of the Sangh as conceived by Dr. Hedgewar and its continued relevance for the survival and health of the Hindu society and of the nation as a whole.
It is the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh alone which has consistently been sounding the alarm against all these wrong tendencies in the body-politic of Bharat.
When it was founded however, the organisation ‘Doctorji’ was inspired to create was not even called the RSS; the name was chosen after a vote on April 17, 1926.
In fact, Doctorji became the sarsanghachalak or formal head much later, on November 10, 1929. By the time he passed away on June 21, 1940, he was just 51, but he had established the Sangh on a firm rooting.
A burning devotion to the Motherland, a feeling of fraternity among all citizens, intense awareness of a common national life derived from a common culture and shared history and heritage – these, in brief, became the foundation stones for the Rashtriya Swayamsevaka Sangh!
Dr Sindhu Prashanth