Chapter 23: From uniting Hindus to work for Vanavasi Kalyan – Bhaskar Rao ji’s contribution for the society is praiseworthy
This year marks the 100th birth anniversary of Bhaskar Rao, the first Prant Pracharak of Kerala and former national organising secretary of the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram.
Veteran journalist and former Member of Parliament Shri Tarun Vijay speaking about his life and contributions, says
“He was a mahatma to Bharatvarsh that we see in the personalities of Mahatma Gandhi and Pt Deendayal Upadhyaya,”
Shri Tarun Vijay had worked as full time worker in Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram between 1981-86.
Bhaskar Rao ji was a very simple, yet stronger than the steel man. He was a source of strength for thousands of RSS workers who were facing the brutal attacks from the CPM goons, he was a brother to innumerable families who sought his advice and help for matters that included education, medical treatment, marriage, mutual discords and even buying a new house !!
His methods were different. He never taught principles of Sangha through books, never discussed shakha when visiting a family, but remained a dear chettan, jeshtan, aniyan,anujan……..to all those who were ready to live and sacrifice their lives for Bharath Mata.
He was a living embodiment of Dr Hedgewar’s ideals and represented the old school of pracharaks carrying forward the legacy of Dattopant ji, Seshadri ji, Yadavrao Joshi ji and Suryanarayan Rao ji.
He had spread such a warmth that there was a sense of affinity, that each one of the Swayamsevaks thought- I am very close to him. And he was close to every swayamsevak equally and treated them like family.
There was a common notion about him among Swayamsevaks, if some one hadn’t seen Deendayalji, he could well imagine how he might have been after seeing Bhaskar Rao ji.
Bhaskar Rao ji was born in Yangaon on 5th October 1919, where his father Dr Shiv Ram Kalambi was a popular medical practitioner and a RSS Swayamsewak.
His mother Smt Radha Devi was instrumental in giving Bhaskar Rao the intrinsic values of a Hindu family. Unfortunately Bhaskar Rao lost his both parents too early. This forced him to return to Mumbai with his uncle and pursue studies. He graduated from St Xaviers College and took LLB degree from Bombay university.
But the destiny had some thing else planned for him. The plight of the Hindus who were struggling for the independence from the British on one side and the attacks of the Islamists and Christian evangelists on the other saddened him. He decided to be a pracharak in the RSS and was sent to Kerala in 1946.
Kerala: The most challenging chapter
It was the most difficult time for the Hindu consolidation in Kerala those days. Muslim offensive against the Hindus was on a rise, Christians were forcibly trying to take over many Hindu shrines and their zeal to convert Hindus was unstoppable.
Hindu society too was deeply divided in caste and community segments, the influence of Sri Narayan Guru, Mahatma Ayyankali, had saved Hindus to a great extent, still the flood of assaults on the Hindus was continuing .
RSS had hardly twenty shakhas in the entire Kerala region as it was known then as Travancore-Cochin or Thiru-Kochi (1949–1956), originally called United State of Travancore and Cochin.
The Malabar area was a Muslim hub and was the first Muslim majority district carved out by the Communist government led by EMS Namboodiripad ( Elamkulam Manakkal Sankaran Namboodiripad).
The Hindus in Kerala needed a strong helping hand to regain confidence that was shattered by the barbaric Moplah violence.
Dr B.R Ambedkar writes, “The Hindus must have the courage and the faith to feel that they can protect their religion in spite of such fanatical eruptions. A verbal disapproval by the Mussalmans of Mopla madness is no test of Mussalman friendship. The Mussalmans must naturally feel the shame and humiliation of the Mopla conduct about forcible conversions and looting, and they must work away so silently and effectively that such a thing might become impossible even on the part of the most fanatical among them. My belief is that the Hindus as a body have received the Mopla madness with equanimity and that the cultured Mussalmans are sincerely sorry of the Mopla’s perversion of the teaching of the Prophet”—
(B. R. Ambedkar, Pakistan or the Partition of India. Chapter 7).
Bhaskarattan, who was living called so had a huge challenge before him to prove worthy of this Sangha legacy , tackle the situation and hold the flood of assaults on Hindus as well as keep the morale of the society high.
His focus on the low income groups, making new Sangha Swayamsevaks among fishermen, poor artisans, farmers, rickshaw drivers, teachers and students was a big success. RSS grew leaps and bounds in rural areas and among the poorest of the poor sections.
It drew the brutal reaction of the communist leadership . The long list of the martyrs of the Sangh is a testimony to the bewildered CPM leadership that found refuge in killing the young RSS workers.
It goes to the credit of Bhaskar Rao that he remained an unwavering source of solace and strength to the bereaved Sangha families as well as creating a new generation of Swayamsewaks who won’t be fearful of CPM violence.
Bhaskar Rao ji was a young lad in his twenties when he decided to give his life for the society, in-spite of having a LLB degree in his pocket in those days when being a solicitor meant a high profile rich life.
He learnt Malayalam and became one with the new environment he was asked to adopt. Consolidating the Hindu society, encouraging dharma and powering cultural threads among the new generation was his main task and soon he became a highly respected household name among the RSS cadre.
He worked to eliminate the caste barriers and took strong stand to help and support intercaste marriages.
Bhaskar Rao is the creator of the Veer- Kerala that will not yield before the violence of the anti Hindu forces, keep the fire of Dharma intact with Ahuti of their lives, defeat the foreign funded agencies of the Islamists, insanely brutal Communists democratically and keep on working to build society through humanity, toleranance and a civilized Hindu behaviour , dedicated to Bharat Mata.
The second avatar:
His life’s second avatar was to join India’s largest tribals service organization Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram in 1984.
The Kalyan ashram saw best of the service projects, new hostels, medical centres, schools, and late evening literacy classes for tribal farmers under his guidance.
Tarun Vijay remembers his help and writes,
“When he saw my mother was having a difficult time in Dehradun, as she was alone and had seven eye problem that made her helpless, while I was in Dadra Nagar Haveli, he, sent a few tribal students from Assam to be with my mother and also study in local school. The idea later grew into a bigger separate Vanavasi school and hostel thats was inaugurated by Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee . He helped and encouraged all, and each swayamsewak never ever felt as if his help is like a ‘burden”.
It certainly was a new challenge for Bhaskar Rao ji when he was asked to work among tribal people, as organizing secretary of the Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram , which is running thousands of schools, colleges, hostels, all over India- in specifically tribal pockets. The approach of tribals towards development was clouded by various inhospitable factors that had made them vulnerable to exploitation by the rich urban traders, miners, bureaucrats and of course foreign funded conspiracies of proselytization.
It is often ignored that though the tribals form just eight percent of Indian population, more than ninety eight percent incidents of insurgency, terrorism and foreign controlled activities like conversion through agencies occur in the tribal region alone.
One can not awaken a person who wont understand what exploitation means.
“Give them good education, nourish their body and the soul and you will see that you have turned him into a brilliant, awakened patriotic Indian”, Bhaskar Rao ji would say.
Good education is the key to not only prosperity and health but also to produce patriotic Indians who can contribute enormously to the growth of motherland.
He said that the education must be such that it must inculcate values of love for motherland, dharma and culture- and they must understand that a conversion to an alien faith not only makes them alien to the very heritage of their ancestors but also cuts all threads that form their cultural and civilizational fabric.
Great ideas were so beautifully explained by him that there was hardly any need for further elaborate or get into a reactionary, offensive mode.
He was a mahatma to Bharatvarsh that in who m the personalities of Mahatma Gandhi and Pt Deendayal Upadhyaya could be seen
Source: article on Bhaskar Rao ji by Tarun Vijay in Organiser
Dr Sindhu Prashanth