Dedicated to selfless service

via Courtesy: Daily Pioneer published on October 19, 2010
Ram Lal

[ The RSS, from its inception in 1925, has tirelessly worked for the nation and making all Indians proud of their common civilisational heritage. In keeping with the highest traditions of Hinduism, the Sangh does not discriminate on grounds of caste, creed and religion. It celebrates pluralism ]

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is not an unknown name today. The Sangh’s Swayamsevaks are spread all over the world not only in India. There are regular shakhas from Ladakh to Andaman and various programmes are organised throughout the year. There are 50,000 shakhas in 35,000 places in the entire country and 9,500 weekly meetings and 8,500 monthly meetings are held. More than one-and-a-half lakh service activities are being undertaken by Swayamsevaks for the uplift of neglected sections of the society, for generation of self-confidence and national feelings among them. Many Swayamsevaks are running several organisations in different. In the event of any tragedy faced by the nation, the Swayamsevaks have rendered selfless service.

The RSS was born in 1925 on Vijaya Dashami. The founder of the Sangh was Dr Keshavrao Baliram Hedgewar. It is said about Dr Hedgewar that he was a born patriot. In his early age he had thrown the sweets given to him at school on Queen Victoria’s birthday into the dustbin. Later he asked his brother, “Why should we celebrate the birthday of Queen Victoria?” His life was full of many such incidents.

At an early age he associated himself with the nationalist movement. He joined Calcutta Medical College because Kolkata was the main centre of revolutionary activities. He worked with many great revolutionaries there. On return he worked for the freedom movement alongwith great leaders of that time. Handling the entire arrangements of the 1920 Nagpur Congress Session, Dr Hedgewar urged the Congress leaders to demand full independence. His plea was not accepted at that time. Later when the Congress passed the resolution of full independence at the Lahore Session of 1929, all the Sangh shakhas wrote letters of thanks to the Congress. Dr Hedgewar went to jail twice during the freedom movement as did several Swayamsevaks.

Dr Hedgewar was pained to see the country’s subjugation. That is why these words were spoken at the time of affirmation by Swayamsevaks: “I have become a Swayamsevak of the Sangh in order to make the country free.” The other thing which pained him was that the Hindu society had forgotten national self-respect and become defeatist and disunited. It was to correct this situation that the Sangh was formed with the aim of instilling the feelings of national self-respect, selflessness and unity in Hindu society.

This concept of Dr Hedgewar was the result of positive thinking. Its purpose was not to oppose someone. So, it would be against the basic principles of the organisation to term it anti-Muslim or anti-Christian. We often hear people prejudiced against any Hindu or nationalist organisation like the Sangh to describe it as “conservative” and “communal”. Due to Hindus being tolerant, all religions were welcomed in India. Their followers came here and settled. Some of them merged with the local culture and some retained their independent existence.

The Hindu believes that the manner in which rivers having different sources of origin merge with the sea, people following different paths merge into the creator of all. This view allowed people of different faiths to live in India. And this in turn led to the creation of a plural society. The pluralism we see today is not despite of but because of Hindus and Hinduism. If Hinduism were to be weakened, then neither India would remain India nor would pluralism survive. Can pluralism be imagined in Pakistan?

In this background the RSS is a national necessity of this country. Swayamsevaks of Sangh are discharging their national duty by organising Hindus. In the daily shakhas of the Sangh efforts are made to develop the body, mind and soul of Swayamsevaks and to instil national feelings in them.

After going through the prayer, pledge, solidarity source, solidarity mantra, which Swayamsevaks reiterate daily, one can understand the thoughts of the Sangh, what is taught in the Sangh and how the mind of Swayamsevaks works. Swayamsevaks worship the Motherland and pray for peace and prosperity of the nation. At the conclusion of every event, Swayamsevaks chant Bharatmata ki Jai. There is no room for caste, creed, provincialism, untouchability in the minds of Swayamsevaks.

Hence, at moments of crisis and in times of tragedy, Swayamsevaks do not bother about who are the victims. They are the first to organise relief work. This was evident during the devastating tsunami of 2004. Before that, Swayamsevaks were the first to reach out to the victims of the Super Cyclone in Odisha.

It would be worthwhile to remember that Swayamsevaks toiled day and night after two airliners crashed into each other, resulting in the death of more than 300 passengers. The accident occurred in Haryana. Nearly all the dead were Muslims, and Swayamsevaks recovered their bodies, put them into coffins and handed them over to their relatives who were provided with board and lodging. Later the Swayamsevaks were felicitated at the local masjid.

Whenever there is a natural disaster like an earthquake, floods or cyclone, Swayamsevaks across the country collect relief material and rush to the disaster site. Destroyed houses are rebuilt, ruined survivors are rehabilitated. The Swayamsevaks do all this and more because they see everybody in India as children of Bharat Mata and deserving of their assistance. Swayamsevaks who migrate to other countries carry this spirit of selfless service and sacrifice with them. The good work being done by the Swayamsevaks in Mauritius, Trinidad & Tobago, the US, Europe and across the world bears testimony to this fact.

Thousands of Swayamsevaks have mobilised resources and set up Seva Bharati, Seva Prakalp Sansthan, Banvasi Kalyan Ashram and various other trusts and institutions to look after the welfare of disadvantaged sections of our society. Their purpose is to instil self-confidence among the poor and the under-privileged, those living on the margins, by empowering them educationally and economically. The results of these initiatives have been spectacular.

The Swayamsevaks have in the forefront of organising civil support for the armed forces during wars and conflicts. Whether on the frontline or in cities, towns and villages, Swayamsevaks have toiled tirelessly during the 1947, 1962, 1965 and 1971 wars. They were also active during the Kargil conflict. Many Swayamsevaks have sacrificed their lives also. Others have suffered injuries. They have neither sought nor received either compensation or medals of bravery from the Government. For them it was service to the nation, to be performed with utmost dedication and without any selfish motives. It is such selfless service that makes the Sangh and its Swayamsevaks stand tall and proud.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is a national asset. It should be treasured and its services used for national reconstruction and making India stronger.

A lot more can be said about the good work being done by the Swayamsevaks and the Sangh, especially in the field of social reform and empowerment. This is being done without any publicity; often the Swayamsevaks remain in the background. That is the essence of selfless service. The Sangh is rooted in the soil of the motherland and seeks inspiration from its cultural identity and civilisational history. For the Sangh, the nation comes before everything else. Hence, Swayamsevaks dedicate their lives to the nation and toil for their selfless cause.

— The writer is General Secretary, Organisation, of the BJP. He is a lifelong member of the RSS.

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