June 24, 2018

He created the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh(RSS) in 1925


He wanted some boys in the neighborhood to come together every day for one hour in an uniform that one may today find laughable.

These boys would do some physical exercises, sing some patriotic songs, play Kabadi and then disperse.

There was no membership form. There was no attendance. There was no need for much of an infrastructure. These youths, the doctor predicted would become the powerhouses of the nation in various sectors.

Take the question of Jaathi(caste). What should be the Hindu approach. At the time Dr Hedgewar formulated the Sangh, most of the dominant national leaders including Tilak and Gandhi were supporters of caste system.

Dr Ambedkar opposed the system but he was then in minority. Savarkar rejected the Sastra (scripture)-based caste system as the disease of the mind.

Dr. Hedgewar's views were: The precondition of unification of the Hindu society is to “decaste” the minds of the Hindus, and eliminate caste from their mental make-up. The Hindus total thinking in respect of caste needs reorientation. Dr Hedgewar initiated that process.

This is the genius of Dr. Hedgewar. One does not realize the real meaning and essence of Dr. Hedgewar’s mantra of Hindu unification till one reads Dr. Ambedkar’s biography.

In 1939, Dr Hedgewar had called Dr Ambedkar to preside the Makar Sankranti function at the RSS camp.

Gangadhar Bagul, one of the swayamsevaks present in that training camp and a witness to the interaction between Dr Ambedkar and Dr Hedgewar had given a complete description of the event in his autobiography.

Dr Ambedkar asked Hedgewar if there were any scheduled community members in the sangh camp. Dr Hedgewar replied that there were no touchables and untouchables in the camp but only Hindus.

Dr Ambedkar, however, did go on to inquire the cadre in the camp and found that not only were there many Scheduled Community members but also there was an absolute sense of equality among them and no caste consciousness.

It does not matter whether RSS is ‘strong’ in an area. If there is an accident or a flood, sangh volunteers would be the first to reach the spot and start the rescue operations.

For example in Kerala, when in 1988 more than 100 people lost their lives when Trivandrum bound Island Express plunged into a lake near Quilon, RSS cadre were the first to reach the place and rescue many trapped in the derailed bogeys reported Kerala’s leading newspaper.

The same story has been repeated in Morvi dam disaster and Bhopal gas tragedy, Gujarat earthquake, Tsunami of 2004 and so on.

In fact, what Dr Hedgewar did is expression of an age old Indic vision. 'Tat Tvam Asi Swayamsevaka’ – ’That thou art, Swayamasevaka’ – says the Rishi Keshava Baliram Hedgewar; that deep within every Hindu lies the future glory of the great nation.


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