There are some people who have made it their mission to divide the Hindu society and what better tool for them than to create confusion among the Scheduled castes about RSS and presenting themselves as saviours of Dalits. They know very well that it is the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ( RSS ) which is working for consolidating the Hindu society as one overcoming all differences.
They write that Ambedkar never visited the RSS camp because he has not written about it in his works. This is a strange claim because Babasaheb himself never contradicted the point that he had been to the RSS camp when this was spoken about extensively during his own lifetime .
We had given a reference of a participant of the 1939 camp , Sri Gangadhar Bagul’s . But, velivada calls this claim fake because that person is a swayamsevak. . It doesn’t matter to them that his was a first hand account.
So, let us look at a more important reference. This is of extremely high importance because these are reminiscences of person was never a member of the RSS and in fact served as a Member of Parliament , Sri Balasaheb Salunke. He was a close associate of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar.
In the book, “Aamche Saheb“, a compilation of reminiscences of Sri Balasaheb Salunke, compiled by his son Kashyap Salunke with Bhanudas Gaikwad , extensive references about his various experiences with Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar are there. Reference to the visit of Ambedkar to the RSS camp wherein he had also accompanied him is made in it. Page 25 and 53 of this book has the references.
In page 53, he writes ” I had the fortune of meeting two great persons who were struggling for the upliftment of the depressed classes , Pujya Babasaheb Ambedkar and the founder of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Pujya Dr. Hedgewar at Bhausaheb Gadkari’s residence ( named “Pratapgarh” ) on 12.5.1939.
In the Page 25 , last para ” he writes
Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar and Dr. Hedgewar ( founder of RSS ) met at Bhausaheb Gadkari’s home in Pune. Sri Bhausaheb Abhyankar took all of us (including Balasaheb Salunke ) to the summer camp. Dr. Ambedkar addressed the swayamsevaks on military discipline and organisation.
The above material is sufficient to prove that sites like velivada have only one agenda – to work towards create a divide among Hindus. We only hope that Sri Balasaheb Salunke , a member of the Scheduled Caste, a close associate of Babasaheb Ambedkar, a Member of Parliament is not dismissed as another Sanghi , just because he wrote the truth.
It is not mere coincidence that Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh that are at the epicentre of the activities which form the subject matter of this write-up, have been hotspots of conversion activities.
The Jharkhand state government recently passed a bill with majority that deems Sarana Dharma followers as non-Hindu and claims “Sarana” to be a separate religion. At around the same time Andhra Pradesh government declared that with the view that the members of Scheduled Tribes are non-Hindu they will be listed as just “Scheduled Tribe” in the 2021 census. These developments are an indicator of a lack of realisation of Bharat and correct understanding of Hindutva (Hinduness), which is combined with an insatiable hunger for political power on the part of these decision-makers. Hindutva is not some religion. Even the honourable Supreme Court of the country honoured and established the fact that it is a view of life. One hallmark of this view of life is that it is based in spirituality. Notwithstanding language and worship-related differences, countless lineages of people born in the Bharatiya sub-continent have identified themselves as Hindu from time immemorial. Deep identification with this view of life has led to a distinct outlook and personal character of these people.
“Truth is one, but the wise call it by different names.” This shloka from the Rig Veda means the truth or god is one but there may be many paths to its realization and all paths are equal. This tenet of the Hindu view of life was well-ingrained in the Hindu psyche and the people here have been practising this for long. Jews, Parsis and Syrian Christians fleeing religious persecution and conversion in their countries of origin sought asylum in different kingdoms of Bharat, at various points in time. The itinerants, though ethnically, religiously and linguistically alien here, the treatment given by the kings or the locals who granted them asylum were equally liberal and respectful. They were welcomed, accepted and nurtured within each of those geographies. This behaviour was an outcome of their adherence to the Hindu view of life. To see unity in diversity is the hallmark of this view of life. We’ve held that one Spirit (Chaitanya) manifests in different life forms and therefore the ability to see the underlying oneness among seemingly apparent diversities is the default view of Bharat. This is why diversity is not perceived as differences here. Bharat has the unmatched capacity to take all the apparently diverse expressions together while protecting the uniqueness of each of those units while assimilating them into one cohesive whole. The third uniqueness of Bharat is the recognition of the fact that every soul (man or woman) is potentially divine. The very goal of human life is to manifest the divinity within to ultimately merge with the Supreme Divinity. Different people may walk different paths to manifest their divinity and each of those paths may be called their religion or faith. The body of thought with an amalgamation of these unique qualities has been popularly perceived as “Hindutva” around the world. Whether someone refers to it as Bharatiya, Sanatan, Indic or any other name, the essence is the same.
Now the question is which among these unique features is un-relatable or offensive to the Sarana people or other Scheduled Tribes?
The first President of independent Bharat, Dr S. Radhakrishnan referred to Hindutva as “Commonwealth of All Religions”. Swami Vivekananda in his 1893 Chicago address at the World Parliament of Religions described Hindutva as the “Mother of all religions”.
The view that sees diverse people as one, that accepts and assimilates different paths and faiths is what Hindutva is. This civilisation that predates 10,000 years has seen people worship different deities at varied points in time. To be able to keep pace with evolving faith-based norms and to accept changes is what Hindutva is all about. Swami Vivekananda propounded this very fact by reciting this shloka in his famous 1893 Chicago address.
Meaning: O Almighty! Innumerable paths lead one to you—Sankhya, Vaishnav, Shaiva, Vedic ways of life, etc. As per their orientation people choose any one path, but like many rivers eventually converge into one sea, all these paths lead to the same, Eternal Truth. It is true that regardless of the path we choose we can all realise the Divine.
The beauty of this Bharatiya view of life is that it recognises the fact that in tandem with man’s continuous evolution he is sure to discover and worship newer deities. Nurturing the old while making space for newer deities is Hindutva.
Gurudev Rabindranath Thakur explicitly stated: “To experience unity in diversity and to establish unity amongst variety—this is the inherent Dharma (the spirit) of Bharat. Bharatvarsh never interpreted diversities as hostility and, neither considers the outsider as an enemy. Thus, without sacrificing our own, without destroying others, Bharat aspires to assign a distinct place to everyone in one vast ecosystem. Thus, it is willing to accept all ways of life, and acknowledges the greatness of each in its own way.
“As Bharatvarsh possesses this trait, we would never get frightened by visualising any society as our opponent. With every new dissension, we inevitably will grow. The Hindu, Bauddha, Muslim and Christian would not fight with each other and die in Bharat. Rather they would find a balance, a meeting point here. This balance will not be non-Hindu, but very specifically Hindu. However foreign may be its body parts, its life and spirit will of Bharat.”
This holistic approach and assimilation are intrinsic to the Hindu view of life. Given this definition, what deems Sarana and Scheduled Tribe members as radically distinct from Hindutva is a mystery. Because Hindutva does not emphasise on the Almighty to be one definitive form, rather appreciating the common thread underlying all manifestations of the Divine is Hindutva.
Some years ago, a survey was conducted in North-Eastern states in the Assam region that has a sizable population of the Scheduled Tribes. Representatives of 18 Scheduled Tribes present at the conference expounded their responses over: 1. Their concept of God. 2. Their view of Earth. 3. What do they pray for? 4. Their concepts of virtue and sin. 5. Their opinion over faith-based practices of those from other religions. And lastly, 6. If they wish to compel followers of other faiths and religions to forcefully convert to their religion.
Their responses were consistent with the views of a common Hindu living elsewhere in the country. It was surprising for the surveyors to note that despite apparent language differences their beliefs are more or less similar and reflective of the age-old spiritual tenets of the Hindu belief system. That which unifies the diverse religious and faith-based beliefs and practices of this geo-cultural unit of Bharat is Hindutva and our spirituality-centric holistic, unifying and all-encompassing Hindu view of life.
The Semitic basis of Abrahamic religions like Christianity and Islam prevents those religions from having a similar view of human life. In fact those religions divide the human race into binaries, which cannot coexist in harmony. It is for the same reason that these religions have a bloody, violent, deceptive and greed-ridden history of conversion. Among the tribals of the North-Eastern states of Bharat also the Christian Church propaganda to impose the view that those tribes are non-Hindu has been underway for a long time now, first with the support of the British colonial ruler and later by those in power after our Independence. This is the direct cause of the emergence and strengthening of separatist militant groups in the region. As part of their agenda, they lured the people of the land with the temptation of a new and separate identity and uprooted their cultural roots to start “soul harvesting”. But the tribals of the region have understood that this barter with the Christian missionaries may be too costly. It can lead to a complete disappearance and annihilation of the rich, faith-based realisations of their ancestors. They also realise assimilating with the Hindu society will prevent such a fate and in this way they can preserve and pass on their unique customs and traditions to the future generations. This belief is taking a firm hold over their consciousness with each passing day and has resulted in the emergence of indigenous faith movements like “Donyi Polo” and “Seng Khasi” in those areas. Leaders of groups like the Sarana and other Scheduled Tribes must learn from the experiences of the organisers of these indigenous faith movements reconnecting to their roots so as to preserve their unique cultural and faith-based practices and further enrich their culture and people.
With “ ” meaning, “the entire creation is habitated/dwelled by the Supreme Spirit or Isha” as the basis of faith mankind invoked, venerated and worshipped the formless Divine Truth even at the time when gods and goddesses hadn’t yet been personified. Thereafter that same truth began to be pursued by the means of worship of various gods with a definite form. However, the worship of nature and that of the five basic elements is eternal. Many self-realised men or so-called Avatars added newer paths to the list of faiths, yet the worship of nature in the form of worship of earth, water, fire, air and space continued. Therefore, nature-worship is eternal, only newer practices and dimensions emerged with the march of time. Nature worship also features in several forms in the Hindu culture. It is for this reason that Hindu society sees itself as one with those who strictly worship only nature. But certain elements are bent on projecting the variations in practices as differences and disillusioning people.
In fact it is not only true of the Sarana or the Scheduled Tribes. For the last several years, organised drives to brainwash members of many communities are underway across Bharat into believing that they are not Hindu. Operations to splinter Hindu society are being carried out at an international level by distorting and erasing from people’s memory the propensity of Hindutva to appreciate oneness in diversity, and instead highlighting and misrepresenting the diversities among different faiths as differences among people. If Hindus remain united, society remains united and hence the country remains united. And the country will progress only if it is united. All those elements who have a vested interest in preventing the country from progressing are engrossed in the fragmentation of Bharat.
Several fact-based, well-researched books that illuminate the details about such efforts (breaking India forces) and drives are available in the market. One key player in that scheme is the Christian church. Their aim—to increase the number of believers in Bharat by converting more people—finds an explicit mention on the websites of all their proselytising agencies. Some agencies that have assumed fake identities are working to first create disillusion, then opposition and then fragmentation in the society, which would ultimately result in separatism. They connote conversion as “harvesting”. These organised efforts of “harvesting” have been ongoing since the British era. But Bharat’s cultural roots run deep and are strong. Many ascetics and enlightened people took to reigniting the spiritual and cultural conscience of our society from time-to-time. No tribe or caste is devoid of the inheritance of such knowledge, as such ascetics were born in every tribe and caste that ever lived on this land to share the nectar of their realisations. It is for this reason that the conversion efforts of missionaries have been comparatively less fruitful in Bharat, thus compelling those agencies to adopt newer tactics to fulfil their agenda. The elements that aim to fragment Bharat work closely and cohesively to actualise each of their agendas. Incessant efforts of the ascetics and social reformers to facilitate socio-religious and spiritual and cultural enlightenment, generation-after-generation, has resulted in a firm cultural foundation of the society. Therefore, successful conversion requires uprooting the deep religio-cultural roots of the potential converts. Where the foundation is weak and roots bared loose, harvesting is easier. Therefore, brainwashing drives wherein false and unreasonable claims are being concocted. We will all have to remain alert and aware of these dangers.
Famous Bharatiya poet, Prasoon Joshi, writes in one of his poems:
“Gather the soil around you, oh tree,
Else you will wither.
The deeper your roots,
Greener your leaves will be.” It is not mere coincidence that the two states that are at the epicentre of the activities which form the subject matter of this write-up have been hotspots of conversion activities. Uprooting is imperative for harvesting. If we see and analyse the forces working on this agenda and their funding sources, one can understand that creating such misconceptions for uprooting various groups from their cultural moorings is part of a larger conspiracy hatched over a period of time.
Dr Manmohan Vaidya is Sah Sarkaryawah (Joint General Secretary), Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
Address by Param Poojaniya Sarsanghchalak Dr. Shri Mohan ji Bhagwat on the occasion of Sri Vijayadashami Utsav 2020 (Sunday, October 25, 2020).
We are all aware that this Vijayadashami the celebrations are restrained in terms of numbers. We are also aware of the cause. To prevent community spread of Corona virus social gatherings are restricted .
Since March the talk about Corona pandemic has shadowed all other talk about developments across the world. Many noteworthy incidents took place between the last Vijayadashami and now. With due observance of parliamentary procedure Article 370 was abrogated well before the Vijayadashami 2019.
After Diwali, on November 9, 2019, the Hon. Supreme Court passed an unambiguous, verdict in the Ram Janmabhoomi case, thereby making a historical judgment. The exemplary patience and understanding of Bharatiya people regarding this judgment became evident in the restraint along with piety and festive fervour displayed on August 5 in Ayodhya at the bhoomipujan and shilanyas samaroh of the soon-to-be constructed Ram Mandir there.
The Citizenship Amendment Act was lawfully passed in the Parliament as per the due constitutional process. This law envisaged expediting the process of granting citizenship to our brothers and sisters who face discrimination and persecution in some of the neighbouring countries and are displaced to seek refuge in our country. These countries have a history of religious persecution against minorities. This amendment in the Citizenship Act does not oppose any particular religious community. The constitutional provisions for granting citizenship to foreigners who come to Bharat continue to be the same. But those who wanted to oppose this new law misled our Muslim brothers by propagating a false notion that it was aimed at restricting the Muslim population. Opportunists took advantage of this delicate situation by unleashing organised violence and causing social unrest in the name of protests. As a consequence, a tense atmosphere was created in the country that put our communal harmony at stake. Even before something could be thought out and done to resolve the situation the Corona pandemic crept in and gradually took hold. In the background, the efforts by rioters and opportunists to reignite the conflict still continue. It is not making a mark on the collective consciousness or garnering headlines in publications other than the ones that fuel such activities because of the overwhelming discussions of Corona in the media.
The scenario is common throughout the world. In comparison to many countries, Bharat stood strong in the face of adversity and dealt with the calamity effectively. There are some reasons why we escaped Corona debilitation that few countries could not. Our governing and administrative agencies promptly sprung up in action. They cautioned citizens, created emergency task forces and efficiently implemented control measures. The media monotonously aired news on just this issue. While this exercise created an atmosphere of disproportionate fear among the common man it also compelled the society to exercise caution and restrain by obeying rules. Government officials, medical practitioners practising different forms of medicine, police officers, municipality workers and cleaners displayed an extraordinary sense of responsibility by dedicatedly serving the infected patients. Maintaining social distance with their own family members, these warriors, risking their lives, embraced the death-scare posed by the virus and bravely stood at the frontline in this war round the clock. Citizens of the country too mobilised private resources and left no stone unturned in offering all possible help their fellow beings needed. While even in these testing times, the tendency to exploit the drawback of the needy to one’s own advantage surfaced here and there, the larger picture was that of sensitivity, cooperation and mutual trust between governmental administrative agencies and society. The women-folk also propelled in action with self-motivation. Those who were displaced owing to the pandemic or the ones who lost jobs and faced misfortune and hunger faced difficulties while remaining patient and tolerant all along. In fact, many anecdotes of people ignoring their own troubles and stepping up to help others came to the fore. Ferrying the state migrants back to their homelands, arranging for food and resting spots on the way, delivering food and medicines at the doorstep of the sick or needy, great efforts were jointly made by the entire society to cater to such critical needs. By setting the example of unity and sensitivity, our society displayed a larger set of service activities in response to the quantum of the Herculean problem. Many of our traditional habits pertaining to cleanliness and hygiene, healthy lifestyle and strengthening immunity with the science of Ayurveda also proved to be useful in this period. Homogeneity and unity of the society, deep compassion and cooperation during difficult times- all aspects that make up for what is called the social capital were experienced during this time, reflecting our centuries-old cultural ethos. For many, the kind of patience, collectivism and self-confidence experienced was a first since Independence. I respectfully bow to all the volunteers who are known and unknown, those who are alive and who laid their lives for service, medical practitioners, municipality workers and all other agents of service from different sections of the society. They are all admirable. Our sincere homage in the holy remembrance of all those who sacrificed their lives.To emerge from the current scenario a different kind of Sewa initiative is required. Restarting educational institutions, compensating teachers, resending students to their schools and colleges while paying a fee for the same, these tasks are arduous. Schools that stopped receiving funds cannot afford to pay their teachers. Guardians who lost their jobs or shut businesses are in a fix as they do not have funds for their ward’s fee. We will have to devise service assistance to ensure the opening of schools, paying teachers’ salaries and students’ education. Displacement left many unemployed. Failing to find alternate sources of employment they are compelled to explore other sectors. Getting employment in a new sector mandates prior training. These are the problems facing the displaced today. Finding a replacement for the migrant workers to complete the pending tasks that were abandoned halfway is becoming a challenge too. Therefore creating employment opportunities and providing training to the unskilled is essential. In cases where families are facing such deprivation, stress creeps up in the households. To prevent negative dispositions like crime, depression and suicide there is an extensive need of counselling and support services at this time.
Since March Sangh swayamsevaks are working to fill the gaps wherever needed in this difficult backdrop. They will also make wholehearted contributions in the new Sewa initiatives enumerated above. I am hopeful that other members of the society will also decipher the need for persistent long-term efforts and make needful contributions.The world does not have a complete understanding of the virus. It is a transmutable pathogen that is rapidly communicable, but its virulence is low – this much we have come to understand. Therefore, safeguarding oneself from this pathogen for a longer time is essential. At the same time, while working to find the remedy to the social and economic challenges posed by it on our fellow beings will be the long-term focus. While we must not let fear cripple us, we need to proceed cautiously and strategically. With the social life nearing normalcy, complying with the rules and motivating others to do the same is our moral responsibility.Many other facets of our society became apparent during the battle against this pandemic. A shift in favour of introspective thinking is trending across the world. The phrase “new-normal” often comes up in conversations. The corona pandemic has brought lives to a total and complete standstill, forcing curtailment of several activities that man went about mechanically earlier. An evaluation of the merits of those activities made it apparent that the superficial practices that had invaded human life were unnecessary, while the essential ones comprised the heart of life in these times. Some activities though watered down did not fully fade. Within one week of lockdown, we noticed a marked difference in the quality of the air we breathe. Water bodies like rivers, springs and ponds cleared up and clean waters began flowing out. Bird songs tinkled human memory again as the birds and other creatures were audible in neighbourhood parks and open urban spaces. In the rush towards amassing wealth and consuming more, we alienated ourselves from certain basic life functions which during this time of need fell back on our plate and added meaning and joy to life. We have become mindful of the value of some virtues. The corona pandemic has bestowed the wisdom to differentiate regular from irregular and eternal from temporary upon all of humanity. With many families actively deliberating sustainable lifestyles compatible with the time and space and the ways to transition into those, people have become acutely aware of the merit of cultural ethos. Humans have once again realised the importance of family systems and the need for harmonious coexistence with nature.Whether these realisations are merely side effects of the pandemic breakout or has humanity actually shifted its stance in these matters, will be answered in time. However, one thing is clear that this calamity has played the role of that magnet which has attracted all human consciousness to the vital life values.Until recently the philosophy of integrating the world on the basis of the market forces dominated human imagination but with the latest turn of events, the idea of safeguarding life and exercising international cooperation by promoting unique strengths and assets of each country is an idea that has started to take shape in the global mind. The philosophy of ‘Swadeshi’ has trumped once again. It is time to redefine these adages in view of the current Bhartiya context and to rebuild paths that will lead us back to our time-tested values and traditions.
China’s role in the breakout of this pandemic may be disputable but its misuse of their riches by unleashing terror on the borders of Bharat and boisterous efforts to invade our territories are well-known to the whole world. Bharatiya defence forces, government and the people remained unfazed and responded sharply to this attack. This example of a strong resolution, exercising self-respect and bravery has stunned China. Going further we must be watchful and remain firm. Even in the past, the world has time and again witnessed China’s expansionist attitude. Rising above China economically, strategically, in securing cooperative ties with our neighbours and at international relations is the only way to neutralise those demonic aspirations. The policies proposed by our leaders seem to be charting those very horizons. Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar (Bhramadesh)- such neighbouring countries have shared a friendly bond with us and are more or less aligned over issues of values and ethical code with us. We must now pace up our efforts to secure cooperative bonds with these countries. The impediments in this journey like the differences of opinions, conflicted issues and old grouses must be settled sooner than later.We intend to be friendly with all. This is our nature. But mistaking our benevolence for weakness and attempts to disintegrate or weaken us by sheer brute force is unacceptable. Our reckless detractors should know this by now. The indestructible patriots of Bharat Mata and their formidable valour, leaders with a sense of self-respect and the indomitable ethical-patience of the citizens should have sent a loud and clear message to China. This must compel it to reform its attitude but if push comes to shove we will not fall short of alertness, firmness and readiness, this resolve is clear among our countrymen. External threats to the country’s safety and sovereignty is not the only call for our vigilance. A careful analysis of many of last year’s internal events also demand alertness, understanding and harmony in the society and preparedness of governmental agencies and national leadership. Push and pull for power on the part of those out of it is intrinsic to the democratic political process, however, exercising discretion to see political competition for what it is and not as a bloody battle between enemies is pivotal. Healthy competition is always welcome, but the competition that morphs into hatred, bitterness and animosity that weakens the social fabric is unwarranted. Forces that see opportunity in rifts among competitors, that wish to weaken and fragment Bharat, that have long projected our diversity as differences and insinuated people into unfortunate scrimmages over old disagreements resulting in formidable struggles are very much prevalent in the world and active in Bharat. They should not be given that opportunity by us. The government agencies should seek cooperation of people to immediately nab and severely punish the culprits if incidents of crime and violence continue to occur in the society despite measures to curtail those and attempts of total restrain on criminal and violent tendencies. We must see to it that our actions do not create any opportunities for them. To ensure this, our reactions to government decisions or expressions of discontent must heed national integrity. We should be sensitive towards people of all religions, regions, castes and linguistic backgrounds and conduct ourselves within constitutionally warranted limits. Unfortunately, those misaligned with or opposed to our socio-cultural values have, while professing to be the champions of democracy, constitution and secularism, continued to fool and confuse the people of our country. In his August 29, 1949 address to the Constituent Assembly, Revered Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar used the phrase “grammar of anarchy” to describe the actions of such elements. We have to learn to identify such disguised elements and defuse their conspiracies by alarming and alerting our brothers and sisters so that they can not be shepherded away by such predators.To avoid this type of confusion about the Sangh, realising Sangh’s preference for a specific vocabulary and how it interprets certain popular terms is crucial. Hindutva is one such term. Its meaning has been distorted by appending a ritualistic connotation to it. Sangh does not use it to refer to this misconception. To us, it is the word expressing our identity along with the continuity of its spirituality based traditions and its entire wealth of value system in the land of Bharat. Therefore Sangh believes that it is the word applicable to all the 1.3 billion people who call themselves the sons and daughters of Bharatvarsh, whose everyday life is a striving toward an alignment with its moral and ethical code and who are proud of the heritage of their ancestors who successfully traversed the same spiritual landscape since time immemorial. Being oblivious to the true meaning of this term weakens the thread that integrates us with this country and society. It is for this reason that this term is the first target of castigation by those who instigate intergroup conflicts, who are bent on splitting our country and society. They by presenting as separate, our diversities which are traditionally accepted, respected and are a part of larger scope of Hindu philosophy in reality, try to convert them into a source of alienation or separatism. ‘Hindu’ is not the name of some sect or denomination, it is not a provincial conceptualisation, it is neither a single caste’s lineage nor the privilege of the speakers of a specific language. It is that psychological common denominator whose vast courtyard cradled human civilisation, that which honours and encompasses innumerable distinct identities. There may be some who have an objection in accepting this term. We do not object their using other words if the content in their mind is the same. However, in the interest of the country’s integrity and security Sangh has over the years humbly assimilated the colloquial and the global interpretations of the term Hindu. When Sangh says Hindusthan is Hindu Rashtra it does not have any political or power centered concept in its mind. Hindutva is the essence of this Rashtra’s ‘Swa’(self-hood). We are plainly acknowledging the selfhood of the country as Hindu because all our socio-cultural practices are directed by its principles with their spirit percolating in the personal, familial, professional and social life of each one of us. Circumambulating the emotional ambit of this view of life does not require giving up one’s faith, language, land or any other identity marker. It only mandates an abandonment of the quest for supremacy. One has only to be alert and keep away from the selfish and hateful forces who confuse and instigate people by showing them false dreams of supremacy, encourage radicalism and foster separatism.The deplorable attempts to disintegrate the unity that has perpetually remained an inextricable part of the diversity of Bharat by making false promises and by creating hate amongst scheduled-castes, scheduled-tribes and the so called minorities of our country are underway. Members of this conspiratorial gang instigate and promote slogans like “Bharat tere tukde honge” (Bharat will be disintegrated). An unusual blend of political interest, separatist and fundamentalist tendencies, a hatred of Bharat and a quest for global domination is working to dampen Bharatiya unity. We will have to patiently proceed with a deep understanding of the matter. While remaining free from the influence of these forces we must focus on integrating our society through peaceful means, in obeisance of our constitution. If we exercise self-control, remain balanced and keep each other’s best interest in mind then an environment of mutual trust can prevail which will aid in the resolution of old conflicts; while the mistrust that stems from contradictory behaviours would make the solutions seem unattainable and problems unfathomable. Reactionary and fearful stance and unreasonable opposition lead to uncontrolled violence and the gulf separating the people widens.To be able to increase the atmosphere of faith in each other and friendliness, restraint and patience we all need to accept and embrace the truth of our larger and shared identity. Our actions cannot waver in time following a political cost-benefit calibration. Bharatiya cannot be extricated from Bharat. All attempts at doing this have always failed, we have many testaments before us to prove so. It is the time to realise that our instinct for emancipation is nudging us all to integrate with a single sentiment. Acknowledgement of the fact that the emotional spirit of Bharat, its acceptance for and support to multiple belief systems and faiths, is a byproduct of the Hindu culture, traditions and Hindu practice of not just tolerance but acceptance and respect of all, is the need of the hour.
The word ‘Hindu,’ features in almost every statement of Sangh, yet it is being discussed here because several related terms have gained popularity in the recent past. ‘Swadeshi’ is one such word which is oft-discussed nowadays. The ‘Swa’ or ‘self’ here refers to the same Hindutva. That very eternal philosophy underlying our tolerant and accepting nature which was hailed by Swami Vivekananda on the land of America referring to all people as brothers and sisters, meaning parts of a single unit or family. Poet laureate, Shri Rabindra Nath Thakur also clearly emphasised a philosophical foundation for the Bharatiya revival based on this very concept in his essay ‘Swadeshi Samaj.’ Shri Aurobindo proclaimed it in his Uttarpara address. The introspections and contemplations conducted by our society after 1857 and the experiences of the exercises conducted by several national bodies are encased in the Preamble to our Constitution which embodies the same spirit of Bharat. That spirit or ‘swa’ should be the compass directing our intellectual brainstorming and plans of action. It should be the light that illuminates the directions, aspirations and expectations of our country’s collective consciousness.
The results of our efforts in the physical plane and their consequences should be in accordance with this principle. Then and only then will Bharat qualify as self – reliant. Places for production, the workforce that is involved in the production process, economic benefits emanating from sales of the production and the rights of production must be in our national control. But this alone does not qualify as Swadeshi methodology. Shri Vinoba Bhave ji identified a combination of self-reliance and non-violence as Swadeshi. Late Shri Dattopant Thengadi ji claimed Swadeshi cuts beyond goods and services and stands for attaining a position of international cooperation by achieving national self-reliance, sovereignty and parity. So to achieve financial independence in the future and attain a position of international cooperation we are open to foreign investors and give relaxations to companies offering newer technologies, provided they engage on our terms and mutually agreeable conditions. But such a decision has to be based on mutual consensus.In self-reliance, dependence on self is intended.
Our vision decides our destination and our path. Even we attain a prime position by following the same wasteful exertions that the rest of the world is after, that will certainly be a courageous victory. But it will be in the absence of the spirit and participation of the ‘Swa’(Self). For instance, while designing our agricultural policy we should empower our farmer to control his seed banks, create manure, fertilisers and pesticides on his own or procure these from areas neighbouring his village. He should be educated about the art of storing and processing his produce and have access to such facilities. We have a deep, extensive and ancient history of agriculture. Therefore the newer policies should aim to make our farmer aware of modern agricultural science and also enable him to blend that knowledge with time-tested, contextually relevant traditional knowledge. The policies should be such that a farmer should be able to use these research findings and sell his produce without getting trapped, either in the profit aimed interpretations of those findings or sponsored research by the corporate sector or under the pressure of the market forces and middlemen, only then such a policy will be compatible with the Bharatiya view and be a truly Swadeshi agrarian policy. It is likely that incorporating these changes immediately within the present agrarian and economic system might not be possible. In that case, the policies should focus on creating a conducive environment to translate the suggested changes into reality. Some positive steps in the direction of assimilating this ‘swa’ in our economic, agriculture, labour, manufacturing and education policy have been taken. A new education policy formed on the basis of extensive deliberations and dialogue has been declared and launched. Along with the entire educational field, the Sangh has also welcomed it. “Vocal for local” is a great start in the exploration of the possibilities of Swadeshi. But, for these initiatives to be successfully implemented the process will have to be watched and monitored keenly to the finish. Therefore given these wide-ranging perspectives we will have to imbibe this spirit of ‘swa’ or self, only then we can move forward in the right direction. Our Bharatiya thought does not endorse struggle as an essential ingredient of progress. Struggle is considered as a last resort for the elimination of injustice. The conceptualisation of progress here is based on cooperation and coordination. Therefore, the spirit of oneness is critical to actualising self-reliance in various aspects of life. Self-reliance then essentially implies overall well-being and upliftment of the whole nation through coordinated efforts and cooperation with each other, akin to interdependent organs of one body. A policy-making process where all concerned people and parties discuss and deliberate extensively and draw consentient conclusions fosters the spirit of oneness and trust among all.
Open dialogue with all, drawing consensus through discussion, ensuring cooperation and resultant trust – this is the prescribed method for securing credibility and eminence among one’s family and community.समानो मन्त्रः समितिः समानी समानं मनः सहचित्तमेषाम् |समानं मन्त्रमभिमन्त्रये वः समानेन वो हविषा जुहोमि ||Samaano mantrah samitih samaneeSamaanam manah sahachittameshaamSamaanam mantramabhimantraye vahSameenena vo havisha juhomi( Let our speech be one; united our voices. May our minds be in union with the thoughts of the Wise. Sharing a common purpose; we worship as one.) Fortunately, we can rely on and expect from the prevailing political leadership to engender the feeling of oneness and trust with regards to matters small and big among all the people. An administrative system connecting the society with the government has to be more sensitive and transparent to facilitate and accomplish this task in a better fashion. Prompt implementation of mutually agreed policies does not require massive changes and boosts the environment of cooperation and coordination. Remaining alert and exercising total control over the implementation of proposed policies till the end-point is significant. Besides policy-formation promptness and transparency at execution also optimise policy rewards. The need to decentralise agriculture and manufacturing sectors by supporting small and medium scale enterprises, creating employment opportunities, aiding the self-employed, initiating eco-friendly businesses and self-sufficient production units aiming to bolster the economic progress has drawn the attention of many intellectuals alongside the policy-makers of the country in this time of Corona. Those employed in these sectors from small-time and seasoned entrepreneurs to farmers are all eager to taste entrepreneurial success for our nation. The government will need to provide extra cover for them so they can attain world-class standards that will allow them to stand a competitive chance alongside other economic giants of the world. Along with the allocation of funds, its actual disbursement on the ground has to be ensured so that they can restart again after six months of the corona crisis. With a progress-oriented mindset, the developmental path of the country whose destination complies with the culture and aspirations of our people will have to be delineated. After establishing consensus with a positive contribution from all views we must freeze the execution plans in letter and spirit. If it is ensured that the rewards of the developmental achievements percolate down to the most disadvantaged; if exploitation and extortion by middlemen and touts are eliminated; the producers and manufacturers have direct interface with the markets and the developmental schemes, only then our dreams can come true, otherwise dangers that cause failure are lurking around.
While all the suggestions made above are highly significant the collective resolve of a society is the preceptor and the foundation of the nation’s development. The consciousness that has prevailed in the aftermath of corona, viz, realisation of the true meaning of ‘self,’ spirit of oneness with all the people, the importance of cultural values and environmental awareness plus the need for remedial actions to restore its balance should not be disregarded by our society. We must not drop the momentum, lose sight of these indispensable values and fall back in a pattern of insensitive behaviour. Gradual and consistent practice of right conduct and responsible behaviours of an entire society alone can bring rewards. Starting with small incremental changes, conducting regular awareness initiatives can cause this behavioural shift. Each family can be a part of this movement. Once a week all family members can get together to jointly do some prayer and have homemade food followed by two to three hours of informal discussion. The above-mentioned subjects can be deliberated in those discussions as actionable items and small family level resolutions can be taken, which can further be reviewed in the next week’s discussion. The act of discussion in the family is paramount, newness or oldness of the subject/object notwithstanding, the outcomes of an investigation alone decide the usefulness and relevance of the issue.
Our scriptures describe this method as-सन्तः परीक्ष्यान्यतरद् भजन्ते मूढः परप्रत्ययनेय बुद्धिः |Santah pareekshyanyatarad bhajaate mudhah parapratyaneya buddhih If we examine the subject matter holistically in the informal family setting, exercise discretion as to the relevance of the issue and by choice accept or reject a view, then the resulting behavioural changes will more likely be permanent. In the beginning, matters of common concern like domestic arrangements, design of the dwellings, our family culture, long-standing customs and traditions can be discussed. Owing to everyone’s familiarity with environmental concerns, ways for total boycott of plastic, water conservation, increasing green cover by planting saplings of flowering plants, fruit trees and vegetables in our courtyards and terraces can be discussed and actionable plans jointly created. According to the time available and the needs, all of us spend money over personal and familial requirements every day. We can contemplate what amount of money and time we spend for our society on a day-to-day basis and how to go about doing it? Do we have friendly associations with people and families that belong to different castes and regions and speak varied languages? Have we mingled deeply- sharing meals and visiting homes of those acquaintances? To promote societal harmony these are vital discussion topics. Emphasis can be laid upon participation of our family in actual programs and initiatives, e.g. our family can contribute in Blood Donation, Eye Donation or help create awareness about its importance. Through these minute undertakings, harmony, uprightness, patience, discipline and values-driven personal conduct can be cultivated. Consequently, our collective behaviour while in keeping with the civic discipline becomes that which augments mutual cooperation and harmony. If we work to raise the general level of consciousness of a common man and nurture his intrinsic spirit of oneness with Hindutva as the guiding force, if we make individual efforts for developmental progress with a deeper understanding of the structure of our country and acknowledge our interdependence to cooperate with other members of the society, if we have confidence in our collective strength to achieve any dream and set developmental goals rooted in our values then in the near future Bharatvarsh will emerge as the torchbearer for the rest of the world and come to be known as the Bharatvarsh that showed the path of peaceful and congenial progress to humanity- freedom and equality in the true sense of the word. Behavioural conduct of such individuals and families will create an overall atmosphere of fraternity, meaningful action and lawful order in the whole country. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has been working to effect these changes directly in the society since 1925. Such an organised state is the natural state of a healthy society. Such an organised society is the precondition for the resurrection of this country that has become independent after the centuries-long darkness of invasions. Many great personalities have worked to build such a society. After independence, with this very goal in mind, our constitution was crafted in age-relevant codes of desired conduct and passed on to us. Sangh work only will ensure inculcating a clear vision to realise the objectives of our constitution, and the conduct of mutual harmony, the spirit of oneness and the sentiment of national interest are paramount. Swayamsevaks are sincerely, selflessly and dedicatedly involved in realising this goal. With an invitation that you all to be their fellow-workers in this campaign for upstart reconstruction, I end my address here.
प्रश्न बहुत से उत्तर एक कदम मिलाकर बढे अनेक |वैभव के उत्तुङ्ग शिखर पर सभी दिशा से बढे अनेक |||| भारत माता की जय ||
The 60’s in Tamilnadu saw an era of pressure from so-called Periyarists & the rise of Dravidian politics placing “nireeshwaravada” or atheism as a central political identity. Anyone who claimed otherwise was pigeon-holed into being ” orthodox” – Brahmanical – Conservative – religious bigot. By the late 70’s it became a disease. It was under such trying circumstances that Sri Rama Gopalan ji , then Tamilnadu prant pracharak of Sangh was asked to take up the task of revival. He formed the Hindu Munnani. A devoted band of youngsters under his leadership spread across the length and breadth of Tamilnadu & revived the society. He infused dignity and valour in the Hindu society to stand upto the unjust policies of the State.
Today, politics in TN still seems to hover around “Dravidian identity “, it is devoid of the poison that it had. Their leaders can’t appeal on the outdated ideology. Lakhs of people today take sankalpa of Ayyappa maala, the Kavadi for Muruga, deeksha of Amman & Ganesh utsavs are celebrated with fervour.
The Islamic fundamentalist forces attacked him but he survived inspite of a fractured skull. He continued his mission thus for another 20 years since that attack.
We pray that the youth of the nation tries to learn more about the him & his extraordinary work in Tamilnadu. May he inspire !
Dr. Manmohan Vaidya Sah Sarkaryavah, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh
The time when the late Dattopant Thengadi Ji set the foundation stone of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, communism was at its pinnacle across the world. Starting a grassroots national labour movement rooted in the pure Bharatiya Darshan and building it brick by brick amidst odds was a lofty task then. It called for conviction, devotion, and persistence on his part. When I try to grasp the frame of mind he would’ve had then, I am reminded of this allegory:
The spring breeze was still a distant memory. Mango flowers had yet to appear on the trees. Just then, a tiny creature stepped out from his warm earthly dwelling. Indifferent to the rouge winter winds shaking his little frame, he began his walk. “Stay put,” his well-wishers tried convincing him, they warned him of the impending dangers. He, however, didn’t heed a single piece of advice. At long last, after an arduous march, he reached the Mango Tree. Taking a brief glance at the tall tree trunk he proceeded onto a steep upward climb. Perched on one of the tree branches, a parakeet was intently watching his moves. Bending his neck, he finally asked, “oh earthly creature, what brings you here, in this cold weather?” “Mango nectar,” pat came a reply. Laughing hysterically, the parakeet thought to himself, “he sure is the king of fools.” “My bird’s-eye view has inspected each cranny. There isn’t a hint of Mango here, Silly,” he smirked. Steadying his wobbly steps the little creature retorted “You might be seeing what you see, but when I get there the Mango will surely appear.” The response of that creature is like that of a yogi. One who does not wallow in self-pity; who doesn’t fear unfavorable circumstances. Without a trace of even a band of color on the horizon, he believes the promise of the inevitable dawn. He doesn’t doubt that each step of his walk is consequential and will bear fruits. No matter how much the clever and the wise try to beat sense into him, he remains true to the music of the drummer deep within. His heart resounds the verse “absorb yourself in ‘Hari,’ find Hari in everything that absorbs you.”
It is for all to see, as of today Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh is the largest labour organisation in Bharat.
No matter how accomplished one is, an able organizer is open to his co-worker’s thoughts and suggestions and promptly accepts the appropriate ones in the interest of the organisation. Thengadi ji was such a gifted organiser. When the decision to take up some organisational activity among workers(trade unions) was made, the nomenclature contemplated was – “Bharatiya Shramik Sangh”. Yet the discussion that ensued among the karyakartas illuminated the fact that the group of the society that this organization will work with will find the word ‘Shramik’ too difficult to comprehend. People of some states might not be able to even pronounce it. Therefore in place of ‘Shramik,’ the colloquial ‘mazdoor’ should be used. This suggestion was duly accepted and the organization came to be known as ‘Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh.’
Working in an organization entails the journey from ‘me’ to ‘we’. This transition is not easy for any extraordinarily adept person. Usually, such a person is a shadow of his ego. This ego crops up from time to time. Sages, the realised souls have illustrated the irony of the ego when they said, “it is that evil which spares the ignorant and throttles the knowledgeable.” However, safeguarding oneself from such self-criticism is necessary for those who work within, for or with an organization. Thengadi ji had mastered this art. Even in a casual dialogue, while expressing an opinion, offering an insight or a solution he used ‘we’ and not an ‘I’. Elevating one’s sense of self so thin so as to integrate all the people that one is associated with is requisite for an organizer and Thengadi ji was a prolific organizer in this sense.
Another noteworthy quality of Thengadi ji was that he was warm and friendly to all co-workers, their designation and qualification notwithstanding. Placing his hand on their shoulders, he would promenade with even an ordinary worker, making the worker indistinguishable from him. These gestures put the workers seeking his counsel at great ease. Forgetting that they were speaking to a national leader or a renowned thinker of the international stature, they came to see him as their own family elder or a wise community member. While doing so, no artificial efforts were required for Thengadi ji, it used to be effortless and natural.
He was also very well-read person with an in-depth understanding. Oftentimes while in a conversation, he would refer to texts from many books and mention anecdotes of several political leaders. But one trait of his that shines bright in my memory is when a novice karyakarta like me would narrate an anecdote or say a joke that was originally told to us by him, he would listen to it sincerely. Such patience is extraordinary. Many senior karyakartas too are often tempted to dismiss a conversation by saying “I know that.” But Thengadi ji listened to each word intently, as if hearing it for the first time. Not only that, he would go a step further and mindfully reflect upon that remark and unmistakably add a new anecdote or joke thereon. Deep connection with ground-level co-workers is indeed a sign of a great leader.
Despite the temptation, intention and efforts to broaden work undertaken, avoiding needless hurry is also the quality of an excellent organizer. Parampujaniya Shri Guruji would often say “Dheere-Dheere Jaldi Karo” (hasten slowly). One must not be in a haste. A friend of mine was a senior leader in Shri Sharad Joshi’s ‘Shetkari Sanghatana-’ a farmers’ movement in Vidarbha region. Eventually, he got disillusioned with the movement and came in contact with my younger brother who was also an agriculturist at the time. In view of Kisan Sangh’s recent commencement, my brother deemed connecting this farmers’ leader to the organization appropriate. He introduced that man to me. Thengadi ji was overseeing the operations of the organization in those days, therefore I approached him with this proposition at Nagpur. Thengadi ji was familiar with this person. I was optimistic that the association of an established leader will aid the momentum of Kisan Sangh’s work and Thengadi ji will welcome him in the organization. However, no sooner had I finished drawing the backdrop and pinning my suggestion on top he declined it. I was baffled. Later Thengadi ji explained to me that he rejected this leader because Kisan Sangh was a small organization then. He was afraid the organization would not be able to absorb a leader of that man’s stature and he, in turn, would engulf the organization, diluting our efforts. He didn’t want that to happen. To which I said, “if Kisan Sangh doesn’t absorb him then BJP will assimilate him in their party and give him a ticket to contest the elections.” Unphased Thengdi ji calmly responded, “BJP might be in a hurry, we are not.” His lucid and confident response was enlightening and it was then that Shri Guru ji’s words, “hasten slowly” had a new-found meaning for me.
Besides a great organizer, Thengadi ji was also a philosopher. Depths of Bharatiya philosophy would subtly unravel in one’s dialogues with him. The domination of communist thought on the labour movement was such that their thought-process and terminology managed to percolate among almost all labour organisations of that era, becoming apparent in their slogans. At that time he replaced communism-oriented slogans with slogans that were pertinent reflections of Bharatiya Darshan. “Udyogon Ka Rashtriyakaran – Nationalisation of industries” was replaced with “Rashtra Ka Audyogikaran – Udyogon Ka Shramikikaran aur Shramikon ka Rashtriyakaran” means “Industrialisation of the nation – Nationalisation of labours – Labourisation of industries(worker-centric culture in industries)” Inconsiderate and unreasonable slogans that intensified the strife among workers and employers like, “Hamari Mange Puri Ho – Chahe Jo Majboori Ho (fulfil our demands, no matter whatever be the constraints)” were replaced with “Desh ke Liye Karenge Kaam – Kaam ke Lenge Poore Daam (we will work for the nation and will also take the due compensation for the same)” In the form of these minor changes, awakening the spirit of patriotism.
Besides Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh and Kisan Sangh, Thengadi ji was instrumental as a key participant in setting a foundation for many other organizations. Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, Swadeshi Jagran Manch, Prajna Pravah, Vigyan Bharati are a few among those. His essay on Bharatiya Kala Drishti (Indic perspective on performing arts) became the intellectual foundation of Sanskar Bharati.
Walking in the midst of a stalwart thinker, organizer and visionary like Thengadi ji, witnessing the seemingly mundane yet exceptional activities like the manner of his speaking, his style of conducting himself and being blessed with his guidance are moments of bliss and a great honor for me. My humble tribute on the auspicious occasion of his birth centenary.