No Regret, No Repentance, No Sorrow, No Grief on Babri Structure falling

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Has the RSS Sidelined Guruji Golwalkar’s Bunch of Thoughts?

After Sarsanghachalak’s three-day lecture series, there was a lot of discussions and muttering on whether RSS has sidelined Guruji’s thoughts. However, a patient and in-depth reading of scenario nullifies the claims. 

The three-day lecture series of Dr Mohanji Bhagwat was an unqualified success, and as expected conversations triggered by this first of a kind interaction continue. Amongst those who attended many were yet to hear the Sangh’s views first hand and had often been misled by propaganda, hence there was also some disbelief, since the Sarsanghachalak’s speech was contrary to what had been said and reported about the organisation.
Opponents of the RSS were numbed into silence, trying to pick apart the speech but failing to come up with an incriminating utterance that confirmed their often repeated falsehoods. However, their efforts (out of habit and hubris), saw a desultory revival, mostly centred on discredited repetitions of the past. So while critics closed to new thoughts and engagement continued to rehash old accusations, the new dialogue that the Sarsanghchalak’s outreach has triggered, overwhelms past prejudice.
Surprisingly it is seen that in the process of countering Communist propaganda, some supporters of the RSS and even swayamsevaks, started parroting the same line, issuing argument as apologia when none was merited.
Bunch of Thoughts must be seen in the context of its times – also it must be emphasised that the period it is associated with is from 1940 to 1965 (not his entire tenure as Sarsanghachalak), a specific time in pre and post independent history which had its unique circumstances
  
Contextualising Bunch of Thoughts
There seems to be some delight or surprise about the clarification; the Sarsanghachalak has given about the publication – Bunch of Thoughts, a collection of speeches and thoughts of Shri Guruji (the second Sarsanghchalak). This analysis takes a further leap and goes so far as to assume that Dr Bhagwat has distanced the Sangh from Guruji! It couldn’t be further from the truth. The entire lecture of the Sarsanghachalak on day two about Hindu and Hindutva was based on the intellectual articulation provided by Shri Guruji to the Sangh movement.
Bunch of Thoughts must be seen in the context of its times – also it must be emphasised that the period it is associated with is from 1940 to 1965(not his entire tenure as Sarsanghachalak), a specific time in pre and post independent history which had its unique circumstances, leading to wide debate and discourse on nationhood, identity and belonging. Hence, it is essential to view the opinions of that time as a subset of the larger dialogue around these issues and the creation of a new country – Pakistan, based entirely on religion.
When Shri Guruji took over as Sarsanghachalak, he was a mere 34 years old, and destiny had led to the mantle of responsibility being placed on his shoulders. It was a daunting task for the young man to expand and guide this organisation, which had no other parallel to emulate, and would need to forge its destiny. At the time of his taking over as Sarsanghachalak, the call for Pakistan had taken on a pervasive note and echoed across the country. The Quit India Movement had also gained force, and many swayamsevaks had been incarcerated and some condemned to death as well. It was a tumultuous time, in 1946 there was an election held with the demand for Pakistan. In Muslim majority areas, Hindus were subjected to violence and persecution. As a result of Direct Action, Hindus in Bengal faced widespread violence. India gained Independence, but it was also amputated. The largest movement of humanity took place, Hindus sought refuge in India, often after facing unspeakable violence and losing everything. The swayamsevaks were the only group who stood by this population, protecting them and playing witness to their trauma. The psychological impact of those years was profound and lasting on Hindu society and the nation.
On Gandhiji’s assassination, the RSS was targeted with falsehoods, and a ban was imposed, even though the Government was unable to prove the allegations.  It was the beginning of the dirty politics of hate by the Congress party in independent Bharat.
The Government was not ready to prosecute and prove the charges. No door was left open for conversation, and Shri Guruji was incarcerated based on these false charges, swayamsevaks organised an unprecedented peaceful satyagraha against this injustice, and eventually, the unfair ban was removed.
Correspondingly communist ideology was expanding, and divisive thought that undermined national identity was systematically mainstreamed. This impunity was so stark that in 1962 when communist China attacked India and there was widespread despondency in the country, the communists openly praised the Chinese, clearly articulating their loyalty to their ideology over the nation. At the same time conversions by Christians gained ground. The Justice Niyogi Commission’s Report led the Congress-ruled states of Orissa and Madhya Pradesh to enact an anti-conversion law, leading to widespread protests amongst the Christian community.
During this time of upheaval, Shri Guruji continued to travel through the length and breadth of the country and addressed issues that plagued the national conscience, these contemplations and responses to the prevalent circumstances up to 1965 have been included in Bunch of Thoughts. However, Shri Guruji continued to be engaged in public discourse for eighteen more years beyond the time span of the book. Hence on his birth centenary in 2006, a 12 volume edition, an authoritative compilation of his entire thoughts (Shri Guruji Samagra Darshan) during his time as Sarsanghachalak was published. This compilation is worth reading for those who wish to understand Shri Guruji and the evolution of his ideas better, which were in many instances a response to the concerns of the day. No opponent of the Sangh has displayed the requisite intellectual rigour to study Guruji and his ideas entirely in depth before lifting the pen to write on him.
In Bunch of Thoughts, the concerns raised by Shri Guruji are the same that the world today is vexed with and are specific to an ideology (within the faith) that propagates fundamentalism and the jihadist mindset that leads to horrors and oppression 
Witnessing Guruji in Entirety
If twelve volumes are too expansive, then his ideas have been distilled into a book called – Shri Guruji: His Vision and Mission (Drishti and Darshan) a book which provides a deep insight as well and is shorter. Dr Bhagwat appealed to everyone to read this book, so where does the question of distancing from the second Sarsanghachalak’s thoughts come in?
The answer given by Dr Bhagwat to the query on the selectively quoted sections in Bunch of Thoughts is not any different from what Shri Guruji has himself said. There was an interview that he did with Dr Jilani in the seventies, in which he answered these direct questions. It is an interview that is rarely quoted either because critics develop selective amnesia or it doesn’t suit their motivated campaign.
Dr Jilani asked Guruji, ‘Much has been said about ‘Indianisation’, and a lot of confusion has arisen over it. Could you please tell me how to remove the confusion?’ Shri Guruji replied, ‘Indianisation’ was, of course, the slogan given by Jana Sangh. Why should there be such confusion? ‘Indianisation’ does not mean converting all people to Hinduism. Let us all realise that we are all the children of this soil and we must have our allegiance to this land. We belong to the same society and that our ancestors are common. That our aspirations are also common.
Understanding this is Indianisation in the real sense. Indianisation does not mean that one should be asked to quit his religious system. We neither said this, nor we are going to say so. Rather, we believe that a single religious system for the entire human society is not suitable.’
On Guruji’s elaboration, Dr Jilani stated, ‘You said it right. It’s hundred per cent right. Therefore I am thankful to you for this clarification. You have clarified it from your side quite well. Any thinking person and gentleman wouldn’t disagree with you. Don’t you think it is high time that a meeting took place between you and such Muslim Indian leaders who would cooperate with you in finding ways and means to remove this communal discord once for all? Would you like to meet such leaders?’ Shri Guruji affirmed, ‘I would not only like it, but I would also welcome it.’
Well known journalist, Khushwant Singh also interviewed Shri Guruji in 1972. If one were to read that interview, then the protracted effort to malign and misrepresent Shri Guruji by the Communists who exercised control on most of the media and academic disciplines will become clear.
In the beginning, he writes, “There are some people against whom you build up malice without knowing them. Guru Golwalkar had long been at the top of my hate list. However, as a journalist, I could not resist the chance of meeting him.” In the end, he writes—“Was I impressed? I admit I was. He did not try to persuade me to his point of view. He made me feel that he was open to persuasion.”
Both the interviews are worth reading in their entirety. However communists have made it an art form to discuss and defame Guruji without going through the vast literature on him, it is a style of propaganda that they have “excelled” across the world.
In Bunch of Thoughts, the concerns raised by Shri Guruji are the same that the world today is vexed with and are specific to an ideology (within the faith) that propagates fundamentalism and the jihadist mindset that leads to horrors and oppression. Even in Bharat, the existence of such elements cannot be denied. Also forced and illegal conversion in violation of the law by missionary bodies, urban Maoism as well as the international support to such activities have once again in the recent past been highlighted through some incidents but have a long history of spreading disquiet and violence in society. Though it is necessary to take the Muslims and Christians of Bharat along in the nation-building process, it is also important to be cautious about the extremists, Jihadi and divisive elements active in the name of so-called minorities. In this sense, Shri Guruji’s cautions about the threats to the nation are relevant even today.
As Hindu way of life manifests itself with the changing times, same is true with the nature of Sangh work. There have been many ups and downs in the 92-year journey of the Sangh. Many efforts of opposition, suppression and venomous propaganda have taken place. Despite all this, the Sangh thought, and work has been growing with all inclusive and all-pervasive approach. Perhaps the inherent qualities of the fundamental Hindu philosophy characterised by ‘flexible rigidity’ and transformation as per times is the real strength behind this.
– Dr. Manmohan Vaidya
(The writer is Sah Sarkaryavah of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh)

Glasnost, Bharat and the Sangh

It was anticipated that the three day lecture series by Dr Mohanji Bhagwat would trigger conversation and debate.  Most people welcomed this unique outreach. However some people expressed doubts on the sincerity of the program, others wondered if these ideals would filter down to the ground level.
The Sarsanghchalak’s lectures were perceived as something ground breaking even revolutionary by some people. In fact one journalist commented that it was surprising to note that the Sarsanghchalak answered so many diverse questions with candour.
However I found nothing “new” about it. No views  expressed here were such which were not discussed at some level in Sangh.
Along with the Sarsanghchalak, national office bearers tour the country extensively and engage with all sections of society, routinely addressing their curiosities and questions about the RSS. Sangh has been targeted with negative propaganda for decades, so it was but natural for people outside the parivaar to assume that there is no room for open debate in the organisation, and this outreach was a “new” way. That these ideas were welcomed by the general public and the lecture series was received with positivity has led others to declare that this is a “Glasnost” moment. The lexicon  of foreign thinking used by opponents can be so consuming that some of us may also mistakenly use these words to emphasise a point. One such word is Glasnost. Glasnost and Perestroika are two Russian words that are related to an openness with regards to social and economic issues. These words gained currency at the time of the downfall of the oppressive communist regime in the former Soviet Union. These two words articulated a freedom from the harsh, violent and closed regime of the communists and ushered in an open social and economic era that had survived the oppression.
Semitic thought processes are unique in their stance of imposing the “principle” that, “thinking is the work of a chosen few”. For the rest, complete submission to that view point is mandated, any diversion is considered “blasphemy”, which is punishable. The Communists borrowed extensively from this playbook. The Church was the progenitor of this iron clad system of thoughts, drawing legitimacy in the name of the Christian faith. Bruno was burnt alive, Galileo was persecuted because they spoke in contradiction to the Church’s position by stating that earth revolves around the sun.
In Communist Russia and China, too many people have lost their lives and subjected to unspeakable brutality for rejecting or merely questioning the ruling ideology, yet others had to flee to be alive. In these countries, where there was no right to free speech and even thought, Glasnost was an awakening – the emergence of a new dawn which was a landmark for these societies that had spent decades in darkness of oppression.
However the oppression brought on by rigid ideologies was never an issue for Bharat. Our history has been witness to great philosophers, saints and social reformers, as will our future. This is what makes Bharat truly unique. In the modern era, people are familiar with Swami Dayanand Saraswati, Ramakrishn Paramhansa, Swami Vivekananda, Narayana Guru and many. Bharatiya society has always acknowledged and respected social reformers. It is for this reason that a woman of European origin and the daughter of a Christian Priest, Swami Vivekananda’s disciple Sister Nivedita has written that had Bruno been in India, he would not have been burnt alive. Hence in countries where Semitic ideologies dominate, “Glasnost” must be welcomed.
The foundation of the Sangh philosophy is rooted in the Bharatiya thought, and hence has always kept the doors open for lively and engaged debate.
I was born in the Sangh Pariwar. My father, at the age of 18, in 1941, took the vow to dedicate his life to the Sangh. Today at the age of 95 he still continues to live out that vow. From my childhood I have been a regular at the shakha, and have never heard of any negativity towards Muslims and Christians. However anti national elements are robustly opposed (not hated). In 1971, I was given the responsibility of conducting a local Shakha in Nagpur (near Ajani Station). One day about a dozen children came to join the shakha, when introductions were made, two brothers introduced themselves as Amil Khan and Feroz Khan, from the  seventh and fifth grade respectively. It was the first time, I was interacting with  Muslims. A couple of days later I went to their home, to meet their father Bashir Khan, who was an ambulance driver at the nearby government hospital. It is practice in Sangh to meet and be in touch with the family of swayamsevaks. I  introduced  myself  and informed him that his two sons had been visiting the shakha for the last two days. Bashir Khan offered me a cup of tea, at the time I was not a tea drinker, but felt that if I refused, it may give the wrong impression, that I was refusing his offer of hospitality because he was a Muslim. Hence I drank half a cup of tea, this was my first taste of tea! The two brothers were regular attendees at the shakha till class ten. In fact Amil was a very good kabaddi player, a popular shakha game. It is nothing but false propaganda and a targeted defamation campaign run by those who peddle in hate, that falsifies the Sangh stance on Muslims.
I was a Prant Pracharak from 1996 to 2006 and had the opportunity to attend many national level meets. I was always encouraged to participate in discussion and put forth different view points  by the General Secretary at the time Sheshadri ji and the Sarsanghchalak Pujaneey Rajju Bhaiya. Not only was my participation encouraged but I was asked to put forth new ideas, the only time I faced any censure was when I was asked to communicate in a calmer fashion in one instance.
I recall another incident that elucidates the Sangh’s stance on free speech. Once a Vibhag Pracharak was given a responsibility in the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, (HSS) the overseas work to organise Hindus (outside Bharat) . The HSS and the RSS conduct the same activities, however whilst there the Pracharak realised that the regular prayer at HSS Shakha did not include two important aspects that were rendered in the RSS prayer in India. He brought this oversight to the notice of a senior functionary in the Sangh, and suggested that they be included. However he was informed that the said prayer had been penned by Bhideji and approved by Shri Guruji and had been in circulation for many years. However the Pracharak was not satisfied with this explanation and felt that it didn’t reflect the Sangh’s approach to such matters. When he raised this matter with Dattopant Thengdi ji, the veteran Pracharak and thinker responded that if this was the case, then the prayer needs to be amended by adding these important aspects to the prayer. Emboldened by Thegdi Ji’s response, when he  brought this matter  to the notice of national RSS office bearers, they discussed the matter and decided to include the relevant sections in the prayer. After 50 years in use the Sangh decided in 2000 that the prayer should be amended. The fact that a Vibhag Pracharak’s observation was taken seriously and raised at the highest level, is indicative of the open flow of feedback in the organisation.
The Sangh is a living organisation, and by temperament and tradition is given to change and encourages it. Hence there is no need for a Galsnost moment in the RSS. However, it is true that being a large organisation, the letter and spirit of any change has to be communicated and understood by the rank and file in the organisation, this process takes effort and time.
Post 1990 the Sewa, Sampark and Prachar Vibhags of the Sangh were created to outreach, communicate and transform the society at large.  This took as long as five to ten years to communicate and convince the ranks. There is no opposition to new ideas, however there is discussion and questions are answered, which is the way of the Sangh. In 2015, when after 85 years the uniform of RSS was changed from shorts to full trousers, the decision came after five years of debate and discussion, and was subsequently accepted and followed by all.
Hence in Semitic traditions where new ideas are not discussed and blasphemy is a tool used to enforce conformity, Glasnost and Perestroika are necessary processes and landmark moments for those societies. However in an organisation, where the essential processes facilitate new thought and feedback, there is no need for Glasnost or Perestroika.
I am reminded of a few lines from a poem penned by the famous Gujarati poet, Shri Dhruv Bhatt.
It is the earth, that experiences the darkness of the night
But for the Sun, the night and subsequent darkness never occurs.
In the same vein:
For Semitic ideologies, Glasnost is a reckoner
However where openness of  thought is  routine,  inventions and innovations are welcome
– the word Glasnost is irrelevant.
Dr. Manmohan Vaidya
Sah Sarkaryvah, RSS