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RSS Swayamsevak Helped De-Tangle 80 Ft Congress Tricolour Flag ..But then …

During the flag-raising ceremony at the Congress Faizpur session of 1937 , the Congress tricolor was stuck midway on a mast eighty feet high.

Many tried unsuccessfully to de-tangle the flag, after which a representative Sri Kishan Singh Pardesi courageously climbed up the mast-pole and freed the fabric.  Loud cheers rang out for as the flag fluttered atop the mast.  The Congress session also accepted a proposal to felicitate Pardesi.  But no sooner had he revealed that he had mustered courage because of the nationalist spirit of the RSS, the Congressmen developed cold feet.  How could they felicitate any Swayamsevak of the Sangh ? The Congress’ discriminatory attitude against Hindutva-oriented organizations came to the fore.

Dr. Hedgewar’s joy knew no bounds when he heard about this contribution of a swayamsevak.  He departed from the Sangh’s tradition of eschewing publicity and called Kishan Singh Pardesi to the Devpur Shakha, and publicly felicitated him.  Presenting a small goblet of Chanda as a token to him, Dr. Hedgewar said,

“It is a swayamsevak’s natural duty to stake his very life if necessary, to remove any obstacle to the nation’s work.  This is our national dharma”.

While on one hand Dr Hedgewar driven by the spirit of anti-imperialism demonstrated his affection towards the Congress, the latter harboured hatred for the Sangh.  Dr. Kakasaheb Tembhe, a Congressman who sympathized with the Sangh, was perturbed by this.  He wrote to Hedgewar, requesting the latter to criticize the Congress’ style of functioning and ideological orientation.  Tembhe believed that this would pacify the growing discontent among the Sangh’s swayamsevaks.

Dr.Hedgewar Dr. Hedgewar’s reply to Tembhe reveals not only his own evaluation of the Congress organization, but also his philosophical side.  Hedgewar did not wish to allow any disaffection towards the Congress in the minds of swayamsevaks.  To him, there were only two options.  The RSS would have to rapidly enhance its own strength as to be able to evict the British from India through a revolution; else, the anti-imperialist struggle would have to continue under the aegis of the Congress.  Hedgewar did not wish to create multiple centres of the anti-imperialist struggle.  It was this line of reasoning that prompted him to reply to Tembhe thus,

“Each individual in this world behaves and talks according to this nature.  It is not mandatory to regard him as representing any party or ideology.  In my opinion, it is erroneous to praise or condemn any party or its ideology owing to the utterances of any member who is supposed to represent it.  A true gentleman of lofty character belonging to any political party does not wish ill of any other party”.

Source : “Builders of Modern India” – Dr.Keshav Baliram Hedgewar by Publications Division;

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