Challenges & Voluntary Work :
Many of us are sensitive to the situations around us, but to translate the feeling to work is the first challenge. The second level challenge comes as we grow in life and the requirements of the family increase. A “voluntary mission” is the first casualty in such cases.. There are some who overcome this level and balance the cause and family.
The third challenge is when personal tribulations come up. There are a very few who can face up to this and make the cause their life mission. These are the few who become beacons of light for those around them. It is their “tapas” that inspires.
Sri Burra Venkatesam was such a person – a quintessential swayamsevak, who could inspire by his mere presence. Not a man of many words, he demonstrated Sangh’s ideal of simple living and life-long commitment to the cause of re-building our nation.
He lived in the Kumarvadi area of Saidabad , Bhagyanagar ( Hyderabad) for most part of his life. The decades he lived there saw many riots and a slow exodus of Hindus from that area. A man of slender built, he was the Bhag karyavah ( district general secretary ) of RSS. He made many attempts to ensure that Hindus do not vacate the area. However, by the time I first visited his home, his house was the only Hindu home in his lane. He lived there with his wife, three daughters and one son, Prem. The fact that he came from such a locality to do Sangh work everyday relentlessly inspite of curfew being imposed on many occasions in that area spoke volumes of him. It was only later under a lot of pressure from all of us, that he relented and moved to another place.
Planning in advance & detail : I worked as Bhag Sharirik pramukh in his team and got practical lessons of how to prepare for conducting baithaks ( meetings ). He spoke little but had the knack of getting the concurrence of the entire team. It is another matter that the idea that the team concurred with was in fact also his idea :), but he never imposed it. On one of the occasions during the baithak, the power supply went off and as everyone was looking around for candles, out came a candle and match-box from Venkatesamji’s bag. Like an akshaya patra, his bag seemed to consist of everything that a baithak (meeting ) needed. He was later Bhagyanagar Vibhag Vyvastha Pramukh and I was once again in the same team as Vibhag Baudhik Pramukh. It was only later when his health did not permit him to travel much that he took up responsibility as Nagar Sanghachalak.
He worked in the Osmania government hospital. Most of his non-office hours were spent for Sangh work. I do not remember he having missed any baithak where he was expected to attend. His family was going through a lot of health issues but he ensured that his friends and fellow karykartas never came to know about his pain. Whenever we enquired about the family issues, he would only laugh it out in his own inimitable style. That was his way of inspiring.
Attending shaka at all costs :
Pujya Doctor Hedgewar, the founder of RSS used to say that a swayamsevak should attend shaka every day. The only three occasions where he could miss shaka are
a. When he is travelling with no access to a shaka
b. When he is bed-ridden Or has some other emergency
c. When he is no more.
Venkatesamji offered the Sangh prarthana in shaka everyday. If it rained, he had an umbrella, a rain-coat but never one to miss shaka. Even on the day of his hospitalization, he attended shaka in the morning. He later walked to a doctor and on the doctor’s advise was taken to the hospital. He left his mortal coil on 10th July 2013.
The word swayamsevak in English means volunteer, but in the context of Sangh swayamsevak, it has attained a meaning of one who has made the glory of nation as his life mission. The phrase Sangh swayamsevak has attained this meaning due to swayamsevaks like Venkatesamji.
A tribute to Venkatesamji would be to take the mission that he stood for – FORWARD !
My pranaams on his Vaikuntha Samaradhana.