Tag Archives: RSS

Dr Hedgewar sowed the seeds of eternity for RSS

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has dominated the social scene in all spheres of life today. Its opponents are worried over its ever increasing strength and they miss no opportunity to malign its name and fame. But in spite of all their attempts to defame the organisation, this ‘Rashtra Shakti’ is on the rise complicating their worries. On the other hand, the nationalist forces are happy and assured at the bright future of the country with its growing strength. They are willing to join and cooperate the RSS or any of its social welfare activity, and contribute their might in the process of nation building.

It has been observed that the number of those willing to join the RSS on internet was 1000 per month in 2012. It increased to 2500 per month in 2013 and 9000 in 2014! This is sufficient to indicate the growth of RSS. The secret of this growth lies in the pure national outlook of RSS and a chain of selfless, devoted, dedicated and committed workers.

While this huge Banyan tree, called RSS, is touching new heights, its roots are penetrating deeper and deeper searching new sources of the elixir of life. The very idea about the seed of such a huge Banyan tree enthuse our minds. It was Dr Hedgewar whose 125th birth anniversary coincides this year’s ‘Varsh Pratipada’. How was that seed?

Born on the auspicious occasion of Varsh Pratipada (April 1, 1889) Keshav Baliram Hedgewar was a born patriot. He came from an orthodox Brahmin family, which had no connection with the freedom struggle nor was there any major movement for freedom in the Central Provinces then. But the spark of freedom burnt in the heart of young Keshav and his heart throbbed for freedom. This urge of freedom became visible through many incidents of his childhood days. Noteworthy amongst them were throwing away the sweet box distributed to the students on diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria; or refusing to go for enjoying lighting and decoration on the government buildings to commemorate the arrival of George Vth in India, and many more such examples.

Young Keshav was the mastermind of ripping through the infamous Risley Circular that prohibited the singing of Vande Mataram in 1907 against the background of “Bang-Bhang” movement. When the School Inspector entered a classroom he was greeted with a shout of “Vande Mataram”. Obviously, Keshav was the inspiration of this protest. He opted for Calcutta to pursue his studies in Medicine as Calcutta happened to be the core centre of revolutionary activities then. He joined the Anusheelan Samiti, the topmost revolutionary outfit, and soon admitted to its inner most circles. After completing his medical studies and obtaining licence to practice, he came back to Nagpur but did not get involved in practice nor did he think for entering into a married life. His life aim was to free the motherland and he plunged into the freedom struggle then.

Dr. Hedgewar was entrusted with the responsibility of a volunteer corps of 1920 Congress Session in Nagpur. He raised the volunteer force of 1200 for it. Besides, he proposed two resolutions to the Draft Committee. One of them was related to full freedom of India. And the other was freeing other countries of the world from the clutches of imperialism. However, these resolutions could not see the light of the day. But when Congress passed a resolution of full freedom in 1930, Dr Hedgewar wrote to all the RSS Shakhas to congratulate the Congress. This showed his all encompassing vision.

Despite his differences he was of the opinion that all should join hands to throw off the shackles of slavery without weakening the movement. Due to this thinking he did not express his displeasure on Congress support to ‘Khilafat’ Movement, though he had differences with Mahatma Gandhi on this issue. He participated under the leadership of Gandhi in the non-cooperation movement and suffered jail term.

To achieve Independence is very important for any society but to create a society infused with national values, ethos and character to uphold and protect the freedom was more necessary and fundamental. Dr Hedgewar realised this and decided to start the RSS in 1925. He mingled with the youths and led them by his example through the technique of daily shakha, which happens to be real forte of RSS. Worship of strength, collectivism, discipline, patriotism, national pride and love and compassion for entire society and work selflessly for the society with full dedication were some of the virtues he wanted to inject and infuse into the Hindu society through the technique of daily shakha. Traversing the entire country in spite of his falling health, he succeeded in spreading the countrywide network of RSS in the short span of 15 years.

He did not have slightest of hesitation to use modern means to obtain desired results even though he had deep faith in our age-old culture and traditions. He always used to project his comrades to the forefront of the work and it was this style of his that laid a very strong, unshakable foundation of the RSS.

He not only kept in touch with various movements in the society aimed at Independence of the country even after he founded the RSS, but he also participated in them. In 1930, he participated in Gandhi’s Civil Disobedience Movement and participated in ‘Jungle Satyagraha’ in Vidarbha and suffered a nine-month jail term at Akola. But he also took care of RSS and appointed Dr LW Paranjape, his close associate as Sarsanghachalak and made arrangements of senior swayamsevaks to look after the Sangh work. The society was then divided in Congress, Revolutionary, Tilakites, Gandhites, Hindu Mahasabhaites and so on. Dr Hedgewar kept himself aloof from all such fractions yet he had good cordial relations with all of them. He sailed the RSS through such turbulences like an expert captain.

He ensured that RSS does not become yet another organisation in the society. He developed RSS as an organisation of the entire society. He introduced the tradition of ‘Guru Dakshina’ to make RSS self-reliant and self-sufficient. He placed the traditional ‘Bhagwa Dhwaj’, a symbol of dedication, renunciation, and selfless service, as the ideal ‘guru’. He was against projecting any individual as “guru” because he was aware of the shortcomings of an individual. That is why the RSS work is spreading to new areas and constituencies even after nine decades without diversions.

Dr Hedgewar was free from the ego of being the founder of RSS. Though he agreed to be Sarsanghachalak on the requests of his colleagues in 1929, he expressed his mind in 1933 meeting of the Sanghachalaks thus:
“I am fully aware of the fact that I am not the father or founder of the RSS; I am only performing the duties of a foster-mother of RSS as per your wish and would continue to do this so long as you wish and desire.

I would not care for any difficulty, problem or insult, etc. “Whenever you feel that RSS is suffering owing to my incompatibility you are free to appoint any proper and competent person to the post. I will owe my allegiance to the new incumbent and work as a devoted swayamsevak as happily as I have opted to work as per your order. For me personality does not matter. It is the mission of Sangh that matters, therefore, I would not hesitate to do any work in the interest of the Sangh”.

These thoughts of RSS founder Dr Hedgewar throw sufficient light on his unattached attitude and dedicated personality.

Dr Hedgewar introduced common uniform, route march, band, military drill, camps etc. to inculcate virtues like collective discipline, and rising above the self attitude amongst the swayamsevaks.

This was a very revolutionary and radical thought considering the social condition of his time. He did not give much importance to criticism against RSS, avoided debates and discussions and insisted on established cordial relations even with his opponents.

He followed the Sanskrit dictum that said ‘avoid debate’ and ‘sans opposition from all’. He remained firm in praise and criticism. Nothing could dislodge or dissociate him from his chosen path. He would accept the praise as inspiration to speed up Sangh work and criticism as ignorance of the critics.

In 1936, Shankaracharya Vidyashankar Bharati honoured him with the title of “Rashtra Senapati”. This news got wide publicity and letters started pouring in. But he directed all the swayamsevaks to refrain from using this honorary title as this would be in contrast with our nature. He even discouraged those who wanted to write his biography. “The nation first” attitude he created thus in the RSS.

He would teach not with words but with actions. He used to say that people would judge and like the RSS as they experience the RSS and not by publicity. We have sown the seed, now without discussing or publicising it we should work for nurturing it. The fruits would make the identity of the person who had sown the seeds known.

Therefore, even after his death, in spite of the difficulties, upheavals in national life, the RSS is marching on its chartered course undisturbed, unfazed encompassing the entire society. This success story of RSS is in fact the success story of Doctor Hedgewar’s dedicated, epoch-making, and meaningful life as an organiser par excellence.

Dr Manmohan Vaidya (The writer is Akhil Bharatiya Prachar Pramukh of RSS)

Social Equality is a Matter of Conviction for Us – Dr. Mohanji Bhagwat

RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat with his call for ‘One Temple, One Cremation Ground and One Water-body’ for all in a non-discriminatory way has provided a new action programme for social equality and harmony. Many outside the RSS circles are also appreciating the initiative. The third Sarsanghachalak of RSS, Shri Balasaheb Deoras provided momentum to the social thrust to this reformist thinking, which now Shri Mohan Bhagwat is carrying forward. On the sidelines of the RSS Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha held at Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, Organiser Editor Prafulla Ketkar and Panchjanya Editor Hitesh Shankar spoke to him on Balasaheb Deoras, his contribution to Samrasata and the way ahead. Excerpts:

 Since 1925 itself, Samrasata has been in the basic nature of RSS. Later, Balasaheb Deoras was a great inspiration in this endeavour. How do you look at his contribution?

The organisation of Hindu society is impossible without Samrasata (social harmony). Therefore, non-discriminatory approach is mandatory for unifying the Hindu society and this has been there in the RSS since its inception. However, the strength of RSS has increased over a period of time. In the RSS, Samrasata has been in practice since its formation. But when Balasaheb took over as the Sarsanghachalak, the atmosphere in the society started becoming conducive for listening to what RSS says, to think over it and to experiment over it, at least to some extent.  Today, the influence of RSS is much higher, then it was not that great, but it was just a beginning. This egalitarian approach of RSS was necessary for the society as well. Therefore, after assuming the responsibility of Sarsanghachalak, Balasaheb unequivocally declared about the ‘social thrust’ as the main objective of the organisation. To make the meaning of this clear to the Swayamsevaks and also to the society at large, Balasaheb deliberately prepared for months together and delivered his famous address in the Vasant Vyakhyanmala (a lecture series organised at Pune  on May 8,1974). The practice was prevalent within the Sangh but the thought process behind this was made clear to the Swayamsevaks through that address and a message was delivered to the larger society as well.

What was the impact of this insistence on Samrasata by Sangh on the society?

Sangh’s belief in Hindutva is a well-known fact. What would be the Sangh’s approach towards the caste system that is predictably associated with the term ‘Hindu’? There were well-intended people in the society who believed that this organisation must be in support of the caste system or caste-based discrimination. Then, this issue was publicly discussed about the Sangh. This perception was there and there were many people who used this to unfairly target the RSS. But when Balasaheb categorically said that the ‘untouchability should be thrown lock, stock and barrel’, these discussions immediately came to an end. With this, Swayamesevaks also garnered courage to present their position in the society. The Samrasata was there in practice but common Swayamsevaks were not aware about the ideological edifice of those actions. Balasaheb’s speech unfolded all this, the thinking and the corresponding steps, clear for the Swayamsevaks. They also became more confident about their position in the society. The suspicion of the genuine people in the society was removed with this clear position. This facilitated many things. There are many instances where RSS Swayamsevaks stood by the victims of discrimination when many in the society were not ready to take a clear position.

After the historical speech of Balasaheb Deoras at Vasant Vyakhyanmala which new dimensions were added to the Sangh work?

Naturally, many new dimensions were added with the beginning of work with the society. The churning started about what are the problems of these groups who are victims of social discrimination, what do they think and what are the remedies to bridge the huge gap that has emerged in the society. In the same process initiative of Samajik Samrasata Manch was started. Special efforts were made to establish contact with different social groups and bring them to RSS Shakha activity; especially the social groups that were psychologically uncomfortable in calling themselves as Hindus due to discriminatory practices were focussed on. Resultantly, the strength of Hindu organisation was added to the larger struggle for self-respect by various groups.

What measures would you suggest to eradicate the social discrimination?

The first and foremost remedy is a continuous process in which we should learn to completely reject all kinds of discriminations in our personal, family, professional and social behaviour. We will have to change our habits for that. For instance, there are many proverbs that are still in usage. Many a times we use it not to demean certain communities but it hurts the people who are the victims of discrimination. We will have to consciously get rid of such usages and habits. Sometimes, though we are mentally and morally convinced about principle of equality, some of our habits do not allow us to act accordingly. We will have to change such habits. Whether we have really discarded the discriminatory practices and inculcated the egalitarian values will be tested again and again, particularly, by our own people with whom we want to connect with for building a non-discriminatory and harmonious society. Even in our normal behaviour such values will have to be nurtured. For instance, I went to somebody’s place. I am not thirsty, still water was offered and I did not have water, this action of mine can also  create doubt about my intent of not having water, even though I did not mean anything. Shri Guruji once set an excellent example through his action. A Swayamsevak invited Shri Guruji for a cup of tea. He used to stay in a small hut, in a condition of absolute poverty. When Guruji went there, couple of karyakartas accompanied him. The place was so small that one could see his mother preparing tea while sitting on a chair near door. The utensils were not clean; there was no tea strainer; the tea was strained with a cloth that was also not very clean. When the tea was offered, someone said I don’t have tea, the other said I had a lot of tea since morning. Guruji happily had tea. While returning, the accompanying karyakartas asked, how could you have that tea? Shri Guruji replied, you were observing the tea, I was drinking his love and affection. Such conscious but obvious efforts are needed. The society needs love and respect. So our behaviour should be to protect the self-respect of all. We have to get habitual to this.

Secondly, many issues arise in public life, like inter-caste marriages. Those issues also face opposition. We insist that Swayamsevaks should stand in favour of such reformative measures. Generally, it happens and it should happen. If you take a survey, you will find more Swayamsevaks with inter-caste marriages than anybody else. We observe that in our personal interactions. Two messages were sent to the couple involved in the first public inter-caste marriage in Maharashtra, one was that of Dr Ambedkar and the other was by Shri Guruji. In his congratulatory message, Shri Guruji wrote that not because of physical attraction but to register a protest against the caste system, you are tying this knot through an inter-caste marriage, I support this marriage and convey my best wishes. This message was conveyed to the Swayamsevaks also.

Sangh Swayamsevaks should take such public position, without getting carried away by momentary public sentiments or self-arrogance. It is necessary that Swayamsevaks take a lead role while keeping the social unity, integrity and harmony in mind to sincerely and fearlessly carry out that role.

What are the major obstacles in the path of Samrasata?

As I said earlier, the biggest hurdle is our habits and mindset. We have been practising certain things for more than two thousand years, in which Adharma is followed in the name of Dharma. If we can’t desist our fascination for old things then by breaking it, we have to stand by truth and justice, as Balasaheb clearly said – ‘it should be thrown lock, stock and barrel’.

The issue of discrimination crops up in the form of injustice incurred by ancient Brahminical system. When our ancestors are discussed as selfish and arrogant, the first obvious reaction is to defend our forefathers. The person is actually referring to the inhuman treatment of discrimination, which he has been facing for thousands of years. Take it as his genuine anger and support his stand on equality. If your ancestors and ancient traditions are great, then they are not going to belittle by anyone’s accusations. If there is an injustice, we have to oppose it. Once a Sangh Karyakarta was asked in a programme that you revere Prabhu Shri Ram as an icon of Hindus, do you also support his slaying of Shambuka? This is a tricky question for a Hindu. It creates the dilemma of denouncing Prabhu Ram or supporting the killing of Shambuka. The RSS Karyakarta replied in a very brave and intelligent manner. He said, first of all I should congratulate you as somebody who has sent you to ask this question and you have come well prepared. Through this question you have accepted that someone with name of Ram existed in our history. This is a great thing. Now whether Ram really killed Shambuka, this is a debatable issue as many believe that this whole chapter is added in Uttar-Ramayana (later part). The Ram we worship only killed the unjust and devil king. Slaying of Shambuka is not a matter of respect for us with reference to Prabhu Ram and if it is ever proved that Ram was responsible for the killing of Shambuka, we will denounce that. This kind of clear position we should be able to take. This does not amount to the insult of our forefathers. Savarkarji used to say, do not blame the ancestors for wrong things but denounce the wrong doings of forefathers respectfully. This is very easy to say but very difficult to practise as it gives a feeling of diffidence. In such practical issues, even if our self-interest is hampered we should stand for the just and righteous cause. In this process, we many a times have to face the social reaction. We have to learn how to manage that and how to respect that. We should strive to garner enough courage to deal with such situations.

Another aspect is, we have to accept that due to the discrimination of thousands of years, there would be anger, sometimes even hatred and still we should continue to strive for building bridges. We should remain confident that after exhaling the anger, the hatred will subside. Simultaneously, there are forces who are interested in vitiating the atmosphere. This conspiracy is going on. We have to deal with them as well. Therefore, with love and care, we have to raise people in each and every community who stand for unity, integrity and harmony. This is the need of the hour and also a continuous process.

As you said, nurturing Samrasata is a continuous process. What would be the role of different sections of the society in this process?

An interesting corollary was given by Pt Deendayalji. He said, if you have to pull out someone from a pit, then it is not sufficient that he is ready to come out of it by raising his hands and lifting his foot, the person who is outside the pit also has to bend down. This process has started. The hesitance of bending down from above should go away.  We should strive hard to extend our hand to the best possible extent for helping others. Secondly, we need to be calm in thinking, communication and action. Balasaheb in his speech said that untouchability and injustice is clearly visible. Ultimately, we are one society, so it is our responsibility to maintain harmony in it. We cannot persist with the conflict of perpetrators of untouchability and victims of untouchability. If we do not want to widen the rift, if we want peace and harmony, then both the sides should get rid of abusive language. One section has to realise that the anger of thousands of years is being expressed and therefore not to react with similar anger is needed. The other side should learn to tone down the language while expressing their anger for reducing the social strife and gap. We can articulate injustice in a respectful way. The leaders also use discretion for ending all kinds of injustice.  A system should be developed in such a way that no one with intent of injustice can rise again. This all should be done with the objective of unifying the society. The system should have inbuilt provisions to maintain the egalitarian system, new suggestions should be accepted. By assimilating everyone in this process, if we start exhibiting this in our action, without waiting for others, then this objective would be attained earlier and faster.

What are the future plans of RSS in this process of social transformation?

The fundamental plan of Sangh is to assimilate all through sincere actions. Whatever may be the external situation, people of all sections of the society should be friendly to each other. As people from same social groups become friends,  their families  get connected, natural interactions begin and family level affection develops,  this has to happen across the sections. Wherever such actions are taken, genuine efforts for equality should be  made, we should support and strengthen  them, and try making them  successful and victorious. This is our work. The victims of injustice should get  justice at the earliest. The practice of equality is imitated all over and there should be cordial dialogue in this direction. Therefore, undertaking surveys, talking to people on these issues, and convincing people on the same, are the new initiatives taken. Many new measures can come up in this process.

Recently you gave  a call for One Temple, One Crematorium and One Water-body. What kind of response you are getting from the leaders of various sects and religions?

Almost, all responses  are positive. The principle behind this call got cent per cent  acceptance. But those who do not understand Sangh or oppose it for the sake of it would  comment  why now or would say it is  too late. So the call for One Temple, One Crematorium and One Water-body was not opposed per se but a question mark was certainly put on the intention behind this. Or else they said it is merely a sloganeering. The issue was not directly opposed by anyone. On the other hand, a large section of society rejoiced at the call . The victims of discrimination certainly saw a ray of hope.

There is an incident behind this call. Before my Vijayadashmi speech in which I gave this all, I went to Palamuru in Telangana, where many Swayamsevaks are there from the so-called backward sections of the society. I was the Sarkaryavah then. A so-called Dalit leader with Left leanings was sharing the  stage  with me. I spoke first and then he addressed the gathering. I was supposed to speak on Samajik Samarasta (Social Harmony), which I did. After that he publicly accepted that I thought RSS to be a caste-ridden organisation but what I am seeing here is Sangh is full of our own people and some of them are full-timers. I just listened to the RSS General Secretary, and could not believe that the Sangh could publicly take such a stand. He asked whether this is a genuine position of RSS. After his speech, in an informal discussion, I assured him that this is what Sangh believes in. It is a matter of conviction for us. He was surprised with that. After that we remained in touch. He interacted regularly with the local level office bearers, sometimes even communicated with them. In one of such discussion, I said the issue of temple, crematorium and waterbody should go first in the society as these are the issues of day-to-day experience. He said, you will not say this publicly. I said, I am going to say this, you attend the Vijayadashmi function to listen to this. He actually visited Nagpur to see whether I actually took  this position or not. Now he himself speaks among his community leaders about this position of Sangh. He advises them not to keep RSS people away. Such kind of leadership, not embroiled in political interests and still really represent the so-called Dalits, would certainly be happy about such initiatives. They would be positive about  Sangh. The message will be conveyed to the whole nation.

How far politically favourable atmosphere helps in furthering this cause of Samrasta?

Politically favourable atmosphere can be helpful only in one sense, if people in politics decide to do so. Wherever people in favour of social equality are in power, there they ensure the strict implementation of the Constitutional and other legal provisions pertaining to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Even if the government ensures the timely allocation of funds and appointing the right person for the right job, that itself would be a big job.   Fifty percent of systemic issues would be resolved by this. These provisions are already there, we just have to implement them in right spirit. We believe that wherever Swayamesevaks are in government positions, they should focus on this aspect. We can only insist on this and we are doing this sincerely.

What can be the role models for creating Samaras (harmonious) and integral society? What can be the inspiration for the same?

The real inspiration is in our culture itself – truth, compassion, purity and austerity are four pillars of Dharma. What is the Truth? The truth is our biggest conviction that the same eternal principle exists in everyone and everyone is the manifestation of that. Nobody is big or small, ours or aliens. All are ours. The obvious corollary of this is to be compassionate to all. Dharma, means the principles that hold the society, it starts with the two principles, all are mine and I am there in others. Therefore there should not be any degeneration in the system. This compassion comes from the feeling of affinity. If such person is pure, without any self-interest, then he would surely dedicate his life to the public good. Such a life would take him to the path of Dharma.

Therefore, Dharma, the four principles that hold our society is the crux of our culture. All our religious texts, whether, Bhagwadgeeta, Shri Bhagwat Puran, Shiv Puran or the message of Tathagat Bhagwan Buddha, convey us the same thing. All our Bharatiya traditions, may be having different paths, may be having differences on primacy of matter or spirit but their instructions for our actual behaviour are the same. It is not there only in a written form. Thousands of Saintly people actually led that life. This is not only true with the ancient Saints but with modern monks. Swamy Vivekananda celebrated the festival of feeding labourers working in the Varahanagar Muth. Service to man is service to God was the message he conveyed to all. To experience the pain of being an untouchable, Gadage Baba, a modern Saint in Maharashtra used to go to roadside water well and ask for drinking water. He used to fetch water himself on the instruction of the farmer. When suddenly he use to ask about his caste and he would not tell his caste and experience the literal lashes. Dr Ambedkar himself did that many a times. So we have such lives to follow even in modern times that made great sacrifices for the cause of social harmony. This is a great inspiration in itself. This is my society and my nation is the biggest inspiration one can have. If my own people are living in a despicable condition then what is the use of my name and fame. If I travel around the world, then the issue of caste-based discrimination would be a matter of shame and not pride. Devotion towards society, nation and culture is a significant force which we should create amongst all.

Inherent Unity in diversity is the biggest strength of the Hindu society. Why there is a competition to create divisions in it?

The main reason of such divisions is forgetting the nature of one’s true self. Once I consider a section of my society as enemy, then to protect my own interest I would oppose you at any cost. There are examples of inviting even enemies of the nation for protecting selfish interests. Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar during the deliberations in the Constituent Assembly, warned against the same. He categorically said that no foreigner could win over Bharat on his own strength. We lost because of our divisions and some people betrayed our own nation. This has been part of our history, which should not be repeated.

Therefore, we have to revive the basic principles of unity. There are many forces which are working to widen this gulf of divisions for self-interests. Instead of fighting against such forces time and again, it is better we strengthen our unifying tendencies and act accordingly.

You travel throughout the nation; you have been reiterating this subject of Samrasata time and again. How do you see the end-result of this?

See, insisting on Samrasta and inspiring the actions based on this in all aspects is necessary and we are trying to do the same. I am sure, one day this would bear the fruits and whole society will accept this. The divisive tendencies are counting their days. There are few people who are making necessary corrections and trying to follow the path of Samrasta. The larger section of society generally follow the trend. We have to strengthen the voice of righteousness, the society will follow it. Babasaheb used to say that numerous efforts are being made to create a discrimination-free, egalitarian and exploitation-free society. Many people have sacrificed their lives. I sincerely feel that we will get the cumulative result of all those efforts and soon we will have a  discrimination-free society.

Courtesy: Organiser

Muslim Appeasement – Trinamool Congress Attacks Vidya Bharati Schools

Minority appeasement to preserve vote bank has been a common policy of both the Marxists and Trinamool.

It is this policy that dictates the shutting down of Vidya Bharati schools while sanctioning a whopping Rs 2,500 crore for madrasas in Bengal.

Nationalism, and a correct rendition of Bharat’s history (as opposed to the glorification of invaders and their rule by Marxist historians) is what is taught in the 350-odd Vidya Bharati schools in Bengal. The more than 60,000 students enrolled in these schools are taught Indic values like respect towards elders and for nature, and a sense of righteousness and Dharma instilled in them. And along with classroom teaching, the students are also given physical training which, as Swami Vivekananda said, is critical for development of the intellect.

Now compare this to what is being taught in the 2,000-odd unregistered madrasas in Bengal. Most of these madrasas have mushroomed with funds provided by Wahhabi foundations based in the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia, where a regressive and medieval form of Islam is enforced. Fundamentalist Wahhabi clerics in these madrasas teach the children that kafirs ought to be eliminated, that idol-worshippers should have their heads chopped off, that non-Muslims have to either convert to Islam or be tortured to death, while their womenfolk have to be raped and enslaved, that the adulterous have to be stoned to death and thieves should have their arms chopped off. The kids are told that waging jihad to make the entire world Islamic is the bounden holy duty of all Muslims.

It would be apparent to any sane and unbiased person that it is these madrasas that need to be shut down and their Wahhabi teachers put behind bars forthwith. However, in a gross travesty of fair play and justice, the Mamata Banerjee government has targeted the nationalist Vidya Bharati schools on the warped and totally false charge that these schools are “fanning religious intolerance”. Fact is that no religious instruction is imparted in the Vidya Bharati schools, unlike the madrasas.

The reason behind the proposed crackdown on Vidya Bharati schools seems to be a sinister one: to appease fundamentalist Islamic clerics who the Banerjee government has been actively wooing to preserve its crucial Muslim vote bank. It is learnt that a number of Muslim clerics and public figures have, over the past couple of years, been complaining to Trinamool politicians about the history being taught in Vidya Bharati schools. They have, for instance, objected to the (correct) portrayal of Aurangzeb as a tyrant who persecuted Hindus, of Babar and other Muslim invaders killing tens of thousands of Hindus and looting and destroying Hindu temples, of Bakhtiar Khilji’s destruction of Nalanda and massacring of thousands of monks, teachers and students there, and of the atrocious exploits of all other Muslim invaders and rulers.

Teaching kids such dark deeds of Muslim invaders, the fundamentalist Islamic clerics have argued (and this has been bought by Trinamool politicians) would create an antipathy among Hindus towards Muslims and, hence, the Vidya Bharati schools need to be shut down. Banerjee has also apparently bought the argument that telling young kids about the shameful exploits of Muslim invaders and rulers of Bharat will sow the seeds of communal disharmony in their minds. Hence, a falsified history written by Marxist historians, who have consistently watered down the rich heritage and culture of Bharat and built a false narrative by glossing over the mass murders, destruction of temples and other dark deeds of Muslim rulers as is being taught in all other schools in the state need to be taught in the Vidya Bharati schools too, feel the fundamentalist Muslim clerics and their Trinamool backers.

The Bengal government, at the behest of the Wahhabi clerics (many of them are paid stipends by Banerjee from taxpayers’ money), has also bought the argument that instilling Indic values and a sense of pride among students about Bharat’s rich heritage and culture (as is being done in the Vidya Bharati schools) goes against the grain of secularism. The warped logic is that if Hindu kids assert their identities and feel proud of their heritage and culture, they would turn against other religions. It is, of course, perfectly fine for Muslim kids in madrasas to learn that beheading kafirs is the holy duty of all Muslims!

There is yet another reason behind the Banerjee government issuing notices to 125 of the 350 Vidya Bharati schools in Bengal. As has been stated earlier, all the Vidya Bharati schools are located in remote rural areas of the state, and many of them are in places in North Bengal populated by scheduled castes and tribes. The presence of Vidya Bharati schools in these areas and the quality education they render has acted as a bulwark against the proselytisation of Christian missionaries. These evangelical Christian missionaries have been frustrated by their inability to harvest souls and have, thus, seen a stark decline in the funds they receive from western countries to proselytise.

These Christian bodies, who also wield a lot of influence on Banerjee, have been very covertly pressurising Trinamool leaders to shut down the Vidya Bharati schools in the state. With this aim, they have been defaming these schools. A few missionaries, for instance, complained to a senior Trinamool minister recently that the physical education and drills in these schools is creating an army of militant Hindus, who will massacre Muslims and Christians in Bengal very soon! Such venom is being spread against Vidya Bharati schools with the sole purpose of shutting them down so that Christian missionaries will be free to set up their own schools and proselytise poor and marginalised Hindus.

Incidentally, an elaborate charade was played out in the West Bengal Assembly on Wednesday (8 March) with a Communist Party of India-Marxist legislator Manas Mukherjee alleging that the Vidya Bharati schools were “fanning religious intolerance”. And Education Minister Partha Chatterjee, as if on cue, immediately fished out a list of 125 Vidya Bharati schools which, he proclaimed, are being put on notice. The list, he said, was handed over to him by Banerjee, who also oversees the home portfolio. It is apparent that the Marxists and the Trinamool were acting in tandem to corner Vidya Bharati schools. Not surprising at all since minority appeasement in order to preserve minority vote banks has been a common policy of both the parties. It is this policy that dictates the shutting down of Vidya Bharati schools while sanctioning a whopping Rs 2,500 crore for madrasas in Bengal.

By Jaideep Mazumdar

He is a journalist with many years of experience in The Times Of India, Open, The Outlook, The Hindustan Times, The Pioneer and some other news organizations. He has reported on politics, society and many other subjects from North, East and North East India as well as Nepal and Bangladesh.

Courtesy: Swarajya

 

UNIVERSITIES NEED INTEGRAL APPROACH TO SERVE NATION’S NEEDS

–  By Smt. Sravanthi Boinala

DeendayaljiPandit Deendayal Upadhyaya put forward the idea that every nation has certain ideals that constitute its soul. It is the responsibility of state to consolidate and build on these ideals, and to formulate policies for the larger welfare of citizenry inspired by them. All institutions in a nation, irrespective of their specific individual function, should help to sustain these ideals. Deendayalji stressed the educative and man-making role of institutions and advanced the idea of Gurukul and Rishikul as institutions that would serve national needs. Higher educational institutions, i.e. Indian universities, in his approach would be institutions catering to national needs and cherishing the noble ideals of our country.

In sharp contrast to his dreams, is the contemporary scene in Indian universities. The last two years have seen controversies hit the campuses of elite universities that have become the epicenters of division, pitching anti-nationalism against nationalism. Agitations have turned university campuses into battlegrounds between nationalist and left wing forces. A section of pseudo-seculars have launched a steady campaign to tighten their control over universities and to vitiate the national mood.

As a part of this, some JNU students expressed solidarity with Kashmiri separatists, and organised an event against the death sentence to Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhatt terming it ‘judicial killing’. Vainly trying to make martyrs out of criminals, they raised slogans against the integrity of the country in the campus. Voices were heard from Jadavpur university in support of extremism and separatism. The unfortunate death of Rohit Vemula in HCU became an occasion to disrupt the national mood and to fan divisions between SCs and other sections of society.

Of serious concern is the coming together of traditional left, ultra-left groups on campuses, with sections among minorities that are tuned in to sentiments across the border on a common platform. Even more regrettable was the support extended by intelligentsia outside campuses as well as by the opposition parties who hoped to gain political mileage at the cost of national interest. Politically motivated protest seems to have become the bedrock of secular thinking, and this has corrupted their sense of civic responsibility, patriotic feelings and devotion to the motherland. This has pitted them into conflict with nationalist unions.

In Deendayalji’s approach, nationalism is an overarching concept welding together the diverse striving and pluralistic life styles of the manifold groups and segments of the country. It is a dharma, a cornerstone of national life. National unity is the keystone of national existence. There can be no compromise on something so fundamental in the name of accommodating dissent.

Stressing this Deendayalji said:

“Mutual complementarity and a sense of unity alone can be the standard of proper conduct. … institutions are various limbs of the Nation and even of mankind. They are interdependent, mutually complementary. … There should be a tendency towards mutual accommodation in them, instead of conflict or opposition.”

ekatmmaanav-logoA second guiding concept added by Deendayalji was that of ‘chiti’. According to McDougal, this is the innate nature of a group. Central and fundamental to the nation, known to some as the national genius, it is the soul of the nation, seeding its foundation in the ancient past, directing its evolution into the distant future. Whatever change, whatever reform is in consonance with the ‘chiti’, whatever diversity subserves it, can be accepted and accommodated. But any behaviour or change that disrupts it should be regarded as a perversion, undesirable and therefore discarded. Only from its soul, can come the flowering of the nation.

Leftist rejection of national culture and tradition, in the name of ‘secularism’ is unfortunate, because by this they lose touch with the ‘chiti’, the soul of the nation. Even worse, they are left with no intrinsic standards to evaluate, filter and accept change. This is why, the positions that they take are increasingly influenced by predatory cultures and religions. In the theory of communism lie the seeds of its destruction.

In approaching the current problems in Indian universities, the principles laid down by Deendayalji are of utmost importance. He regarded education as an investment and thought that a properly educated person would indeed serve society. For this to be realised, not only should  students be fitted with tools and knowledge that empower them to serve themselves and society, but also with sentiments that bind them to national well being. Without emotional integration with the nation, mere knowledge alone cannot guarantee that individual ambition will be synchronised with the evolution of the national genius.

This is why there should be no space in university for anti-national views. Campuses should cherish and foster love for the nation. Deendayalji’s views on Integral Humanism can inspire universities to become centre’s of man-making and nation building, and to serve national interests.