Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, RSS or Sangh as it is popularly known, is undoubtedly one of the most important organization prevailing in this country. With over 25,000 Shakhas around the country and a base in almost 90 countries around the world, it is the biggest non government organization present on the face of this earth. Founded by Dr. KESHAVARAO BALI RAM HEDGEWAR at Nagpur on 27th September, Vijayadashmi day of 1925, it still is growing steadily and going strong.
There were many turbulent times for the country and during those periods this organization came forward with its full support for the sake of this nation. Whether it was helping the refugees at the time of partition or sustaining the border villages during 1961, 1965 and 1971 or if it’s a natural calamity or some other kind of tragic mishap, Sangh has always lend full support and shown a way. This is something which almost everyone knows, but then there are things about Sangh which most of us do not know. Like Bharateeya Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram (RSS affiliated) is spread over a hundred districts in 21 States, has been striving for the all-round development of the vanavasis, in their own natural surroundings, enabling all their latent potentialities and talents to blossom. Rashtriya Sevika Samiti, Durga Vahini, Sankalap, Bharateeya Mazdoor Sangh and other numerous inspired organizations are working with full devotion, altruistically and selflessly for the upliftment and development of masses with their invincible drive to translate their dream of ‘Sarvangeena Unnati’ into reality.
Still if someone asks us about Sangh then there is not much that we can say. Most of us who know very little or almost zilch about this organization is of the opinion that it is a communal organization, trying to spread hatred against specific religions. Such organizations do no good to the country and it is very unfortunate that something which is communal in nature is perpetuating for so long. I won’t be surprised if most you will be having views of this sort; because most of us do has similar views about this voluntary organization.
To understand what exactly Sangh is, we need to go back a little in history. The idea of founding the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh was conceived at a time when self-oblivion had overtaken the society and the struggle for political independence occupied the minds of people. It was taken for granted that political freedom and freedom from other social stigmas will come hand in hand, and this will lead to an era of genuine nationalist values which were lost during the days of the Raj. Everyone knew about the importance of freeing the society from mental bondage, which was deliberately inculcated into the masses, and creating a sense of being proud to be an Indian which was lost due to the attitude of the imperialist government. But as the race to throw out the Raj gained its full pace, unfortunately these tasks were left far behind. We succeeded in gaining our freedom but then at the same time in the rush of all this, something which was very important was lost somewhere. Dr. Hedgewar envisioned a nationwide movement which was aimed to be a cure of this state of self oblivion and it was named as Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh. It was his brain child to inculcate the feeling of nationalism among the Indians and the revival of the ancient way of living known as Hinduism.
Then why is it now that Sangh sounds synonymous with religious hatred to us? Why we presume that RSS is an extremist group? Why we think that Sangh is just another narrow minded religious outfit, communal in nature? The very own foundation of Sangh was nation building and not its deterioration then how come we say that Sangh is responsible for religious disharmony?
RSS is one of the most misunderstood organizations. Hatred against Muslims is its driving force, is a presumption based upon falsehood and this unfortunately describes our attitude towards it. Well according to the second Sarsanghchalak, M.S. Golvalkar or Guruji (as he is popularly known as) “Hindu Nation is essentially a culture” and his predecessor Dr. Hedgewar has many a times proudly proclaimed that “Yes, this is a Hindu Nation”. More than 7 decades down the line and things have changed drastically. The post independence era is entirely different from the pre independence times. Sangh never had any disputes with any community or religious group. They never were and are not now, against any particular religion. The founding forefathers of this mammoth organization were very much secular in both thinking and acting lines and this is one fact which very few of us know. More often than not Guruji and Dr. Hedgewar have said that they do not have any kind of enmity against any religion or Islam as a matter. In an interview with Mr. Khushwant Singh Guruji had said that “We have to win over the loyalty of Muslims with love. I am optimistic and I believe that Hindutva and Islam will learn to co-exist with one another.”
Sanghs ideology is nation building and the revival of our true moral values. They might have some differences with other religion on thought and attitude prospective. They are not against any religion but against the disloyalty of people towards their nation and this include people from both Hindus and Muslims. They do not have any kind of problem with Islam, but they do have their grudges against people who in the name of Islam are harming this nation.
Sangh is very passionate about this country and due to this spirit of theirs sometimes they do cross the forbidden lines. I totally agree that unfortunately there are people like Praveen Togadia present there, whose actions are more often than not, against the spirit of Sangh. But in Guruji’s words “It is not right to hold the entire community responsible for the guilt of some individuals”, labeling Sangh also as a cause of religious tension is not at all done and that too based upon false presumptions and partial knowledge.