• Santushti Raj Thapar


Santushti Thapar

Research Scholar

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh was founded in 1925 by Dr Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, though RSS is prominently noticeable by his successor, Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar. However, Hedgewar is known to as Doctorji within the RSS, Golwalkar is referred as Guruji. After Hedgewar’s death, Golwalkar took the charge as the RSS’s chief, in 1940, and held the post till his own death, in 1973. He appeared to be a leader, a scientist & a spiritual man. But other than being a swayamsevak, he had no other desire.

Once a Communist leader quoted to him:

“You know what is wrong with your Guruji?”

And the same person replied: “His unambitiousness.”

This shows his firm character free of want. If he had only desire, it would be—“complete swayamsevak.” “Swayamsevak” means the surrender of the self, the devotion of one’s life to principles. After he joined the Sangh, he asserted: “I have Dr Hedgewar’s life and his principles before me.” This total devotion was the source of his life as a complete swayamsevak.

On March 8, 1947, a rally of RSS workers of the Delhi Province was held. Some 100,000 volunteers participated.

Golwalkar, in his speech, said that if the Hindus perished, the Sangh would perish. Golwalkar added that 'the disunity among Hindus in the Punjab was the cause of the present calamity. The Sangh should unite the Hindus and the capitalists should help by funds' ( C. I. D. Report for and March 8 and 9, 1947, in File 137, Delhi Police Records, 5th Instalment, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library).

Since nationalism is the issue under debate now a days under Modi regime, let us start with his thought with understanding of his book ‘Bunch of Thought’ Territorial nationalism is, to Golwalkar, the worst by-product of modernity. “It is like attempting to create a novel animal by joining the head of a monkey and the legs of a bullock to the trunk of an elephant!" Such “unnatural, unscientific" efforts to mechanically unite territories can only result in a “hideous corpse". And the sole resultant activity, he adds colourfully, is that of “germs and bacteria breeding in (a) decomposing" polity. Instead, we must acknowledge that a nation is “not a mere bundle of political and economic rights"—it entails culture as well. And in India, this culture is “ancient and sublime" Hinduism, full of love and “free from any spirit of reaction". In other words, instead of acting like bacteria in that dead body called a pluralistic democracy, our salvation lies in embracing Hindu dharmocracy.

Golwalkar’s ‘Bunch Of Thoughts’

PM Narendra Modi authored a book titled Jyotipunj (Beams of Light) in 2008, in which 16 RSS men were glorified with whom he was inspired. The longest piece was on Golwalkar, “We are not capable of knowing or analysing Guruji’s life. This is a humble attempt to recount those beautiful moments of his life.” In 2004, MG Vaidya, currently the RSS’s leading ideologue, articulated “described Shri Guruji as the biggest gift to Hindu society in the 20th century. He said that the credit for today’s importance of the Sangh in national politics should be given to Shri Guruji, who worked tirelessly for spreading the Sangh work in every nook and corner of the country.”

Apart all, Golwalkar spoke promptly against untouchability also, As for the varna system, Golwalkar argued that it gave Indian society an inherent strength to resist foreign influences. However, he decried the appeal for votes on the basis of caste. “Even the state machinery is being prostituted for further widening these dissensions,” he wrote. “Separatist consciousness breeding jealousy and conflict is being fostered in sections of our people by naming them Harijans, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and so on and by parading the gift of special concessions to them in a bid to make them all their slaves with the lure of money.”

His solution was one that the RSS still endorses, downplaying it only because of the electoral problems it creates. “Continued special privileges on the basis of caste only, is bound to create vested interests in them in remaining as a separate entity,” he wrote. “That would harm their integration with the rest of the society.” Arguing that there was no caste “without its own poor, the needy and the destitute,” he suggested that “privileges should be based on the economic conditions of the people.” Such a solution would “ease out matters and the heart-burning among others that the so-called Harijans alone are enjoying privileges will also be removed.”

On the contrary, Golwalkar’s critics have seen him rather differently. The writer and historian Ramchandra Guha has referred to him as the “guru of hate,” while the political scientist Jyotirmaya Sharma titled his book on Golwalkar’s ideology Terrifying Vision. Today, when the RSS wields more control than it ever has over Indian politics and society, matching or perhaps even exceeding the Congress at its zenith, the India that we are dealing with, for better or worse, does not make sense without making sense of Golwalkar. According to the ICPR, the RSS is “one of the strongest religious, cultural and social organizations of the world making determined efforts to inculcate in its followers a burning devotion to India and its national ethos”.

Jumping to conclusions, admittedly, before taking his views into the consideration for young India it is also to understand that is there a place for modern democratic politics? It is a view that wishes to mould people into perfect human beings. For a lot of people, that might, indeed, be the aspiration after life in this world is over. But for most people, life is a struggle to live with our respective imperfections and not let these, except in extreme cases, come in the way of excluding or dehumanising people. Plus, Modern nationalism is a Western idea from which the youth is admired. All Indian nationalists were influenced by some strand or the other of nationalism. Some of them added their inputs to the idea and moulded it in creative ways. At the end, moreover, on the views of nationalism, Golwalkar, as its ideologue, has been “much misunderstood and maligned by his adversaries,” it says. (Indian Council of Philosophical Research convenes a seminar). At the end I will suggest that either the Indian secular forces need to re-think their strategy and must have inclusive and have a clear vision to deal with communalism and polarisation or they must reconsider the ideology of Guruji Golwalkar which givs India a strong sense of identity with a bond of fraternity.

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