Since the formation of the Narendra Modi led BJP government at the center, it has become fashionable for the MSM (main stream media) to blame RSS for the smallest of things. It was done on regular occasions in the past too but now, it’s the hot-new-trend. Be it a policy initiative such as abrogation of the article 370 or a stray statement emanating out of personal opinions, the blame has to be placed on the RSS. The Sangh is blamed and accused by media and certain sections of the so-called secular intellectuals, of trying to weaken the foundations of our country. So, how trustworthy are the one-sided, skewed & biased reports and prime time TV shows? How honest and truthful are the people aligning themselves as united force just to make sure the RSS is continually portrayed in bad light by the most people who feast on leftist editorials, paid news and biased reporting on a daily basis! Is RSS the Indian equivalent to the ISIS of the Middle East? Will the Modi and RSS combo try to destroy the fabric of the Indian nation? Is the fear in certain sections of intellectuals in India based on hard facts or they are just victims of their own ignorance and hatred fueled by anti-national forces? Let’s take a look at certain facts that we hope will shed some light on RSS and its working. You can possible dig out the answers to above questions on your own.
1. The very foundation of this organization is based on nationalist ideals
It was K.B Hedgewar, a Nagpur based doctor who founded the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). He drew upon influences from great Indians such as Swami Vivekananda, Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and Aurobindo to develop the core philosophy of the RSS. The intention of promoting the concept of a United India, deeply rooted in indigenous ideology was the main objective.
Can an organization based on the ideals of such great men work against the interests of the nation?
2. With presence in over 50,000 villages and towns in the country, it is the biggest NGO in the world
The organization portrays itself as a ‘social movement.’ The top leaders always refuse to consider the organization as a political entity. Often portrayed in bad light by several journalists and media houses, RSS happens to be the world’s largest voluntary non-governmental organization. It is based on the principle of selfless service to the nation. There is no formal membership procedure of RSS. Anyone can join the nearest ‘Shakha’, which is the basic unit and activity of RSS. There are no fees and no typical registration process. Once you start attending Shakha, you are considered as a member.
3. Not just Hindus, there’re Muslim and Sikh members too!
Some people wrongly assume that RSS is against every other religion but the reality is that the organization treats Muslims, Christians and everyone else in India as cultural Hindus. Anyone can become a member of RSS, till the time they believe in India’s sovereignty. What is wrong in that? Consider this: The Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM) is a Muslim organization in India and it is affiliated to the Hindu nationalist RSS. MRM was formed in 2002 by nationalist Muslims and Hindus.
Image source: indiatoday.intoday.in Members of Muslim Rashtriya Manch carry out protest march against terrorism in Mumbai
Rashtriya Sikh Sangat was formed on 24 Nov 1986, on the Guruprakash Purab of Guru Nanak Ji and is an independent socio-cultural organization. The organization aims to promote Sikh-Hindu relations and to spread the knowledge of Gurbani to not only the Sikh masses of India, but also to the rest of Indian society. Is that not secular enough?
4. Did RSS instigate accession of J&K into India?
On 18th Oct 1947, then Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, requested the 2nd Sarsanghachalak M.S. Golwalkar to meet Maharaja Hari Singh to persuade the Maharaja to accede to India.
He was accompanied by other RSS pracharaks. It is believed that the Maharaja agreed to the proposal, but the formal accession was signed only on the 26 October, after the invasion by raiders from Pakistan. Jinnah had plans in place to kill the King by 24th and capture Sri Nagar by 25th Oct. RSS volunteers not only provided early leads to the Indian Army about Pakistan’s upcoming attack at that time but also protected Hari Singh by mobilizing 200 volunteers. Today, the Muslim Rashtriya Manch has more than 4,500 workers in Kashmir valley, with around 800 NGOs working with them.
5. The charitable pursuits of RSS and Sangh in J&K, especially for building a better future for children have always remained buried
Seva Bharati, an RSS inspired community service organization, has adopted a hundred children from the insurgency and militancy affected regions of Jammu and Kashmir. There are Hindus and Muslims both. Their stay and educational needs are funded by the Seva Bharati and today, many of them are studying in boarding schools in Delhi. In addition, Sewa Bharati run by RSS swayamsevaks, has extended a helping hand in flood-hit areas of Jammu & Kashmir and also regularly organizes blood camps. It also looks out for the interests of the poor, down trodden and weaker sections of the society.
With such dedication shown by the Sangh towards the people of J & K, it’s no surprise that most of the allegations against RSS stemming out of the political parties cannot be taken to be true.
6. Sangh played a significant role is getting Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Goa from Colonialists
Even after the independence, Dadra & Nagar Haveli was internationally recognized to be in Portuguese possession. The unwillingness of the colonist to leave Indian Territory was opposed by the RSS and it participated in movements to decolonize Dadra and Nagar Haveli. In April 1954, the RSS formed a coalition with the National Movement Liberation Organization (NMLO), and the Azad Gomantak Dal (AGD) for the liberation of Dadra and Nagar Haveli. On 28 July, volunteer teams of the RSS and AGD captured the territories of Naroli and Phiparia and ultimately the capital of Silvassa. In 1955, RSS leaders demanded the end of Portuguese rule in Goa and its integration into India. When Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru refused to provide an armed intervention, RSS leader Jagannath Rao Joshi led the Satyagraha agitation straight into Goa itself. He was imprisoned with his followers by the Portuguese police. The peaceful protests continued but met with severe repressions. An organization sacrificing its blood, sweat and tears for the unification of the nation deserves gratitude and respect, not accusations of being an anti-national front.
7. Even Jawaharlal Nehru acknowledged the service rendered to the Nation by RSS during the 1962 war
The RSS was at the forefront of voluntary work during the India- China war of 1962; then Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru even invited the RSS to take part in the Republic Day parade of 1963. And the likes of Digvijaya Singh can’t stop blaming this organization for every other thing they are not comfortable with!
8. In 1965, during the Indo-Pak war, RSS was appointed for controlling traffic in lieu of freeing policemen for defence
During the 1965 war between India and Pakistan RSS was again involved in voluntary work and then Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri requested RSS cadres to help control traffic in Delhi, so policemen could be freed for defence duties.
Image source: bharat-rakshak.com The Victory Smile of one of the most loved prime ministers India had.
9. RSS was instrumental in maintaining Law and order during the 1971 War
During the Bangladesh War of Independence, RSS volunteers maintained law and order in the country when most of the government machinery was deployed in the War effort.
The swayamsevaks were also the first to donate blood in 1971.
10. Sangh was deeply involved in ensuring voluntary participation in land reforms
RSS volunteers participated in the Bhoodan movement organized by Gandhian leader Vinobha Bhave. Vinobha Bhave had met the RSS leader M. S. Golwalkar in 1951 who had pledged support to the movement. Many RSS volunteers led by Nanaji Deshmukh participated in the movement.
11. IT’S TRUE, there is No place for Caste prejudices or Untouchability in the world of RSS teachings
During M. K. Gandhi’s visit to RSS Camp in 1934, he was surprised by the discipline and the absence of untouchability in the camps. Even Dalit leader Dr B R Ambedkar while visiting the RSS camp at Pune in 1939 observed that Swayamsevaks were moving in absolute equality and brotherhood. When he asked Dr. Hedgewar whether there were any untouchables in the camp, he replied that there are neither “touchables” nor “untouchables” – only Hindus. The RSS has endeavored hard to ensure caste divisions in India are removed and has advocated the training of Dalits and other backward classes as temple high priests. RSS aims to remove such division to ensure the society is untied to work for the overall development of India. This was evident in the Sangh’s backing of Narendra Modi, who himself is a member of OBC.
12. No one ever mentioned it – but RSS volunteers were the first to extend help for Uttarakhand Flood Victims
The recent Uttarakhand flash floods saw the RSS volunteers come out in huge numbers to assist in relief work. In 2006, RSS participated in relief efforts to provide basic necessities such as food, milk and potable water to the people of Surat, Gujarat who were affected by massive floods in the region. The RSS volunteers carried out massive relief and rehabilitation work after the floods ravaged North Karnataka and some districts of the state of Andhra Pradesh.
13. Sangh has been proactive in protecting religious minorities and the organization promotes the concept of gender equality
RSS helped in protecting Sikhs during 1984 Anti-Sikh Riots. Sikh intellectual and author of ‘A History of the Sikhs’, Khushwant Singh, credits members of the RSS with helping and protecting Sikhs who were being targeted during the 1984 Anti-Sikh Riots. Sangh has also worked on empowering women via formation of a women’s wing of RSS. There are two kinds of RSS setups, one for males called the Rastriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Rastra Sevika Samiti for females. Both have been thriving in India for decades and acknowledge the importance of women as building blocks of a progressive nation. With so much social and charitable work being done, it is sometimes hard to understand the basis of criticism leveled at the Sangh.