The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has been in news for many reasons. But what is apalling is when people discuss and debate about the nationalist organisation even without understanding the core thinking and functioning of it. Though intellectuals and analysts focus more on its political ramifications, the impact factor of this organisation is manifold. Many organisations and movements have erupted and gone in the pre and post independent India but the RSS has remained ‘one and only’ which continues to shape India’s collective consciousness for almost ninety years. It is the only non-political organisation which has grown in terms of spread and impact despite all odds. To understand what makes RSS the voice of India’s eternal ethos, reliable force of change and unparallel execution of continuity with change, we need to comprehend the character of a Doctor and his remedy to India’s ills. I am talking here about the popularly addressed ‘Doctorji’, the founder of RSS, Dr Keshavrao Baliram Hedgewar.
Dr Hedgewar was not the only one who fought and thought for India’s independence but he was among the few who worked smoothly across the spectrum from Revolutionaries to Satyagrahis. During independence struggle, seeking answers to why we lost our independence to foreign rulers was the most pertinent question for him. Rather than find a cure of colonialism, prevention of losing independence was his key concern.
As a doctor, he diagnosed the problems of national psyche. He realised that though we are the most ancient existing civilisation, we are not well aware of our heritage; and,despite the fact that civlisational ethos of cultural and spiritual unity has been carried forward in the individual DNA, the collective consciousness of it is missing. As a consequence, he felt, the foundations of this ancient Rashtra, which is much wider than the modern concept of nation-state, has weakened. Hence, to revive this collective pride in our civilisational legacy was his first remedy.
Mere revivalist thought could not have made this mission possible; therefore, he actualised Vivekanda’s Mantra of ‘Man Making for Nation Building’. A force of dedicated individuals with character and vigour can only imbibe this collective consciousness was his another solution. Therefore, while reviving ancient wisdom, he like a clinical surgeon, transplanted modern techniques of organisation building like uniform, band, orders etc. An hour’s dedicated presence in Shakha with a resolve to organise remaining twenty three hours of the day for nation was his most colossal invention. The Indian practice of inculcating Sanskaras was beautifully jelled with modern collective expression. But while doing so, he ensured that the humane character of the organisation remained intact. Because of such grooming concern and care for social milieu comes naturally to the Swayamsevaks.
Social evils of India are deeply rooted in the system but they are more psychological rather than physical. Like a psychologist, Dr Hedgewar gave a distressing therapy to the tormenting social relations. Instead of talking about divisive issues, identifying inclusive and unifying factors was his method of treatment. For the purpose, he set the example by living rather than preaching.
India’s ability to accept and cherish diverse ways of worships is its biggest strength. This diversity has let flourish different sects in our society. Dr Hedgewar like a naturopath, used games, exercise, patriotic songs, inspirational stories of national figures etc as the techniques of healing and putting Bharat Mata above all Gods. Instead of creating another sect within the Hindu society, he gave the larger goal of organising the entire society based on certain values. That is why irrespective of ways of worship, without bothering about caste or class status, Swayamsevaks continue to work for the cause of carrying the nation to the pinnacle of glory.
The doctor created this legacy in just 51 years of his life span and 15 years of actual RSS work. Organiser takes the honour of saluting this ordinary looking Doctor of our nation who crafted an extra-ordinary organisation of ordinary people on his 125th birth anniversary.