Communist ideology is absolutely unsympathetic to the Bharatiya view of life, as it is based on spirituality, and for the leftists, spirituality is nothing but a ‘false consciousness’.
The USP of the staunch leftists, who are self-proclaimed liberal-intellectuals and journalists, is their total disregard for truth. With their agenda-driven strategies, they draw conclusions first and then hypothesize. Weaving webs of falsehood they have perfected the art of deception. While such fiction thrills buyers of these misrepresentations in the short run, it falls flat on its face with the test of time. The most recent example of such concoction can be seen in a left-leaning English language magazine, wherein, efforts to malign the Sangh’s sewa work have been made through a trumped-up fiction.
At the time of the coronavirus onslaught, when the whole country was dumbfounded, a sizeable section of society readily marched into the streets and joined the emergency task force, from day one. Assisting governmental and semi-governmental agencies, sans official accountability to the government and without expecting anything in return, these relief workers embraced life-threats and tried to help out each and every needy living being. With death constantly looming large in one’s face, serving in a pandemic is a different ball-game than carrying out relief work in times of natural calamities like floods and earthquakes.
From Arunachal Pradesh to Kashmir and Kanyakumari, 480,000 swayamsevaks of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh reached out to 85,701 locations all over the country and supplied “Sewa Bharati ration kits” to 11,055,000 families. 71,146,000 food packets were distributed to those in need of food. Over 5,000,000 masks have been distributed. About 1,300,000 migrants living in cities including a large number of students were helped in different ways. 40,000 units of blood were donated. 2,365,000 migrant workers on their way back home were provided with food and medicines and other emergency medical help through 1,341 centres set up to cater to their needs. Members of nomadic tribes, eunuchs, those in the flesh trade, monkeys and other animals dependent on temple visitors for nourishment and cows are among the other beneficiary groups.
The swayamsevaks even ventured into heavily corona infected areas to help the people there. Regardless of any filter, unbiased help was extended to the needy of every state of the country. Crowd-management, registration of workers in transit and innumerable such tasks were managed as a support to the local administration. Upon the administration’s clarion call in Pune city, RSS swayamsevaks, flanked by volunteers of other social outfits, stepped inside densely populated, risky, red zones and screened over 100,000 people, handing over suspected carriers to the administration for further testing.
Despite the monumental, selfless efforts of innumerable Sangh swayamsevaks the aforementioned magazine did not mention even an iota of these facts. Because reporting the Sangh work in a positive light is not a part of their “agenda”. In fact, in the reportage of the relief work the same old set of misinformation and falsity about Sangh is repeated to craft yet another fable which these leftists have been spinning since antiquity. In observance of journalistic ethics, these reporters did not even consider it worthwhile to approach any senior RSS functionary to confirm and discuss the allegations hurled at the Sangh. How could their conscience allow them to endorse and float such hollow stories? Oh! How did it escape my memory that leftists do not believe in concepts like conscience and “dharma” (ethics)?!
Another misleading claim dished out by this journalist is that RSS used government funds to aid these sewa activities. Even if that presumption is true, what’s wrong if the government utilizes funds for the society through registered non-profit organizations? In reality, right from the inception, Sangh swayamsevaks have been carrying out their mammoth sewa initiatives with the funds collected from society. All initiatives are executed by different registered non-profit entities, whose accounts are periodically audited. During the Kedarnath floods, massive relief efforts were carried out using funds collected from the common public. At that time, we came across a letter written by a gentleman named M.D. Ramteke. It read: “I am an Ambedkarite and a staunch opponent of RSS. It is my firm belief that Dr. Ambedkar was the modern-day reincarnation of Bhagwan Buddha. But witnessing RSS Sewa work has moved me profoundly. I’ve observed if you donate Rs. 100/- to an RSS worker they will add Rs 10 more from their own pockets to ensure Sewa work continues unhindered. Therefore, you can rest assured that your money will be put to right use by RSS.”
Sangh swayamsevaks are carrying out around 135,000 service projects through various registered organizations. Out of them, 90% do not take any assistance from any government, but projects are run with societal support. Invoking national consciousness and creating society-centric systems without being dependent on the State has been the fundamental belief of the Sangh.
Even during the corona relief work, grain-distribution and food packet-distribution comprised the bulk of the sewa work. A total of 95 tonnes of grain (mainly rice) was purchased at government-set prices in the states of Kerala, Assam, Nagaland, Tripura and in Mumbai. One Jharkhand-based initiative (Sarvangin Gram Vikas Samiti, Khunti, Jharkhand) is an isolated case where a subsidy of Rs 60,000 (Rs 5 per packet) was sought over the distribution of 12,000 food packets. No governmental aid has been sought in any other state. But the agenda of tarnishing the Sangh’s image compels these journalists to spew hatred in the name of journalism.
That report also intends to imply that under the garb of relief activities the Sangh is spreading its activities across the country. Misrepresentation of this sort is hardly shocking as owing to its Semitic roots, leftist lens compels its subscribers to perceive all sewa-based organisations as potential missionaries, out to convert. But the Bharatiya view of life holds that Vaishnav Jan To Tene Re Kahiye Je Peed Parai Jane Re (call those people Vaishnav who feel the pain of other) and our society operates on the same principle. We must be specifically mindful of the fact that communist ideology is absolutely unsympathetic to the Bharatiya view of life as it is based on spirituality, and for the leftists, spirituality is nothing but a “false consciousness”.
In his address to the nation on 19 April 2020, Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat urged all swayamsevaks, “we should serve everyone selflessly with the sense of belongingness without any consideration for publicity. We must extend a helping hand with the view that I am one with the whole society. Our value system holds ‘service to society is what meditation is to self’.” This also is the Sangh’s legacy.
On the night of 12 November 1996, the news of two airplanes (Saudi Arabian airlines and Kazakhstan airlines) carrying a total of 351 migrants having had a head-on collision, crashing at Charkhi-Dadri, Haryana, came in. In both the planes, a total of 351 passengers were on board out of which 300 were Muslims and 12 were Christians. Soon after, Jeetram Ji, sanghchalak for the zone, along with other swayamsevaks and doctors of Dr Hedgewar Hospital propelled into action, reached the site and took cognizance of the matter. They arranged for petromax and generators to illuminate the area. All the dead bodies were immediately taken to the Bhivani government hospital. With daybreak, the relatives of the deceased, police and administrative staff and journalists started pouring in on the site. The identified bodies were handed over to their relatives. The bodies of 76 Muslims and 3 Christians that remained unidentified were ceremoniously cremated in observance of their respective religious practice. The maulvi of a local mosque and a few people who arrived from Mumbai assisted this process. Three days later, on 15 November, Jeetram-ji was felicitated at a thanksgiving event organized at the Dadri Masjid. Most newspaper report headings reporting this event carried a title on the lines of “Khaki shorts and saffron bands are applauded at a masjid”. Former Central Aviation Minister Ibrahim and another Cabinet Minister, G. Kurian, who also inspected the site, applauded the efforts of the Sangh workers by saying “We cannot appreciate your efforts enough. We are grateful for your work.” Sikar’s Jaffer Ali and Hakim Khan said: “These angels of God are denigrated through many demeaning suffixes but we are no longer deluded.” Police superintendent Md. Shakeel was of the opinion “Sangh workers’ contribution to mitigating this challenge was overwhelming. This is exactly what was expected of them.”
Innumerable anecdotes like this can be stated to describe the uncanny dedication towards service by the Sangh Swayamsevaks. It is to illustrate this point that this event has been recollected in vivid details here. What kind of agenda these leftists must be seeing in these service activities?
Swami Vivekananda opined “Shiva bhava se Jeeva Seva” (serving living beings with a spirit of serving Shiva-the God). This is the message of Hindutva. Sangh shakhas echo the same sentiment and uphold service regardless of caste, creed, religion and ideology as its motto. In observance of this very value system in the past, while conducting cleanliness drives in several houses, offices and hospitals of Kerala’s flood-affected areas, Sangh swayamsevaks even cleared water and muck from local Communist Party offices. What could be the Sangh’s vested interest in this except for selfless service? Some leftist journalist should explain.
Another peculiarity of the adherents of the leftist ideology is that they don’t seem to get tired of fondly referring to themselves as “liberals”. When the fact is they are anything but liberal. Patient hearing of differing viewpoints is a mere overture to liberalism, the first step. Efforts to understand those follow next. Passing motions of agreement or disagreement are in fact later steps. In case of an agreement, assimilating the decision in one’s conscience, and finally, jointly working towards the actualization of previously agreed upon plans cohesively is the epitome of liberalism. It is interesting to note that the so-called liberal left lobby doesn’t favour the idea of entertaining the expression of views that differ from their view-point. Renowned social worker and Magsaysay award recipient Dr Abhay Bang was once invited as the chief guest at a Sangh gathering. He graced the occasion and frankly shared his views with us. However, this did not go down well with the leftists, because they considered Dr Bang to be “one of them”. Prior to the event, they subjected him to negative publicity and public scrutiny through the articles published in their mouthpieces. This was done with the intent of creating a psychological pressure upon him, thereby compelling him to drop the idea of addressing a Sangh gathering. To which Dr. Bang responded saying “Despite the knowledge of my political viewpoints Sangh’s eagerness to hear my address is indicative of openness on their part. I will express the same views before the audience there that I have endorsed all along.” But these leftists didn’t relent. After his address at our event, he sent the transcript of his lecture to be published in the same mouthpiece that subjected him to blackmail. But his transcript did not feature in their magazine. This is the actual “liberal” face of the left!
Similarly, when Sangh dignitaries were invited to present their view-point at the Jaipur Literary Festival these “liberal” leftists made a big hue and cry against it. Ultimately, some of their top leaders boycotted the festival. Now it’s worth deliberating as to why do leftists evade the truth?!
The third distinguishing feature of the leftists is that they tirelessly sing unreasonable, unfounded criticisms of the Sangh in a chorus and never care to check facts or quote evidence for their baseless claims. Under the smokescreen of intellectualism, they have been carrying out a covert operation against Sangh for a long time now. This involves rumour-mongering and creating illusions. The list of allegations hurled at the Sangh by these intellectuals includes myths like the Sangh was responsible for the assassination of Gandhi because of which a ban had to be imposed upon it; that Sangh is a Manuvadi, Brahminical, patriarchal, misogynist, anti-minority, communal, Muslim-hater, anti-progressive organization. But then again, they do not consider unearthing the truth by interacting with any Sangh functionaries and by no means do they try acquiring any first-hand experience. Simply because, they are not sincere.
The Congress indeed saw the Sangh as its arch-nemesis in the days when Gandhi was assassinated and deemed that incident as a good opportunity to annihilate the organization by imposing a ban on its activities, making a scapegoat of it. Sarsanghchalak Shri Guruji was arrested under Article 302 and an allegation of murder was stamped on him. However, the failure to furnish evidence to this claim compelled them to withdraw the allegation, yet, Guruji was retained in custody, citing “security issues”. When the Gandhi assassination trial opened in court, it was found that the Sangh’s name did not even feature on the list of suspects. Nathuram Godse—who was eventually charged for Gandhiji’s murder—was a member of Hindu Mahasabha, but a ban was imposed upon the RSS. Nothing explains this move other than the fact that the RSS was gaining rapidly in popularity among the countrymen. When the government could not explain the reason behind such a move, RSS launched a satyagraha, wherein 70,000 swayamsevaks from all parts of the country participated and courted arrest. Such countrywide, peaceful and disciplined satyagraha was one of its kind in the history of Bharat. Eventually, that same government unconditionally repealed the ban. But these leftists don’t venture into these finer details.
When deliberating on the issue of repealing the ban imposed upon the Sangh, the following extract ensued in the proceedings of the Bombay Legislative Assembly of 14 October 1949, in my opinion, is noteworthy.
“Mr. Lallubhai Makanji Patel (Surat District)
Will the Hon. Minister for Home and Revenue be pleased to state-
- Whether it is a fact that the ban on R.S.S. has been lifted.
- If so what are the reasons for lifting the ban?
- Whether lifting of the ban is conditional or unconditional.
- If conditional, what are the conditions?
- Whether the leader of the R.S.S. has given any undertaking to the government.
- If so, what is the undertaking?
Mr. Dinkarrao N. Desai for Mr. Morarji Desai
- The ban was lifted as it was no longer considered necessary to continue it.
- It was unconditional.
- Does not arise.
- Does not arise.”
I have yet to see these facts featured in any article written by a leftist “intellectual.”
I am in contact with a Christian family for the last three years. During our first chance meeting, they bombarded me with several questions, with the question-answer round lasting well over one and a half hours. They used to be vehement Sangh opposers, then. Their last question to me was “Can a church-goer, practising Christian, who doesn’t believe in idol-worship, like me, can become an RSS member?” I replied with an obvious “Yes.” Thereafter we happened to meet on many other occasions. Over one such occasion, they quizzed me, asking “are all Sangh functionaries like you or you’re an exception?” With time our association deepened and they shared with me that “the Christian community is oblivious to the facts you’ve shared with us”. After this, they organised several meetings of Christian association leaders and me. Whenever they move in Christian gatherings, this couple makes it a point to bring up the topic of RSS. They realize the stereotypical perception of RSS among Christians is that it is opposed to Christianity. So, they ask following questions to claimants of this claim: 1. Have you had any first-hand experience of an RSS worker opposing you (a Christian)? 2. Have you read any RSS literature? 3. Have you ever had an opportunity to meet an RSS functionary?
Most often, the answer to all three questions comes in negation. To this, they share their personal Sangh experience with the members of their community and share some Sangh literature with those interested to read, which they regularly restock at their home.
Such receptivity or candour is not possible for the leftists. They avoid a face-off at all costs. Possibly they are insecure about their falsehood being busted.
The light of evidence can dispel the darkness of misinformation and bring about a shift in approaches if one keeps an open mind. One such anecdote is that of North Arcot district of Tamil Nadu where the local Dravida Kazhagam leader was invited to the annual celebration of the RSS shakha. His acceptance of the invitation itself was a pleasant surprise to all. He arrived at the function and yet another surprise awaited the swayamsevaks when at the closing he went in and came back with sweets for distribution. He then explained; “In fact, a few days ago, I had come intending to oppose you and stop your activities since all our DK workers were upset about your starting the shakha in our village. But when I saw that boys of the Savarna Brahmin locality and those from the Harijan mohallas freely mingling and playing together with joy and enthusiasm and behaving just like the children of one family, I was totally disarmed. I felt that our founder Periyar (E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker) too had dreamt exactly of a similar casteless society. Whereas we of the DK have failed to achieve it, you have been silently succeeding in realising his dream. Hence I have come to convey my good wishes and brought sweets for you.”
However, expecting such sincerity and honesty from leftist writers and journalists is a waste in my opinion, as they seldom write based on their experiences.
Right from its inception, RSS has been engaged in the sole objective of organising the entire Bharatiya samaj. It is owing to this goal that from our early days we made it a point to reach out to people living in as many zones, states, districts and villages of the country as possible. We have had a fair share of success in this regard. But it is not the charity or mercy of anyone that made it possible. The comprehensive breadth of work, influence and organized cohesion that is visible today for all to see took five generations of Sangh karyakartas to build. Thousands of people and innumerable youth were consumed like incensory (karpur) to fire. It is their relentless efforts, renunciation and sacrifices that have brought such results. Despite the hurdles created by anti-Bharat forces and some political parties blinded by self-interest, Sangh’s march towards the creation of a self-sufficient and self-governing Bharatiya samaj (society) remains unimpeded because of two antidotes suggested by RSS founder, Dr Hedgewar. These antidotes are: “Sarvesham Avirodhena” and “Vado Navalambyah”, that is not to oppose anyone and not to get embroiled in unnecessary debates.
Wherever Sangh swayamsevaks went, through their actions and behaviour, they created a favourable atmosphere. With pure compassion and a sense of responsibility towards one’s society, they expanded the Sangh’s work. To fish out any hidden agenda in their actions is akin to putting the cart before a horse.
If one truly wants to get to the heart of the Sangh then they will need to discard the Western lens that perceives the world in binaries, and adopt the Bharatiya integral and holistic view. It is the only path that will lead them to the truth of Bharat and that of the Sangh as well.
I remember a senior Sangh karyakarta and thinker once said: “It is very difficult to understand the Sangh using a Western or non-Bharatiya lens. It is imperative to understand the Isha Upanishad to understand the Sangh where the Param Tattva (Supreme Truth) is described in paradoxes and the paradoxes both apply equally well to the Supreme Truth.” The shloka quoted by him:
“तदेजति तन्नेजति तद्दूरे तद्वंतिके।
तद् सर्वस्य अंतस्य तद् सर्वस्य बाह्यतः।।”
Tadejati Tannejati Taddure Tadvantike|
Tadantarasya Sarvasya Tad Sarvasya Bahyatah||
“That moves and that moves not. That is far and the same is near; that is within all this and that is outside all this.”
German theoretical physicist and philosopher, Werner Heisenberg too reckoned with the Bharatiya theory of subatomic particles when he said “It is a particle. It is a wave. It is both. What is it at a given point in time is not only difficult to decipher but impossible to find.”
To understand the Sangh one has to subscribe to the time-tested, eternal Bharatiya world-view based on spirituality and hence is integral and holistic in approach. But viewing the world through the prism of Bharat will mean opening the portals to the highest frontiers of human consciousness and dispelling the illusion cast by the Left. Possibly, this fear wracks their nerves and they avoid a face-off with the Sangh. Otherwise, their condition will be like that of the salt doll which jumped into the sea to test its depth and is still trying to find its way back.
Dr Manmohan Vaidya is Sah Sarkaryawah (Joint General Secretary), Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.