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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

 

Shri Guruji anticipated the Chinese aggression

By V. Sundaram, IAS (Retd.)
After nearly 18 long months of illegal incarceration without any charge, Shri Guruji was released unconditionally from Betul Jail on July 13, 1949. When he arrived at the Nagpur Railway Station at noon, more than 30,000 people gave him a tumultuous welcome. Thousands of people shed tears as they saw Shri Guruji’s father garlanding his own son who had successfully come out of the fiery ordeal. Four days later, Shri Guruji went to Madras to thank T.R. Venkatrama Shastri personally for having taken the trouble to draft a Constitution for the RSS, for having taken the initiative to meet Patel and Nehru and strongly advise them to lift the ban on the RSS and to release Shri Guruji from prison and finally for issuing a very strong statement against the Government of India for having acted in such a dictatorial manner in the first few months of independent India, which he thought was a cruel mockery of freedom. After several months of orchestrated fraud, untruth and falsehood enacted with the full might of the State, the government itself came out candidly with the truth in the Bombay Legislative Assembly on October 14,1949. In replies to questions raised by Lallubai Patel from Surat, the Minister for Home and Revenue, Government of Bombay, said: a) The lifting of ban on the RSS was unconditional; b) Its leader Shri Golwalkar had given no undertaking to the government. Thus, it can be seen that the Congress leaders in New Delhi smartly transferred the dirty responsibility of making the above truthful but very unsavoury statements from their point of view, to the Congress Government of Bombay. It became clear to all concerned—the whole of India and the wider world outside—that the Government of India had tried to arm-twist Shri Guruji and to crush the RSS. The real eye-opening fact was that not even a single Swayamsevak of the Sangh was charge-sheeted or prosecuted anywhere in the country on any of the politically and baselessly trumpeted charges against the Sangh, including the charge of ‘assassination of Mahatma Gandhi’. The whole dishonesty of the Government of India right from the start can be seen from a letter sent by Sardar Patel to Pandit Nehru on February 27, 1948, less than a month after Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination on January 30, 1948: “I have kept myself almost in daily touch with the progress of the investigations regarding Bapu’s assassination case. All the main accused have given long and detailed statements of their activities. It also clearly emerges from the statements that the RSS was not involved in it at all.” Even after sending this letter, Government of India, which meant Nehru and Patel, did not have the grace to release Shri Guruji till August 1948. As Shri Guruji had been out of touch with the Swayamsevaks all over India from February 1, 1948, till July 12, 1949, when the ban on the RSS was lifted, it became very much necessary for Shri Guruji to undertake a nation-wide tour. Shri Guruji’s “All Bharat Tour” began in August 1949 and lasted till January 1950. Wherever he went, he received spontaneous and tremendous ovations. The overwhelming public response to the function at Delhi on August 23, 1949, attracted the worldwide attention. The BBC reported on the radio: “Shri Guruji is a shining star that has arisen on the Indian firmament. The only other Indian who can draw such huge crowds is Pandit Nehru.” The Indian Press too flashed the highlights of this function. History may have but few examples of lakhs and lakhs of people giving a leader, without any governmental authority, such a rousing reception wherever he went. Shri Guruji rose to Himalayan heights of magnanimity, forbearance and statesmanship by giving this message at all his public meetings: “Let us close this chapter of the ban on the Sangh. Do not let your minds be overcome with bitterness for those who, you feel, have done injustice to you. If the teeth were to bite the tongue, do we pull out the teeth? Even those who have done injustice to us are our own people. So we must forget and forgive.” This was Shri Guruji’s Sanatana Dharma in action in answer to Nehru's and Patel’s low-level politics marked by hatred, jealousy, prejudice and arrogance of unbridled power. Wherever Shri Guruji went, he received spontaneous and tremendous ovations. The overwhelming public response to the function at Delhi on August 23, 1949, attracted worldwide attention. The BBC reported on the radio: “Shri Guruji is a shining star that has arisen on the Indian firmament.” The post-Independence era has witnessed many a campaign launched by the Swayamsevaks for upholding and refurbishing aspects of national faith and veneration in various spheres of life. Dr Hedgewar’s views of the future set-up of Bharat after the attainment of freedom was in tune with the essence of our national ethos. The jottings that he put down on the day the Congress adopted “Complete Independence” as its goal in 1930 are clear and emphatic: “The Hindu culture is the life-breath of Hindustan. It is therefore clear that if Hindustan is to be protected, we should first nourish the Hindu culture. If the Hindu culture perishes in Hindustan itself, and if the Hindu society ceases to exist, it will hardly be appropriate to refer to the mere geographical entity that remains as Hindustan. Mere geographical lumps do not make a nation. The Sangh will cooperate with the Congress in the efforts to secure freedom, so long as these efforts do not come in the way of preserving our nation’s culture.” Shri Guruji in his penetrating and perceptive analysis of the directions in which the post-Independence Bharat was being led by the Congress and other rulers said: “Today we find everywhere attempts to recast our life pattern in the mould of an American, English or Russian way of life. How can we call it swatantra (freedom) which has no ‘swa’ (our national genius) in it? Then it is only paratantra. If Lenin is kept as the ideal, it becomes Lenin-tantra, not swatantra. In fact, preservation and propagation of our national life values, i.e. our Sanatana Dharma and samskriti, have always been held in our historical traditions as the raison d’etre of swatantra.” Taking these as our firm guidelines, the Swayamsevaks have been trying to manifest the nation’s pristine genius in diverse fields of national endeavour for the last 58 years of our Independence. They have always kept before them the following message of Dr Hedgewar and Shri Guruji: “Wherever and in whatever position you are, do not forget that you are a Swayamsevak. Always and everywhere consider yourself a Sangh Pracharak, devoted to carrying the message of Sangh.” Shri Guruji had a clear vision of the ideal conditions in every sphere of national life. Bharat could never be strong to fulfill its destiny unless every aspect of the nation’s life was informed with the pure and inspiring ideology of the Sangh. On August 2, 1954, 100 Sangh Swayamsevaks stormed the Portuguese enclaves of Dadra and Nagar Haveli. The attack was led by Vinayak Rao Apte, Pune Sanghachalak. They attacked the main police headquarters at Selvassa and forced the 175 soldiers there to surrender unconditionally. The national tri-colour flag was hoisted and the region handed over to the central government on the same day. Likewise, the first to unfurl the national flag over the Panaji Secretariat in Goa in 1955 was a Swayamsevak working as a teacher in Goa. He was put in a Lisbon jail for 17 years till 1972, well after Goa was liberated in 1961. I cannot help surmising that the Government of India was not interested in his earlier release only because he was a Swayamsevak! Shri Guruji was the first public leader to give out the news of illegal occupation by Chinese government of large chunks of our strategic Himalayan borders in 1960. In 1960, when Pandit Nehru and Chou-En-lai were jointly touring our country singing the lullaby of Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai, Shri Guruji’s was the lone voice laying bare the dragon’s teeth hidden behind that enchanting slogan. Nehru had romantic love for Chou-En-lai and ignored the timely warning of Shri Guruji. When Pakistan attacked Bharat in 1965, Lal Bahadur Shastri, the then Prime Minister, personally rang up Shri Guruji who was then touring Maharashtra and requested him to be in New Delhi for the All Leaders Conference the following day. Shri Guruji placed the entire RSS at the disposal of the Government of India to fight the invaders and to safeguard the integrity of our motherland. In Delhi, for the entire period of 22 days of war, police duties like traffic control and patrolling were transferred to Swayamsevaks to free the police for more pressing tasks. Right from the beginning of the war, everyday hundreds of Swayamsevaks daily reported at the General Military Hospital, Delhi, to offer blood. The military looked upon the Sangh as a friend in need. Likewise, during the 1971 war, the Swayamsevaks played a vital role in assisting the Government of India in their war efforts against Pakistan. Shri Guruji was the first public leader to give out the news of illegal occupation by Chinese government of large chunks of our strategic Himalayan borders in 1960. In 1960, when Pandit Nehru and Chou-En-lai were jointly touring our country singing the lullaby of Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai, Shri Guruji’s was the lone voice laying bare the dragon’s teeth hidden behind that enchanting slogan. During the Emergency in 1975-77 imposed by Indira Gandhi, our country was plunged into dark internal slavery and every single cherished value of free and democratic life was smothered. Indira Gandhi repeated the mistake of Nehru and Patel and imposed a ban on the RSS. In those dark days, the Swayamsevaks rose as one man in the cause of the people. Winston Churchill’s heroic words can be applied to the Swayamsevaks and the RSS: “Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties and so bear ourselves that if Bharat Mata and Sanatana Dharma last for a thousand years, men will still say this was their finest hour.” Shri Guruji had a clear vision of the ideal conditions in every sphere of national life. Bharat could never be strong to fulfill its destiny unless every aspect of the nation’s life was informed with the pure and inspiring ideology of the Sangh. Shri Guruji pioneered the creation of many fields of such constructive activities. Through his tremendous drive and initiative, he created several powerful nationwide organisations like Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram and Shishu Mandir educational institutions. To the political field Shri Guruji gave two priceless jewels like Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee and Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya. On June 5, 1973, Shri Guruji passed away peacefully in Nagpur after a lifetime of ceaseless activity for the advancement of Sanatana Dharma, the glory of Bharat Mata and victory of Bharat without losing sight of the ultimate ideal of achieving Akhand Bharat. Like Swami Vivekananda, he embodied the spirit of India. In my view, he was amongst the greatest of our nationalists. The best tribute to him was paid by R.K. Karanjia of Blitz of Bombay: “He had no axe to grind, and in the pursuit of his ideals languor was not in his heart, weakness was not in his word, weariness was not on his brow. It would be good if other political leaders emulate his example of dedicated life and win the respect and confidence of his followers.”

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