A former RSS pracharak who lived and breathed the sangh ideology delivered a ‘never-before’ address at the first ever international Sufi conference as Prime Minister of India, marking a new era in our march towards the making of an inclusive society.
It was a speech that has found echoes in the Arab world and was deeply praised by the grand mufti of Egypt and other world renowned scholars from Pakistan and other Islamic countries.
That, in a nutshell, sums up how the RSS has prepared young minds who feel and work for a pluralistic all-inclusive India.
Seen against this background, the RSS announcements on the change in its uniform, supporting women’s entry to temples and standing tall with those who have been demanding decriminalising gay relations — though not glorifying them — do not surprise its followers.
We are and we have always been ambassadors of change, which can be described in the words of Swami Ranganathananda as ‘following eternal values for a changing society’. If we don’t change with the time, we can’t be following the Sanatan Dharma.
Critics believed the RSS would make Narendra Modi go to war with Pakistan; he instead went to Lahore for an extraordinary meeting.
They spread lies that minorities would be under attack; the record shows they were never so secure.
Their propaganda machine churned out fears about Kashmir; the BJP formed an alliance with the PDP and the RSS backed it.
KB Hedgewar was the revolutionary reformist and an out-of-the-box thinker of his times who created an entirely new paradigm to work in society, with an innovative uniform, a unique methodology of shakha networks, lifetime workers, thousands of whom joined the freedom struggle to fight the British. Hedgewar himself worked with Bengal’s Anusheelan Samiti and Netaji Subhas Bose had come to meet him in Nagpur, while the Left was abusing him and spying for the British to sabotage the Quit India Movement.
No two Hindus may be alike but they must converge on certain points — bridge the North-South divide — coconuts for Badrinath and Namboodiri priests for the Himalayan temples are just one example. Having the greatest ever freedom of thought and speech this planet has ever experienced is another Hindu characteristic.
That’s why even after having faced savage attacks for centuries, the Hindu civilisational ethos is making India proud by producing the best of scientists, engineers, doctors and entrepreneurs who find a highly respectable place in the world, which salutes them as people who not bomb the country they adopt.
That’s the Hinduness, the dharma and civilisational trait that makes the fabric of the RSS.
Hate and petty vision can never drive a movement steadily to spread its wings all over. It’s a fabulous journey over 90 years of people who gave their entire life, left their homes, lived a life of monks and gave their best to society, building an edifice of nationalism and dedication to the people. It has given India two prime ministers.
Look at the Communist movement, which too took shape in India same year. It has been rejected by the people, stands shrunk from West Bengal to JNU and tries to grab a few headlines, disproportionate to their strength with rhetorical noise.
In fact, the RSS stands guard to defend the rights of all minorities, is the biggest guarantor of pluralism in India and owes full and unstinted allegiance to the Indian Constitution. RSS swayamsewaks are running more than 175,000 projects of medical help, blood banks, eye banks, super specialty hospitals, education centres and hostels for the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in remote areas like Leh, Port Blair, Tawang, and Moreh. RSS-inspired workers have created the world’s largest educational network with more than two million students and a hundred thousand teachers.
In science it has Vigyan Bharati, headed by Dr Vijay Bhatkar, the super computer legend, with highly reputed scientists as members; the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh is India’s top labour organisation and the ABVP has the largest network among the students with many agenda setters in many areas.
RSS-inspired workers, highly qualified, have the largest presence in tribal and scheduled-caste areas today, working silently for their all-round empowerment. Compare it to any other organisation making false allegations against it and telling lies on TV screens. What have they done to help Indians except dividing society and spreading hatred?
Tarun Vijay is a Rajya Sabha MP. The views expressed are personal.