Keeping Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh(RSS) in the discussion for various reasons is beneficial for both friends and those who are not. I haven’t put the latter in the enemy category, because the Sangh does not consider anyone as its enemy. It believes that the society has two categories-, one comprised of those who are volunteers with the RSS today and the other comprises those who will join the Sangh in future. The Sangh’s attempt is not to ‘cancel’ those who are not friendly towards it but its aim is to make a prosperous and powerful society by taking them along too.
In the past, many such great personalities who were opposed to the Sangh, later became the admirers of the Sangh. Mahatma Gandhi, Babasaheb Ambedkar, Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan and well-known editor Girilal Jain are some of those who came to know the Sangh closely and became lifelong admirers. The Sangh is not understood when viewed from outside, when understood from outside it feels like touching the proverbial elephant blindfolded. Most of the people try to understand the Sangh by reading books or through one or two programs or as reported by the media. Some project Sangh as an anti-minority hard-line Hindu body.
Representatives of many political parties also convey the image of the Sangh which they find convenient in order to convince their supporters and to fulfil their selfish interests. But to understand what is Sangh, then this verse of Sanskrit should be understood.
Gaganam Gaganakaram Sagarah Sagaropamah
It means how big is the sky? The answer is “Gaganakaram”. That is, as much as the sky. How deep is the ocean? The answer is Sagaropam. That is, the ocean can be compared to the ocean itself. In the same way, the battle of Ram-Ravana is similar to the war of Ram-Ravana. Sangh that way is incomparable and it has no analogy. Therefore, if you want to understand the Sangh, then it can be understood only by going to an RSS Shakha.
A computer’s hardware can be explained by anyone as it is tangibly visible such as a screen, a keyboard, a mouse, but the software can only be explained by those who have experienced it. Now the next question comes, what does the Sangh do?
To understand in simple words, the Sangh organizes the Hindus. The next question is who is a Hindu and what is a Hindu? Hindu can be defined from the geographical point of view as well as from the ideological point of view. One must understand that Hindu faith is not a religion. Geographically, a Hindu can be defined as:
Uttaram Yat Samudrasya Himadreschaiva Dakshinam.
Varsam tadbharatam naam bharti yatra santatih.
The land which is in the north of the sea, in the south of the Himalayas, its name is Bharat. The people born there are called Bharatiya.
Starting from the Himalayas to the Indian Ocean, the land is called Bharat and the people living in it have been called Bharatiya. You may call them Hindu, it has the same meaning. Hindu Dharma is a religion as well as a way of life. Dharma does not mean religion. There is no alternative to ‘Dharma’ in English. The dharma of water is to go downhill from a height. Similarly, the dharma of energy is to move from hot to cold. A place made habitable for charity is called Dharamshala, a dispensary made for social service is called charitable hospital. Will their literal translation do justice to these words? Can a charitable hospital be called “Hospital for Religion”? The kind of harmony and feeling that the Hindu society sees in the variables of this creation, human beings, animals etc. – is it not enough to call it “human religion”?. Just as Hindu Dharma has spoken about the harmony of the whole creation like “Goddess Himalaya” trees, plants like “Mother Tulsi ” rivers like “Mother Ganga ” i.e., it would be appropriate to call it “Srishti-Dharma“(Dharma of the creation/universe).
Hindu Dharma gives the same respect for all the ideas ranging from non-dualism to materialism. Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs, Aryasamaji, Sanatanis all believe in these elements. Some believe in idol worship, some worship the intangible, some worship Shiva- Parvati, some RadhaKrishna, some SitaRama, some Mother Durga but no one has any opposition from anywhere. If the believers of Islam or Christian religion also respect other faith, creed, sect or religion and accept them, then no division of any kind will be seen in the society and they will also be included in the vast periphery of Hindu Dharma. But if they believe so, then they will not be able to spread their religion.
The followers of this ‘Dharma’ are Hindus and because they have their origin in this nation, therefore it is a Hindu nation. There is a difference between “nation” and state, nation is made up of people, a nation can have many states, it has always been so in Bharat. But there is an old tradition of offering the water of the Ganges emanating from the Himalayas at Rameswaram. There is a belief that salvation is attained by visiting the four Dhams situated in the four corners of the country. Life is not considered complete without the sight of 12 Jyotirlingas. The people of India make it a nation. There are some basic conditions for a people to become a nation. Attitude towards the land on which they live – that land is considered as motherland, fatherland or in simple words, parents; have respect for their ancestors. Almost all the people living in the land of Bharat have the same ancestors. Third common value system i.e. pride of “Bharat Mata ki Jai” and “Vande Mataram”. The concept of nation of India is different from the concept of nation-state of Western political scientists.
In the last around 1,000 years, this feeling and thought have weakened due to various invaders. Hindu society has suffered several divisive tendencies and lost touch with its origin. The basic problem of this nation is not because of the outsiders being powerful, but because of the weakness of the society here. To organise this society, the Sangh was established in 1925. And since then the Sangh has been continuously engaged in the work of building characters of individuals to organize the society. That is the only task taken up by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
The Swayamsevaks(volunteers) groomed by the Sangh do whatever they think is appropriate to correct the direction and condition of the society. Therefore, it does not seem appropriate to compare the Sangh with any other organisation.
The writer is an independent commentator. Views are personal.
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