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HVK Archives: The RSS ethos - a speech by Bhikuji Idate

The RSS ethos - a speech by Bhikuji Idate - Organiser

Posted By Ashok V Chowgule (ashokvc@giasbm01.vsnl.net.in)
Fri, 27 Dec 96 18:06:02 EST

Speech of Shri B. R. Idate :
25.12.96

The RSS Ethos

Respected Shri David Frawley, Shri B. L. Vashta, Shri Ashok Chowgule,
Shri Dilip Karambelkar, brothers and sisters,

We have just heard a talk by Shri Vamadev Shastri alias Dr Frawley on
his vision of Global Hinduism in the 21st Century and discussions thereon.
He is a highly learned scholar with deep study on many subjects including
Hinduism, Vedas etc. My area of activity is restricted to Maharashtra and
having this limitation in mind, I am going to put my thoughts before you.

I have been introduced to you as 'The Karyawah' of Rashtriya
Swayamsevak Sangh. As you know, the aim of RSS is to unite all Hindus and
this work is going continuously on since the last 70 years. This
organization has mushroomed into many other institutions like the Bharatiya
Janata Party, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Akhil Bharatiya
Vidyarthi Parishad, Kisaan Sangh and mass organizations in nearly every
sphere of activity. In the field of co-operative movement, it has
established 'Sahakar Bharati', in Industry, it has 'Udyog Bharati' and in the
field of arts 'Samskaar Bharati'.

Taking inspiration from the RSS, more than 40,000 to 50,000 small and
large service-oriented projects have been launched all over the country.
This all-encompassing spread of activity has brought the RSS to a position
which can be rated as next only to the network of the Government machinery.
The real moving spirit behind this vast national activity is the ideology of
Hindutva based ultimately on the tenets of Hindu philosophy. It has been our
firm faith that the only solution for all the ills not only of this country
but of the whole of mankind lies rooted in the Hindu philosophy. This fact
is being increasingly recognised all over the world as a result of the
pursuit of Hindutva by RSS throughout its journey of 70 years or more.

This belief in the ultimate victory of Hindu thought is based not on
blind faith but on a deep inner awareness that Hindu philosophy is based on
laws which are not just Hindu laws but universal laws applicable to all. This
philosophy is called Hindu philosophy only because these laws were discovered
by ancient Hindu sages. In reality, this philosophy is a Universal
philosophy.

The man is composed of four elements : body, mind, intelligence and
soul. Hindu philosophy seeks to bring about a balance of all these elements.
Further, it asserts that every individual is a part of the universe and
represents the cosmos in miniature in himself. An individual cannot be
separated from his family, society, country, mankind and even the whole of
creation itself.

The founder of the RSS, Dr Keshav Baliram Hedgewar had the exact idea
about this intrinsic strength of Hindu philosophy. At the same time, observed
that the Hindu society which had earlier produced this wonderful philosophy
of oneness, was deeply divided within itself in many ways and had forgotten
its identity. In order to bring this society back to life, this philosophy
had to be re-awakened in the minds of Hindus. In this context, he emphasized
two things. First, that we must put into practice our philosophy which was
the best in the world. Without practice, it is meaningless. Secondly, it
must be remembered that nobody accepts any philosophy because it is best.
One has to back up this philosophy with a powerful force of the society. RSS
is engaged in this dual task for the last 70 years.

About the problems of the Hindu Society, the founder of RSS had a
clear vision that these problems belonged to all the sections of this society
and could not be considered in isolation. It was necessary at that time to
instill in the mind of every Hindu the awareness that Hindu Society with all
its faults and virtues was HIS SOCIETY and his progress was inseparable from
the Society's progress. In order to create this awareness, he set about the
task of creating an organization of selfless workers dedicated solely to
extending this philosophy to all spheres of national life.

For instance, the Marxist philosophy with its principle of class
struggle was effectively countered by the principle of "Vasudhaiva
Kutumbakam" (the world is one family). The slogan "Workers of the World
Unite" was replaced by "Workers Unite the World', and the concept of class
conflict by the concept of class co-operation. The interest of workers and
employers were perceived as complementary rather than mutually antagonistic
and problems were sought to be solved through discussions than disputes. As
a result of this approach, the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh today ranks as the
largest apex trade organization in the country.

In politics, this Hindu philosophy was translated into the philosophy
of 'Integral Humanism'. A living example of this approach is witnessed in
the transformation of Gonda District of U.P. from a backward area into a
world-acclaimed model of ideal implementation of this philosophy.

Nothing illustrates this philosophy better than the fundamental
change it has brought about in the approach to tribal problems which is a
gigantic one. India's tribals were branded as Adivasis (aboriginals), the
original inhabitants of this country who were pushed into the jungles by
later waves of so-called Aryan invaders. The very name carried the seeds of
conflicts. However, the RSS considers the tribals as Vanavasis (forest
dwellers) on par with Gramvasis (villagers) and Nagarvasis (city dwellers)
Hindus. As a result of this fraternal approach, today there are almost 4,000
service projects run in tribal areas by the RSS volunteers. Although
initially, these projects were started by city-dwellers for their tribal
brethren, the aim was not to make the tribals dependent on others, but make
them self-sufficient. As a result, all these projects are now being run by
hundreds of RSS volunteers who have arisen from the ranks of the tribals
themselves. Shri Chintaman Vanaga who is now a Member of Parliament is an
excellent example of this trend.

The extreme travails faced by the RSS volunteers in this endeavour
are best illustrated by the fact that the very RSS centre at Talasari, which
produced Shri Vananga was attacked by Communist activists a few years ago.
The head of this Centre, Shri Appa Joshi was severely wounded and was
hospitalized where the doctors had to put more than 150 stitches to his head.
Still he refused to leave the Centre and this magnificent sacrifice paid in
creating a chain of dedicated workers from the Vanavasis themselves like
Vanaga. Late Smt. Godavaritai Parulekar, a well known social worker and a
legend in her life time with leftist leanings, once visited Shri Balasaheb
Deshpande, the Founder-President of Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram who praised her
work and expressed his admiration of the work she had done amongst the
Vanavasis in Thane district. In her reply, she remarked, she had no doubt
created an awareness of their rights and privileges and the spirit to fight
against injustice, but she had failed to bring about any basic positive
change in their lives, while Madhavrao Kane through his Vanavasi Kalyan
Kendra hostel, school and constructive activities at Talasari was successful
in this, and that she was a witness to an unbelievable change in the lives of
the local Vanavasi youths.

The untouchability is the bane of Hindu Society and great people
like Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, Veer Savarkar, Mahatma Gandhi, Mahatma Jyotiba
Phule and others have tried to eradicate it in their own special ways on many
levels. However, the silent work done by the RSS in this respects has had
much more far reaching effect. Hindus from all castes attend RSS shakhas,
but nobody is ever asked his caste or given any different treatment. All are
considered only Hindus. This approach is bringing about a silent revolution
in the rural areas not only in inter-caste relations, but even affecting a
fundamental change in the attitudes of hitherto depressed classes.

To narrate a personal example, I myself belong to a nomadic backward
tribe in which drinking alcohol is common. Even I was offered a cup of
alcohol by my own father when I was still in the primary school. However,
the RSS training came to my help. I stoutly refused to drink and till this
moment, I have not touched a drop of alcohol. This is a personal example but
indicative of a overall change that is taking place among the tribals where
RSS is active.

The RSS plan for the eradication of untouchability has three
aspects. One is to spread the social awareness (Prabodhan), the second
religious awareness of the basically non-Hindu nature of untouchability and
third is of course the practical activities of the RSS which bring people of
all castes together. The major breakthrough came when the second
Sarsanghchalak Shri Golwalkar Guruji brought all heads of the different sects
of Hindus on one platform and all of them proclaimed with one voice that
Untouchability had no place in Hinduism. 'Na Hindu Patito Bhavet'. This
resulted in unprecedented scenes all over the country where prominent sages
like Jagatguru Shankaracharya visited Dalit areas and took food with them.
Garlanding of Dr Ambedkar's statue at Nagpur by Shankaracharya himself
cleared a number of misunderstandings in the minds of Dalits.

Realizing the fact that the Hindu philosophy which is the main source
for this all-embracing movement is treasured in Sanskrit, RSS decided to make
efforts of reviving this language not on scholarly studies but even in every
day use also. Shri Krishnaswamy is a Pracharak (full time honorary worker)
of RSS totally dedicated to this job. Classes for speaking and writing
Sanskrit have been conducted with tremendous success with the result that a
number of villages are now using Sanskrit in their day-to-day life.

Another aspect of the silent change brought about by the RSS is the
training and appointing of backward class or Dalit persons as priests in
temples in increasing numbers even in areas dominated by orthodox elements.
When such appointments were contested in the Court of Law, RSS people fought
the case on the principle that every Hindu with the knowledge of performing
the rites has a right to be a temple priest and got a favourable verdict of
the Court. This practice of trained Hindus from all casts is now catching
on.

Nomadic tribes (notified and de-notified) is such a neglected class
of Hindu Society. The life of castes like Berad, Paradhi, Vaidu,
Smashaanjogi is extremely miserable. The Society of Hindus which sees one
God in all human beings and animals was not looking after these human beings.
Volunteers of RSS are now working in this field also. In Maharashtra, in
Tuljapur Taluka, one Hostel of Paradhi boys and girls is run by them. A
project for rehabilitating 50 Pardhi families has been undertaken and the
most heartening thing is that leaders for such work are now being moulded
from their own community. Devkabai who used to run away at the sight of a
policeman, is now talking to the Police with courage and conviction. Dhanaji
Shinde, one illiterate activitist said in a programme : "We did not have any
existence even that of
a dust particle. But since Sangh workers have started working among us, we
ourselves have realised our human values." When you start living the Hindu
philosophy, you can bring about a outright change the life of society. A
number of such examples can be cited.

RSS is today engaged in speeding up the Hindu philosophy in a number
of such ways. This work has spread to all the corners of the country. Every
such movement is waking up the potential strength of the society in its own
way. Mankind is facing a gigantic challenge in the 21st Century. Problems
like technological progress, insatiable hunger for consumption, depletion of
natural resources, extinction of vital species, threat to economy will
endanger the human life on this plant. Everybody is worried over this.
Under these circumstances, it is necessary that a model of life following the
Hindu Philosophy be presented to various countries. Sangh is working with
all its strength and sources in preparing the Hindu Society for this purpose.

The RSS approach is to create, not to destroy. The RSS approach
follows the footsteps of Adi Shankarcharya, Swami Vivekanand as well as
hundreds of saints and sages right up the present century. Only when we
build institutions, will we see the progress, both, material and spiritual
that is due to the people of this country. This can happen when the power of
Dharma is fully exploited.

I would like to thank all of you for giving me this opportunity to
present to you my views on a subject which has been close to my heart.

Thank you.

Information about Shri Bhiku Ramchandra Idate

Name : Shri Bhiku Ramchandra Idate

Education : B.Sc., B. Pharm.

Profession : Worked as a Teacher for some years. Now runs a
Chemists' Shop.

Residence : Dapoli, Dist. Ratnagiri

Other information :
A Sangh Volunteer (Swayamsevak from early an age)
Became Karyvah of Ratnagiri Vibhaag
Now Karyavah of Maharashtra Prant.
Karyadhyksha-Founder of Samajik Samarasata Manch
President of Nomadic Tribes Development Conference.
President of Bharatiya Samaaj Development and Research Centre
Intellectual, Writer, Excellent Orator

Books at his credit : Samaras Samaaj
Reserved Seats
Mandal Commission.

Remarks :
Shri Idate comes from an extremely backward tribe but came in the contact
with Sangh in his very early age. He has been a swayamsevak of RSS since
then and is an excellent example, how a simple swayamsevak can be transformed
into a impressive personality and leader.


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