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Golwalkar - crusader for a strong India - The Times of India

Posted By Krishnakant Udavant (kkant@bom2.vsnl.net.in)
6 June 1973

Title: Golwalkar - crusader for a strong India
Publication: The Times of India
Date: June 6, 1973

Bearded Guruji Golwalkar was in his lifetime, revered by millions of his
followers as a saviour of Hinduism, a Vivekananda, while to his innumerable
critics he was a Fuchrer of Hinduism.

However, Guruji was essentially an apostle of strength, a crusader for a
strong and united India, conscious of its glorious past and marching ahead
without losing its historical identity.

Madhavrao Sadashivrao Golwalkar was both the son of a school master in the
house of his uncle in Nagpur on February 19, 1906. The family came from the
village Golwali and hence the suffix Golwalkar.

Madhavrao showed enormous strength of will even in his early years. Once,
only once, in his childhood, did his father give him a sound thrashing, for
neglecting his studies. The potential 'Sar Sangh Chalak' looked up and
said: "You beat me and I never read," Father never beat him again.


While only 11, Madhavrao prepared the script for a public lecture at
Balaghat. After passing his matriculation examination in 1922, he joined
Hislop College in Nagpur as a science student. In the college, he surprised
Rey Gardiner by his thorough grasp of the Bible.

Later, Guruji would frequently quote the Bible and mince no words in
praising, the qualities and dedication of missionary teachers of his
student days.

Madhavrao was a keen student of Swami Vivekananda's speeches Mule Shastri
opened before him the treasures of ancient scriptures and Sanskrit literature.

At school and college, he played hockey and essentially Indian games like
kusti and hated cricket.

In 1930, he completed his M.Sc. in Zoology. For about a year he served as a
specialist in the aquarium in Madras. A story of those days has it that
once when 'His Exalted Highness' the Nizam of Hyderabad, a guest of the
governor of Madras province, visited the aquarium, Golwalkar insisted that
the distinguished guest and his retinue should pay the entrance fee. Rules
are rules and apply equally to all, he declared, to the consternation of
the officials. But he had his way.

Fish culture kept him busy for some time. But the call of Hindu culture was
irresistible; so, after a year, Golwalkar left for Benares.

In 1930, be joined Benares Hindu University as a lecturer in science. It
was here that Golwalkar came under the inspiring influence of Pandit Madan
Mohan Malviya, then vice-chancellor of the university, and learnt his first
lessons in nationalism under his feet.

In Benares, his students affectionately called him 'Guruji' and the prefix
stuck throughout his life.

During this period Guruji came into contact with the R.S.S. can got its
first glimpse through daily parades and lectures on Hinduism. Here he met
Bhayyaji Dani, secretary of the sangh, and Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar,
founder of the R.S.S. for the first time. The meeting changed the wholes
course of his life.


Guruji was appointed secretary of the newly-opened branch of the sangh in
Benares and he put his lifetime's savings in the expansion of the sangh.

Two years later, he returned to Nagpur as an eligible bachelor. But he
firmly rejected the pleadings of his parents regarding marriage and opted
to remain in 'single blessedness'.

At Nagpur, in 1933, he took his law degree and started practice. But his
heart was not there, and he devoted most of his time and energy to R.S.S.
activities. It was then that he wrote his book 'We or Our Nationhood defined.'

But the RSS work alone did not satisfy him - he was in search of the
ultimate. He left his home in 1936 and joined the Ramakrishna Ashram in
Sargacchi in Bengal. After leading for six months a life of meditation and
yoga, he returned to Nagpur in 1937. He plunged himself headlong again into
RSS work.

In 1939, he was appointed chief organiser of the sangh in Bengal. But the
founder of the RSS died in June, 1940, and Guruji had to return to Nagpur
and assume the mantle of supreme authority over the RSS. He was hardly 34
when he became the leader of the mighty Hindu volunteer corps.

The RSS, which was confined largely to Marathi-speaking areas before Guruji
took over, within a short period of ten years, blossomed into a formidable
youth movement under his inspiring leadership.

In 1948, the R.S.S. came under a cloud after the assassination of Mahatma
Gandhi. Guruji along with thousands of volunteers was put in jail. He was
released from jail in a few months. He met Sardar Patel in Delhi but the
talks failed and the RSS was again banned and Guruji was back in jail. The
sangh launched an agitation against the ban. It was in July of the
following years that, following an intervention of Venkatarama Sastri, the
sangh agreed to certain conditions imposed by the government and the ban
was lifted.

Guruji summed up his philosophy of Hindu nationalism thus: "Build inculcate
a spirit of devotion to motherland, pride in our history."


Guruji claimed that the RSS posed no threat to minorities. though his
statements regarding minorities frequently displayed a distrust of
minorities - particularly Muslims. He averred that his concept of Hindu
Rashtra did not signify rule of the Hindus, but a strong nation of people
of all faiths who are bound by a common history - the history of the
sub-continent. He accused the ruling party of encouraging communalism by
'appeasing' Muslims and preventing them from joining the stream of national
life, for the sake of votes.

All that he demanded from the minorities, he claimed was renunciation of
"extra-territorial loyalties."

The right solution to the Indo-Pakistani problem, he declared, "lies in
complete union." He made it clear that he wanted no conquest." What he
wanted was the defeat of "vested interests" in both India and Pakistan who
fomented a crisis between the two people who shared a common history,
tradition and culture.

It is no wonder, therefore, that, in an interview, Guruji criticised
attempts at evolving a uniform civil code for the country. "Why should not
the Muslim have a separate identity and their own way of life, as long as
they remain faithful to the land of their birth," he asked. Some of
Guruji's statements often invited the wrath of critics and perhaps
contradicted his own professed views. He once declared that "all those the
origin of whose faith lies outside India, cannot be considered Indians." He
blamed, the disturbance in Assam in the sixties on the "conspiracy of
Muslin settlers in West Bengal to create a Muslim state and secede from

His reported views advocating the caste system provoked an agitation by
leftist and progressive parties in Maharashtra in 1970.


Guruji was firmly against linguistic division of states and warned that
Balkanisation of the country would only spell danger. He castigated the
movement for a separate Vidarbha and earlier the agitation for a
Dravidanand. He characterised the Shiv Sena as a "chauvinistic movement
threatening the unity of the country and diverting attention from "external

It is no matter of surprise that Guruji was hostile to communism, but his
staunch nationalism impelled him once to declare that unlike the "known
enemies" of the country like the Soviet Union and China, the United States
was India's "greatest enemy" because it has infiltrated the national life
deeply in various spheres - economical, social and cultural.

Guruji opposed state trading and land reforms as measures threatening
individual liberty and enterprise.

Asked for his opinion about Mahatma Gandhi, Guruji said the ruling party
had consistently betrayed Gandhiji's ideals-and added characteristically,
if anybody was working along Gandhian lines, it was the Rashtriya Swayam
Sevak Sangh, be it in the matter of swadeshi or the uplift of the Harijans.

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