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Is the RSS the saviour of India? It might well be.

Author: Saurav Dutt
Publication: Medium.com
Date: April 27, 2018
URL:      https://medium.com/@sd_saurav/is-the-rss-the-saviour-of-india-it-might-well-be-e78ea657978

When Narendra Modi recently visited the United Kingdom, he was greeted with almost universal acclaim, grace and respect. I say almost, because several groups and individuals saw fit to tear down the Indian tricolour flag in a fit of protests against him, against the BJP and particularly against the RSS, which they believe, is the ideological wing of the BJP and a rabid political force that is slavishly pro-Hindu to the expense of all others, beating up, raping and kill all non-Hindus in their wake.

This is a grievous fallacy.

In spite of their selfless service to the nation and immense contribution to nation-building, the RSS is among the most infamous outfits in India today. It is panned as an intolerant, extremist group that is, sadly, even compared to militant organisations at times. Bashing the RSS has become fashionable and left wing narratives perpetuate this through media echo chambers. Many feel this fear is being deliberately stoked among people for vested political interests by those who want to make the foundation of their political careers by practising the ‘divide and rule’ policy.
 
 Basically, the RSS is a pro-Hindu organisation, and being pro-Hindu doesn’t mean it is anti-Muslim or anti-Christian. In fact the basic founding principle of the RSS is “VasudhaivaKutumbakam” — the vision of the whole world as one family. The guiding principles towards this vision are voluntary service to the nation for socio-economic welfare and development. Their ultimate goal is to inspire in every Indian the spirit of unity, self confidence and the feeling of national pride. They strive to make India most prosperous and a powerful world leader.
 
 It is these strong ideals of the RSS that have gone into the making of great visionary leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the current Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, whose popularity has created ripples not just in India, but across the world. Their policies of inclusive growth have become a benchmark for all and their good governance is talked about in very high regard. The strong character of a swayamsevak is built by inculcating the virtues of nationalism, selfless service and discipline, all three of which are equally important in the upliftment of society and walking the path of ‘sab ka saath, sab ka vikas’.
 
 In the words of former RAW chief A K Verma : “I don’t look at the RSS the same way as the Congress does. What wrong is the RSS doing? It is only trying to restore the esteem of the Hindu community. Those who don’t understand it, abuse the Sangh. It is establishing the ancient sanskritik principles. It’s doing good work.”

Today, with over 7 million active members assembling in 55000–60000 shakhas each day across India and over 100 affiliate bodies, the RSS is certainly a force to reckon with. With such an extensive network, they have successfully conducted mass movements for the greater good of societies. The RSS runs 27,000 Ekal Vidyalayas (schools) in remote tribal areas where more than 8 lakh socially deprived tribal students are enrolled. This is just one of their many initiatives.

The sacrifices rendered by RSS activists and their contribution in protecting India during partition deserves special mention in India’s history. Whether it was charging the entire atmosphere by taking out processions during the independence struggle, or collecting information about Pakistan’s military activities and of the possible Kashmir invasion, or even the famous ‘Martyrs of Kotli’ incident where the heroism and gallantry of swayamsevaks proved they are even ready to lay down their lives to protect the honour of their Motherland.

During the Sino-Indian War in 1962, the contribution of the RSS was immense. Swayamsevaks from across the nation assembled in the northeast of India to help the army as well as the locals during those trying times. Their dedicated contribution was recognised by the whole nation when then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, as a special gesture, invited the RSS to take part in the Indian Republic Day parade of 1963.
 
 During Partition, when Nehru was finding it extremely difficult to stop the bloodshed, it was the RSS that helped organise over 3,000 relief camps for the refugees from Pakistan. During the 1965 India-Pakistan war, at the request of then PM Lal Bahudar Shastri, RSS volunteers successfully maintained law and order in the country and are said to be the first to donate blood. When Pakistanis were trying to take over Jammu and Kashmir, it was the dedicated and sacrificing swayamsevaks who cleared the snow from the airstrips and repaired airfields so that the Indian air force could land their aircraft.

Thanks to the important contribution of these unsung heroes, along with that of our army, we were able to save Kashmir from the clutches of Pakistan and protect and preserve our national honour.

Noted journalist Kushwant Singh, who had otherwise been openly critical of the RSS, acknowledged the fact that the RSS was instrumental in helping Sikhs in large numbers when murderers went on rampage to kill them in Delhi in the gruesome 1984 anti-Sikh riots, where even government machinery failed. Even today, whether it is natural disasters like the Tamil Nadu Tsunami, the Gujarat earthquake, the Andhra Pradesh and Uttarakhand floods, or manmade disasters like the Bhopal gas tragedy or the Assam riots, or the train accident in Karnataka, RSS swayamsevaks are the first to reach those in need of help.

And what of the ridiculous claims that the RSS if a feral group out to beat up, rape and kill Sikhs and Muslims?

In fact, The Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM) is a Muslim organization in India and it is affiliated to the Hindu nationalist RSS. MRM was formed in 2002 by nationalist Muslims and Hindus.

Rashtriya Sikh Sangat was formed on 24 Nov 1986, on the Guruprakash Purab of Guru Nanak Ji and is an independent socio-cultural organization. The organization aims to promote Sikh-Hindu relations and to spread the knowledge of Gurbani to not only the Sikh masses of India, but also to the rest of Indian society.

Sangh has also worked on empowering women via formation of a women’s wing of RSS. There are two kinds of RSS setups, one for males called the Rastriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Rastra Sevika Samiti for females.

The RSS has endeavoured hard to ensure caste divisions in India are removed and has advocated the training of Dalits and other ‘backward’ classes as temple high priests. RSS aims to remove such division to ensure the society is untied to work for the overall development of India.

India is an ancient civilization and was a secular country because of the Hindu way of life, the life that the RSS espouse and works for. The credit for being secular or Hindu doesn’t lie with Congress, RSS, BJP or Modi and the actual credit if any should be to the people of the country from times immemorial. It is these people who make up the RSS and no amount of ‘fake news’ and attempts at communal division can change that.
 
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