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RSS way of dismantling divisiveness–Parables from COVID 19, Crisis

Author: Vikas Deshpande
Publication: Medium.com
Date: August 24, 2020
URL:      https://medium.com/@vdesh/rss-way-of-dismantling-divisiveness-parables-from-covid-19-crisis-

On the onset of the COVID 19 crisis, India declared a nationwide lockdown on March 25th, 2020. It was an impressive collaborative effort by the government, celebrities, public, religious institutions, and businesses. Individuals and families were figuring out how to live as normal as possible without stepping out and still stay safe.

But Khalida Begum, 87, a resident of Jammu and Kashmir, has something else in her mind. She observed a selfless and all-inclusive social work by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) affiliated Seva Bharati for the needy and donated Rs. half a million to Seva Bharati to support their relief work in Jammu and Kashmir. Those funds were her savings for the Hajj pilgrimage. But for her, humanitarian help was more important than the pilgrimage. While offering such monetary contribution to an RSS affiliate, she did not think twice knowing that serving the needy regardless of the faith is the core principle of RSS social work. But for many, Khalida contributing to RSS relief work was beyond imagination.

Just before the lockdown, there was a large congregation of an Islamic group called, “Tablighi Jamaat” in the capital city, New Delhi. Delegates from all Indian states attended this congregation. Some international delegates came from the countries that were already having COVID 19 crisis. This gathering resulted in a spike of cases in many states when delegates returned to their homes. There was a major uproar across the nation and in the print and online media. This could have turned out to be psychological warfare against the entire Muslim community.

As a true socially conscious leader, RSS Chief (Sarsanghchalak) Dr. Mohan Bhagwat addressed this issue in his first public speech since breakdown, on April 26, 2020. He said, “All 130 crore Indians are our family. We are one.… We should not blame the entire community for the mistakes of a few individuals. People who are more mature in both communities should come forward and start a dialogue to remove prejudices among people’s minds.” Again, these words of RSS Chief surprised the misinformed. RSS volunteers however were already following them in action.

In the first week of April, the Muslim community daily wage members in Maharashtra’s Samba were facing serious issues because of lockdown. Local RSS volunteers found this crisis and provided enough food for this community. When the media asked the local RSS volunteer, he responded, “There is only one aim of our organization and that is to help the needy and get them out of their problem. Like here, people did not have a ration, so we helped them with that. For all other problems also, the organization is with them. We gave them masks and educated them about social distancing.”

Here is another moving story of a pregnant woman Ishrat Mohammad with a happy ending.

“Ishrat Mohammad, a pregnant woman, was on her way to Uttar Pradesh from Gujarat with her husband Noor Mohammad, a native of Gauriganj, Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, has been working as a weaver in Surat, Gujarat. On May 7, in the morning, the couple reached Jalgaon via the highway. They had to stop midway as Ishrat was unable to bear her labor pain. When the matter came to the notice of some local people, they called up a volunteer of nearby ‘RSS Sevalaya’ as he had helped people in several such incidents. Kavi Kasar, an RSS volunteer and the nearest RSS’ ‘Sevalaya’ has been a refuge for several migrant workers during the lockdown. He immediately ventured out to reach the spot with necessary food items in an ambulance. By that time, Ishrat nearly fell unconscious and started bleeding. Since no one was available to offer medical aid, Kasar helped the woman deliver the baby in the ambulance. After the safe delivery, he took the mother and baby to the hospital run by Dr. Vilas Bhole, who is the Sanghchalak (local head of RSS from Jalgaon). After first aid and other medications, Ishrat and her newborn baby were taken to Godavari Hospital and admitted there… Overwhelmed by his kind gesture, the couple thanked Kavi Kasar, saying Aap Toh Khuda Ho!“ or ‘you are God for us’.

A challenge of migrant workers leaving for their distant home states during this crisis was least imagined and hence was less planned for.

Sohel Rana Alam of Orchid Foundation, West Bengal was trying to help Muslim migrant workers from Mumbai who wanted to go back to their home state of West Bengal. He called the local Assistant Commissioner of Police in Mumbai who connected him with Mahesh Kulkarni, a local RSS organizer. Sohel however was unaware of the fact that Mr. Kulkarni represents RSS. When he heard from Mr. Kulkarni that he is an RSS volunteer, several doubts came in his mind, all leading to the constantly fed misinformed notion that RSS is Islamophobic. However, it turned to be a pleasant eye-opening incident when Mr. Kulkarni responded, “We are humans first & rest later, RSS teaches us to serve humanity without any discrimination.” Sohel Rana Alam narrates his experience in his YouTube video.

These stories and many more during COVID 19 crisis are not unusual in RSS’s historical social contribution. Whenever there is a social emergency or natural calamity, RSS volunteers not only worked day and night for the entire community but also considered by the emergency management authorities as to the most reliable community partner because of their discipline and selfless working philosophy.

However, people following an ultra-left approach continue damaging whatever does not fit to their divisive agenda and empowering the foot soldiers of “the Ministry of Truth” to narrate repeatedly something unreal–“a square is in fact a circle.”

RSS neither publicize their work nor chose to identify needy based on their caste, creed, faith, language, etc. They never cared for what ultra-left Goebbelsian adversaries spread through the media. They kept working for the 1.3 Billion population while dismantling social divisiveness one step at a time.


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