BUNCH OF THOUGHTS
Need for positive basis Efforts of reactionary approach Sangh for permanent organised life Fate of temporary movements; Congress - Nation in drifting The remedy Red signal.
THE work of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh had a very humble beginning. Steadily and gradually it has spread its work and today we find the Sangh branches working in full swing in all provinces of our country. This constant growth, this steady expansion has been an unfailing feature of the Sangh all through the trials and turmoils posed by the vagaries of the external situations.
The Urge for Growth
The Sangh met with its first major trial within fifteen years of its inception, in the sudden and unexpected death of its founder, Dr. Hedgewar. Needless to say, the Doctor was like the very life-breath of the organisation. He had watered the tiny plant of the Sangh with his sweat and blood. He had made of his life a burning lamp and it burned to the last drop of oil. Such an indispensable and incomparable leader had suddenly passed away. The organisation was yet in an infant stage. And many a well-wisher of the Sangh was struck with grave apprehensions about its future. But to the surprise of all, the Sangh grew with redoubled speed and vigour. Nor has its steady advance diminished after the quitting of the British. To some this appears to be a strange phenomenon. Puzzled, they ask us, "Now that the British have left and we have become free, where is the need for a separate organisation such as the Sangh? What role can it play now that we are free?"
Our answer is, mere external conditions such as political independence do not preclude the need for the organised state of society. In fact, it is only a well-knit and powerful society that can enjoy the fruits of a free, peaceful and prosperous life. Organised life is as much an effective weapon for a free nation to guard its freedom as for an enslaved nation to shake off its fetters. An alert and organised nation alone can check internal corrosions and subversions, repel external aggressions and maintain its integrity and freedom intact.
Doctorji had taken special pains to put forth this basic viewpoint right form the beginning of Sangh. This was, in fact, the way he approached every social problem. Once, while he was in Bombay, he was invited to visit an orphanage. After taking Doctorji round the institution the organisers there requested him to offer his suggestion with regard to their plans of expansion. Doctorji replied, "Well, instead of expanding such orphanages, would it not be far better to see that there are no orphans at all in our society? Social life should be such that no one shall feel helpless or forsaken. If some misfortune were to befall a person, his neighbour should spontaneously come forward to his help and rescue. This can be achieved only by building up social cohesion and harmony among the people, pulsating with mutual affinity and sympathy. If this is not done, social ills will continue to crop up one after another endlessly. If the blood-stream in the body is infected with germs, boils will erupt all over the body. If you treat and bandage them at one spot it will appear at another place. The basic remedy would be to purify the blood-stream itself. So also is the case with the body-politic of society.
Ideal Society as God
We look upon the society as the living manifestation of Almighty. And we have attributed to the Almighty the capacity of feeding all the living creatures under his care. He is therefore called Vishwambhara. There is a pauranic story, which I heard form a keertankar. Once, it seems, it occurred to Narada to test Lord Vishnu Himself. He caught hold of a few ants, shut them up in a small box and kept it in his safe custody. Then he went out on his usual rounds singing the praise of Vishnu. After a while, he came to Lord Vishnu and casually enquired whether the Lord had had his food. Vishnu replied that he had done so after attending to the feeding of all the living creation. Narada then took out his box saying, "Well, these poor creatures seem to have escaped your Lords notice!" Vishnu appeared taken aback, apologised and requested Narada to open the box. And lo! When the box was opened, the ants came out each with a particle of sugar in its mouth!
Imaginary though the story may be, it beautifully depicts the state of an ideal society, which will take care of the needs of every living being under its shelter. In fact, the descriptions of our ancient society approximated to this state. No individual, however low and humble he may be, was left to suffer with hunger, thirst or want of shelter. The animals and birds near about also were cared for. Some had even taken a vow of feeding the ants before taking their food.
For an Abiding Basis
It is also well known that such an abiding, alert, positive and organised state of society cannot be based on mere antagonism to others. The reason for this is very simple. Movements which start as reactions to outside factors collapse to the ground no sooner the object of their antagonism is removed. There is also another important consideration. When the spirit of antagonism rules our mind, we have perforce to think constantly of those whom we oppose. And especially, we shall have to ruminate over their evil acts and evil qualities. Our shastras says that a man becomes what he thinks. It is the continuous thought-processes that go to form the mental texture and thus shape the personality of man. Any attempt at reorganisation of our society on the basis of hatred of the British or the Muslims would therefore be to court degeneration and disaster. For, that would only pollute our minds by the constant remembering of their heinous crimes. Have we no positive, life-giving and sublime ideals at all to meditate upon and fashion our lives? Should we install a wicked aggressor in our hearts as a point of meditation?
It is true that sometimes we the Sangh workers too refer to incidents involving Muslims and the British. But that is only to draw attention to the lessons we have to learn from history, to show that we alone are responsible for our downfall. It was in fact the strange phenomenon of a small nation such as England ruling over a big country like ours form a distance of six thousand miles that made our revered founder, even as a boy of eight, to wonder and ponder over it. And it was after mature and deep contemplation regarding the root-cause of our slavery as also the right and positive approach to remove it, that Doctorji started the Sangh.
Effects of Reactionary Approach
But, somehow, most of our leaders fell a prey to sheer antagonism either to the British or to the Muslims, with the result that they have become either Anglicised or Muslimised. For example, some extremist Hindu bodies came into existence in our country to counteract the growing violence and depredations of Muslims and to put a check to their appeasement in the political field. They recounted again and again the harrowing tales of the blood-curdling massacres, forcible conversions, raping of women, desecration of temples and all such atrocities perpetrated by the Muslims ever since they stepped on this soil.
There is a revealing incident, which I came across during anti-cow-slaughter campaign. I met a Hindu leader of great repute and scholarship known for his fiery patriotism. During our talk he causally asked "What harm is there if a Hindu takes to beef?" I was simply stunned to hear such words from that person, whom I hold in great respect. What must have been the reason for such an utterance, which even the most depraved Hindu would shudder to think of? The reason is, the continuous thinking about the Muslims and their vices had left their deep impress upon his mind and made him culturally a Muslim, though he remained politically a Hindu.
It is this atmosphere of reactionary mentality that makes people view the Sangh also in the same light. Once we had gone to a place to start our work. The gentlemen of the town confronted us with the question, "Well, where is the need for Sangh in our town? There are no Muslims here." I replied, We have come here to organise Hindus and not Muslims. I hope you are all Hindus. How are we concerned whether Muslims reside here or not?"
Sign of Living Society
It is on this reactionary background that people say that there is now a change in circumstances, that since the British have left this country there is no need for an organisation of this type. We, on the other hand, view the problem differently. We say, the Hindus were here and they continue to be here. They were disunited and are still disunited. We see the same disintegrated, mute Hindu Society letting itself to be trampled upon without a murmur of protest. And when it does speak, it is with so many voices that what it says sounds like gibberish. As such, we see absolutely no change in the situation. Suppose there is a man suffering from typhoid during an epidemic. Will the doctor treating that patient lose the incentive when the health officer of the town declares that the epidemic had ended? Similarly, do we not see the malady of disunity still scouring the body of this ancient and great society? How then can we afford to stop administering the proper medicine?
Our duty, therefore, to make our society united, organised and mighty is as much before us today as at any time before. It is our dharma to see that our society, our great mother, is made powerful, great, and happy. It is this innate love and adoration for our people, this positive faith in our national being that has been the constant urge for all our actions. True love of that type is not dependent upon external situations. Nor is it born out of them. It takes its roots deep in our hearts reminding us of the duty towards our nation every moment of our life. It makes us conscious that we belong to this great and sacred motherland that we owe a deep debt of gratitude to her and that every action of ours must be our offering in her cause.
Hinduism, which has been our sheet-anchor, fosters this pure and all-embracing love, free from any spirit of reaction. We of the Sangh, who have been born and bred in that heritage, only act. We do not react. In fact, it is the nature of the insignificant and material things to react strongly towards momentary heat and cold. But healthy living human beings are not overcome by vagaries of weather. They maintain a steady temperature of their own which even the extreme variations of weather cannot disturb. In fact, they fall down lifeless whenever their bodies no longer maintain that normal temperature. It is therefore that we have been constantly keeping before our minds eye the vision of an organised society, which would not stray from its chartered course because of changes in external circumstances.
Realising the Vision in Practice
It is because the Sangh is firmly founded on this unreactionary, positive and abiding faith in our own national being, that it is calmly and steadily growing form strength to strength undisturbed by fleeting changes in the external conditions. It is this vision of an everlasting, powerful and glorious condition of an organised social life that constantly inspires a Swayamsevak to take to the work of Sangh as his life-mission devoid of all traces of selfishness. In fact the Swayamsevak experiences the thrill of joy and inspiration in the day-to-day work of the Sangh, where he sees the vision of his dreams realised in actuality, though on a miniature scale. He is spurred on to greater effort to fulfil the mission.
This is the unique feature of Sangh work, wherein the means and the end have coalesced. The end i.e., the ideal of a reorganised society, is being gradually realised in practice by the means, the day-to-day process of bringing together and moulding persons for an organised life. This is in true conformity with the teachings of our philosophy in respect of devotees. To a devotee, devotion is both the end and the means - swayam phalaroopata. Similarly, the work of our organisation born out of intense devotion to our society is self-inspiring. It is this perfect concentration on its chosen path born out of a thorough grasp of the principles forming the grass-roots of an eternally powerful and self-sustaining national life that has made this organisation invincible and ever-expanding.
An Opposite Instance
Let us take an example of the opposite type, which may help us to appreciate this point better. It is of an organisation, which had kept before itself a temporary objective. The Indian National Congress, the oldest political body in our country today, had kept before itself the aim of driving out the British. Now that the British have gone form this land, the aim of Congress has been fulfilled. It was precisely for this reason that Mahatma Gandhi, who was the mainstay of that organisation for about twenty-five years and had a thorough insight into its working, advised its disbandment soon after the British left. But, as we know, man develops attachment to name and form. And so, most of his followers could not relish the idea of disbanding Congress. Probably the taste of political power also must have added its share to their sticking to that name and form even by flouting the express will of their master.
The result is, that Congress, having nothing positive to fulfil has rapidly drifted and degenerated from all the ideals it professed during its struggle against the British. The principles of truth, non-violence, character, patriotism have all vanished into thin air. Although the motto remains the same, its content has totally disappeared.
Falsehood struts about masquerading as truth. The Government had been aware, on their won admission, of the Chinese aggression on our northern frontiers since 1954. But they suppressed the truth, denied it, derided those who spoke of it and continued to paint before the country the rosy picture of Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai. Could falsehood go further?
So far as non-violence is concerned, of course, our leaders preach peace and non-violence to the whole world, but within our own country there has been more violence done to our countrymen in the form of arrests, lathi-charges and shootings on those whom they consider as their political opponents then even during the days of British domination. And as for violence in speech, there appears to be no limit to it. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru once publicly appealed to all political leaders in the country to be restrained in their criticisms. And it was he who condemned those differed from his political views as gaddar i.e., traitors!
Decadence in character has become the order of the day. Corruption and nepotism have become rampant. A separate department has been started to check corruption in various departments. But it is found that another department is required to check corruption in that anti-corruption department itself? It will thus go on ad infinitum. An acquaintance of mine who was once a leading Congress worker came to see me. He bewailed the serious loss to the Exchequer occasioned by the maintenance of so many departments to check black-marketing, smuggling, corruption and so on. He suggested that the Sangh should take up the task of purifying all such persons responsible for these evils. I told him, "I welcome your suggestion. But you will enlighten me form whom I should begin?" He understood what I meant because he knew very well that this corrosion had entered the marrows of even the topmost men.
The New Craze
When we come to the present-day plight of the lofty ideas of patriotism and self-sacrifice, which spurred our leaders to action during the anti-British movements, we see that their meanings have all changed. The unity of the motherland is no more a living concept for them. Eminent leaders have begun to bless and encourage movements intended to break up the country. Sri C. Rajagopalachari has stated* that he would prefer partition of the country to what he calls imposition of Hindi**. The idea of sacrifice has been replaced by one of cashing on past sacrifices. Everywhere there is a craze for show of sacrifice rather than its real essence. It is like the story of a pandit who had gone to perform Satyanarayan Pooja. He stealthily knocked off a Valuable jewel during the pooja but came back all the way to return a small piece of thread to that house and duly impressed the members of the household with his high sense of honesty
This craze for show devoid of the true spirit of sacrifice has made all our big plans a mockery. The desire for name and fame passes off as service. To give a funny instance, some years ago there were floods in the river Ganga inundating parts of Kashi. One of the ministers who happened to be there at the time thought of paying a visit to the affected areas. He went in a car up to the edge of the flood waters. There he stopped and asked his secretary where the cameraman was. But somehow that important point had been forgotten. The car was sent back to bring the professional photographer. It was only after he came and had taken a couple of photographs of the minister standing in knee-deep water in the act of flood relief work that all of them returned merrily in the car with the satisfaction of having done their best for the flood victims!
The Shifting Loyalties
Those persons who once spoke of dedication in the cause of the nation are now chasing the shadow of their own glorification. Self-conceit has taken the place of self-surrender. Their thoughts, words and deeds have all become egocentric. Some years ago, when Pandit Nehru visited the Naga Hills, some people wanted to present him with a memorandum in the public meeting demanding a separate independent Naga State. But the local authorities did not allow it. As a protest, about three thousand Nagas rose in a body and left the meeting when Pandit Nehru was about to address them. Pandit Nehru took it as a personal affront and began to say that the foreign Christian missions in this country were playing a dirty anti-national game and so on. Till then he used to go about praising their humanitarian activities and even proclaiming that it was a great honour done to country when some local bishop was made a cardinal!
Having lost the supreme and dominant note of selfless devotion to the nation as a whole, smaller and lower objects have come to occupy its place in our heart. Discordant notes of attachment to a party, to a language, to a province, to a caste or sect have torn our national life to shreds. And the tragedy is that it is the top-ranking leaders who take the lead in all such disruptive tactics to serve their own ends. The experts committee which was formed to prepare the Second Five Year Plan exposed the real motive behind that plan saying that they were in a way forced to draft the plan in that fashion as against * during 1965 ** on Tamil Nadu
their considered views because of the political pressure brought upon them.
Drifting and Drifting
This is how our people are drifting under tall talk of progress. We do not know where we are going. Is there today anything that can be pointed out as the essence of our own national life? Our way of life, our method of education, our mode of behaviour, our way of dress, our way of building houses, towns and cities and all such elements of our national ethos have undergone such an awful change that we do not stop for a moment to consider whether this abject imitation of others is not a humiliation of our national pride, a sure sign of losing our national identity and drifting into intellectual slavery.
For example, our leaders have set up a new flag for our country. Why did they do so? It is just a case of drifting and imitating. How did this flag come into being? During the French Revolution, the French put up three stripes on their flag to express the triple ideas of equality, fraternity and liberty. The American Revolution inspired by similar principles took it up with some changes. Three stripes therefore held a sort of fascination for our freedom fighters also. So, it was taken up by the Congress. Then it was interpreted as depicting the unity of the various communities-the saffron colour standing for the Hindu, the green for the Muslim and the white for all the other communities. Out of the non-Hindu communities the Muslim was specially named because in the minds of most of those eminent leaders the Muslim was dominant and without naming him they did not think that our nationality could be complete! When some persons pointed out that this smacked of a communal approach, a fresh, explanation was brought forward that he saffron stood for sacrifice, the white for purity and the green for peace and so on. All these interpretations were discussed in the Congress Committees during those days. Who can say that this is a pure and healthy national outlook? It was just a politicians patchwork, just political expediency. It was not inspired by any national vision or truth based on our national history and heritage. The same flag has been taken up today as our State Flag with only a glorious past. Then, had we no flag of our own? Had we no national emblem at all these thousands of years? Undoubtedly, we had. Then, why this void, this utter vacuum in our minds?
Our Constitution too is just a cumbersome and heterogeneous piecing together of various articles from various Constitutions of Western countries. It has absolutely nothing, which can be called our own. Is there a single word of reference in its guiding principles as to what our national mission is and what our keynote in life is? No! Some lame principles form the United Nations Charter or from the Charter of the now defunct League of Nations and some features form the American and British Constitutions have been just brought together in a mere hotchpotch. Theodore Shay in his The Legacy of the Lokamanya says, "Strangely absent from the Preamble is reference to concepts like Swaraj, Dharmarajya and the integration of the purpose of the state with the purpose of life. In other words, there is no reflection of Indian precepts or political philosophy in the Indian Constitution."
We also see so many slogans being coined on the eve of every election or even every year, slogans culled form foreign theories, which had already been long ago exploded. They say, we are now fighting for Socialistic doctrine! There is now so much conformity to the word of the leader and so much servility to European ideas that even the little Congress worker goes about re-echoing the same words Socialism, Socialistic pattern of society, Democratic Socialism and all such things to the extent of claiming that this had been the settled policy of Congress right from 1885!
At times we drift towards America and at times towards Russia. Where is all this going to lead us except to moral and intellectual annihilation? Why are we drifting? Because we are not standing upon our own legs. Those who have lost their own pedestal needs must drift. A tree, which has been uprooted and caught in a flood is driven hither and thither by every current of water. Our entire national life has been uprooted and therefore there is no other go but to drift. And drifting always means going form a higher level to a lower level, ultimately sinking into a bottomless abyss. That is the unfortunate condition in which we find ourselves today.
Lesson of History
To prevent this drifting, there is only one remedy. And that is, to reawaken in ourselves the consciousness that we have our own positive foundations, that we have our own roots penetrating deep into the soil of our national ideals and aspirations, history and heritage. It is only a positive and dynamic build-up of an organisation of the type of the Sangh, capable of embracing all of our people in a loving and eternal brotherhood and making them intensely conscious of their national destiny that can effectively check the present rot of selfishness, dissensions and vulgar imitations born out of drifting.
So we can truly say that the necessity of the Sangh can be felt much more keenly today than when it was first started. The present-day conditions do not admit of any sense of complacency. The circumstances inside and outside the country are explosive. We have heard that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Let us, at least now, take a lesson form our history. Prithviraj, who could put to rout the hordes of Mohammed Ghori several times before, was defeated when he gave himself up to enjoyment in the company of his newly wedded wife Samyogita at a time when the enemy was pounding at the gates of Delhi.
The Red Signal
Can we honestly say that our nation is so strong-willed and well-organised that we can confidently face all dangers to our free and prosperous existence? Do we, for instance, see the glow of manliness and idealism in the eyes of our youth? Do we not, on the other hand, see our youth, chasing vulgar shadows of foreign fashions and wallowing in pleasures of the senses? I had once an occasion to visit a physical training camp conducted by the Congress. Boys and girls were both participating in the activities. I asked the organiser of the camp whether it would not have been better if girls had not been allowed there. He frankly confessed that in that case very few young men would have come! There was a Youth conference organised at Lucknow. Having heard the first hand report of that Conference form our friends there, I felt that it was not a conference having any educative value but only an unholy center for spreading horrible immorality.
No nation can hope to survive with its young men given over to sensuality and effeminacy. That is the surest sign of decay and destruction, howsoever prosperous and mighty the nation may be for the time being. An American correspondent had once come to meet me to know which way the sympathies of our Sangh lie in the present tug of war between America and Russia. But we stand firm on our own feet and do not allow ourselves to be dragged either way. He asked me, "What is your opinion about the present-day America?" I replied, "America is moving fast on the road to self-destruction. Just see your own clothes. The loose fashionable garments that you wear and the comb in your pocket betray the effeminate nature of the average American today. In the First World War, the Generalissimo of the Allied Forces was Marshal Foch, a Frenchman. Such was the heroic state of that nation at that time that they fought the Germans with grim resolve and won the war ultimately. They even pocketed a sizable portion of Germany. But after the victory, Frenchmen succumbed to sensuality and enjoyment. They lost themselves in drinking, singing and dancing with the result that in spite of their huge military machine and their formidable Maginot line, France collapsed within fifteen days of the German onslaught during the Second World War. The sudden and total collapse of France was due to effeminacy which had sapped the energy of the heroic manhood of France. After the war, Marshal Petain, the old French general, stated that France was defeated not on the battle-fields but in the ball-rooms of Paris. I sincerely hope that America will wake up in time and stop this internal corrosion of its young manhood."
In our country also the conditions are not different. The modern fashion of young men is to appear more and more feminine. In dress, in habits, in literature and in every aspect of our day-to-day life modernism has come to mean effeminacy. Sex has become the one dominating theme of all our modern literature. History of countries the world over has time and again shown that sex-dominated literature has been an unfailing precursor to the ruin of nations and civilisations.