How RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has taken a more accommodative approach towards 'the others'

Uday Mahurkar
Uday MahurkarSep 18, 2018 | 13:17

How RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has taken a more accommodative approach towards 'the others'

No sarsanghchalak has ever brought so many changes in the outlook of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as has Mohanrao Bhagwat.

He has taken a more accommodative approach towards what the RSS' has so far considered as 'the others'. September 17 saw one more.

In a first of its kind interaction in RSS' 93-year-old history with intellectuals and individuals drawn from diverse sections, Bhagwat drew a comprehensive picture of the objectives of the organisation, its mission and its functioning before underlining that protecting national interest by producing ideal citizens was the RSS' prime objective.


The over 4,000-audience included foreign diplomats, actors and actresses besides BJP ministers, and professionals drawn from diverse sections. The lecture on September 17 at Vigyan Bhavan in Delhi was part of a three-day lecture series on "Future of Bharat: An RSS perspective".

After the final speech on in the series on September 19, Bhagwat will answer audience queries.

When RSS invited former President Pranab Mukherjee to Nagpur to be the chief guest at one of its functions, Mukherjee praised Hedgewar as a ‘patriot’. The move was seen as RSS’s big outreach programme.

The three-day lecture series is a step in the same direction but on a larger scale.

Bhagwat explained the personality and ideology of Dr KB Hedgewar, who founded the RSS in 1925 at length, saying it was necessary to understand Hegdewar in order to understand RSS.

By giving a series of examples on Hedgewar was drawn towards the freedom struggle since his school days and how kept in touch both with the revolutionaries and the non-violent Congress members, Bhagwat perhaps wanted to counter the anti-RSS propaganda that the organisation had never participated in the freedom struggle.


Bhagwat also tried to refute the two charges often levelled against the organisation — that it remote-controls the functioning of those who joined its ranks and doesn't provide enough space to women.

The sarsanghchalak countered that the RSS was an open organisation with complete internal democracy and that it never remote-controlled things but it was always concerned that an RSS swayamsevak (volunteer) should not deviate from the RSS ideals.

On the question of women, he said soon after RSS was founded, Hedgewar himself in response to a suggestion said that the time was not ripe for men and women to work together as that could lead to problems. However, the Rashtra Sevika Samiti was formed precisely to accommodate women in the task of nation-building. Both RSS and the Sevika Samiti are complimentary to each other, he said.

Emphasising the importance RSS attaches to transparency, Bhagwat said that the activities of the RSS are carried out with the money that comes in the form of gurudakshina from the volunteers on Dusshera. He asserted private donations are never accepted by the RSS.

He said the RSS moulds volunteers who believe in doing selfless service for the society and the nation and not run after publicity.


"RSS believes its work among the people will get it publicity," he said.

"Our workers are trained to be faceless as we don't want arrogance to enter the organisation," he added.

Mohan Bhagwat said fall in values allowed India to be ruled by invaders. (Source: PTI)

Bhagwat asked how long can we go on blaming the Muslim invaders and later the British imperialists for conquering India?

"How could a handful of invaders conquer what was called sone ki chidiya," he questioned.

There must have been problems in the society that existed back then which allowed invaders to conquer us, Bhagwat said.

He pinned the blame for the situation on the "fall in our values" and added that we now need a "mulya adharit sanskriti (value based society)".

He said the RSS believes that the nation will rise because of the strength of its citizens and that the organisation never wanted any credit for the work it has been doing in this direction. He said the RSS wanted its work to be praised and not individuals.

Significantly, Bhagwat said, "Those who support us also belong to us and also those who oppose us also belong to us because RSS aimed at taking everybody along."

The RSS chief appreciated the role of Congress and its leaders in the freedom struggle and also sought to play down the BJP’s slogan of “Congress mukt Bharat” saying, “We want yukt Bharat and not mukt Bharat.”

The first of-its-kind interaction in over nine decades left a positive impact on the audience. Never before has any RSS chief shared so much about the RSS history, vision, working style and Hedgewar with a non-RSS crowd.

This certainly is a change in RSS' style of functioning coming right from the top.

Last updated: September 19, 2018 | 12:33
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