It is very important that all Indians fully understand that the RSS was actively in support of the British, and did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to fight for India's independence from colonial rule.
Extracts from UNDOING INDIA THE RSS WAY, By Shamsul Islam
[All this and much more in my booklet: Angrezon Ke Pille]
HEDGEWAR'S SUPPORT FOR BRITISH RULE
The Prime Minister of India, Atal Behari Vajpayee issued a commemorative postage stamp to mark the 110th birth anniversary of the ‘freedom fighter’ and founder of the RSS, Dr. K. B. Hedgewar, on March 18, 1999 in New Delhi. It was the first instance since India’s independence that a postage stamp was issued commemorating the birthday of the founder of the RSS or any other leader of this organization. On this occasion, the Prime Minister, while addressing mainly a gathering of the RSS cadre, took credit for the fact that by issuing the postage stamp his government had corrected an injustice whereby the great freedom fighter and patriot Hedgewar was denied his due place in the history of Independent India. Rajendar Singh, the then chief of the RSS, and the Union Home Minister L. K. Advani too spoke on the occasion and described Hedgewar as a great revolutionary. [The Hindu, Delhi, March 19, 1999.]
.. the Prime Minister, the Home Minister, and the RSS chief were talking dishonestly about the contribution of Hedgewar in the freedom struggle. They were trying to pass off a pre-independence political trend represented by the RSS as a legacy of the anti-colonial struggle whereas in reality the RSS was never part of the anti-imperialist struggle. On the contrary, since its inception in 1925, the RSS only tried to disrupt the great anti-imperialist struggle of the Indian people against the British colonial rulers.
Interestingly, the ‘contribution’ to the freedom struggle for which the BJP Government honoured Hedgewar was made by him as a Congressman long before he founded the RSS in 1925. It may not be known to many that he went to jail for the first time for giving an inflammatory speech in support of the Khilafat Movement (1920-21). He was subsequently sentenced to one year’s rigorous imprisonment. According to his biography published by the RSS: “The experiences gained by him in the freedom movement till now, gave rise to a number of questions in his mind. He felt that some other way should be found”. [CP Bhishikar, Sanghavariksh Ke Beej: Dr. Keshav Rao Hedgewar (Hindi), Suruchi, Delhi, 1994, p. 9.] In the same book, it is further mentioned that Hedgewar was attracted by ‘Hindutva’ towards 1925 and
“through his talent he found a new method of Shakha (the drill), different from the ways then prevalent, of doing public work and the type of efforts then being made for gaining freedom.” [Ibid, p. 11.]
The truth is that Hedgewar by then had openly taken the path, which Mohammed Ali Jinnah was to take later, of breaking the united movement of the Indian people against the British rulers and splitting it along religious lines.
Hedgewar was sent to jail a second time by the British government; the last time he went to jail. The reason for his second imprisonment has been described in the same biography in the following words:
“[In 1930] Mahatma Gandhi had called upon the people to break different laws of the government. Gandhiji himself launched the Salt Satyagraha, undertaking the Dandi Yatra. Dr. Saheb [Hedgewar] sent information everywhere that the Sangh will not participate in the Satyagraha. However those wishing to participate individually in it were not prohibited. This meant that any responsible worker of the Sangh could not participate in the Satyagraha.”[ Ibid, p. 20.]
However, rather surprisingly, Hedgewar decided to participate in Gandhiji’s Dandi Salt Satyagraha as an individual. Of course, he had an ulterior motive behind this participation. We learn about this from the same biography published by the RSS:
“Dr. Saheb had the confidence that with a freedom-loving, self-sacrificing and reputed group of people inside with him there, he would discuss the Sangh with them and win them over for its work.”[ Ibid, p. 20.]
In this context it is further stated in the biography, “Doctor Saheb did not let the work of the Sangh get away from his mind (aankhon se aujhal nahin hone diya) even for a moment during his imprisonment. He established close links with all the leaders and activists [of the Congress] who were in prison, made them understand the work of the Sangh and obtained from them promise of cooperation in work for the future. He came out of the prison only after making plans for a big leap for work expansion.”[Ibid, p. 21]
It is clear that Hedgewar chose to go to jail this time not because he was committed of the cause but in order to break and disrupt the ranks of the Congress cadres. These cadres were participating in the Non-Cooperation Movement and going to jails upholding the banner of the united struggle of the people of all religions of the country. In fact, the Congress leadership soon realized that communal and sectarian organizations were bent upon using the cadre of the Congress for their vicious designs. In order to thwart such designs, the All India Congress Committee passed a resolution in 1934, forbidding Congress members from becoming members of the RSS, the Hindu Mahasabha, and the Muslim League.
… the only ‘contribution’ for which he could claim credit was that of propagating the communal and disruptive ideology of the Hindu Rashtra (Nation), an ideology which divided and undermined the Freedom Movement.
The people of this country have every right to know about the movements which were launched by the RSS before 1947, to free India from the clutches of British imperialism. They must share with the nation the information about its leaders and cadres who suffered repression under the colonial rule. They must tell us who amongst them went to jail or became martyrs for the cause of the freedom of the country?
GOLWALKAR'S SUPPORT FOR BRITISH RULE
it has not been possible to locate any material in contemporary records including Press, which would shed light on the anti-British role of [RSS]. Today we have to rely exclusively on what we are told by the RSS propagandists in their publications citing no historical proofs.
The reality is that so far RSS has not been in a position to produce even a single volume containing documents that could show that the organization played any role in the freedom struggle.
The contemporary writings and speeches of the RSS leaders have a very different story to tell. These leaders showed little enthusiasm for the anti-British struggle. Golwalkar, while deliberating about the attitude of the RSS towards the freedom struggle said:
“There is another reason for the need of always remaining involved in routine work. There is some unrest in the mind due to the situation developing in the country from time to time. There was such unrest in 1942. Before that there was the movement in 1930-31. At that time many other people had gone to Doctorji. This delegation requested Doctorji that this movement will give independence and Sangh should not lag behind. At that time, when a gentleman told Doctorji that he was ready to go to jail, Doctorji said: ‘Definitely go. But who will take care of your family then?’ That gentleman replied: ‘I have sufficiently arranged resources not only to run the family expenses for two years but also to pay fines according to the requirements’. Then Doctorji told him: ‘If you have fully arranged for the resources then come out to work for the Sangh for two years’. After returning home that gentleman neither went to jail nor came out to work for the Sangh.”[ Shri Guruji Samagar Darshan, (collected works of Golwalkar in Hindi), Vol IV, Bharatiya Vichar Sadhana, Nagpur, nd, pp. 39-40. Hereafter referred as SGSD.]
This incident clearly shows that the RSS leadership was bent upon demoralising the honest patriotic persons, making them run away from the cause of Freedom Movement.
Non-Co-operation Movement and Quit India Movement were two great milestones in the history of the Indian Freedom Movement and here is the great thesis of the great Guru (Golwalkar) of the RSS on these two great happenings of the Freedom Movement. While deliberating over these two great anti-British movements led by the Congress Golwalkar stated:
“Definitely, there are bound to be bad results of struggle. The boys became unruly after the 1920-21 movement. It is not an attempt to throw mud at the leaders. But these are inevitable products after the struggle. The matter is that we could not properly control these results. After 1942, people often started thinking that there was no need to think of the law”.” [Ibid, p. 41.]
Thus Golwalkar wanted the Indians to respect the draconian and repressive laws of the inhuman British rulers! Golwalkar admitted that despite universal condemnation of the RSS attitude towards Quit India Movement of 1942, the then RSS leadership did not budge from its stand of keeping aloof from the freedom struggle. He admitted:
“In 1942 also there was a strong sentiment in the hearts of many. At that time too the routine work of Sangh continued. Sangh vowed not to do anything directly. However, upheaval (uthal-puthal) in the minds of Sangh volunteers continued. Sangh is an organization of inactive persons, their talks are useless, not only outsiders but also many of our volunteers did talk like this. They were greatly disgusted too.”[Ibid, p. 40.]
However, there is not a single publication or document of the Sangh which could throw some light on the great work the RSS did indirectly for the Quit India Movement.
As we have seen, Hedgewar participated in the Salt Satyagraha in his individual capacity. But after this the RSS leaders kept away completely from the anti-British struggle. The RSS scrupulously avoided any political activity which might have been construed as being against the British authorities. According to a publication of the RSS:
“After establishing Sangh, Doctor Saheb in his speeches used to talk only of Hindu organization. Direct comment on Government used to be almost nil.”[ Sanghavriksh Ke Beej, p. 24.]
It may be interesting to note that the RSS literature available on Hedgewar so far has absolutely no reference of any ‘indirect’ comment of his on the barbaric and de-humanized, ‘white rule’ or ‘Gorashahi’ in India. Even close scrutiny and scanning of the nationalist Press of the times of the freedom struggle throw no light on any role played by the RSS.
Though it is possible, given the mass upsurge of that period, that some members of the RSS might have individually participated in some anti-British movement, these would have been isolated instances. However, the RSS as an organization never launched any struggle or campaign against British colonial rule or for the rights of the oppressed Indian masses. Nor was the top leadership of the RSS ever part of the freedom struggle. The RSS documents of the period make it very clear.
Golwalkar, as the Sarsanghchalak of the RSS, was never able to hide his opposition to any movement against foreign rule. As late as March 1947 when the British rulers had decided in principle to go away from India, Golwalkar while addressing the annual day function of the RSS at Delhi declared that leaders with narrow vision were trying to oppose the state power of the British. While elaborating the point he said that it was wrong to hold the powerful foreigners responsible for our ills. He decried the tendency of “initiating the political movements on the basis of our hatred towards our victors”. [SGSD, Vol.1, p. 109.] While narrating an incident in the course of his speech he got more original on the issue:
“Once a respectable senior gentleman came to our shakha (the drill). He had brought a new message for the volunteers of the RSS. When given an opportunity to address the volunteers of the shakha, he spoke in a very impressive tone, ‘Now do only one work. Catch hold of the British, bash them and throw them out. Whatever happens we will see later on’. He said this much and sat down. Behind this ideology is a feeling of anger and sorrow towards state power and reactionary tendency based on hatred. The evil with today’s political sentimentalism is that its basis is reaction, sorrow and anger, and opposition to the victors forgetting friendliness.”[ Ibid, pp. 109-110.]
In all fairness to Golwalkar, he did not claim that the RSS had been opposed to the British rule. During the course of a speech delivered before the top-level cadres of the RSS drawn from whole of India at Indore on March 5, 1960 he said,
“Many people worked with the inspiration to free the country by throwing the British out. After formal departure of the British this inspiration slackened. In fact there was no need to have this much inspiration. We should remember that in our pledge we have talked of the freedom of the country through defending religion and culture. There is no mention of departure of the British in that.”[SGSD, Volume IV, p. 2.]
The RSS was not even willing to regard colonial domination as an injustice. In a speech of June 8, 1942, at a time when India was reeling under unprecedented British repression, delivered at the conclusion of the all India training programme of the cadres at the Nagpur RSS headquarters, Golwalkar declared:
“Sangh does not want to blame anybody else for the present degraded state of the society. When the people start blaming others, then there is basically weakness in them. It is futile to blame the strong for the injustice done to the weak…Sangh does not want to waste its invaluable time in abusing or criticizing others. If we know that large fish eat the smaller ones, it is outright madness to blame the big fish. Law of nature whether good or bad is true all the time. This rule does not change by terming it unjust.”[ Ibid, Vol. 1, pp. 11-12.]
Interestingly, Golwalkar or RSS will not treat Mughal rulers or other rulers with Muslim names with the same generosity even if they decided to be part and parcel of the Indian society.
The RSS thus can be seen as having played an extremely treasonous role throughout the freedom struggle. All evidence points towards its disruptive activities and the fact that the organization and its leadership were never a part of the freedom struggle. The single most important contribution of the RSS was to consistently disrupt the emerging unified struggle of the Indian people against British imperialism through its extreme exclusivist slogan of Hindu Rashtra.