B. R. Alias Dada Idate
Shri Vamadev Shastri (David Frawley), an authority on Vedas, Director of the American Institute of Vedic Studies and an author of many famous books, during his sojourn in Mumbai, had delivered a lecture on 25th Dec. 1996 on his global vision of Hinduism in 21st Century. While he emphasized the need to put forth the Hindutva concept before the World forcefully and in an assertive manner by Hindu Scholars, Shri Idate who was a guest speaker on this occasion, spoke about the constructive work done by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh on a vast scale in spreading the message of Hindutva. The Hindu Vivek Kendra brings you the text of his speech.
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GLOBAL HINDUTVA IN 21ST CENTURY RSS USHERS THE HINDUTVA CONCEPT IN ALL WALKS OF LIFE
Text of Speech of Shri B. R. Idate
Respected Shri David Frawley, Shri B. L. Vashta, Shri Ashok Chowgule, Shri Dilip Karambelkar, brothers and sisters,
We have just heard a talk by Shri Vamadev Shastri alias Dr Frawley on his vision of Global Hinduism in the 21st Century and discussions thereon. He is a highly learned scholar with deep study on many subjects including Hinduism, Vedas etc. My area of activity is restricted to Maharashtra and having this limitation in mind, I am going to put my thoughts before you.
I have been introduced to you as the 'Karyawah' of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. As you know, the aim of RSS is to unite all Hindus and this work is going continuously on since the last 70 years. This organization has mushroomed into many other institutions like the Bharatiya Janata Party, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, Kisaan Sangh and mass organizations in nearly every sphere of activity. In the field of co-operative movement, it has established 'Sahakar Bharati', in Industry, it has 'Udyog Bharati' and in the field of arts 'Samskaar Bharati'.
Taking inspiration from the RSS, more than 40,000 to 50,000 small and large service-oriented projects have been launched all over the country. This all-encompassing spread of activity has brought the RSS to a position which can be rated as next only to the network of the Government machinery. The real moving spirit behind this vast national activity is the ideology of Hindutva based ultimately on the tenets of Hindu philosophy. It has been our firm faith that the only solution for all the ills not only of this country but of the whole of mankind lies rooted in the Hindu philosophy. This fact is being increasingly recognised ail over the world as a result of the pursuit of Hindutva by RSS throughout its journey of 70 years or more.
This belief in the ultimate victory of Hindu thought is based not on blind faith but on a deep inner awareness that Hindu philosophy is based on laws which are not just Hindu laws but universal laws applicable to all. This philosophy is called Hindu philosophy only because these laws were discovered by ancient Hindu sages. in reality, this philosophy is a Universal philosophy.
The man is composed of four elements : body, mind, intelligence and soul. Hindu philosophy seeks to bring about a balance of all these elements. Further, it asserts that every individual is a part of the universe and represents the cosmos in miniature in himself. An individual cannot be separated from his family, society, country, mankind and even the whole of creation itself.
The founder of the RSS, Dr Keshav Baliram Hedgewar had the exact idea about this intrinsic strength of Hindu philosophy. At the same time, observed that the Hindu society which had earlier produced this wonderful philosophy of oneness, was deeply divided within itself in many ways and had forgotten its identity. In order to bring this society back to life, this philosophy had to be re-awakened in the minds of Hindus. In this context, he emphasized two things. First, that we must put into practice our philosophy which was the best in the world. Without practice, it is meaningless. Secondly, it must be remembered that nobody accepts any philosophy because it is best. One has to back up this philosophy with a powerful force of the society. RSS is engaged in this dual task for the last 70 years.
About the problems of the Hindu Society, the founder of RSS had a clear vision that these problems belonged to all the sections of this society and could not be considered in isolation. It was necessary at that time to instill in the mind of every Hindu the awareness that Hindu Society with all its faults and virtues was HIS SOCIETY and his progress was inseparable from the Society's progress. In order to create this awareness, he set about the task of creating an organization of selfless workers dedicated solely to extending this philosophy to all spheres of national life.
For instance, the Marxist philosophy with its principle of class struggle was effectively countered by the principle of "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam" (the world is one family). The slogan 'Workers of the World Unite" was replaced by 'Workers Unite the World', and the concept of class conflict by the concept of class co-operation. The interest of workers and employers were perceived as complementary rather than mutually antagonistic and problems were sought to be solved through discussions than disputes. As a result of this approach, the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh today ranks as the largest apex trade organization in the country.
In politics, this Hindu philosophy was translated into the philosophy of 'Integral Humanism'. A living example of this approach is witnessed in the transformation of Gonda District of U.P. from a backward area into a world-acclaimed model of ideal implementation of this philosophy
Nothing illustrates this philosophy better than the fundamental change it has brought about in the approach to tribal problems which is a gigantic one. India's tribals were branded as Adivasis (aboriginals), the original inhabitants of this country who were pushed into the jungles by later waves of so-called Aryan invaders. The very name carried the seeds of conflicts. However, the RSS considers the tribals as Vanavasis (forest dwellers) on par with Gramvasis (villagers) and Nagarvasis (city dwellers) Hindus. As a result of this fraternal approach, today there are almost 4,000 service projects run in tribal areas by the RSS volunteers. Although initially, these projects were started by city-dwellers for their tribal brethren, the aim was not to make the tribals dependent on others, but make them self-sufficient. As a result, all these projects are now being run by hundreds of RSS volunteers who have arisen from the ranks of the tribals themselves. Shri Chintaman Vanaga who is now a Member of Parliament is an excellent example of this trend.
The extreme travails faced by the RSS volunteers in this endeavour are best illustrated by the fact that the very RSS centre at Talasari was attacked by Communist activists a few years ago. The head of this Centre, Shri Appa Joshi was severely wounded and was hospitalized where the doctors had to put more than 150 stitches to his head. Still he refused to leave the Centre and this magnificent sacrifice paid in creating a chain of dedicated workers from the Vanavasis themselves like Vanaga. Late Smt. Godavaritai Parulekar, a well known social worker and a legend in her life time with leftist leanings, once visited Shri Balasaheb Deshpande, the Founder-President of Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram who praised her work and expressed his admiration of the work she had done amongst the Vanavasis in Thane district. In her reply, she remarked, she had no doubt created an awareness of their rights and privileges and the spirit to fight against injustice, but she had failed to bring about any basic positive change in their lives, while Madhavrao Kane through his Vanavasi Kalyan Kendra hostel, school and constructive activities at Talasari was successful in this, and that she was a witness to an unbelievable change in the lives of the local Vanavasi youths.
Untouchability is the bane of Hindu Society and great people like Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, Veer Savarkar, Mahatma Gandhi, Mahatma Jyotiba Phule and others have tried to eradicate it in their own special ways on many levels. However, the silent work done by the RSS in this respects has had much more far reaching effect. Hindus from all castes attend RSS shakhas, but nobody is ever asked his caste or given any different treatment. All are considered only Hindus. This approach is bringing about a silent revolution in the rural areas not only in inter-caste relations, but even affecting a fundamental change in the attitudes of hitherto depressed classes.
To narrate a personal example, I myself belong to a nomadic backward tribe in which drinking alcohol is common. Even I was offered a cup of alcohol by my own father when I was still in the primary school. However, the RSS training came to my help. I stoutly refused to drink and till this moment, I have not touched a drop of alcohol. This is a personal example but indicative of a overall change that is taking place among the tribals where RSS is active.
The RSS plan for the eradication of untouchability has three aspects. One is to spread the social awareness (Prabodhan), the second religious awareness of the basically non-Hindu nature of untouchability and third is of course the practical activities of the RSS which bring people of all castes together. The major breakthrough came when the second Sarsanghchalak Shri Golwalkar Guruji brought ail heads of the different sects of Hindus on one platform and all of them proclaimed with one voice that untouchability had no place in Hinduism. 'Na Hindu Patito Bhavet'. This resulted in unprecedented scenes all over the country where prominent sages like Jagatguru Shankaracharya visited Dalit areas and took food with them. Garlanding of Dr Ambedkar's statue at Nagpur by Shankaracharya himself cleared a number of misunderstandings in the minds of Dalits.
Realizing the fact that the Hindu philosophy which is the main source for this all-embracing movement is treasured in Sanskrit, RSS decided to make efforts of reviving this language not on scholarly studies but even in every day use also. Shri Krishnashastri is a Pracharak (full time honorary worker) of RSS totally dedicated to this job. Classes for speaking and writing Sanskrit have been conducted with tremendous success with the result that a number of villages are now using Sanskrit in their day-to-day life.
Another aspect of the silent change brought about by the RSS is the training and appointing of backward class or Dalit persons as priests in temples in increasing numbers even in areas dominated by orthodox elements. When such appointments were contested in the Court of Law, RSS people fought the case on the principle that every Hindu with the knowledge of performing the rites has a right to be a temple priest and got a favourable verdict of the Court. This practice of trained Hindus from all casts is now catching on.
Nomadic tribes (notified and de-notified) is such a neglected class of Hindu Society. The life of castes like Berad, Paradhi, Vaidu, Smashaaniogi is extremely miserable. The Society of Hindus which sees one God in all human beings and animals was not looking after these human beings. Volunteers of RSS are now working in this field also. In Maharashtra. in Tuljapur Taluka, one Hostel of Paradhi boys and girls is run by them. A project for rehabilitating 50 Pardhi families has been undertaken and the most heartening thing is that leaders for such work are now being moulded from their own community. Devkabai who used to run away at the sight of a policeman, is now talking to the Police with courage and conviction. Dhanaji Shinde, one illiterate activist said in a programme : 'We did not have any existence even that of a dust particle. But since Sangh workers have started working among us, we ourselves have realised our human values. 'When you start living the Hindu philosophy, you can bring about a outright change the life of society. A number of such examples can be cited.
RSS is today engaged in speeding up the Hindu philosophy in a number of such ways. This work has spread to all the corners of the country. Every such movement is waking up the potential strength of the society in its own way. Mankind is facing a gigantic challenge in the 21st Century. Problems like technological progress, insatiable hunger for consumption, depletion of natural resources, extinction of vital species, threat to economy will end anger the human life on this plant. Everybody is worried over this. Under these circumstances, it is necessary that a model of life following the Hindu Philosophy be presented to various countries. Sangh is working with all its strength and sources in preparing the Hindu Society for this purpose.
The RSS approach is to create, not to destroy. The RSS approach follows the footsteps of Adi Shankaracharya, Swami Vivekanand as well as hundreds of saints and sages right up the present century. Only when we build institutions will we see the progress, both, material and spiritual that is due to the people of this country. This can happen when the power of Dharma is fully exploded.
I would like to thank all of you for giving me this opportunity to you my mm on a subject which has been close to my heart.
About Shri Idate
Shri Bhiku Ramchandra alias Dada Idate is the "Karvavah of Maharashtra Prant " of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh(RSS). Born in 1948 in Dapoli in Ratnagiri District, he is also the Executive President and a Founder-Member of the Samajik Samarasta Manch, President of Nomadic Tribes Development Conference and also Chairman of Bharatiya Samaaj Development and Research Centre. He hails from a backward tribe and was introduced in RSS Shakha at a very early age. His entire life has been influenced by Sangh culture and thoughts. His natural intellect and talent, soon transformed him into a mature Sangh office bearer.
He has done his B.Sc. and B. Pharm. and has
authored thought-provoking booklets on "Samaras Samaj", "Reserved Seats" and
"Mandal Aayog". He lives in Dapoli and has two sons who look after his
Chemist shop and a daughter happily married. He is one of the senior ideologues
of Sangh Parivar particularly on the subject of social problems and travels
widely for this work.