|A Word Please
The present booklet is, in a way, long overdue.
The falsehood that RSS had
murdered Mahatma Gandhi has been too long and too often repeated by the
men in power and their comrades. It is high time the lie is nailed, and
the plot behind it exposed.
Probably the maligners of RSS
have believed in the notorious Goebbels 'doctrine': Repeat a lie hundred
times, and it becomes truth. However, that 'doctrine' has been totally
belied in this case. The people, except a few gullibles, have long since
opened their eyes to the truth and refused to be led into the trap laid
by interested parties. This booklet, we hope, will serve to offer them
documented material to effectively counter the mischievous propaganda,
as also to enlighten the new generation with the facts and a true perspective
on the entire tragic episode of Gandhi Murder.
This booklet was first published
in 1973. It is being reprinted now in the same form, except for two very
important additions which appear on page 12 (Sardar Patel's letter to Pt.
Nehru) and on page 31 (regarding Gandhiji's name in Ekatmata Stotra).
* * * * *
Sahitya Sindhu, Bangalore 560 001
14/3-A, Nrupatunga Road
Bangalore 560 001
First edition: 1973
Second edition: 2000
TRUTH AND TRAVESTY
RSS vis-a-vis Gandhi Murder
A Myth Exploded
That was a fateful year for
our country - the year 1947. The year preceding had witnessed a dreadful
holocaust brought about by the Direct Action of the Muslim League. The
country was plunged in blood bath at several places by the communal frenzy
incited by the League. Our national leaders as also the League knew that
the end of the British rule was not far off. The 1946 elections to the
Constituent Assembly had been fought on the crucial question of 'Unity
The Gods that Failed
The Congress had declared its
firm resolve to uphold the unity and territorial integrity of the country
at any cost. The Hindus to the last man had voted solidly for the Congress.
For, the unity of the country was a question of life and death for them.
Nay, something immensely more valuable. It was the honour and integrity
of their holy motherland, for which they had shed their blood for generations
on end. The Muslims, on the other hand, had voted solidly for the League
which had pledged to achieve Pakistan by cutting up the country.
Hardly a year had passed. 1947
came. And all of a sudden the country was faced with the announcement of
Partition. The Congress, too, had acquiesced in that fatal decision. It
was afait accompli which came as a bolt from the blue to the Hindus.
They felt awfully let down by these leaders who had till that day lulled
them with the glowing promises of Swatantra Akhanda Bharat. The
general mass of the Hindus realised that those whom they had worshipped
as demi-gods were mere mortals with feet of clay. They could not be relied
upon to come to their rescue in the critical days ahead. Sardar Patel,
the then Home Minister, had already declared that the Government was not
in a position to protect the life and honour of every individual. Each
man had to be a policeman himself. A greater demoralising statement could
not have been made. That was the portent for the coming uncertain times.
The New Hope
The people sensed it. They
began searching for a new support, a new hope, round which they could rally
to face the trial ahead. And fortunately for them, they found one such
the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. The Sangh which had been silently striving
to consolidate and revitalise the Hindu society for over two decades had
already become a watchword in every Hindu home for the spirit of discipline
and dedication to the Hindu cause. Its centres had become sources of succour
and support to the Hindus even where they were in a numerical minority.
The people knew that its workers would stand by them through thick and
thin, and would even gladly lay down their lives in protecting their life
and honour - a trust which was more than, amply vindicated in the later
days. The RSS thus began to be flooded with Hindu youngmen. Its strength
grew in leaps and bounds. And soon it became the one great symbol of hope
and confidence for the Hindus.
Hostile Elements Alarmed
This new development alarmed
the anti-Hindu, anti-national Anglo-Muslim-Communist clique in the country.
They very well 'knew that all their attempts to keep the country under
their thumb in future would be dashed to the ground if the Hindus were
to become conscious of their strength and their national identity, and
begin to assert the same. The Englishman had all along pursued the policy
of de-Hinduising, demoralising and disintegrating the Hindus with a view
to weakening their resistance to his imperialism. This was because, the
Englishman knew only too well the lesson of our history that it was the
Hindu who was always ready to shed his blood for its independence. And
even after his quitting the, shores of Hindusthan, the Englishman's machinations
and influence over this country could continue unhindered only if the Hindu
- and in turn, the country - was rendered weak and imbecile. The RSS, which
was rising as the living symbol of resurgent Hinduism, had always been
an eyesore for the Englishman right from its inception. Now as the time
for his quitting came, lie could not countenance the emergence of that
Hindu force which would undo all his future plans. As for the communal
Muslim element, they feared that the rise of RSS would deal a death blow
to their communal politics thereafter and even Pakistan could one day be
absorbed back into the mother country. The Communists, too, for obvious
reasons, had always looked upon the RSS as their enemy number one. The
intense spirit of nationalism and love of one's culture and ideals that
the RSS was instilling in the people was the one thing they dreaded most.
For, the Communists knew that they could create chaos and anarchy and fish
in troubled waters only when that spirit of national idealism is at the
The Plot and the Prey
No wonder that all these anti-Hindu,
anti-national forces joined hands to raise a hue and cry against the RSS.
The popularity of the RSS grew and so did their clamour. Such elements
inside and outside the Congress tried incessantly to incite the Congress
against RSS. They raised the bogey that RSS would one day pose a challenge
to the Congress and would snatch away the fruits of power which the Congress
had at last grasped after decades of struggle and sacrifice. They played
upon the power-lust of the leaders in power. And the trick worked. The
Congress even forgot that RSS, having kept itself scrupulously aloof from
politics, was not after power. It resolved as early as in November, 1947,
that the RSS must be banned. The Government communique dated 4th February,
1948, imposing ban on the RSS, gave out that secret for the first time.
It said that the Central and Provincial Governments had considered the
question of banning the RSS as early as in November, 1947. Which only means
that within hardly three months after assuming power (on 15th of August)
the Congress had begun to succumb to power madness.
Such a decision was, in fact,
an indirect confession of their dismal failure on the ideological and the
organisational front vis-a-vis the RSS. They knew that the RSS had succeeded
in giving the right thought and the right lead to the people, whereas they
had miserably failed. And they decided that they should make good their
failure on the popular front, with the strength of their brute Governmental
power - an instance of argumentum baculinum. However, the Congress
dared not lift its finger against the RSS, firstly, because the Congress
itself had lost its face with the people; and secondly, because the Hindus
would not have tolerated any such nonsense.
It was exactly at this juncture
that a most shocking and unfortunate tragedy occurred - a tragedy next
only to the one of Partition, in its far-reaching repercussions. On January
30, 1948, Mahatma Gandhi was shot dead. The country stood aghast. It felt
the shock, shame and sorrow over the murder of one it respected and adored
most. Humanity the world over was stunned with grief and agony. It felt
suddenly orphaned at losing the titan who spoke for its conscience, for
its yearning for peace and its struggle against tyranny and oppression
crossing all barriers of country, creed, race and religion. The entire
humanity was in mourning.
But, strangely, to some in
our country itself, the tragedy appeared as a god-sent opportunity. The
sworn enemies of RSS - the Anglo - Muslim - Communist gang-up - instantly
grasped it as a life chance to finish off RSS. The Congress, blind with
power and unable to distinguish friend from foe, too fell a willing prey
to the anti RSS plot. All of them joined in a tirade against the RSS. Instead
of spreading the message of peace, love and harmony for which the Mahatma
had lived and fallen a martyr, they unleashed a campaign of hate and violence
against all those who had cherished the Hindu cause in general and the
RSS in particular. Police swooped on thousands of houses all over the country
and thrust behind bars over twenty thousand persons on the charge of murdering
the Mahatma. Rumour was set afloat, which soon engulfed the entire length
and breadth of the land, that sweet; were distributed in thousands of towns
and villages all over the country, as soon as the news of Gandhiji's murder
Incited by the leaders' speeches
and the rumour campaign, violent mobs indulged in arson and plunder, especially
in Maharashtra and its neighbourhood. Several families were roasted alive
in their own burning houses; several others who tried to flee were butchered
in cold blood. And all this to the accompaniment of shouts of 'Mahatma
Gandhi ki Jai' and by way of the 13-day homage' to the departed Mahatma!
Gandhiji dead became a silent spectator to the foulest exploitation of
his name by his doubtful disciples.
The general mass of our people
and the outside world was taken aback at the turn of events in the land
of the Mahatma itself. From the Government's action it appeared to them
that tens of thousands of men from all over the country were involved in
the conspiracy and they had the sympathies of a sizable section of the
people. The impression, though unpleasant, was inescapable. The world felt
that after all Gandhiji was not so universally loved and revered by his
own countrymen, as it had imagined. And Gandhiji's image became tarnished
in its eyes - alas, owing to the unthinking and unbalanced acts of his
own self-proclaimed followers.
Even those in the Congress
who were even remotely, suspected of having had any sympathy for the Hindu
cause and the RSS, were not spared. When the RSS baiting was in its full
fury, the then Provincial Organiser of RSS, Delhi, met Sardar Patel and
protested that it was not fair. What Sardar said startled him; "I know",
said the Sardar, 'You have nothing to do with this dastardly crime, but
the gentlemen who are accusing you are accusing me too. Mischief is afoot.'
The public demand made by the
leftist leaders for the resignation of Sardar Patel 'for his failure to
protect' 'Gandhiji's life' and for the removal of Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee
from the Union Cabinet for his association with a 'communal organisation',
was a pointer to the way the wind was blowing.
In that din and fury, even
the stray voices of sanity were drowned. In the wake of Gandhiji's assassination,
Sardar Patel had, on February 1, 1948, appealed to the people not to succumb
to unworthy reactions. 'The Indian Express' carried the appeal on the following
Ludicrous in the Extreme
"Sardar Patel, the
Deputy Prime Minister, tonight appealed to all sections of the people to
keep calm. He said that he was distressed to learn that in some places
in Bombay and Madras misguided members of the public had indulged in acts
of violence against members of the Hindu Mahasabha and the RSS. "We shall
prove ourselves unworthy of Mahatma Gandhi's teachings and his trust in
us if we yield to feelings of revenge' he said. - API."
That the post-Gandhi-murder
events were a deliberate and diabolical conspiracy of some anti-Hindu adventurers
at the top was clear from the very beginning. The idea that the assassination
of the fragile Mahatma, who had even refused police security, required
a countrywide conspiracy of over twenty thousand persons was in itself
absurd in the extreme. And again, there was the ludicrous phenomenon of
thousands of persons being charged as the close associates of Nathuram
Godse, the assassin of - Gandhiji, or as having supplied pistols to him.
It also became clear beyond a shadow of doubt even before the proceedings
commenced in the Special Court that the RSS was not even remotely connected
with the crime. The numerous charges under which thousands of RSS workers
were arrested, were hastily withdrawn. Scores of workers were ordered to
be released by the various High Courts, on their submitting Habeas Corpus
petitions. The Government quietly withdrew its charges of murder against
Sri M. S. Golwalkar, the Chief of RSS and others, and detained them under
the various Public Safety Ordinances for various periods.
Then the Government advanced
the most amazing of all reasons for the detention, that they had taken
the RSS workers into protective custody in order to save them from public
fury! What a sense of Governmental duty - of letting the goondas and hooligans
free for mischief on the one hand and thrusting behind bars the innocent
and law-abiding citizens in order to protect them from hooligans! Could
hypocrisy go further?
Here it would be relevant to
study the order declaring the RSS unlawful. The latter half of the order
sums up the charges levelled against the RSS, viz., that individual members
of the RSS launched upon a course of loot, arson, murder etc., culminating
in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and that the Central and Provincial
Governments had considered the question of banning the Organisation as
early as in November 1947, but they had stayed their hand and had decided
to take action on the individual members. These allegations are clearly
an after-thought. For, otherwise, Sardar Patel, the Home Minister, would
not have spoken of the RSS as a body of patriots just two months after
the so-called intended action (in November 1947) of the Central and Provincial
Governments against RSS. On the contrary, it was to the Congressmen and
not to the RSS that Sardar Patel had then administered the warning.
Here is the report of his speech
broadcast over AIR from Lucknow, as appearing in 'The Hindu' of Madras,
dated January 7, 1948.
"Sardar Patel realised
that they (RSS) were not actuated by selfish motives. The situation demanded
they should strengthen the hands of the Government and assist in maintaining
"He also had a word of warning
'to those who were in power in the Congress'. He said, 'In the Congress
those who are in power feel that by virtue, of their authority they will
be able to crush the RSS. You cannot crush an Organisation by using the
danda'. The danda is meant for thieves and dacoits. After all the RSS men
are not thieves and, dacoits. They are patriots who love their country."
And again if the statement
of the Government in its Communique that 'individuals should continue to
be dealt with sternly as hitherto was true, then one should have expected
prosecutions under the substantive penal law against RSS members. Not one
such case, however, forthcoming, neither before November nor after. And
coming 'to the final charge, i.e., of complicity in the assassination of
Gandhiji, the volte-face of the Government was complete. They could not
lay their hands on even a single member of RSS for framing an actual charge-sheet
against him. Which only meant that the Government had not the least little
evidence against any member of the RSS sufficient even for a charge-sheet,
let alone conviction.
Illogical and Vicious
Supposing, for the sake of
argument, a member of RSS had been convicted. Even then the entire organisation
could not have been held responsible for the mad - act of an individual
member. But, in this case, even that did not happen. And still the charge
of murder was and is being repeated ad nauseam against the organisation
as a whole. Much also is sought to be made out of Godse having been a member
of RSS at least in his younger days, though not at the time of his committing
the murder. That would indeed be a still more queer logic. Mohammed Ali
Jinnah was at one time a member - even a prominent leader of the Congress.
So, can we say that it was the Congress which was responsible for the eventual
demand of Jinnah for Partition? The logic becomes all the more patently
hollow when - such a member has left the Organisation because of - conflict
in ideas, as is the case of Godse with RSS.
That the unholy anti-RSS clique
at the Centre was, only waiting for a handy pretext to crack down upon
RSS war, evident from the unseemly eagerness and virulence with which they
embarked upon the slanderous campaign, with all the organs of publicity
and propaganda controlled or influenced by the Government in full blast.
The fact that they started the vicious propaganda that RSS has murdered
Gandhiji, even before the police had started the investigation - in fact,
right from the day assassination itself - and clamped ban on the very fifth
day, and that all the anti - RSS elements had joined in chorus, gave further
proof, if proof was needed, to their predetermined policy again.
Spinning Ever New 'Charges'
In a bid to adduce at least
some semblance of an evidence to prove the complicity of RSS in the murder,
the maligners dug deep into the early life of Nathuram Godse, the assassin
searching for his connections with RSS. Even there they were disappointed
to find that he had severed his connections long back with RSS and had
in fact turned into one of its bitter critics. Godse himself explained
in the court the reason Why he had severed his connections with Sangh and
categorically declared "I left the RSS." As is evident from several of
his articles he did - not see eye to eye with RSS on many points; for example,
its refusal to get involved in day-to-day politics or to become an appendage
of any political party. Hence he decided to form a militant volunteer body
by himself. Accordingly in 1942 he launched the Hindu Rashtra Dal.
Adding to the Government's
discomfiture Godse had stated that he was a Congress member also earlier.
Here comes the most damaging
indictment of the Government, for charging the RSS for the assassination
of Gandhiji, from no less than the Home Minister, Sardar Patel, himself.
To a letter from Pt. Nehru pressing him to find out the RSS connection
in the affair, Sardar Patel categorically stated in his reply of 27th February
1948, "I have kept myself almost in daily touch with the progress of investigation
regarding Bapu's assassination case... All the main accused have given
long and detailed statements of their activities... It also clearly emerges
from these statements that the RSS was not involved in it at all."
The same letter also exposes
the despicable perversity of the Congress and other party leaders in spreading
the canard that RSS men had distributed sweets in the wake of Gandhiji's
murder. Sardar Patel says, 'Every item of information that is being communicated
to us through sources, known and unknown, real, anonymous or pseudonymous
is being investigated. More than 90 percent of these have been found to
be just imagination. Most of these have been directed to the activities
of RSS men in various centres. We have followed this up, and except vague
allegations that sweets were distributed or joy was expressed, hardly anything
of substance has been found in them.
The letter also admits in what
a reckless manner a large number of arrests were made,' merely on the heresay
of someone being an RSS man. Patel says "....both we and Provincial Governments
are being accused of rounding up innocent people."
The much awaited judgement
over the Gandhi murder trial was pronounced. It put the seal of justice,
on what was already evident - that the RSS had no hand, direct or indirect,
in the crime. Nor was there any countrywide conspiracy involving thousands
as was made out to be. The RSS was so completely exonerated that the name
of RSS did not figure at all in the judgement even as a remote cause. However,
mud-slinging continued even after the judgement. When they found that the
charge of murder was exposed to be patently absurd, they spun a new argument
that RSS had created an atmosphere that resulted in the assassination of
Gandhiji! Which reminds us of the story of the wolf and the lamb, the former
advancing one excuse after another to pounce upon the latter.
A Guilty Conscience
Charges of complicity in the
murder and distribution of sweets continued to be recklessly made against
RSS. Even now as elections draw near, the ghost of Gandhi murder is resurrected
every time, and mud-slinging against RSS is indulged in. As recently as
in the recent mid-term poll in 1971, our Prime Minister repeated the same
old allegations, adding one more that RSS-wallahs had also lighted lamps
in joy over Gandhi-murder. Nonetheless, neither the Prime Minister nor
any of the top ruling leaders have ever dared to come forward with evidence
in support of their charges, before either the courts or the Commissions
of Enquiry, including the latest Kapur Commission, set up by their own
Governments! What a sense of devotion to truth and justice of the self-proclaimed
devotees of that Apostle of Truth, Gandhiji! It is clear that those who
indulge in this mean and unbecoming propaganda have nothing to do with
truth and justice, but deliberately do so out of ulterior motives.
If, on the other hand, the
Government is really in possession of some incriminating evidence against
the RSS, then it is duty - bound to subject the evidence to the due process
of law and punish RSS if found guilty. The Government by its repeated allegations
and affirmations of evidence against the RSS on the one hand, and it's
reluctance to take action against RSS in any court of law on the other,
even to this day, only condemns it in the public eye as having failed to
discharge its primary duty of punishing the guilty. Thus the Government
in its unthinking fury of charging the RSS, has laid itself open to a very
What a Volte Face!
But, even they have, however
unwillingly or unwittingly, confessed more than once to the innocence of
RSS. It is well known that the Government's communique of February 4, 1948,
banning RSS centred round many wild charges, with the charge of Gandhiji's
murder capping them all.
The communique said
"....... It has been found that in several parts of the country individual
members of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh have indulged in acts of violence
involving arson, robbery, dacoity murder and have collected illicit arms
and ammunitions. They have been found circulating leaflets exhorting people
to resort to terrorist methods, to collect fire arms, to create disaffection
against the Government and suborn the Police and the Military. These activities
have been carried on under a cloak of secrecy...
"...The objectionable and harmful
activities of the Sangh have, however, continued unabated and the cult
of violence sponsored and inspired by the activities of the Sangh has claimed
many victims. The latest and the most precious to fall was Gandhiji himself."
But the Government's communique
of July 12, 1949, announcing the lifting of the ban, did not even so much
as mention any of these charges, including that gravest of all - Gandhiji's
murder. Instead it centred round the funny argument that since RSS had
agreed to have a written constitution, the Government of India had come
to the conclusion that the RSS should be given an opportunity to function!
What a volte face! It was clear that in doing so, the Government had clearly
backed out from its wild charges and just wanted to save its face by some
silly extraneous excuse.
From the Horse's Mouth
Then the Government began trumpeting
that the ban was lifted on the RSS accepting certain conditions stipulated
by the Government. Immediately after his release from prison, Sri Golwalkar
Guruji, the Chief of RSS, was asked in a Press Conference at Nagpur, as
reported in 'Hitavada' (of Nagpur) of August 1, 1949 whether the Government's
contention was true. He categorically denied it. He said: "There was no
compromise. There was no undertaking of any kind given to the Government."
He added, "I would have preferred to lay down my life than do anything
derogatory to the great Organisation." Then came the confession from the
horse's mouth itself. To a question by a member in the Bombay Legislative
Assembly on 14-10-1949 (Vide, Proceedings: Page No. 2126) whether the lifting
of the ban on RSS was conditional or unconditional, and whether the leader
of the RSS had given any undertaking to the Government, the Minister for
Home and Revenue, replying for Morarji Desai, replied categorically that
the lifting of the ban was unconditional and that Golwalkar had given no
Walter Anderson, writing in
his third analytical article on RSS in 'Economic and Political Weekly'
published from Bombay, dated March 25, 1972, says-:
The (Congress) Working
Committee decision (dated October 7, 1949) permitting RSS members to join
Congress, immediately set off a controversy.
"A. G. Kher, Minister of Local-Self
Government in Uttar Pradesh and a staunch follower of Patel, responded
to the criticism by asking why certain Congressmen opposed the RSS when
members of Arya Samaj or the Jamat-ul-Ulema were eligible.
"It cannot be that they were
involved in Gandhi's murder for they were exonerated of that charge
in Court of Law... (emphasis ours)
"He continued by saying, I
Calling them Fascists, abusing and insulting them, and again and again
repeating old charges does not serve any purpose, nor is it a Gandhian
After a lapse of over two decades,
the Government again instituted another enquiry into Gandhiji's murder.
A Commission was set up in 1966 under T. L. Kapur, a retired Judge of the
Supreme Court, to make a fresh and thorough enquiry into the plot to murder
Mahatma Gandhi. The Commission sat at different places, - examined no less
than 101 witnesses and 407 documents before it published its Report, in
1969. It was an extensive -and searching enquiry. One of the important
witnesses was Sri R. N. Bannerjee, I.C.S. (Witness 19) who was the Home
Secretary of the Central Government at the time of the murder. The evidence
of Shri R. N. Bannerjee was: "It has not been proved that they (the accused)
were members of the RSS which shows that they (the accused) were believers
in a more violent form of activities than mere parades, rallies, physical
exercises, and even shooting practices." (Kapur Commission Report, Vol.
1, Page 165)
Again, the learned Commission
comments that even if the RSS had been banned earlier, it would not have
affected the conspirators or the course of events, 'because they (the accused)
have not been proved to have been members of the RSS nor has that organization
been shown to have had a hand in the murder." (Kapur Commission, Vol. I,
page 186) It is true that the RSS, was banned soon after the murder of
Mahatma Gandhi. But can a ban on RSS by an executive authority prove the
charge of murder? Let Shri R. N. Bannerjee himself answer:
"Although RSS was
banned it should not be taken to be an acceptance by the Government of
the allegation that the murder of Mahatma Gandhi was by the members of
RSS as such." (Kapur Commission, Vol. 11, page 62)
The Commission further comments:
"In Delhi also there is no
evidence that the RSS as such was indulging in violent activities as against
Mahatma Gandhi or the top Congress leaders." (Ibid, page 66)
Having made a searching enquiry
into the conspiracy to murder Mahatma Gandhi, the Kapur Commission categorically
A Challenge Not Accepted
"An experienced administrator
like Mr. R. N. Bannerjee has stated that the RSS as such were not responsible
for the murder of Mahatma Gandhi, meaning thereby that one could not
name the organisation as such as being responsible for that most Diabolical
crime, the murder of the apostle of peace, the like of whom the world,
does not see excepting after centuries." (Ibid, page 76) (Emphasis ours)
Even a casual perusal of the
historic correspondence between Golwalkar and the Government of India,
during the days following Gandhiji's murder till the lifting of the ban
(See the book 'Justice on Trial' published from Bangalore) will show that
the Government was thoroughly aware of the innocence of the RSS and that
therefore they never dared to face an impartial enquiry. To Pt. Nehru's
assertion that they have a mass of information' against RSS, Golwalkar
had challenged him to prove the charges to which no answer was forthcoming.
Golwalkar, in his letter of November 12, 1948, asks Pt. Nehru bluntly,
"If a Magistrate convicts
a person for an offence, however, small, without disclosing to him any
evidence, merely stating that there is a 'lot of information' against him,
the Magistrate's conduct stands self condemned. And when such grave charges
are made without bringing forward one iota of proof, what 'shall we say?
Have we retrogressed into the dark ages, when the feelings, opinions and
will of some one individual or group were alone just and rational and any
person or group of persons could be awarded even capital punishment just
for the fun of it?'(Ibid : pp. 18, 19) To which also there was no reply.
Till this day, the same challenge
is there before the Government and till this day they have not accepted
The Auspicious Beginning
The propagandists against RSS
have always sought to reinforce their baseless and wild charges with the
insidious propaganda that RSS was ideologically opposed to Gandhiji tooth
and nail, and was therefore crying for his blood. And they have tried to
cash in on the ignorance of the public about the real relationship that
existed between Gandhiji and RSS.
The relations between Gandhiji
and RSS were never unpleasant but always positively cordial. A great nation-builder
that Gandhiji was, he could not but view with sympathy the character-building
activities of the RSS. There were occasions when Gandhiji visited RSS programmes,
met and discussed with the RSS leaders like Dr. Hedgewar, the founder,
and Golwalkar, the present leader, and talked to the Sangh Swayamsevaks
Gandhiji first visited the
RSS Camp in the December of 1934 and made his first acquaintance with the
Organisation. The Wardha district Winter Camp of the RSS was held at Wardha
and the number of participating Swayamsevaks was 1500. Gandhiji was then
making one of his periodical sojourns in his Ashram at Wardha. Gandhiji's
Ashramites used to visit the Camp premises and watch all the programmes.
On the morning of 25th December,
Mahatma Gandhi came to the Camp accompanied by a group of about 30 people
including Mira Behn and Mahadev Desai. He was garlanded and was given guard
of honour. Gandhiji saluted the Bhagwa flag and watched the demonstration
of physical exercises. He visited every department of the Camp and talked
to many Swayamsevaks he came across. "I am tremendously impressed," said
Gandhiji, "Nowhere in the country have I ever seen such a spectacle."
Gandhiji recalled this visit
some thirteen years later while speaking to the workers of the RSS at the
Bhangi Colony at Delhi on 16-9-1947.'The Hindu', Madras, dated 179-1947
reported his speech:
"He had visited the RSS camp
years ago, when, the founder, Sri Hedgewar, was alive. He had been very
well impressed by their discipline, the complete absence of untouchability
and the rigorous simplicity. Since then the Sangh had grown. Mahatma Gandhi
was convinced that any organisation which was inspired by the high ideal
of service and self-sacrifice was bound to grow in strength."
In Loving Service
Golwalkar had met and talked
to Gandhiji on September 12, 1947. The atmosphere was then surcharged with
communal strife and passions rose high. Mahatma Gandhi, on his own accord,
expressed a desire to meet Golwalkar. Golwalkar immediately went to Birla
House to see him. The talks centred round the vitiated communal atmosphere.
Golwalkar expressed his sense of deep anguish over the happenings allround.
Both concurred that a halt be cried to the, communal frenzy immediately.
After his prayers in the evening that day Gandhiji referred to his talk
with Golwalkar and told the audience of Golwalkar's reactions to the gruesome
conditions all-round. The appeal, was duly published in the press and also
broadcast by the All India Radio.
Gandhiji was then staying in
Bhangi Colony. One midnight a large number of Muslim hooligans surrounded
the place of Gandhiji's residence and hurled vulgar abuses at him. One
of the associates of Gandhiji 'Shri Krishnan Nair (who later became an
M.P.) became perturbed. Next morning he contacted the then Provincial Organiser
of RSS, Delhi, and appraised him of the seriousness of the matter. They
agreed to take special measures of protection. And so long as Gandhiji
was there, batches of RSS Swayamsevaks kept round the clock vigil by turns.
His Monumental Service
Gandhiji was moving in Delhi
during those days with his healing touch. He had expressed a desire with
Golwalkar to address the RSS workers, and immediately he was invited to
address the RSS at any time and place of his convenience. It was on Tuesday,
September 16, 1947, that Gandhiji came to address some 500 workers assembled
in the open enclosure in the Bhangi Colony (as already mentioned above).
Gandhiji also participated in a question and answer programme with the
Swayamsevaks. Not that the RSS did not have its -own differences with Mahatma
Gandhi on certain matters. As a matter of fact Mahatma Gandhi had many
differences with his closest colleagues and devoted disciples. It was a
part of the democratic life of the country and the glory of it. Differences
did not colour his attitude towards the RSS or that of the RSS towards
The fact is, on many of the
most vital aspects of our national life Gandhiji and RSS concurred. Dr.
Hedgewar the founder of Sangh, had always looked upon Gandhiji as a true
Hindu and a saviour of Hindu society in one of its most crucial moments.
As is well known, the crafty 'Communal Award' announced by 'the British
in 1932 had considered Harijans also as a minority community' on par with
the Muslims and offered to them separate electorates and reservation of
seats. Gandhiji immediately smelt the dangerous game of the enemy to slice
off Hindu society at one stroke 'by surreptitiously introducing into our
body politic the poisonous idea that the Harijans are not Hindus. Gandhiji,
then in jail, undertook a fast unto death in protest. Finally the British
had to bow down before the iron resolve of then Mahatma and give up their
In this regard, Dr. Hedgewar
used to often gratefully speak of the monumental service done to the Hindu
society by Gandhiji. One such public occasion was when he unveiled a photo
of Gandhiji in the City College Nagpur, and another was at a function organised
by the Bharat Vyayam Shala of Nagpur.
One in Vital Aspects
Dr. Hedgewar would also recall
the happy conversation he had once with Mahatmaji. He had asked Gandhiji
as to how he viewed the work of Hindu consolidation. Gandhiji had categorically
replied. "Well, I am a Hindu. Born in the Hindu society, I do, want it
to be organised and united. But I Only insist that such a work should not
be directed against other communities." To which, of course, Dr. Hedgewar,
expressed his complete agreement.
The reverence cherished for
Gandhiji by Dr. Hedgewar and the RSS, stemmed from a deep appreciation
of the two striking aspects of his personality; first, the fearless leader
who, more than anyone else, infused the masses with the challenging spirit
of freedom action; second, a powerful advocate of the positive Hindu content
of Swaraj, its moral and spiritual values, round which our political and
economic structure has to be built. Both these values the spirit of freedom
and our cultural values of life are as much dear to the RSS since its very
inception as they to Gandhiji.
Golwalkar continued the tradition.
He nurtured same sentiments and attitude in the organisation towards Gandhiji.
It was in the background of such ingrained love and regard for Gandhiji
that lie participated in the recent Gandhiji Centenary Celebration Paying
homage to the memory of Mahatmaji, Golwalkar said at Sangli on October
2, 1969, "May Our nation radiant with our pristine cultural values grace
the scat of the world preceptor and thus stand as a shining monument to
It is clear from the foregoing
that even with its differences with Gandhiji on a few issues I , the very
mental make-up of the RSS was such that it could not dream of any heinous
act against Gandhiji. The Kapur Commission says (Vol. 11, P. 75): "It (RSS)
had a slant against Gandhism, but its anti-Gandhism did not seem to go
to the extent of personally harming Mahatma Gandhi."
Hundred Plus Five
Not merely towards Gandhiji,
but even towards all the top Congress leaders in power, the attitude of
RSS was one of harmony and co-operation and never of hate and confrontation.
As soon as our country became
free and our own men assumed the reins of the, Government, Golwalkar took
the first opportunity to meet Pandit Nehru and Sardar Patel (in Sept. 1947),
and conveyed to them in emphatic and unambiguous terms of his unstinted
support to the Government through thick and thin. He had also expressed
a desire to meet them again. He expressed the same sentiments of harmonious
and unreserved co-operation in public also. Speaking at a mammoth public
function at Shivaji Park, Bombay, on January 9, 1948, in connection with
the auspicious Makar Sankraman celebrations just three weeks prior to Gandhiji's
assassination - he had declared unequivocally:
"Our country is passing through
a transition period Sankraman. The dark night of slavery is over.
Our leaders at the helm are burdened with new responsibilities. Being new
to the job they may commit some mistakes. But we have to bear in mind that
they are our own. We must not fall a prey to bitterness or rancour. May
the noble ideal of Yudhishthira inspire our thoughts and actions. When
the Kauravas came with the avowed intention of humiliating Pandavas, but
were themselves captured by Gandharvas, Yudhishthira commanded Arjuna to
go to the rescue of the Kauravas, saying, 'Between ourselves we are five
and they are hundred. But before the enemy, we are hundred plus five Vayam
Golwalkar had given the same
call at the Poona function also. His speech was flashed in the Bombay and
Nor was this expression a case
of solitary exception, rather it was the rule. The Sangh had uniformly
been nurtured in that spirit of sarveshaam avirodhena, love for
all and ill will for none, even under the gravest of provocations. No more
convincing proof for this can be there than the way the Sangh conducted
itself in the face of the highly unjust, autocratic and tyrannical behaviour
of the Government after Gandhiji's murder.
In the Face of Dire Provocation
Even prior to that tragedy
some of the men at the Centre were spitting fire and brimstone against
Sangh. Only two days earlier, i.e., on the 28th January 1948, Pt.
Nehru, speaking at 'Amritsar, had said: '...RSS had done immense harm to
the country. it would be stamped out.' (Indian Express, dt. January 29,
1948) However, the RSS did not react in the same style. Its reaction was
quite the opposite. When the shocking news of Gandhiji's murder reached
Golwalkar at Madras, he immediately conveyed his heartfelt feelings to
the leaders at the helm. In identical telegrams sent to Pt. Nehru, Sardar
Patel and Devadas Gandhi, he said: "Shocked at the news of cruel fatal
attack and tragic loss of greatest personality. Country's loss unbounded
in these critical times. God help shoulder responsibilities grown heavier
and fulfil the void caused by the loss of incomparable unifier."
When Golwalkar was interned
and hell let loose against RSS, it displayed exemplary restraint. The RSS
General Secretary sent instructions to all its branches in the country
to 'Be calm at all costs.' And they, to the last branch and member, stuck
to the instruction.
Patriotic Restraint, Not Weakness
At a time when the Swayamsevaks
were being assaulted, mercilessly beaten and vilified, when their belongings
were being looted, their houses set on fire and in some places their relatives
molested, and the Government, on their own confession, were a silent witness
to all these unparalleled atrocities on a section of the people by another,
they (Swayamsevaks) remained superbly calm. This restraint was not born
out of weakness (as is obvious to even a layman who was aware that the
disorganised mobs would have been no match to the organised and disciplined
band of thousands of Swayamsevaks at each place, if only the latter had
decided to retaliate), but out of a moral stamina and a patriotic sense
of avoiding chaos at a delicate hour when the country had been brutally
deprived of its greatest personality and peacemaker. Real grief does not
permit of indulgence in vandalism. The Swayamsevaks on their part gave
evidence of their high culture and patriotism by their dignified restraint.
As a leading Congressman himself remarked: "During those days, we had lost
our mental balance completely. But the Swayamsevaks did not. Thus did they
avoid a severe countrywide internecine strife - a veritable Mahabharata
war - at such a crucial hour in our country's history."
Golwalkar maintained the same
spirit of amity and goodwill, even after going through a most agonising
and humiliating treatment at the hands of the Government. Sweet reasonableness,
appeal to the highest sentiments of national good and a spirit of honourable
co-operation marked Golwalkar's every word and action in contrast to the
arbitrary, unjust and partisan actions of the Government.
Sri T. R. V. Shastry, the celebrated
liberal leader and jurist of Madras, who had mediated between RSS and the
Government during the ban period, gave his considered and balanced verdict
over the whole affair. He said in conclusion:
The continuance of the ban
and the detention of the chief men in jail is, in my opinion, neither just
nor wise, nor "expedient." (Justice on Trial, p. 99)
Same in Victory, as in Adversity
When all peaceful negotiations
and efforts of respected, well-meaning mediators failed and the Government
continued to adopt an unreasonable and vindictive attitude towards RSS,
the latter had no option but to resist it. The movement which it launched,
involving the imprisonment of nearly one lakh of its workers, was unparalleled
for its peaceful, restrained and disciplined nature. The Government became
convinced that the RSS could not be crushed.
Ultimately the ban on RSS had
to be lifted. Golwalkar was released. Tumultous ovation awaited him in
every nook and corner of the country. It was a moment of undiluted victory
for the cause for which he had undergone untold physical sufferings and
mental tortures for full 18 months. What then were the sentiments he poured
out to' the people who had turned out literally in millions all over the
country? In passing, it may be mentioned that the BBC of London had commented
that there were only two persons who could draw such mammoth crowds at
the moment - one was Pandit Nehru and the other, Golwalkar. The refrain
of Guruji's message at each and every place of reception was: "Let us forget
the bitter memories of the past. Let us not fall a prey to a spirit of
rancour or discord. After all, the Government is our own.
We do not pull out the teeth,
if by chance, the tongue is bitten. May the sublime ideals of our cultural
heritage inform all our thoughts and actions.
Let Bharat Ratna Speak
All right-thinking, non-partisan
people have duly recognised and admired this aspect of RSS, one of the
most notable among them being Bharat Ratna Dr. Bhagwan Das, a profound
thinker and philosopher and the revered father of Sri Sriprakasha, Ex-High
Commissioner for Pakistan. He declared:
"I have been reliably
informed that a number of youths of the RSS... were able to inform Sardar
Patel and Nehruji in the very nick of time of the (Muslim) Leaguers' intended
'coup' on September 10, 1947, whereby they had planned to assassinate all
Members of Government and all Hindu- officials and thousands of Hindu citizens
on that day and plant the flag of 'Pakistan' on the Red Fort and then seize
"...If these high-spirited
and self-sacrificing boys had not given the very timely information to
Nehruji and Patelji, there would have been no Government of India today,
the whole country would have changed its name into Pakistan, tens of millions
of Hindus would have been slaughtered and all the rest converted to Islam
or reduced to stark slavery
"...Well, what is the net result
of all this long story? Simply this - that our Government should utilise,
and not sterilise, the patriotic energies of the lakhs of RSS youths.'
(Organiser, October 16, 1948)
It is this non-partisan and
all-comprehensive outlook that has made RSS look upon Mahatma Gandhi as
a national hero of the eminence of a Pratasmaraniya Purusha. The Sangh
Swayamsevaks reverentially recall to memory every morning as a part of
the regular sanskar-imparting programme the names of such great men as
have enriched the national heritage at different times in history. Along
with other latest luminaries, Gandhiji too is gratefully remembered by
DAdAbhAi Gopabhandhu Tilako GAndhiradrita
Ramano MAlaviyascha Sri Subramanya Bharati.
It is also not that Gandhiji's
name was included as an after thought. Even as early as 1946-47, when Gandhiji
was alive, his name was remembered along with some other living great ones;
but later on, the names of the living were dropped and a new set of Stotras
brought into usage. The present one is called EkAtmataa Stotra,
which includes the above Sloka.
What an irony of history that
the self-proclaimed disciples of the Mahatma should have almost forgotten
him and even discarded him as being outdated, whereas those who were maligned
and painted as the assassins of the Mahatma should be daily remembering
him as a source of inspiration!
A Warning, and an Inspiration too!
Such, in short, is the sad
story of the tragedy of Gandhiji's assassination and its mean exploitation
for political ends. It is a story of how men infatuated with lust for power
indulge in naked untruth and injustice and throw to winds all canons of
decency and considerations of national interests, of how they do not even
stop to think that in the process they are smearing the fair image of one
in whose name they are carrying on the campaign of vilification. It is
a story of how power corrupts men's morals and seeks to perpetuate itself
by suppressing all other dissident voices.
However, it is also an inspiring
story of how an Organisation imbued with discipline and dedication in the
cause of the Nation, can withstand the onslaughts of the powers that be,
and hold its head high. It is a story breathing reassurance to our people
that the Nation's conscience cannot be stifled by tyranny or calumny, that
after all the Nation's Destiny cannot be thwarted by a few men at the top,
however high and mighty they may appear at the moment.
It is at once a story which
recalls to the mind the tragic chapters of the recent history of our land
wherein the anti - national cliques could, time and again, successfully
divide the nationalist forces like RSS and Congress and set up one against
the other, and the Government against the patriotic people, in order to
serve their ends. It is also a story that sounds an earnest appeal in all
patriotic hearts, whether in power or not, to see the writing on the wall,
to resolve to put an end to this dangerous turn and fashion their conduct
so as to join in a common mighty endeavour to usher in a glorious future
for the country.