Hindu Vivek Kendra

RSS vis-a-vis Gandhi Murder
A Myth Exploded

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).



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Published by: 
Sahitya Sindhu, Bangalore 560 001
14/3-A, Nrupatunga Road
Bangalore 560 001

First edition: 1973
Second edition: 2000

ISBN: 81-86595-20-1


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 or Partition?'

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 lowest ebb.

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.

Strange Phenomenon

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 was received.

Followers' 'Homage'!

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.

Mischief Afoot

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 day:

"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."

Ludicrous in the Extreme

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?

Self-Contradictions Galore!

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 peace.

"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 grave charge!

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 undertaking.

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 method.......

Latest Verdict

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 declared:

"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)

A Challenge Not Accepted

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 it.

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 in person.

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 him.

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 insidious move.

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 the Mahatma."

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 panchaadhikam shatam.'

Golwalkar had given the same call at the Poona function also. His speech was flashed in the Bombay and Poona press.

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 all Hind.

"...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) 

The Irony

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 the Swayamsevaks:

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.