Arun Anand explains what Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh(RSS), the biggest voluntary organisation in the world, is all about. The RSS was founded on the occasion of Vijaydashami also known as ‘Dussehra’ in 1925.
Here are the excerpts from the book ‘Know About RSS’:
“The RSS was founded on the festive day of
‘Vijaydashmi’, also known as, ‘Dussehra’, in 1925. This
festival marks the victory of good over evil as according
to the Indian history, this is the day when Lord Rama,
who represented the ‘Good’, killed Ravana, a symbol of
‘Evil’. It is interesting to note that the RSS was founded
with only 15-20 young men and teenagers. Those who
were present there included Bhauji Kawre, Anna Sohni,
Vishwanathrao Kelkar, Balaji Huddar and Bapurao Bhedi.
Interestingly, initially there were no formal preparation
for the RSS. The only agenda was to train the young men
making them physically, mentally and intellectually
strong to serve the country. The first daily ‘Shakha’
of RSS actually began from May 28, 1926 which had a
regular schedule. The place where daily gathering of the
initial volunteers/Swayamsevaks of the RSS took place
was Mohitewada Ground in Nagpur, which is today a
part of the sprawling RSS headquarters complex. Initially,
some commands to Swayamsevaks were given in Sanskrit.
There were some commands given in English also but they
were gradually replaced by the commands in Sanskrit or
in local Indian languages over a period of time as
the RSS grew. There was a conscious effort to repose and
rekindle faith in the Indian culture with Sanskrit as its
integral part. Even today this tradition of giving key
commands in Sanskrit continues at thousands of daily
Shakhas. A Saffron Flag used to be hoisted which is known
as ‘Bhagwa Dhwaj’, in RSS terminology and the first Shakha
used to begin with a salutation to the Saffron Flag. This
tradition continues even today with the beginning and
end of every daily Shakha happening with a salutation to
a Saffron Flag which is designed in such a fashion that it
appears to have two flames of fire. The importance,
reasoning and philosophy of this particular chore
performed at daily Shakha is explained later in this book.
Initially, the first daily Shakha used to end after recitation
of a concluding prayer which was a combination of
Marathi and Hindi verses. Later on, it was replaced by a
Sanskrit prayer. Both these prayers were focussed on
perpetuating nationalistic feelings among the
Swayamsevaks. The initial prayer for the first Shakha could
be translated as:
“Salutations to the Motherland
where I am born.
Salutations to the Hindu Land
where I have been brought up.
Salutations to the Land of Dharma
for which may my body fall.
To Her, I salute again and again.”
Currently the prayer in Sanskrit is also on similar
lines. Its meaning is also explained later in the book along
with its importance for the RSS.
It is interesting to note that the RSS got its present
name almost six months after it was founded. On April
17, 1926, Dr. Hedgewar called a meeting at his house in
which 26 Swayamsevaks participated. A detailed
discussion followed to decide the name of the organization
for which everyone contributed their ideas. None of them
were aware that the name decided at the meeting would
one day find huge resonance across the globe in the years
to come. Several names were suggested and each of the
names was discussed threadbare. Finally, three names
were finalised after several rounds of elimination.
1. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
2. Jaripataka Mandal.
3. Bhedratoddharak Mandal.
There were more deliberations on these three names
and finally the name, ‘Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’,
(The book is available at https://www.amazon.in/Know-About-RSS-Arun-Anand/dp/9351866750)