“When I visited the RSS Camp, I was very much surprised by your discipline and absence of untouchablity”
These words were spoken by Mahatma Gandhi on his visit to the RSS Camp at Wardha, Maharashtra, in 1934. He was astonished by the discipline and absence of untouchability in the RSS camp, where Swayamsevaks (volunteers of RSS) walked and ate together irrespective of the caste or creed they belong to. (Ref: Dr.Hedgewar – The Epoch Maker)
“This is the first time that I am visiting the camp of Sangh volunteers. I am happy to find absolute equality between Savarniyas and Harijans without any one being aware of such difference existing.”
Words of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar during his visit to the RSS camp at Pune in 1939. (Ref: Dr.Hedgewar – Seer Patriot and Nation Builder)
Dr Keshav Baliram Hedgewar– The founder of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) always believed that there are neither “touchables” nor “untouchables”, but only Hindus. He formed RSS on four basic principles.
“Shakha” – Enabling Self-Organization of Society: He mandated a dedicated one hour every day from people, who wish to contribute towards nation building and society.
Creating a Hindu Identity over Caste Identity: Hinduism is not a religion, it’s not a cult, and it’s a way of life. The Hindu way of life is not an organized belief system with dos and don’ts, but a science of salvation. To be a Hindu, you don’t need a certificate or to recite any verse. You need not believe in any particular God or book. You simply have to be honest to yourself. Hinduism firmly believes that each of us are born different and each one of us have the right to connect with our deity or universe or god, the way we choose and hence we have over 22 million gods and goddesses. Hinduism believes the way Bhakt (Worshipper) is, the same way his/ her Deity (Worshipped) is. For Radha, it’s Krishna, for Meera its Mohan.
Organization for Women on National Ideals: Dr.Hedgewar had very high respect for women. He believed that women can not only solve their problems but the issues of the society and country at large. Hence, they need to be empowered, educated and given tools to organize themselves in a group to achieve end result.
Shuddha Satvik Prem: The foundation of RSS was laid on a single unquestionable virtue of selfless love towards fellow volunteers. In RSS, he created a culture of no seniors and juniors only respect and care. Each member of RSS is only a sewak of Mother India.
In his book, Bunch of Thoughts, Madhav Sadashiv Gowalkar, second Sangh Sanchalak (Chief) of RSS mentioned seven kinds of communalism, one of them based on caste and creed. He articulated that the reason for degeneration of social structure is due to Varna Vyavastha (Caste system) which should be replaced by one’s Dharma, which includes duties, rights, laws, conduct, virtues and ‘right way of living’.
The reason why RSS allied themselves to the word Hindu is just because it represented the great vast of India spreading from Himalayas to Indian Ocean in the South.
As per Brihaspati Agama the word ‘Hindu’ is formed with the letter ‘Hi’ from the Himalayas and ‘Indu’ from Indu Sarovar (the Southern Ocean), conveying the entire stretch of India. Everyone residing in this part of land was called Hindu irrespective of the religion, caste or creed or color.
RSS thus has always advocated for One India, bringing national interest first above the state or regional interests, thereby giving freedom to think and act but joining hands whenever the country needs them.