An article by Sri M.S. Golwalkar just after the publication of the Report of States Reorganisation Committee in 1956.
THE Report of the S.R.C. is out for about a fortnight. Prominent persons in the political field stated giving free expression to their reactions to the recommendations of the Commission even before the report was officially published. Nobody seems to be satisfied. The whole atmosphere is charged with antagonism to the report. Feelings are rising high. All legislative groups are giving free vent to feelings of antagonism towards one another. No one group appears to be in a mood to co-operate with, and live side by side with another in one common administrative unit. Antagonism has been so intensified and aggravated as to take the form of deep-rooted hostility.
The British Propaganda
One cannot help remembering the propaganda the British Bureaucrat had made about this country and the people. He has emphatically been telling all the world to bear in mind that this is not one country but a continent like what modern Europe is – an extensive piece of land comprising many countries, many peoples, many nationalities all with their distinct racial, cultural and linguistic features. He has been warning all to be undeceived about the complexion of the people here, upholding that they are not one people at all in the sense of the unity of the people of England or France or Germany, but a conglomeration of numerous peoples having less in common with one another and having more differences with one another than even the peoples inhabiting the various countries of Europe; that ethnologically they are all of different racial stock; historically they have come to migrate into this land from some unknown home to take up their habitation here; politically they have been successive raiders and invaders ultimately settling down in the fertile territory and as a result, bearing towards one another inherent hostility latterly become latent and less prone to manifest itself in the shape of open violence; linguistically strangers to one another; culturally of different standards; and religiously so far divided as to be always ready to fly at each other’s throat.
The differences especially emphasised, and to a great extent fanned by them, were between the Hindus and the Muslims, the ‘Dravidas’ and the ‘Aryans’, the various sects such as the Jains and the Sikhs as against the rest of the Hindus, between the various castes each against the rest, more especially between the Brahmin and the non-Brahmin. They never tired of telling the world, and particularly to our own people, that it was their providential existence in the country as the sovereign power which had held all these forces of dissension in check and prevented the country from continuing to be a gruesome scene of violence, bloodshed, incessant, intermittent, internecine war, insecurity to life, honour and property; that they had supplied a stable government, just, merciful and progressive; and that it was only because of them, and during their continuance in power, that the sense of common motherland, patriotism and of a common nationality was being
gradually forged out of this bewildering mass of heterogeneous, and often incompatible, peoples.
Leaders on Test
And for a time it did appear that one common love for the motherland had been infused, or had been renovated, among the people throughout the length and breadth of this land of Bharat; that, founded upon this love, a sense of one people and one nationality had been forged. All the leaders of the people spoke in terms of one nation and seemed to manifest a genuine faith in it. All voiced this great sentiment and tried to rouse the people to fight for the freedom of the country form the yoke of the Britisher. And it seemed that the whole mass of people had caught the sentiment.
But the Britisher never tired of reiterating and emphasising the differences, which he conceived and tried to inculcate in the people. He prophesied that with his withdrawal the land would be given to internecine feuds of all types and all order would be shattered, total chaos would prevail. With this he tried to justify his continuance – holding absolute imperialistic sway over our country. Our leaders, however, fancied that this was mere ‘propaganda, untrue, if not actually vicious’, and intensified the struggle for freedom in the belief that ideal of one nation had been realised as an actual fact by themselves and, following them, by all the citizens of the land. Eventually the Britisher was compelled, by force of circumstances, his shattered post-war condition and the pressure of international situation, to relax his grip over this country and give up governing the people entrusting that responsibility to the leaders, who had been so vociferously and persistently demanding self-government. And the time arrived when the vaunt of the leaders that they had forged and realised one common national life was to be put to test.
What is the result of the test? To be honest it cannot be said that we have passed the test successfully. The first and most cruel blow to the professions of ‘One country, One Nation’ was dealt by the acceptance of the unhappy partition of our mother- Bharatabhoomi. It meant an acknowledgement that the Muslims formed a distinct and antagonistic national community, which had been tied down to live in this land with the Hindu Nation and which won for itself a distinct state by vivisection of the country in which they had originally come as invader and where they had been trying to settle down as conquerors. In spite of their protestations to the contrary, and vehement attempts to repudiate the two-nation theory indulged in by some – shall we say, indiscreet people? – the acceptance and, now, the justification of Partition, and the resultant separate Muslim State carved out of the body of the Motherland has clearly given the lie to all these protestations and proved that verbal professions and essential beliefs were not in harmony and that all along, somewhere in the background of the thought processes of all these eminent leaders, there did abide the belief in the existence of a separate Muslim nation ‘justly’ claiming a distinct state within the borders of what all claimed as one
Motherland- fractioning the land and thus evincing an innate disbelief in the oneness of the Motherland as well.
This misuse of the slogan of the ‘right of self-determination’ has been extended to Kashmir, and now to Goa also. To say that Kashmiris shall determine their own future is to repudiate the oneness of the country and of the people here in Bharat. Then came our present Constitution converting our country into a number of almost distinct units each with a ‘state’ of its own and all ‘federated’ into one ‘Union’. When one pauses to think of the conditions in which makers of this Constitution lived when they framed this Constitution one sees that the atmosphere then was extreemely congenial to the formation and evolution of a Unitary State –One Country, One Legislature, One Executive Centre running the administration throughout the country- an expression of one homogeneous solid nation in Bharat or what remained of it then. But mind and reason of the leaders were conditioned by the obsession of ‘federation of states’ where each linguistic group enjoyed a ‘wide autonomy’ as ‘one people’ with its own separate language and culture.
At the Root of Federation
As far back as 1923 the Indian National Congress, which was then the only political party in the country claiming to represent the whole of the people, had envisaged such a federal pattern for our land and had opted for linguistic states going into the composition of that federation. What made them declare that to be the end for which they were working, is not clear. But in this connection a statement reported to have been made by a Conservative Member of the British Parliament expounding the need of provincial legislatures, that this step will eventually lead to a situation when, if British were to withdraw, the country would be divided into half a dozen or more mutually exclusive and mutually hostile linguistic states, seems to give the clue as to the origin from which this inspiration to establish ‘linguistic states’ and their ‘federation’ in the country, may have been inherited by the makers of that declaration.
Committed thus to establishing a federation of linguistic states, the Constitution which was ultimately adopted could not but be of federal structure accepting for the time being the existing provincial boundaries and exalting the erstwhile provinces to the status of almost autonomous ‘states’. The question of reorganisation of ‘state boundaries’ and demand for fulfilling the promise of the establishment of linguistic states was to be met with later, and now the S.R.C. has come forward with recommendations apparently unsatisfactory to all sections of the people. And the atmosphere is evidently one of mutual distrust, lack of goodwill, greedy clamour for grabbing more territory, exhibiting a rueful picture of so many wolves growling at one another over a carcass. The spectacle presented is so very painful. It seems as though the leaders are vying with one another in trying to justify the boast of the British Imperialist that but for his heavy hand over the affairs of the country the people would tear one another to pieces and the country would be steeped in confusion worse confounded.
Our Future at Stake
Why is all this happening? Why are all the professions of unity of the motherland and of the nation torn to shreds? Were these professions at all real? The present sorry state of affairs forces upon us the conclusion that those in charge of affairs in the struggle for
freedom from the British yoke never realised that this was ‘One country, One People and One Nation’. The countrywide unity, temporarily manifested, was not the outcome of the positive understanding of our age-long national entity, of a realisation that the variety seeming to baffle those not conversant with the mode of our national thought and generous outlook granting full freedom for expression and evolution to all individuals and groups without disrupting the grand harmony of one homogeneous National Being – was just an expression of the richness of vitality of life, of successful synthesis referring the seeming difference to a deep fundamental unity, but was a mere patch-work, a temporary truce called to meet a common imperialistic adversary, a short-lived confederation invoked for the limited purpose of meeting a common danger born out of a negative feeling of antagonism to the rulers commonly foreign to all confederates, as a result of reaction to the British domination. That is why, we infer, as soon as the antagonistic British withdrew from the scene, the patched-up unity has fallen to pieces for want of a common adversary necessitating a united front to combat it with.
This is very doleful picture of our present condition. As we try to look ahead a dreary future looms before us, steeped in the darkness of despair about a better future. With the leaders guiding the destiny of the country today lacking in a positive understanding of the oneness of our holy motherland, of the living unity immortally underlying the rich variety in which eternal national consciousness has been always manifesting itself, and, as a result, indulging in encouraging fissions and fragmentations, it will be unwise to entertain any hopes for a bright future. Even our bare existence as a respectable free nation is in jeopardy and, in a world inhabited by power-seeking war-mongering peoples, our existence is precariously at the mercy of whimsical chance which may, at any moment, deluge the world in a dreadful struggle, form being submerged in which we may not hope to succeed. A house divided against itself is bound to fall.
There Is a Remedy
Dismal thoughts these. But there is no reason to give ourselves up to despair, for there is a remedy. The remedy lies in rooting out all tendencies towards separatism, all
sentiments denying the firm faith in the oneness of the motherland and shaking free form all words and actions calculated to produce ideas contrary to the realisation of the oneness of our national life.
Towards this end the most important and effective step will be to bury deep for good all talk of a federal structure of our country’s Constitution, to sweep away the existence of all ‘autonomous’ or semi-autonomous ‘states’ within the one State viz., Bharat and proclaim ‘One Country, One State, One Legislature, One Executive’ with no trace of fragmentational, regional, sectarian, linguistic or other types of pride being given a scope for playing havoc with our integrated harmony. Let the Constitution be re-examined and re-drafted, so as to establish this Unitary form of Government and thus effectively disprove the mischievous propaganda indulged in by the British and so unwittingly imbibed by the present leaders, about our being just a juxtaposition of so many distinct ‘ethnic groups’ or ‘nationalities’ happening to live side by side and grouped together by the accident of geographical contiguity and one uniform supreme foreign domination. Let
us be grateful to the makers of the present Constitution as also to the worthy members of the S.R.C. for the services rendered but let us not allow the nation to become a house divided against itself and heading towards destruction by falling to pieces. Let our present leaders of the affairs of the state take courage in both hands, take a realistic view of things, envisage the dangers of disruption staring us in the face, face the misguided opposition of such ill-informed people as may happen to stoop to such opposition and, with a firm hand, change the present ill-conceived federal structure to the only correct form of government, the unitary one.
Let Shankaracharya and Lincoln Inspire Present Leadership
With one sweep all talk of fragmenting the country will have been silenced, the rising tide of disunity, distrust and hostility put down, and conditions for a harmonious evolution of One Homogeneous People, One Nation, will have been established. There is no doubt that barring some vociferous elements the mass of the people will stand solidly behind such a scheme and our present leaders shall go down into futurity as the successful builders of Bharatiya national solidarity, will be worshipped by posterity as modern manifestation of a Shankaracharya, as Bharatiya parallels of an Abraham Lincoln.
The patriotism, and faith in the external Bharatiya Nation, of the leaders of our generation is being now put to the test. Whether they prove to be pure metal with a true ring, or mere tinsel, will be seen in the boldness they manifest and the steps they take now at this historic hour calling for all courage, determination and intense love for our ancient, but immortal nation. Let us pray to the Almighty, Who, in His wisdom, has always been guiding this Hindu Rashtra on the right path, the path of Dharma, that is the path holding the people together in one loving integrated unity, guide our leaders in this dark hour and inspire them with the right understanding and instil in them courage to tread along the right path for a glorious revival of our Great People.
Part Three - The Path To Glory
XIX. The Eternal Basis
Need for positive basis – Efforts of reactionary approach – Sangh for permanent organised life – Fate of temporary movements; Congress - Nation in drifting – The remedy – Red signal.
THE work of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh had a very humble beginning. Steadily and gradually it has spread its work and today we find the Sangh branches working in full swing in all provinces of our country. This constant growth, this steady expansion has been an unfailing feature of the Sangh all through the trials and turmoils posed by the vagaries of the external situations.
The Urge for Growth
The Sangh met with its first major trial within fifteen years of its inception, in the sudden and unexpected death of its founder, Dr. Hedgewar. Needless to say, the Doctor was like the very life-breath of the organisation. He had watered the tiny plant of the Sangh with his sweat and blood. He had made of his life a burning lamp and it burned to the last drop of oil. Such an indispensable and incomparable leader had suddenly passed away. The organisation was yet in an infant stage. And many a well-wisher of the Sangh was struck with grave apprehensions about its future. But to the surprise of all, the Sangh grew with redoubled speed and vigour. Nor has its steady advance diminished after the quitting of the British. To some this appears to be a strange phenomenon. Puzzled, they ask us, "Now that the British have left and we have become free, where is the need for a separate organisation such as the Sangh? What role can it play now that we are free?"
Our answer is, mere external conditions such as political independence do not preclude the need for the organised state of society. In fact, it is only a well-knit and powerful society that can enjoy the fruits of a free, peaceful and prosperous life. Organised life is as much an effective weapon for a free nation to guard its freedom as for an enslaved nation to shake off its fetters. An alert and organised nation alone can check internal corrosions and subversions, repel external aggressions and maintain its integrity and freedom intact.
Doctorji had taken special pains to put forth this basic viewpoint right form the beginning of Sangh. This was, in fact, the way he approached every social problem. Once, while he was in Bombay, he was invited to visit an orphanage. After taking Doctorji round the institution the organisers there requested him to offer his suggestion with regard to their plans of expansion. Doctorji replied, "Well, instead of expanding such orphanages, would it not be far better to see that there are no orphans at all in our society? Social life should be such that no one shall feel helpless or forsaken. If some misfortune were to befall a person, his neighbour should spontaneously come forward to his help and rescue. This
can be achieved only by building up social cohesion and harmony among the people, pulsating with mutual affinity and sympathy. If this is not done, social ills will continue to crop up one after another endlessly. If the blood-stream in the body is infected with germs, boils will erupt all over the body. If you treat and bandage them at one spot it will appear at another place. The basic remedy would be to purify the blood-stream itself. So also is the case with the body-politic of society.
Ideal Society as God
We look upon the society as the living manifestation of Almighty. And we have attributed to the Almighty the capacity of feeding all the living creatures under his care. He is therefore called Vishwambhara. There is a pauranic story, which I heard form a keertankar. Once, it seems, it occurred to Narada to test Lord Vishnu Himself. He caught hold of a few ants, shut them up in a small box and kept it in his safe custody. Then he went out on his usual rounds singing the praise of Vishnu. After a while, he came to Lord Vishnu and casually enquired whether the Lord had had his food. Vishnu replied that he had done so after attending to the feeding of all the living creation. Narada then took out his box saying, "Well, these poor creatures seem to have escaped your Lord’s notice!" Vishnu appeared taken aback, apologised and requested Narada to open the box. And lo! When the box was opened, the ants came out each with a particle of sugar in its mouth!
Imaginary though the story may be, it beautifully depicts the state of an ideal society, which will take care of the needs of every living being under its shelter. In fact, the descriptions of our ancient society approximated to this state. No individual, however low and humble he may be, was left to suffer with hunger, thirst or want of shelter. The animals and birds near about also were cared for. Some had even taken a vow of feeding the ants before taking their food.
For an Abiding Basis
It is also well known that such an abiding, alert, positive and organised state of society cannot be based on mere antagonism to others. The reason for this is very simple. Movements which start as reactions to outside factors collapse to the ground no sooner the object of their antagonism is removed. There is also another important consideration. When the spirit of antagonism rules our mind, we have perforce to think constantly of those whom we oppose. And especially, we shall have to ruminate over their evil acts and evil qualities. Our shastras says that a man becomes what he thinks. It is the continuous thought-processes that go to form the mental texture and thus shape the personality of man. Any attempt at reorganisation of our society on the basis of hatred of the British or the Muslims would therefore be to court degeneration and disaster. For, that would only pollute our minds by the constant remembering of their heinous crimes. Have we no positive, life-giving and sublime ideals at all to meditate upon and fashion our lives? Should we install a wicked aggressor in our hearts as a point of meditation?
It is true that sometimes we the Sangh workers too refer to incidents involving Muslims and the British. But that is only to draw attention to the lessons we have to learn from
history, to show that we alone are responsible for our downfall. It was in fact the strange phenomenon of a small nation such as England ruling over a big country like ours form a distance of six thousand miles that made our revered founder, even as a boy of eight, to wonder and ponder over it. And it was after mature and deep contemplation regarding the root-cause of our slavery as also the right and positive approach to remove it, that Doctorji started the Sangh.
Effects of Reactionary Approach
But, somehow, most of our leaders fell a prey to sheer antagonism either to the British or to the Muslims, with the result that they have become either Anglicised or Muslimised. For example, some extremist Hindu bodies came into existence in our country to counteract the growing violence and depredations of Muslims and to put a check to their appeasement in the political field. They recounted again and again the harrowing tales of the blood-curdling massacres, forcible conversions, raping of women, desecration of temples and all such atrocities perpetrated by the Muslims ever since they stepped on this soil.
There is a revealing incident, which I came across during anti-cow-slaughter campaign. I met a Hindu leader of great repute and scholarship known for his fiery patriotism. During our talk he causally asked "What harm is there if a Hindu takes to beef?" I was simply stunned to hear such words from that person, whom I hold in great respect. What must have been the reason for such an utterance, which even the most depraved Hindu would shudder to think of? The reason is, the continuous thinking about the Muslims and their vices had left their deep impress upon his mind and made him culturally a Muslim, though he remained politically a Hindu.
It is this atmosphere of reactionary mentality that makes people view the Sangh also in the same light. Once we had gone to a place to start our work. The gentlemen of the town confronted us with the question, "Well, where is the need for Sangh in our town? There are no Muslims here." I replied, We have come here to organise Hindus and not Muslims. I hope you are all Hindus. How are we concerned whether Muslims reside here or not?"
Sign of Living Society
It is on this reactionary background that people say that there is now a change in circumstances, that since the British have left this country there is no need for an organisation of this type. We, on the other hand, view the problem differently. We say, the Hindus were here and they continue to be here. They were disunited and are still disunited. We see the same disintegrated, mute Hindu Society letting itself to be trampled upon without a murmur of protest. And when it does speak, it is with so many voices that what it says sounds like gibberish. As such, we see absolutely no change in the situation. Suppose there is a man suffering from typhoid during an epidemic. Will the doctor treating that patient lose the incentive when the health officer of the town declares that the epidemic had ended? Similarly, do we not see the malady of disunity still scouring the
body of this ancient and great society? How then can we afford to stop administering the proper medicine?
Our duty, therefore, to make our society united, organised and mighty is as much before us today as at any time before. It is our dharma to see that our society, our great mother, is made powerful, great, and happy. It is this innate love and adoration for our people, this positive faith in our national being that has been the constant urge for all our actions. True love of that type is not dependent upon external situations. Nor is it born out of them. It takes its roots deep in our hearts reminding us of the duty towards our nation every moment of our life. It makes us conscious that we belong to this great and sacred motherland that we owe a deep debt of gratitude to her and that every action of ours must be our offering in her cause.
Hinduism, which has been our sheet-anchor, fosters this pure and all-embracing love, free from any spirit of reaction. We of the Sangh, who have been born and bred in that heritage, only act. We do not react. In fact, it is the nature of the insignificant and material things to react strongly towards momentary heat and cold. But healthy living human beings are not overcome by vagaries of weather. They maintain a steady temperature of their own which even the extreme variations of weather cannot disturb. In fact, they fall down lifeless whenever their bodies no longer maintain that normal temperature. It is therefore that we have been constantly keeping before our mind’s eye the vision of an organised society, which would not stray from its chartered course because of changes in external circumstances.
Realising the Vision in Practice
It is because the Sangh is firmly founded on this unreactionary, positive and abiding faith in our own national being, that it is calmly and steadily growing form strength to strength undisturbed by fleeting changes in the external conditions. It is this vision of an everlasting, powerful and glorious condition of an organised social life that constantly inspires a Swayamsevak to take to the work of Sangh as his life-mission devoid of all traces of selfishness. In fact the Swayamsevak experiences the thrill of joy and inspiration in the day-to-day work of the Sangh, where he sees the vision of his dreams realised in actuality, though on a miniature scale. He is spurred on to greater effort to fulfil the mission.
This is the unique feature of Sangh work, wherein the ‘means’ and the ‘end’ have coalesced. The ‘end’ i.e., the ideal of a reorganised society, is being gradually realised in practice by the ‘means’, the day-to-day process of bringing together and moulding persons for an organised life. This is in true conformity with the teachings of our philosophy in respect of devotees. To a devotee, devotion is both the end and the means - swayam phalaroopata. Similarly, the work of our organisation born out of intense devotion to our society is self-inspiring. It is this perfect concentration on its chosen path born out of a thorough grasp of the principles forming the grass-roots of an eternally powerful and self-sustaining national life that has made this organisation invincible and ever-expanding.
An Opposite Instance
Let us take an example of the opposite type, which may help us to appreciate this point better. It is of an organisation, which had kept before itself a temporary objective. The Indian National Congress, the oldest political body in our country today, had kept before itself the aim of driving out the British. Now that the British have gone form this land, the aim of Congress has been fulfilled. It was precisely for this reason that Mahatma Gandhi, who was the mainstay of that organisation for about twenty-five years and had a thorough insight into its working, advised its disbandment soon after the British left. But, as we know, man develops attachment to name and form. And so, most of his followers could not relish the idea of disbanding Congress. Probably the taste of political power also must have added its share to their sticking to that name and form even by flouting the express will of their master.
The result is, that Congress, having nothing positive to fulfil has rapidly drifted and degenerated from all the ideals it professed during its struggle against the British. The principles of truth, non-violence, character, patriotism have all vanished into thin air. Although the motto remains the same, its content has totally disappeared.
Falsehood struts about masquerading as truth. The Government had been aware, on their won admission, of the Chinese aggression on our northern frontiers since 1954. But they suppressed the truth, denied it, derided those who spoke of it and continued to paint before the country the rosy picture of ‘Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai’. Could falsehood go further?
So far as ‘non-violence’ is concerned, of course, our leaders preach peace and nonviolence to the whole world, but within our own country there has been more violence done to our countrymen in the form of arrests, lathi-charges and shootings on those whom they consider as their political opponents then even during the days of British domination. And as for violence in speech, there appears to be no limit to it. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru once publicly appealed to all political leaders in the country to be restrained in their criticisms. And it was he who condemned those differed from his political views as gaddar i.e., traitors!
Decadence in character has become the order of the day. Corruption and nepotism have become rampant. A separate department has been started to check corruption in various departments. But it is found that another department is required to check corruption in that anti-corruption department itself? It will thus go on ad infinitum. An acquaintance of mine who was once a leading Congress worker came to see me. He bewailed the serious loss to the Exchequer occasioned by the maintenance of so many departments to check black-marketing, smuggling, corruption and so on. He suggested that the Sangh should take up the task of purifying all such persons responsible for these evils. I told him, "I welcome your suggestion. But you will enlighten me form whom I should begin?" He understood what I meant because he knew very well that this corrosion had entered the marrows of even the topmost men.
The New Craze
When we come to the present-day plight of the lofty ideas of patriotism and self-sacrifice, which spurred our leaders to action during the anti-British movements, we see that their meanings have all changed. The unity of the motherland is no more a living concept for them. Eminent leaders have begun to bless and encourage movements intended to break up the country. Sri C. Rajagopalachari has stated* that he would prefer partition of the country to what he calls ‘imposition of Hindi’**. The idea of sacrifice has been replaced by one of ‘cashing on past sacrifices’. Everywhere there is a craze for show of sacrifice rather than its real essence. It is like the story of a pandit who had gone to perform Satyanarayan Pooja. He stealthily knocked off a Valuable jewel during the pooja but came back all the way to return a small piece of thread to that house and duly impressed the members of the household with his high sense of honesty
This craze for show devoid of the true spirit of sacrifice has made all our big plans a mockery. The desire for name and fame passes off as service. To give a funny instance, some years ago there were floods in the river Ganga inundating parts of Kashi. One of the ministers who happened to be there at the time thought of paying a visit to the affected areas. He went in a car up to the edge of the flood waters. There he stopped and asked his secretary where the cameraman was. But somehow that ‘important point’ had been forgotten. The car was sent back to bring the professional photographer. It was only after he came and had taken a couple of photographs of the minister standing in knee-deep water in the act of ‘flood relief work’ that all of them returned merrily in the car with the satisfaction of having done their best for the flood victims!
The Shifting Loyalties
Those persons who once spoke of dedication in the cause of the nation are now chasing the shadow of their own glorification. Self-conceit has taken the place of self-surrender. Their thoughts, words and deeds have all become egocentric. Some years ago, when Pandit Nehru visited the Naga Hills, some people wanted to present him with a memorandum in the public meeting demanding a separate independent Naga State. But the local authorities did not allow it. As a protest, about three thousand Nagas rose in a body and left the meeting when Pandit Nehru was about to address them. Pandit Nehru took it as a personal affront and began to say that the foreign Christian missions in this country were playing a dirty anti-national game and so on. Till then he used to go about praising their ‘humanitarian’ activities and even proclaiming that it was a great honour done to country when some local bishop was made a cardinal!
Having lost the supreme and dominant note of selfless devotion to the nation as a whole, smaller and lower objects have come to occupy its place in our heart. Discordant notes of attachment to a party, to a language, to a province, to a caste or sect have torn our national life to shreds. And the tragedy is that it is the ‘top-ranking leaders’ who take the lead in all such disruptive tactics to serve their own ends. The experts committee which was formed to prepare the Second Five Year Plan exposed the real motive behind that plan saying that they were in a way forced to draft the plan in that fashion as against * during 1965 ** on Tamil Nadu
their considered views because of the political pressure brought upon them. Drifting and Drifting
This is how our people are drifting under tall talk of progress. We do not know where we are going. Is there today anything that can be pointed out as the essence of our own national life? Our way of life, our method of education, our mode of behaviour, our way of dress, our way of building houses, towns and cities and all such elements of our national ethos have undergone such an awful change that we do not stop for a moment to consider whether this abject imitation of others is not a humiliation of our national pride, a sure sign of losing our national identity and drifting into intellectual slavery.
For example, our leaders have set up a new flag for our country. Why did they do so? It is just a case of drifting and imitating. How did this flag come into being? During the French Revolution, the French put up three stripes on their flag to express the triple ideas of ‘equality’, ‘fraternity’ and ‘liberty’. The American Revolution inspired by similar principles took it up with some changes. Three stripes therefore held a sort of fascination for our freedom fighters also. So, it was taken up by the Congress. Then it was
interpreted as depicting the unity of the various communities-the saffron colour standing for the Hindu, the green for the Muslim and the white for all the other communities. Out of the non-Hindu communities the Muslim was specially named because in the minds of most of those eminent leaders the Muslim was dominant and without naming him they did not think that our nationality could be complete! When some persons pointed out that this smacked of a communal approach, a fresh, explanation was brought forward that he ‘saffron’ stood for sacrifice, the ‘white’ for purity and the ‘green’ for peace and so on. All these interpretations were discussed in the Congress Committees during those days. Who can say that this is a pure and healthy national outlook? It was just a politician’s patchwork, just political expediency. It was not inspired by any national vision or truth based on our national history and heritage. The same flag has been taken up today as our State Flag with only a glorious past. Then, had we no flag of our own? Had we no national emblem at all these thousands of years? Undoubtedly, we had. Then, why this void, this utter vacuum in our minds?
Our Constitution too is just a cumbersome and heterogeneous piecing together of various articles from various Constitutions of Western countries. It has absolutely nothing, which can be called our own. Is there a single word of reference in its guiding principles as to what our national mission is and what our keynote in life is? No! Some lame principles form the United Nations Charter or from the Charter of the now defunct League of Nations and some features form the American and British Constitutions have been just brought together in a mere hotchpotch. Theodore Shay in his The Legacy of the Lokamanya says, "Strangely absent from the Preamble is reference to concepts like Swaraj, Dharmarajya and the integration of the purpose of the state with the purpose of life. In other words, there is no reflection of Indian precepts or political philosophy in the Indian Constitution."
We also see so many slogans being coined on the eve of every election or even every year, slogans culled form foreign theories, which had already been long ago exploded. They say, we are now fighting for ‘Socialistic doctrine’! There is now so much conformity to the word of the leader and so much servility to European ideas that even the little Congress worker goes about re-echoing the same words ‘Socialism’, ‘Socialistic pattern of society’, ‘Democratic Socialism’ and all such things to the extent of claiming that this had been the settled policy of Congress right from 1885!
At times we drift towards America and at times towards Russia. Where is all this going to lead us except to moral and intellectual annihilation? Why are we drifting? Because we are not standing upon our own legs. Those who have lost their own pedestal needs must drift. A tree, which has been uprooted and caught in a flood is driven hither and thither by every current of water. Our entire national life has been uprooted and therefore there is no other go but to drift. And drifting always means going form a higher level to a lower level, ultimately sinking into a bottomless abyss. That is the unfortunate condition in which we find ourselves today.
Lesson of History
To prevent this drifting, there is only one remedy. And that is, to reawaken in ourselves the consciousness that we have our own positive foundations, that we have our own roots penetrating deep into the soil of our national ideals and aspirations, history and heritage. It is only a positive and dynamic build-up of an organisation of the type of the Sangh, capable of embracing all of our people in a loving and eternal brotherhood and making them intensely conscious of their national destiny that can effectively check the present rot of selfishness, dissensions and vulgar imitations born out of drifting.
So we can truly say that the necessity of the Sangh can be felt much more keenly today than when it was first started. The present-day conditions do not admit of any sense of complacency. The circumstances inside and outside the country are explosive. We have heard that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Let us, at least now, take a lesson form our history. Prithviraj, who could put to rout the hordes of Mohammed Ghori several times before, was defeated when he gave himself up to enjoyment in the company of his newly wedded wife Samyogita at a time when the enemy was pounding at the gates of Delhi.
The Red Signal
Can we honestly say that our nation is so strong-willed and well-organised that we can confidently face all dangers to our free and prosperous existence? Do we, for instance, see the glow of manliness and idealism in the eyes of our youth? Do we not, on the other hand, see our youth, chasing vulgar shadows of foreign fashions and wallowing in pleasures of the senses? I had once an occasion to visit a physical training camp conducted by the Congress. Boys and girls were both participating in the activities. I asked the organiser of the camp whether it would not have been better if girls had not been allowed there. He frankly confessed that in that case very few young men would
have come! There was a Youth conference organised at Lucknow. Having heard the first hand report of that Conference form our friends there, I felt that it was not a conference having any educative value but only an unholy center for spreading horrible immorality.
No nation can hope to survive with its young men given over to sensuality and effeminacy. That is the surest sign of decay and destruction, howsoever prosperous and mighty the nation may be for the time being. An American correspondent had once come to meet me to know which way the sympathies of our Sangh lie in the present tug of war between America and Russia. But we stand firm on our own feet and do not allow ourselves to be dragged either way. He asked me, "What is your opinion about the present-day America?" I replied, "America is moving fast on the road to self-destruction. Just see your own clothes. The loose fashionable garments that you wear and the comb in your pocket betray the effeminate nature of the average American today. In the First World War, the Generalissimo of the ‘Allied Forces’ was Marshal Foch, a Frenchman. Such was the heroic state of that nation at that time that they fought the Germans with grim resolve and won the war ultimately. They even pocketed a sizable portion of Germany. But after the victory, Frenchmen succumbed to sensuality and enjoyment. They lost themselves in drinking, singing and dancing with the result that in spite of their huge military machine and their formidable ‘Maginot line’, France collapsed within fifteen days of the German onslaught during the Second World War. The sudden and total collapse of France was due to effeminacy which had sapped the energy of the heroic manhood of France. After the war, Marshal Petain, the old French general, stated that France was defeated not on the battle-fields but in the ball-rooms of Paris. I sincerely hope that America will wake up in time and stop this internal corrosion of its young manhood."
In our country also the conditions are not different. The ‘modern fashion’ of young men is to appear more and more feminine. In dress, in habits, in literature and in every aspect of our day-to-day life ‘modernism’ has come to mean effeminacy. ‘Sex’ has become the one dominating theme of all our ‘modern’ literature. History of countries the world over has time and again shown that sex-dominated literature has been an unfailing precursor to the ruin of nations and civilisations.
This, in short, is the internal picture of our national life under ‘freedom’. It is a red signal, which we can ignore only at our peril. Under these conditions, it is only an organisation such as the Sangh dedicated to forge our people into a pure, holy, benevolent and organised life, breathing the spirit of sacrifice and heroism, and based on the positive and abiding foundation of our ancient and glorious nationhood, that can be relied upon to protect and rejuvenate our nation. And it is the call of this yet unfulfilled mission that is the motive force behind the ever-growing and ever-expanding work of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
Part Three - The Path To Glory
XX. Nourish The Roots*
Education for manifesting the Inner Personality – Teacher as Character-moulder –Purge present perversions in learning habits – Be true to Hindu spirit – Our stultifying history – Uphold right spirit of nationalism.
It goes without saying that the teachers are the key figures in the field of education. It is but proper that we briefly touch upon a few fundamentals in this context.
Our Basic Concept
To start with, what does ‘education’ connote in the modern sense of the term? It is to draw out the latent faculties in man. Merely stuffing pieces of information into the brain is not education. Making man’s brain a lumber room is not its aim. Recognising and bringing out the diverse talents and genius in man has been taken to be the cornerstone of education everywhere. And this has yielded substantial results too. We can find men of great achievements in several fields of arts and sciences in various countries.
But, we the Hindus have gone further. With us, the bringing out or the manifestation of the Inner Personality of man, is the essence of education. Life is not a mere bundle of passions. We say, there is an Ultimate Reality within us. To realise and manifest that Supreme Reality is the basic aim of our system of education. Our great sages and tapasvis have given detailed instructions with regard to the procedures to do that. And the teacher has a vital role in executing them.
Tap the Reservoir
To start with, he has to inculcate in the students the ten principles of Yama and Niyama. Ahimsa (non-injury), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (non-coveting), Brahmacharya (continence) and Aparigraha (non-acquisition) form the five Yamas. Shoucha (purity), Santosha (contentment), Tapah (penance), Swadhyaya (spiritual study), and Ishwara Pranidhana (offering of one’s actions to God) form the five Niyama. As a matter of fact, the Ten commandments in the Bible are nothing but these 5 Yamas and 5 Niyamas. Even if a small number of students in a school imbibe the spirit of Yamas and Niyamas, they will be able to spread a healthy atmosphere so that others also will follow them in course of time.
These principles need to be told to the young minds in an interesting way. When I was in the middle school we had a teacher. Apart from his school teaching, he used to tell us various stories from our ancient puranas in a very interesting and instructive style. I was able to learn a lot from my mother also. My mother was not an ‘educated’ woman. I used to read out for her from our religious literature, like Mahabharata and Ramayana. Thereby I myself have immensely benefited.
Be True to Self
* Address to teachers
It is such stories that have been, over centuries, building up our tradition and character as a people. There is a lot to learn from them. For example, there is the story of Jabali. Here is a boy who adhered to truth under all circumstances. When he approached a teacher with a request to be accepted as his pupils the teacher asked him to what gotra he belonged. The boy went home and repeated the teacher’s query to his mother Jabala. She said, "Well, I conceived you when I was serving as a maid servant in a master’s house. I do not recollect who your father is. Tell this to your teacher." The boy went back and recounted his mother’s reply word to word to the teacher. The teacher said to him, " You are the right type to receive education. You have the rectitude of character and the courage to tell the truth." Thereafter the boy came to be known as Satyakama Jabala.
But today most of us are oblivious of that wealth of anecdotes and allusions. Most of our young men do not even know that we have an ancient history, rich with excellences in all fields of life. In the absence of this positive and healthy content in education it is no wonder that our students take to reading vulgar and obscene magazines. Their methods of studying subjects also betray a lack of serious effort and the will to understand. Study of text-books and reference books by standard authors is given a go-by. ‘Short-Notes’ and ‘Questions and Answers’ have become the fashion of the day. Private tuition appears to the students to be another such easy way to pass. A teacher should, in fact, feel it an insult to his calibre and devotion to duty if his students are required to take tuition from others. The effect of all such short-cuts on the students’ minds has been ruining of his initiative, will and ability to understand. It is also often found that the teachers too encourage such things. Some teachers actually goad their students to come to them for private tuition. This will affect the student’s morale. An impression will be created in their minds that one need not do one’s duty honestly and could find some other crooked avenues for earning. It is this loss of moral integrity that makes students take to immoral means to get through the examination when all other ‘short-cuts’ fail.
Be Hindus to the Core
All these perversions have to be nipped in the bud and the great qualities of head and heart planted in the young minds right from the elementary school stage. This can be done only when we draw upon the limitless storehouse of our ancient as well as modern literature which depicts our sublime national ethos and our mighty national heroes and events. Especially, our young men must be made to feel proud of being born in the great lineage of Rishis and Yogis. If we have to live up to their legacy, we must live as Hindus, we must appear as Hindus and also we must make ourselves felt by the whole world as Hindus. It is only when we learn to respect ourselves, our national customs and manners that we can hope to command respect from the outside world also. In fact the world wants us to be true to ourselves and not to become mere carbon copies of some X,Y or Z.
Once a Frenchman came to me. He was invited for food. He gladly sat on the floor and took our food just like us with fingers – no spoon, no fork, no tables. He said that he relished it all the more, and remarked: "When we come to you we must know and experience your ways and specialities of behaviour and customs. Otherwise where is the fun in our coming all the way to your country?
Once the Akhila Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishat, a student organisation, had taken up a project to bring some students form NEFA and give them education in Poona and some other places in Maharashtra. The plan was to accommodate them in homes so that they could imbibe our culture and feel emotionally attached to our motherland and our people. When the organisers of the project came to me, I advised them not to lodge those students in westernised homes. They must reside in homes where the light is lit before the deity every morning and evening, where our festivals and customs are very much alive, and where they can imbibe our cultural norms. It is through such samskars that our vast concourse of people spreading over vast regions of this land have maintained their identity as a single national entity amidst all the turmoils and have lived as an immortal nation.
The Edinburgh Review wrote as far back as 1872 that ‘the Hindu is the most ancient nation on the earth and has been unsurpassed in refinement and culture’. But unfortunately, the children of such an ancient and great race themselves have fallen a prey to foreign propaganda and forgotten their ancient history and heritage. Such a society with its roots pulled out form its past can never hope to build a bright future for itself.
Once, during one of my visits to Delhi, I happened to meet Sri M.C. Chagla. He was then the Minister of Education at the Centre. He had just returned from a visit to Russia. He narrated his impression of how the youth there appeared to be serious in their studies and imbued with great ambitions of establishing their supremacy in all fields of life. He then asked me, " Well, I have not been able to understand what is wrong with our youth, why our students are given to strikes, indiscipline and disorder. But I find that in your organisation the young men are disciplined and dedicated. So, could you suggest some remedy for our youth problem?"
I asked him, "Well, have you placed any great ideal before the students?" He replied, "I must confess, no!" I then said, " Without a noble ideal to inspire them, how can we expect our students to imbibe discipline and dedication to higher values in life? It is such high idealism that can make them restrain their wild impulses, and direct their bubbling energies into constructive, nation-building channels. And inculcation of national idealism should have to start with the teaching of our true history in schools and colleges. Our children will have to be taught that they are born in a land of great heritage, that their forebears had set up the highest standards in material as well as spiritual achievements. Then only they too will be enthused to strive to attain the same or even greater heights.
"However, in our schools we teach the very opposite. The most glorious period of our history is denoted as dark ages; periods of slavery are glorified. The exploits of aggressors are eulogised and not the inspiring role of our freedom fighters. Our history is for the most part occupied by the Muslim period and, later, the British period. If this is how we teach our children – that they had nothing great in the past, that they have been a beaten people always, that it was only after the advent of Moghuls and, later the English, that this nation began to look forward – in short, that they had no past worthy of pride and no ancestors worthy of emulation, can we expect anything worth while from them?
"However, if you were to speak in glowing terms of the achievements of the Hindus in the past, and of their heroism and self-sacrificing zeal in their struggle against the foreigners – whether they were Greek, Muslim or English – you will be immediately branded as "communal"! Therein lies the hitch, the real crux of the problem!" Sri Chagla fell silent for a minute and confessed that it was so.
And what has been the outcome of this self-humiliating and stultifying type of education? Some years ago, one Dr. Chaturvedi was to visit Germany. There was an Indo-German Association, which sent him an invitation. As soon as he got down at the airport dressed like a European the people were taken aback. But they consoled themselves with the thought that it might be to protect himself against the cold. They took him through decorated streets, with four main arches named after the four Vedas, in which he was supposed to be proficient. For he was a "Chaturvedi"! A young lady, the secretary of the Association spoke in chaste Samskrit welcoming him. There was one more speech – that too in Samskrit. In reply, the ‘learned’ Doctor spoke in English on a subject, which had no relevance whatsoever to the welcome speech! The simple reason was, he did not know a word of Smaskrit, let alone the Vedas. The cat was out of the bag. All further programmes were cancelled and the ‘learned’ Doctor was unceremoniously asked to fly back by the next plane.
In contrast, see how our great ones have behaved. When Swami Ramatirtha reached the shores of America, the co-passengers were all in a hurry to take out their luggage and depart. However, the saffron-clad sannyasi sat tranquil and unperturbed, enjoying the scenery all round. An American gentleman who happened to be at the port accosted him and enquired where he wanted to go, where his luggage was, whether he had any introductory letter and so on. Ramatirtha replied that he carried no luggage, no money and, much less, any introductory letter. The American, dumbstruck, asked, "How then do you manage to carry on in this foreign country? Is there no friend, no one of your acquaintance here?" To this Ramatirtha just smiled and, placing his hands affectionately on the shoulders of that American, said, "Of course, I have one, and that is yourself!" At this, the American gentleman felt deeply touched, and in truth became his ardent friend and admirer and made excellent arrangements for the Swami’s sojourn in America.
Forget Not the Base
But such depths of love and wisdom can be touched only if we start getting the necessary training right form our infancy. For that, the right type of atmosphere has to be created from the elementary school stage itself. Once I went to a school in Nasik. Hundreds of pictures were put up on the walls of the corridor. But all of them were scenes depicting battles and such other things form Europe and elsewhere. Not one was from our history or our epics. I asked the Headmaster how these pictures could inculcate the right spirit in our younger generation.
Why not have the pictures of the battle of Haldighat, of Panipat, etc.? To that he remarked that one should not have a narrow outlook limiting one’s horizon to the boundaries of one’s own country. Such perverted notions of internationalism and similar other high platitudes will only play havoc on our young minds.
Without the firm base of nationalism, to speak of humanity and internationalism would be losing at both ends. And so far as our national philosophy and heritage is concerned it has always embraced within its fold the highest good of all humanity. As such, preaching of our nationalism, even in its most intense form, will never divert the minds of our children form the highest values of human welfare. On the contrary, it only strengthens these human values.
These are some of the broad hints which the teachers, as mouldres of young minds, may usefully keep in mind.