The late Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, the founder and first Sarsanghachalak of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, had laboured incessantly for fifteen long years and given the Sangh an all-Bharat character. In his final address at the Nagpur OTC (Officers’ Training Camp) in 1940, he had remarked “I see here before me the Hindu Rashtra in a miniature form”. Soon after, on June 21, 1940, he left this world after entrusting the responsibility of the Sangh to Shri Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, alias, Shri Guruji.
After Doctorji, Shri Guruji became the Sangh’s second Sarsanghachalak and discharged this onerous responsibility till June 5, 1973, that is, for a full 33 years. These 33 years formed a very important period in the life of the Sangh as well as of the nation. It was full of many events – the Quit India movement of 1942, the partition of Bharat in 1947 and the poitical independence of partitioned Bharat, the terrible bloodshed before and after the Partition, the massive influx of Hindu refugees into Bharat, Pakistan’s invasion of Kashmir, Gandhiji’s assassination on January 30, 1948, the vitriolic campaign unleashed against the Sangh in its wake, the blitz of violence against it and the ban on it, creation of the constitution of Bharat and determination of the form and policies of the Government of Bharat, formation of linguistic provinces, China’s aggression on Bharat in 1962, Pt. Nehru’s demise, the Bharat-Pak war of 1965, the second Bharat-Pak war of 1971 and the birth of Bangladesh, activities aimed at de-Hinduisation of Hindus, intellectual upheavel throughout the nation and so on. It was through this crucial period that Shri Guruji nurtured and developed the Sangh.
Travelling ceaselessly all over the country, he gave a powerful impetus to the organisation everywhere. Moving from place to place and garnering individual after individual he spread the network of Sangh all over the country.
Doctorji had stated the Sangh’s ideology in a very brief outline. Shri Guruji elaborated its relevance most effectively. Extensive study, deep thinking, spiritual elevation coupled with the Guru’s grace, selfless devotion to the Motherland, boundless love for the people, unparalleled ability to win over individuals and such other outstanding qualities enabled him not only to strengthen the organisation everywhere but also to provide mature intellectual guidance to the country in every field. His basic and constructive thinking on Bharatiya nationhood, the nation’s destiny, and the right direction for its rejuvenation in modern times has now become the country’s great intellectual heritage.
Shri Guruji’s life was thus unique and comparable to that of a sage. From the spiritual point of view he was a great Yogi, but as a devotee of God as manifest in the Society this great man lived in the midst of common people and cared for them like a mother. On the one hand, he loved solitude and had a detached mind, while on the other he was tremendously active in the life of the nation. All-in-all, his was a many splendoured personality.
Shri Guruji had a clear vision of the ideal conditions in every sphere of national life. Guided by the firm faith that it was impossible for Bharat to become strong and confident enough to fulfil its destiny unless every aspect of the nation’s life was informed with the pure and inspiring ideology of the Sangh, he pioneered the formation of many fields of such activity. It was Shri Guruji’s tremendous drive and initiative that lay behind various nation-wide organisations like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Akhila Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram and the Shishu Mandir educational institutions. Even in the political field, he presented Dr. Mukherji with a priceless jewel like Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya.
In the event of temporary calamities, he guided various committees from time to time and motivated them to engage in relief work. He never allowed personal desires even so much as touch him. Consequently, Shri Guruji’s intellectual guidance has left a comprehensive and indelible stamp on the nation’s life. Thousands of people who received from him the blessings of the ideology of nationalism and a befitting view of life are even now active all over the country.
Those who were formerly under the spell of anti-national and fallacious thinking are now discarding their illusion and coming over to the Sangh’s way of thinking. Even the charges levelled against the Sangh at the level in the Government have been proved false and baseless. Along with this, the motivated propoganda indulged in by selfish politicians in order to discredit the Sangh is fast losing force. Rather, those indulging in this anti-propaganda themselves have lost credibility in the people’s mind.
Without caring in the least about the opposition, Shri Guruji kept on fearlessly expounding the thought of our ancient cultural nationalism. His outstanding achievement was that he not only expounded the pure concept of nationalism but inspired thousands to live by it. Anti-propaganda often made Shri Guruji a subject of controversy. Many of his statements were distorted by opponents for the sake of deriving political mileage. But Shri Guruji never got agitated, nor did he lose his equipoise. His mind could never be sullied by hatred. He never swerved from the goal of rejuvenation, in consonance with the Hindu view of life, of the Hindu Nation. He was extremely affectionate in his behaviour, but equally uncompromising in respect of principles. He never accepted any compromise that led to self-denial, self-deception or blemish on the nation’s prestige.
No wonder, people want to know more about such an outstanding personality. It is nearly 25 years since Shri Guruji died of cancer, but Sangh Swayamsevaks still cherish many of his inspiring memories. In fact, the circumstances prevailing in the country today vividly bring back memories of the penetrating thoughts he had expressed, just like a prophet, from time to time. It is obvious that a nation’s prestige stands on the quality of its people. Nor does a mere change of government create this quality. Shri Guruji stressed the premise that there was no alternative to a system that ensured constant character-building. We experienced the truth of this view in the period of Emergency.
The individual is the focal point of all types of actions, all kinds of transformation. If the individual is not good enough, he can set at naught even a good plan, a good system. The controversy that has arisen over the Constitution of Bharat today also justifies the all-out stress Shri Guruji had laid on human quality. As a successor of the two great dedicated predecessors Dr. Hedgewar and Shri Guruji, Sarsanghachalak Shri Balasaheb Deoras also did remarkable work in the direction of making the Sangh co-equal with the whole society by giving new thrusts to its social service projects. The opponents of the Sangh tried to spread confusion by creating the illusion that there was a difference in the thinking of the three Sarsanghachalaks, but Balasaheb himself clearly dispelled all such disinformation tactics on many an occasion. He used to say, Shri Guruji had been selected by Doctorji himself and he, Balasaheb, had been selected by Shri Guruji, and this fact was enough of an answer to those who spread the myth of difference between them.
A full biography of Shri Guruji would mean a big tome indeed. Even a collection of his thoughts or even of his selected correspondence would run into hundreds of pages. Actually, Shri Guruji owned nothing of private or personal nature. Like Doctorji, he too did not set up home as a householder. The Sangh, and by implication the nation, was his family. Samaj-Purush, the society, as corporate entity, was God for him, and he worshipped this God with selfless devotion all his life. He lived in the light of the Karma Yoga of the Gita. The ideology of the Sangh and the very aim of high endeavour for bringing glory to the Motherland always remained the integral parts of his life span of 67 years. A physical body that was not able to perform this service held no attraction for him. Cancer will do its work. I should keep on doing my chosen task, he used to say with smile.
Shri Guruji’s was a life of detachment and yet a life of intense action. This book is an attempt at throwing some light on the life of this Karma Yogi, dedicated to the nation – a great, ideal example that has become a perennial source of inspiration for the younger generation in every walk of the personal and social life of our country.