The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has been striving to unite the society with this belief for the last 95 years. Vijayadashami is the founding day of RSS. According to Indian tradition, Navratra and Vijayadashami are important festivals in terms of Shakti worship and Shakti Prabodhan.
This is a small effort to introduce the ten-day Shakti Prabodhan this Vijaya Dashmi to different sections of the society.
- The North-eastern region of India is a group of eight Himalayan states, including seven sister i.e. Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura, as well as Sikkim. Initially a political entity with the states of Assam, Manipur and Tripura, the region had undergone political changes over time, such as Nagaland (1961), Meghalaya (1971), Mizoram (1987) and Arunachal Pradesh (1987). Today, the network of RSS branches is well woven in all these states.
- The people living in this region belong to different tribes. According to a survey, more than 125 tribes live in the region. The majority of Vaishnavite Hindus live in the Imphal Valley of Assam, Tripura and Manipur while the people of hilly region are Nature Worshipers. Their language, culture, food and dress everything is different from ours. Extremely humid weather, heavy rains, wide rivers like the ocean, home to diseases like malaria, it was more difficult for RSS to reach in such regions. But with an unwavering aspiration to overcome adversity, with a resolute commitment to the cause and a strong commitment to leadership, the activists accepted the challenge and today not only entrenched the idea of ’Team First’ in the entire region but transformed it into a great strength and support system like a huge banyan tree.
- Northeast India is a strategically important region. The region is bordered by China, Burma, and Bangladesh. The whole world knows the so called “friendship” between India and China. China invaded Indian Territory from Arunachal Pradesh in 1962. At that time, Arunachal Pradesh was known as NEFA, the North East Frontier Agency. Later in 1975, late. Mrs.Indira Gandhi renamed it as Arunachal Pradesh and gave status of Union Territory, while late. Mr.Rajiv Gandhi had given it the status of the entire state. I witnessed this event in Itanagar, the capital of Arunachal Pradesh.
- It took the dawn of 1946 for Sanghkarya (RSS work) to reach in Assam. A young man named Mr.KeshavDev Bawri was living in Guwahati at that time. He had written a letter to the Sangh office in Delhi suggesting to start a Sangh branch in Assam. Taking note of that letter, four activists from Delhi, Mr.Vasantrao Oak, Mr.Dadarao Parmarth, Mr.Shrikrishna Paranjape, and Mr.Shripad Sahasrabhojani reached Guwahati in 1946 and under the leadership of Mr.Dadarao Parmarth, Sanghkarya was started in Assam. This has been mentioned by Mr.Shashikant Chauthaiwale, a senior preacher from Assam in his book “Meri Pracharak Yatra” (2020).
- There seems to be some divine equation between adversity and work of RSS. Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated on January 30, 1948, just before the beginning of Sanghkarya in Assam. Taking advantage of this, Mr.Pandit Nehru, who dreamed of ‘crushing’ the RSS, banned the RSS. The ban was lifted due to the Satyagraha of the Sangh Swayamsevaks in 1949 and the collapse of the anti-government atmosphere. But the problems of the Sangh workers were not alleviated.
After the ban, Mr.Thakur Ram Singh became the state pracharaks of Assam. Born in Punjab province, Mr.Thakur Ram Singh was an M.A. in History(Post Graduate) and was a brilliant persona. He was a great hockey player. He had been a Sangh Pracharak since 1944. After spending the first few years in Punjab, he was posted to Assam. He was the State Pracharak of Assam from 1949-1971. During this period, he expanded RSS work to many parts of Northeast India. This is to be his biggest contribution.
- In Assam, it was a big task to get acquainted with the locals and bring them into the team. He was assisted in this task by Mr.Kamakhya Ram Barua, a former Judge of Manipur. Mr.Ram Singh used to travel all over the province on a motorcycle. Although the Sangh had nothing to do with the assassination of Mr.Gandhi, the propaganda spread by the Congress had a large impact on the general public, so the Sangh Pracharak had to face many difficulties in the beginning. Even in such a hard time when there was lack of sleep, lack of food, difficulty in traveling, Saghkarya had actually increased.
- Among the early campaigners were Mr.Madhukar Limaye, Mr.Sudhakar Vaidya, Mr.Haribhau Mirasdar, Mr.Vinayak Kanitkar, Mr.Bhaskar Kulkarni, Mr.Shashikant Chauthaiwale, Mr.Shrikant Joshi and Mr.Subhash Sarvate. They all blended into Sangh so much that they never even felt like they were outsiders. They accepted local language, food and everything quickly.
- Northeast India is a melting pot. Although Assamese is the predominant and widely spoken language in Assam, there are also a large number of Bengali speakers in Assam. There are Hindus as well as Muslims. There are millions of Muslim infiltrators from Bangladesh, as well as thousands of Hindu refugees. There are also a number of tribal groups, such as the Nagas, Mizos, and Bodos, who having anti-National sentiments influenced by Christian missionaries who under the guise of social services brainwash the locals. They are all very sensitive about their language, culture and identity. Therefore, sometimes on the question of language and sometimes on the issue of identity, the social situation becomes very explosive. Life in the 1960s and 1980s was affected by the Naga movement, the Mizo movement, the linguistic riots in Assam, the historic anti-infiltration movement, the ULFA’s violent anti-India campaign, and the violent agitation created by the roar of Bodo identity. In the violence of ULFA, many good workers of the Sangh were killed and the work of the Sangh was severely damaged. But by digesting all these poisons, the great work of the Sangh workers has been done to spread the message of unity, brotherhood in the society and to keep the society united. Social diversity and the superficiality that results from it, as well as inequality, was a challenge to team work, as was the nature of Assam.
- Getting to Assam was not as convenient as it is today. In many places travelling was needed to be by train, ship, bus, sometimes even on foot. The bicycle was though the best option. Mr.Madhukar Limaye used to travel by bicycle continuously. Due to the partition of the country, it was a big detour to Assam and it took two to three days to reach.
- After the Emergency of 1975, however, the Sanghkarya of Assam gained momentum. With the initiative of Honourable Mr.Balasaheb Deoras, the third Sarsanghchalak, a network of organizations was started in Assam with the Sangh. Work of All India Organizations like Kalyan Ashram, Vidya Bharti, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, Bharatiya Janata Party started. New workers came for this. Local activists also stood in large numbers. At the same time, efforts had been made to understand the local problems and find effective solutions.
- I myself was in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam from 1975 to 1989. Some of the schools started by Vivekananda Kendra in Arunachal Pradesh. The responsibility for starting Vivekananda Kendra Vidyalaya at Kharsang in Tirap district was given to me. Then in 1979, when the movement for Vidyabharati started in Assam, the then state pracharak Mr.Shrikant Joshi gave me the responsibility as the organizing minister of Vidyabharati. In that volatile situation, with the help of local activists, we were able to start Vidya Bharati’s Shankar Dev Shishu Niketan at 13 places in the states of Assam, Manipur and Tripura. Today the number of schools has crossed 600.
- Mr.Sudarshanji was then a preacher in the eastern region. Mr.Srikant Joshi was the Province Pracharak. Under his leadership, the workers of all the organizations started working in coordination with each other and confidence was created that the picture of Assam could change. An Indian Tribal Cultural Forum was set up to convince the tribal community that their culture, civilization and language was under threat due to agenda of Christian missionaries’ conversion. The Sangh supported the Naga Social Reform Movement led by Rani Guidinleu. The Sangh gave its full support to the agitation of the people of Assam against the Bangladeshi infiltration.
- During Honourable Dr.Hedgewar’s birth centenary campaign, when some Sangh workers went to Mizoram and started making contact with the people there, the spontaneous reaction of the people (all of whom became Christians) was that if you had come to us 20 years ago, we would not have become Christians. The visible effects of the changes that the Sangh has brought to the people of Assam and adjoining states through such a massive public awareness campaign are now visible to the world. Current Sarsanghchalak Honourable Dr.Mohanrao Bhagwat says, it is a very difficult task to inculcate Sanghkarya teamwork in the ‘Assam’ region, which is both geographically and geopolitically diverse. We can only bow before the relentless self-confidence and strong will of the pracharaks who came here 60-70 years ago, who participated in hard and inculcated teamwork. The social and political situation of current times is different, compared to earlier times, tools are now becoming more readily available. The acceptance of teamwork, team thinking has also increased. All this has been made possible by the tireless efforts and sacrifices of the previous Pracharaks and RSS members.
Translation – Ms.Jayashree Salunke https://twitter.com/salunke008
Original Article – Mr.Virag Pachpor
(Author is a Senior Editor NewsBharti.com and National Convener of Muslim Rashtriya Manch (Muslim National Forum)