RSS Programme Opposed
Shri Vithal Chaudhari
Socialist Trade Union Leader
Once, I think it was in 1937 a very piquant situation had arisen, and anything would have happened but for the timely intervention of Panditji and Acharya Dhruvji. As B.H.U. was a National University, guided and headed by the best and selfless personality like Mahamana, free political activities of all hues used to be its natural features. There were national resolutionaries (stamped as terrorists by alien Govt.) Arya-samajists, Communists, Socialists, Congress and various regional groups in the campus. Among them was also a strong group of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) which used to have its drill, discipline and teachings about Hinduism in the University’s amphitheatre, every evening. In that year the RSS had decided to give a grand felicitation welcome to Dr. Hedgewar, their Sarasanghchalak. Accordingly, a big 2-day programme was announced by them processions, slogans, drills, lectures; band etc. culminating in a big rally at the theatre.
Socialist youth league was opposed to this. We prepared an 8-page pamphlet signed by nine leading post-graduate and engineering students and distributed them in every room of all hostels. We had requested the students to oppose the RSS demonstration as we explained that RSS was out and out a communal organization, it preached antiunity philosophy in the most provocative and Gobblesian manner. We pointed out the RSS welcomed even Hitler and his fascism and that it conceived Indian Nation to be built on these lines. It was therefore, antinational activity and to allow such demonstration may degenerate into any untoward situation. We appealed to students to join the opposition with black flags and lodge protest.
Panditji and Shri Anand Shankar Dhruv, called us and tried to persuade us to give up our opposition in the name allowing a democratic right to everybody. We argued in the name of nationalism and unity; and pointed out that Indian National Congress had condemned fascism and hence we should not give any concession in the name of freedom. After arguments, and it was the longest in my life with any national leader of his stature, Panditji patted me on the back for my perhaps over enthusiasm and laughingly resolved the crisis by telling them (RSS) to abandon processions, and only to hold their rally at amphi-theatre. We agreed with it as a compromise. After all it was Panditji’s advice: he warned our enthusiastic delegation to keep cool throughout the RSS programme and avoid any provocation.
I would like to mention one very touching experience. For students of today it will be hardly possible to come across such loving and blissful personality as Panditji. In the months of December-January, a season of extreme chill in Northern India, he, this old guardian used to visit boys in their rooms early morning before 7 a.m. and prevail upon them to leave their warm beds and prepare for exercise and morning studies. The students obeyed with great respect towards this rishitulya Guru. Panditji was more than mother to all, wherever and whenever he appeared.
I have never seen such warmly and indisputably revered individual in my whole life; nor do I hope to see any in future. Nation is built by men like him, and so are students regenerated under them. That is why my memories go back to those days with same kind of excitement and feel that I remain struck there. I pay my deep homage to Panditji with all the ties of love and respect for him.