RSS Ushers in 90th Anniversary With Organiser's Spl Edition, Vande Mataram
Mohan Bhagwat at the 90th Anniversary of RSS.
New Delhi: RSS supremo Mohan Bhagwat has said that “Sangh is an addiction” that takes a little effort to understand, while launching a Collector’s Edition of Organiser magazine to mark the 90th anniversary of the RSS.
Curiously, the function held here on Thursday concluded by playing the national song Vande Mataram even as the rest of the country debated a Supreme Court order that made national anthem compulsory before movie screenings to “instill patriotism”.
RSS leaders said that this is not anomaly as the Sangh accords the same respect to both the National Anthem and the National Song.
When asked about the absence of the National Anthem, Prafulla Ketkar, the editor of the Organiser, said that the Supreme Court has made it clear that the National Flag needs to be present at the occasion where the anthem is played. The RSS event had a saffron flag, not the tricolor.
“Here we do not have a National Flag but the saffron one. It is not a communal symbol. Saffron stands for light and knowledge. It is civilizational, culturally inspiring and differentiates between the state and the nation (sic),” Ketkar said.
In the Collector’s edition of the Organiser dedicated to ‘Bharat Mata’, is the pledge originally written by the founder Dr KB Hedgewar and retrieved from RSS Archives, which was given to 99 sevaks in 1928.
Ketkar said the pledge shows that the Sangh had a role in the country’s independence struggle. The pledge reads, “I hereby remembering the Almighty and my ancestors, take a pledge that I have become the member of the RSS to protect the Hindu dharma, Hindu sanskriti and Hindu society and to make this Hindu Rashtra independent (sic).”
“Vande Matram invokes the feeling of the nation as mother. It was a uniting factor but now it is branded as communal. Ali brothers objected to the song and since then it changed the discourse around the song,” he added.
Sangh member from Jammu, Abid Meer, said, “We know about the SC ruling for the cinema halls – it is to instill nationalism but at the Sangh functions the preference is given to the National Song. The reason why we sing the song over the Anthem is because the former celebrates Akhand Bharat – it paints the picture of the nation, though both are important (sic).”
Group Editor of Organiser, Jagdish Upasane, said there was no need for the Anthem at this function but that does not mean it is not sung at the Sangh functions.
“We usually have the Anthem in the beginning of any function, and we end it with Vande Mataram. In fact if ever the Anthem is played anywhere in the public, our sevaks are the first ones to stand and pay respect. But it was not required at this event. Our members respect the Constitution and both the Anthem and the Song,” he said.
Ketkar said a lot of effort went in putting together the collector edition of the Organiser as it involved fact checking and not basing it on "memories alone".
"Sangh has been subject to the narrative of ‘us and them’: we either have bhakts or virodhi. But there has never been an attempt to understand Sangh. This edition brings out the historical side, its impact on national life and how outsiders, the non-Sangh members look at it. The edition captures the journey from mockery to acceptance," he said.
Sarsangchalak Bhagwat said Organiser played an important part in creating awareness about Sangh - which has been involved in "manav kalyan" through its cadre.
“But people are still not able to understand the organisation. Effort needs to be made to understand Sangh because there is no other existing model. There is no second Sangh in the world. There is no comparable (to it) known in the world," he said.
“People are amazed about this and are also confounded how to know Sangh: jaane toh jaane kaise? Prayas karna hoga sangh ko samajhne ka, swayamsevak ko bhi karna hoga (An effort should be made to understand the Sangh, even by swayamsevaks),” he said.
“To understand Sangh people should not have preconceived notions about it but try to understand it with love. Sangh is an addiction... ek baar lag gayi toh lag gayi..."he said, and added that the "unity in diversity asset of our country is as old as the Sanatan Dharma."