June 21 marks the 81st death anniversary of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) founder Dr Keshav Baliram Hedgewar. Born in 1889, Dr Hedgewar founded RSS on September 27, 1925, on the auspicious occasion of Vijaya Dashami. He breathed his last on June 21, 1940.
On Dr Hedgewar’s death anniversary, here are some lesser-known facts:
- Hedgewar was born in Nagpur to a humble Telugu Brahmin family that hailed from Kandakurthi village in Telangana
- He had 5 siblings - Mahadev, Seetaram, Saroo, Rajoo and Rangoo; and was raised amid great financial challenges by his uncle as his parents died when Hedgewar was only 13.
- He faced expulsion from school for singing Vande Mataram.
- He received his medical degree from Calcutta Medical College.
- During the 1913 Damodar floods, he acted as a physician in the relief team.
- The impetus to create RSS was brought about by Hedgewar’s extensive readings of the Hindu nationalist ideologue, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar’s books (particularly the book ‘Hindutva’, 1923).
- In 1925, he met Savarkar in the Ratnagiri prison and was thoroughly moved by his ideologies.
- He was an active member of Indian National Congress around 1920.