1) “The RSS was founded in 1925 by Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, a doctor from the central Indian town of Nagpur in Maharashtra, who agitated for both independence from the British crown and the strict segregation of Hindus and Muslims.” [Palash Ghosh: Hindu Nationalist’s Historical Links to Nazism and Fascism]
2) “The first head of the RSS, Keshav Baliram Hedgewar (1889-1940), too, could hardly be called a run-of-the-mill, believing Hindu. An urban, well-educated, modem doctor, with poor links with rural India and mainstream Hinduism, he like many pioneers of Hindu nationalism was an aggressive critic of Hinduism and was exposed to religious and social reform movements, especially the Ramalcrishna Mission founded in 1897 by Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902). Hindu nationalism, on this plane, was popular European political theory and political history telescoped into South Asia as a form of toady Hinduism.” [Source: The Demonic and the Seductive in Religious Nationalism: Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and the Rites of Exorcism in Secularizing South Asia by Ashis Nandy, 2009]
3) “In the year 1916, Dr. Hedgewar, after having spent six years in Calcutta as a student of medical science, returned to Nagpur, ostensibly as a doctor, but actually as a freedom fighter believing in the bomb cult of Bengal revolutionaries. Back at Nagpur, Dr. Hedgewar, without using his degree for earning bread for his poor family, gave his whole time to the Freedom Movement as a follower of Lokmanya Tilak and also of the revolutionary path of bomb-cult. By 1920, when the inscrutable hand of destiny removed the Lokmanya from the national scene, Gandhi assumed the mantle of leadership of the Freedom Movement and gave the call for his first nationwide Satyagraha, commonly known as Non-Cooperation Movement, Dr. Hedgewar, a Tilakite and a revolutionary, jumped into it, went to jail and saw the new political technique introduced by Gandhi from within. Thus Dr. Hedgewar personified a blend of Bengal's revolutionary path and Tilak's and Gandhi's approaches to mass movement.
Dr. Hedgewar was born a man of action not given to philosophizing. Though differing with Gandhiji's approach to politics, he had a deep commitment to the same philosophy of life and cultural tradition.
In 1925 Dr. Hedgewar, without any public fanfare, founded the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (R.S.S.) at Nagpur and introduced a new technique of organization in Indian public life. Dr. Hedgewar's burning patriotism and transparent idealism was able to attract M.S. Golwalkar, the only son of a poor teacher, himself a professor of Zoology in Benaras Hindu University of Madan Mohan Malaviya, another stalwart of pre-Gandhian era and a powerful exponent of the Hindu philosophy of life. Had Golwalkar not come under the influence of Dr. Hedgewar, he, as an ardent disciple of Swami Akhandanand, would have become a Sanyasin of Ramkrishna-Vivekanand order. But destiny was working in a different direction. The coming together of Dr. Hedgewar and Golwalkar in the R.S.S. stream meant the confluence of several streams flowing from the same fountainhead of Bharatiya philosophy of life and a coming together of action and philsophical thought. Golwalkar, popularly known as Guruji, because of his flowing beard, spoke out the philosophy which Dr. Hedgewar had put into action through the R.S.S. It was this R.S.S. stream which attracted Deendayal Upadhyaya, again a genius born in poverty. Having lost his parents in his childhood, he acquired education through his own efforts, but dedicated his life to the cause of national freedom and reconstruction. (extract from Integral Humanism ed. Devendra Swarup)
Note: Atal Behari Vajpayee issued a commemorative postage stamp to mark the 110th birth anniversary of 'freedom fighter' and founder of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), Dr. K.B. Hedgewar, on March 18, 1999 in New Delhi. . On this occasion, the Prime Minister while addressing mainly a gathering of RSS cadre, took credit for the fact that by issuing the postage stamp his government had corrected an injustice whereby the great freedom fighter and patriot Dr. Hedgewar was denied his due place in the history of independent India. Rajendar Singh, chief of RSS, and Union Home Minister L.K. Advani too spoke on the occasion and described Dr. Hedgewar as a great revolutionary. [The Freedom Movement & The RSS: A Story of Betrayal, by Shamsul Islam]
3.2.1Vicious words towards Muslims
“As a result of the noncooperation movement of Mahatma Gandhi the enthusiasm in the country was cooling down and the evils in social life which that movement generated were menacingly raising their head. As the tide of national struggle came to ebb mutual ill-will and jealousies came on the surface. Personal quarrels raged all round. Conflicts between various communities had started. Brahmin-non-Brahmin conflict was nakedly on view. No organization was integrated or united. The yavana-snakes [i.e. Muslims] reared on the milk of non-cooperation were provoking riots in the nation with their poisonous hissing.” [Shri Guruji Samagra Darshan, Vol. IV, Nagpur, n.d., p. 39-40, cited in The Freedom Movement & The RSS: A Story of Betrayal, by Shamsul Islam]
3.3Nathuram Godse, killer of Gandhi
RSS tries to distance itself form Godse even as he remains their hero, and was UNAMBIGIOUSLY AN ACTIVE MEMBER OF RSS.
“The assassination of M. K. Gandhi in 1948 for being soft on Muslims by a former RSS member and an active proponent of Hindu nationalism” [Sucheta Mazumdar, Women on the March: Right-Wing Mobilization in Contemporary India, Feminist Review, No. 49, Feminist Politics: Colonial/Postcolonial Worlds (Spring, 1995), pp. 1-28]
4. “Nanaji Deshmukh, a leading Hindutva ideologist, in a document entitled ‘Moments of soul searching’, dated 8 November 1984 and circulated by the Hindu supremacist organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (National Volunteer Force-RSS) soon after Indira Gandhi’s assassination, gives an indication of the line of revisionist rethinking (‘soul searching’) on the part of the Hindutva forces. He writes, ‘on January 30,1948 a Hindu fanatic who was a Marathi and had no relation with the RSS, [Sanjeev: ha!!!] nrather was a bitter critic of the Sangh, committed unfortunate killing of Mahatma Gandhi… .We ourselves saw how selfish elements, who were well acquainted with this incident, deliberately declared a murderer to be a member of the RSS and also spread the rumour that the RSS people were celebrating throughout the country death of Mahatma Gandhi, and thus they succeeded in diverting the love and the feelings of loss and hurt in the hearts of people for Gandhi.’ This document has been reproduced in full in S Islam, Undoing India. The RSS Way, Delhi: Media House, 2002, pp 53 – 60. It is worth noting here, in passing, that in this document, Deshmukh endorses Rajiv Gandhi, Mrs Gandhi’s son, unhesitatingly: ‘he [Rajiv] is entitled to get full cooperation and sympathy from the countrymen, though they may belong to any language, religion, caste or political belief.. .so that he can take the country to real prosperous unity and glory’ (ibid, p 60).
A similar revisionist view is discernible in an interview given by Prof Rajendra Singh, a former RSS chief, to Outlook magazine (19 January 1998) published from Delhi. In this interview he makes a mild criticism of Godse by characterising him as a well intentioned nationalist whose killing of Mahatma Gandhi was the wrong method to achieve his goals. To the question ‘What is your opinion about Nathuram Godse who killed Gandhi?’ Prof Singh replied, ‘Godse was motivated by [the philosophy of] Akhand Bharat. Uske mantavya achhe thhe par usne achhe uddeshya ke liye galat method istemal kiye [His intention was good but he used the wrong methods]’. This interview has been reproduced in Communalism Combat, 11(100), August 2004, p 19” [Pritam Singh, ‘Hindu Bias in India’s ‘Secular’ Constitution: Probing Flaws in the Instruments of Governance,’ Third World Quarterly, Vol. 26, No. 6 (2005), pp. 909-926]
“the RSS has always tried to distance itself from Gandhi’s convicted assassin, Nathuram Godse, emphasising that despite his long association with the organisation he had not been a member when he killed Gandhi. Yet Noorani quotes excerpts of a 1994 interview with Gopal Godse, Nathuram Godse’s younger brother, in which he clearly debunks such claims. “[A]ll the brothers were in the RSS,” Gopal states. “Nathuram had become baudhik karyavah [intellectual worker] in the RSS.” Nathuram and the RSS may have been “in a lot of trouble after the murder of Gandhi,” Gopal recalls, “but he did not leave the RSS.” [Source]
It is a blatant lie spread by RSS that Nathuram was not from RSS. His brother, Gopal, made this abundantly clear:
A hallmark of Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS) is how swiftly they disown their brethren when they are caught red-handed in acts of terror – whether it’d be the cold-blooded killing of Gandhiji or the Samjhauta Express bombings. LK Advani while disowning Nathuram Godse had stated that Godse had “severed links with RSS in 1933… had begun to bitterly criticise the RSS”. Advani’s assertion was flatly contradicted by none other than Nathuram Godse’s brother Gopal, who was also an accused at the trial for conspiracy to murder. Speaking in New Delhi (The Statesman; December 24, 1993), in December 1993, on the occasion of release of his book “Why I Assassinated Mahatma Gandhi”, Godse criticized Advani while stating:
“I have countered him [Advani], saying it is cowardice to say that. You can say that RSS did not pass a resolution, saying, ‘go and assassinate Gandhi’. But you do not disown him [Nathuram]. The Hindu Mahasabha did not disown him. In 1994, Nathuram started doing Hindu Mahasabha work when he had been a baudhik karyavah in the RSS.”
In an interview to Frontline magazine on January 28, 1994, when asked he if had been a part of RSS, he had stated:
All the brothers were in the RSS. Nathuram, Dattatreya, myself and Govind. You can say we grew up in the RSS rather than in our homes. It was like a family to us.
All attempts by RSS to disown one of their own has backfired at them. In fact, even today, office bearers of BJP openly show their love for Nathuram Godse.
I refuse to read Godse’s infamous statement in court that has gone viral on social media. I am convinced he is even more poisonous in his hatred for the “Muslim”. Such blind bigots and haters of fellow Indians sicken me.
3.3.1Nathuram’s extreme bigotry and falsehoods
“Nathuram Godse’s statement to the Punjab high court on May 5, 1949. Expressing no regret for the assassination, he passionately argued that killing Gandhi was a necessary act to avenge the betrayal that the new nation had suffered because of that compromising, Muslim-loving so-called Father of the Nation who he thought was actually “Father of Pakistan”. In his eloquent rage, Godse did not acknowledge that Gandhi had resisted the idea of Partition till the end.” [Source]