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    Manu, Sangh and I

    PREFACE

    My article, Sangh, Manu & I was published in the Diwali number of Vive in !""#$ %eaders lied thearticle$ Many of them met me personally to convey their appreciation and others did so by writing

    letters$ heBouddhik'hief of %ashtriya Swayamseva Sangh (%SS) *ari+i (Shri %anga *ari) met me in

    the Dadar office$ *ari+i is from erala$ Still he went through my Marathi article$ *e said, -I read yourarticle$ I lied it very much$ Such articles will go a long way in raising peoples confidence in our

    wor$. *is comments made me happy$

    Initially I was hesitant to write a article for the Diwali issue of Vivek$ I had to tell the story of my

    perceptions and e/periences$ I am a Sangh swayamseva0 the ma+ority of the readers of Vivek are alsoswayamsevas$ he first person singulars, -I., -to me., -my views., -my opinion. are not used in the

    %ashtriya Swayamseva Sangh (he Sangh)$ Self1praise and boasting do not fit in the Sangh culture$ I

    am nothing, Sangh is everything is the motto for all in the Sangh$

    If I wrote about myself in my article, at times in a style, which might appear self1edifying, how would itbe received2 I had some doubts in my mind that it may not be appreciated$ 3ortunately nobody too any

    e/ception to my style of writing$

    4fter its publication, many people suggested that the article should be e/panded into a boo$ Myrespected friend 5irish 6rabhune, an %SS worer dedicated to the cause of *indu bacward and nomad

    tribes was very insistent$ Some other Sanghworers also +oined him$ his boo is an outcome of thefriendly pressure they brought to bear on me$

    his boo is not my autobiography$ My life is not great enough to lend itself to such a venture$ In deed,this boo traces the evolution of my intellect$ It depicts only those incidents, which I felt are important in

    the intellectual conte/t$ Moreover, I have narrated my e/periences in the Sangh in the conte/t of social

    e7uality$

    4fter reviewing the manuscript, a friend ased me, -8ou have consistently narrated only goode/periences with the Sangh$ Did you never face an insult in the Sangh arising from your caste2. I said to

    him, -I truly never had the type of e/perience you are referring to$ 9ot even once$. I further told him,

    -9ever in the Sangh, thats why I have not written about it, but outside the Sangh, I once did have ane/perience lie that$. *is curiosity was ticled$ -:hat e/perience2. he ased$

    I started narrating it$ -In !";", I went to *yderabad for %amesh Devles marriage$ 3rom there I went to

    Shrisailam with my wife$ :hen I left *yderabad, a Sangh swayamseva handed me a note at the

    instance of Sheshadri 'hari, the

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    and they offered me a room$

    he dharmashalawas e/clusively forBrahmins$ 4t night I sat for dinner with them 4fterwards,

    however, the manager started in7uiring about who I was and what was mygotra, to which >rahmin sub1

    caste did I belong, and he came to now that I was not a >rahmin$

    -9e/t day, at lunch time the manager told me, 8ou cant sit here with all these 8 >rahmins$ :e will

    serve you lunch after they have finished eating$ I understood the meaning of what he said$ I felt it was

    the worst insult I had encountered in my life$ I felt I should not stay in the premises even for a moment$

    So I collected my luggage and bade farewell to the dharmashala$.

    hat was the sole incident in my life when I was looed down upon because of my caste$ *ence is

    deeply etched in my memory$ 4t Sanghprogrammes, we and often said, -he pangat is full$ 8ou can

    tae your lunch afterwards.$ he words are the same but there is a world of difference in the underlying

    sentiments$ ?nlie in the Sangh, caste pride came to the fore in the dharmashala$

    In narrating my e/periences in the Sangh, I will figure throughout in the narrative as without me, the

    story will not be able to move forward$ I am a swayamseva a worer of the Sangh, carrying out the

    assignment entrusted to me, and a volunteer practitioner of the %SS ideology and activities$ I have madean attempt here to narrate through my life what I perceived about the Sangh$ his boo contains

    numerous references to the Samajik Samarasta Manch(the Manch)$ here are many worers whose

    contribution by way of thought, action and competence to theManchswor is a great deal more than

    mine$

    he contribution of many Sangh leaders lie 4rvindrao *arshe, a Senior leader of Vishwa *indu

    6arishad (V*6), 6rof$ 4niruddh Deshpande, >ouddhi 'hief of Maharashtra Division of %SS and

    6rincipal of 'ommerce 'ollege, 6une, 9amdeorao 5hadge, a lifelongPracharakof %SS, >hiu+i Idate,Karyavahof %SS for Maharashtra Division, Suhadev 9avale, Sr %SS :orer, Mohanrao 5ovandi, Sr%SS andBharatiya Mazdoor Sangh(>MS) leader and last but not least, Damuanna Date is tremendous$

    Since I have not referred to their wor in detail in this boo, some readers may feel that I have not done

    +ustice to them$ >ut I am constrained by the fact that this boo is not a history of the Manch$ In writingabout myself and the Sangh, I have chosen the first person singular$ his format should be pardonable

    given the genre of the boo$

    I have not written this boo to mae myself feel elevated$ My ob+ecive in writing the boo is to convey

    to readers my social e/periences in a sphere of activities in which I have an abiding faith and to which Ihave always given top priority in my life$ he transformation which the %SS has brought about in

    person1to1person or even in a family1to1family relationships without maing any fuss about sociale7uality is uni7ue$ I feel in todays circumstances a worer lie me should place before people hise/periences of life$ =f course it is the readers who should +udge how much I succeeded in conveying the

    social vision of the Sangh in my boo$

    Many people have rendered valuable assistance in the maing of the boo in Marathi$ My colleague

    Shivani =a read the boo twice to ensure that its grammar is faultless$ Dilip Maha+an cheerfullyaccepted the responsibility of publishing the boo$ he cover was 7uicly prepared by D @ @ele$ My

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    friend Sudhir Aoglear carefully went through the boo and made valuable suggestions for improvement$

    I am grateful to them all$

    Ramesh PatangeB B B B B

    Note on Translation

    he boo in Marathi was applauded not merely for its contents, but its tremendous informality$ In the

    first draft of translation, it became obvious that while the informality was maintained, the literarystandard was average$ 4fter discussions, it was decided that there was merit in sacrificing good

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    Manu, Sangh and I

    Chapter I

    %ecollection of the episode of the Vicharwedh (Vichar hought0 :edh 4nalysis)

    conference still gives me a fright$ Some people in the progressive and transformationist

    movements in Maharashtra had decided to organise a meet of thiners$ he firstVichar"edhmeet too place at Satara a district place in Maharashtra, on !"th and EFth

    3ebruary !""# with #harma as its theme$

    he 'onference was widely publiciCed$ o ensure free and unfettered deliberations,

    people belonging to diverse schools of thousands and viewpoints were invited toparticipate$ Social Scientist 8$ D$ 6hade, Scholar and haratiya Aanata 6arty and I

    attended the 'onference as %SS delegates$ >oth of us were to participate in a symposium

    and I was to read the bacground paper in it$

    he 'onference was taing place at a time of countrywide rethining and introspection$he entire nation was shaen by the %am+anmabhoomi movement$ 'omprehensive

    discussions on *indutva were taing place all around$ 4n unprecedented wave of *indu

    re1awaening was sweeping over all the land$ >oth 6rime Ministers, %a+iv 5andhi andViswanath 6ratap Singh had received big blows from the wave their 5overnments had

    collapsed$ he *indutva party, >A6 was gaining momentum and its canter had developed

    into an impressive gallop$

    he Vichar"edh meeting emerged against the bacdrop of *indutva$ Many thiners inMaharashtra had misconceived and misinterpreted *indutva as a religious movement and

    they were rather nervous that in+ecting religion in politics could tae India bac to

    medievalism$ hat was why a debate on religion was needed$

    he topic of the symposium in which I was to participate was, -Do %eligious sentiments

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    Manusmritihas become outdated and today it has no relevance to the *indu Society$

    Since I am in total agreement with Dr Salunhe on this point, there is no scope for any

    debate between us$ :e, of course, can have debate with those who uphold the sanctity oftheManusmritiand defend it$.

    My e/planation 7uietened the commotion in the audience$ *owever, whenever I

    remember the occasion, I e/perience a tense feeling in the pit of my stomach$ I was

    attending the 'onference as a representative of the Sangh what if I were to commit aserious lapse2 >ut I safely waled through the ordeal$

    3or me, the matter did not rest there$ It spurred me to thin deeper$ :hy was Manu

    associated with the Sangh, although the Sangh and Manu were not even remotely related2

    :as it all a part of evil propaganda2 =r was it mere ignorance2 he 7uestions led me tosome introspection$ I started to continuously mull them over in my mind$

    he process of introspection inevitably began with the 7uestion, -:ho am I2. he replywas simple, -I am a Swayamseva of the Sangh.$

    I started going to the %SSshakha(branch) since !"G#, at the age of seven$ :e were thenstaying in 5udavali village at 4ndheri$ Slums were recently springing up in >ombay and

    we lived in one of these new slums (Hopadatties$ =ur shaha was located in a mango1

    grove on the western side of 4ndheri$ oday a huge shopping centre is situated there$

    Very young ids in the Shaha are called Shishus$ My Shaha had some boys of my age$:e were grouped separately according to age, and played games appropriate to our age$

    he elder boys, who were called >aal Swayamsevas, had different programmes$

    During the Shishu age, the Sangh atmosphere produced deep and lasting impressions on

    my mind$ 6laying together, going for picnics twice a year, singing together 1 all thesee/periences stay with one for the rest of ones life$ 4t that age, we did not understand the

    importance and meaning of what we e/perienced nor the thought that lay behind them$

    =nes intellect is too young at that age, to fully grasp everything$ >ut impressions onmind last long$ he impressions made on my mind by the atmosphere in the Sangh in the

    childhood are still vivid$

    @ife in the Slum continued till education was over$ 6overty was rampant$ 4t an age when

    no child should remain hungry, I often went without meals$ *aving nown in the past the

    pangs of hunger, a hungry person invariably evoes compassion in me$ I feel an urge todo something for the person$

    Memory of an incident lingers from those days$ here was nothing to eat in the house, not

    a single grain$ :e1two brothers and two sisters1were acutely hungry$ =ur mother wasanguished by our hungry loos$ I found a two1rupee note while playing on theMaidan

    (5round)$ I brought it home$ My mother did not believe that I found the note while

    playing$ -ell me, from where have you stolen it2. she shouted$ -I have not stolen it, I

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    found it in the maidan$ 'ome and as >aban and Shanar, (my school friends) if you

    dont trust me., I pleaded$ She accepted the E1rupee note only after confirming that I had

    not stolen it$

    hose days of appalling poverty have left a permanent impression on my mind$ :hy hadI to suffer such frightful poverty, I often as myself now$ he answer is not pleasant$ It

    was my father who was solely responsible for our poverty$ My father had a tailoring shop$

    It is still there$ :e are shatriya >havsar by caste and tailoring is our traditionalprofession$ he 6atange community has tailoring shops at many places$ It is not difficult

    to earn two s7uare meals a day with tailoring$ *owever my father ran his shop in a royal

    style$ *e used to go to the shop at ten in the morning$ 'leaning, arranging the things,sipping tea and chewing tobacco too about two hours$ Soon, it was time for lunch$ :e

    ids carried the tiffin to him$ hen he had a nice, cosy nap till J p$m$ and started his wor

    leisurely by J$JF p$m$

    *e never delivered clothes to his customers on schedule$ he customer had to mae atleast G to K rounds$ he delays in deliveries meant loss of customers$ 9o customer came

    to my fathers shop again, after e/periencing his waywardness$ ?ntimely deliveries also

    meant no timely payments and inade7uate money for household e/penses$ I did not have

    te/tboos and noteboos until # to G months after the schools reopened$ It was anembarrassment to go to school without boos$ eachers and students looed down upon a

    student who came to school without boos$ his in turn, bred an inferiority comple/

    which ept one lifetime company$ Such fruits of poverty are carried through on entirelifetime$ I have preserved them$

    If it was not for our mother, we would not have survived$ She always tried to provide for

    us by cleaning vessels, washing clothes, doing other similar wor and at times, byborrowing money$ She illed all her personal needs for the sae of her family$ My fatherwas e/actly the opposite$ *is personal needs, his meals, his clothes, occasional dose of

    li7uor, and his comforts were of supreme importance$ *e did not permit any breach of his

    comforts$ *e was, in this respect, verily lie the Sthitapradnya, (a person who hastranscended all passions described in detail in 5eeta)$ I and my body$ hat is all$ he rest

    does not count$ I never saw him emotionally perturbed for any other reason$

    So far as I was concerned, my father did two good things$ *e got me enrolled in the

    Sangh$ *e personally too me there and never interfered with my association with theSangh$ =n the contrary, he encouraged it with some ardour$ Secondly, he never put a

    brae on my education$ *e did not force me to earn$ hese are the two things which made

    me what I am the Sangh and education$ 4lthough I nourish profound anger for my father,I give him credit for my association with the Sangh and my education$

    I had my primary education at the Suren Municipal School, 4ndheri$ he standard of

    municipal education in those days was good and teachers too were competent$ 4t least we

    had the good fortune of having competent teachers$ 3rom VIII standard onwards, I was astudent of theParle Tilak Vidyalaya $%igh School&$ 6arle ila Vidyalaya is a reputed

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    *igh School$ My four years in 6arle ila from grades VIII to LI were however not

    +oyful$

    I never had any emotional rapport with the atmosphere there$ he schools students came

    mostly from the middle class families in Vile 6arle, a Mumbai suburb, and its vicinity$eachers were trained and nowledgeable$ >ut a student living in poverty in a Slum, often

    coming to school without footwear, overlooed$ I too, pushed out of the een educational

    competition among mainstream students was at the School$ :hy should any attentionhave be in paid to a dunce of a boy who always failed orwanar$ I had beenpromotedfrom StandardVIII to IL$ =n the very first day, in front of the entire class, >orwanar ased me,

    -6atange, how did you manage to pass the e/am2.

    :henever I loo bac to the moments of humiliation I suffered, the episode in 6arle ila

    Vidyalaya stands out$

    My class teachers repeatedly advised me not to opt for oard e/aminations$

    Sadly, the inferiority comple/ rooted in poverty and the dismal e/perience of life in aSlum were both augmented by my e/periences at the 6arle ila Vidyalaya$ 9aturally I

    feel no emotional attachment whatsoever, to my alma mater, the 6arle ila$

    @ife in a Slum is a harrowing e/perience$ It is devoid of even the most elementary

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    amenities$ 4ll morning ablutions are performed in the open, in public view$ :hile

    growing up I have seen men who were se/ually intimate even with their own daughters or

    sisters$ here was a peculiar person in our chawl (a building with a number of very smalland cheap accommodation) calledMestriwhose main business was to dupe people$ *e

    was a tricster$ =nce he hurled a choice abuse at our landlord, and although I did notunderstand what it meant at the time, till today it is etched on my mind, @ater when I grew

    up, I understood its meaning$ Mestri had called the landlord -family fucer, son of a bitch(kutum'chod 'akreki aulaad).$ here were idnapped girls living in the Slums, and many

    couples lived together, pretending they were brothers and sisters$ here were many

    things, which were beyond my comprehension at that age$

    :hen ids in slums grow up a little, they tae to smoing cigarettes and 'idis, consuming

    li7uor and womaniCing$ I got involved with a group of boys who collected cigarette butts

    to smoe them$ 4nother older boy briefed me on the pleasures of drining, the various

    brands and inds of li7uor available, and the re7uisite 7uantities in which each could be

    consumed$ *e also described to me the pleasures of se/ual intercourse$ >oys in slums getthis valuable nowledge even before they come of age$ =f course my valour in these

    matters restricted itself to merely smoing discarded cigarette butts

    he reason for my limited progress in this direction was my shaha, and the teachers inthe shaha$ he atmosphere at home was not conducive to the cultivation of sound habits,

    or -sansaras.$ *owever, all the drawbacs in my household were more than made up

    during my one hour in the shaha$ hat one hour gave us a sense of being special$3ortunately for me, I got guidance from good teachers from a very young age right upto

    my adolescence$

    4ppa Desai was theKarya"ahof our shaha when I was a >aal Swayamseva$ *e wasemployed with 6remier 4uto @imited and after his daily 7uota of wor there, used tocome to the shaha$ During his tenure, attendance at the shaha was always heavy$ *e

    mi/ed with us and told us stories$ *e also paid visits to the homes of swayamsevas$ :e

    learned from him how to build personal rapport with the swayamsevas$

    4nother teacher who left impression was 'handraant Diwaar$ I personally benefitedimmensely from his guidance$ *e tried to appeal to the best in me$ *e taught me how to

    sing the Sangha5eet (song), and used to entrust me with small responsibilities of the

    shaha$ *e trained me in the tass of running a shaha including how to tell stories,maintain house to house contacts, and other organiCational matters$

    4lthough 'handraant Diwaar belonged to an average middle class family, he spent a

    good deal of money on us$ I was not able to +oin any picnic organised by my school, since

    I could not afford to pay the re7uired subscription$ 4t such moments I found it verydifficult not to cry$ >ut I never harassed my mother for the money$ 4s it is she was

    finding it tough to mae the two ends meet$ *ow much more could she be e/pected to

    bear alone2 8et I did not miss a single picnic or a camp organised by the shaha$

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    It was not that the attendance in the camp or +oining the picnics of the shaha were free of

    charge$ >ut Diwaar used to bear my e/penses$ I remember once I told him that I could

    not go to the camp because I did not have the money to pay the subscription$ *e laughedand said -Dont bother yourself about these petty things$ :e will tae care of it$ 8ou get

    ready to go to the camp$.

    :hen I was in S$S$', 4rvind Aoshi was the aryawah of the 4ndheri shaha$ >eing a

    matriculation student, I was busy with my studies and rather irregular in my attendance atthe shaha$ 4rvind Aoshi, however, came to my place every wee to en7uire about me and

    my studies$ >y some coincidence later, I became very close to the Aoshi family and a

    fre7uent visitor to their place$

    My father disposed off his shop in !"KE and started running his tailoring business out ofour home$ In a !F/!F slum of how could anybody wor2 Sangh worers observed this

    plight of ours$ 4rvind Aoshi graciously gave a place under the staircase of his bungalow to

    my father$ *e did not tae a single farthing in return$ *e even arranged supply of powerfrom his electricity metre$ he Aoshis were not very affluent people$ hey were four

    brothers staying together and holding +obs$ It was 4rvinds attachment to the Sangh and

    its Swayamsevas that prompted him to offer a place in his bungalow to my father$

    I did all my college related studying at this shop$ :hich increased my association with theAoshi household$ Aoshis mothers was called ai, a fond appellation for sister in Marathi,

    by all$ ai was a deeply religious lady who meticulously observed all fasts, rituals, and

    abstinences on scheduled religious days$

    4t all religious ceremonies, I moved about as though I were a member of their family$

    Initially, I felt overwhelmed$ I was apprehensive of unwittingly polluting the sanctity ofthe ceremonies$ =n many occasions, I had to enter their itchen to get some drining

    water$ ai would get up and give me water$ @ater one day she said, -See, %amesh, whenyou need water, go to the itchen and have it$ hen wash the cup and eep it in its place$

    8ou are not a stranger to us now, so dont behave lie one.$

    I did not realise then the social significance of what ai said$ May be ai herself was

    unaware of it$ She was, however, aware of one thing$ I was a swayamseva and hence Iwas one of them$

    4 swayamseva called 6rabhaar hanagan came to stay in our neighborhood at

    5udavali when I was studying for S$S$'$ hanagan a >rahmin from 9agpur, was recentlymarried$ *e had an ordinary +ob in the 6ort rust$ :e developed mutual affection$ :ecalled his wife -"ahini. (brothers wife), and 6rabhaar earned from us the epithet of

    mama (maternal uncle)$ :e did not have a true maternal uncle, but 6rabhaar, who was

    not of our caste, filled the gap$ During my S$S$' days, I used to have my meals at thehanagans daily$ he couple loved me as well as my brothers and sisters$

    My being a student at one of the finest high schools in >ombay did not produce any social

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    change in me or my thining$ =n the other hand, shaha stimulated social awareness in

    me$ he *indu society should be unified, all *indus are brothers, we are all one$ 9o one

    is big or small$ :e should go to each others homes, even their itchens$ :e should eattogether$ :e should have uninhibited contacts$ :e should develop good dispositions and

    cultivate virtues$ 4 Swayamseva should become a centre of gravity for others$ *e shouldbe looed upon as an asset to the society$ I had these thoughts firmly fi/ed in my mind by

    the time I matriculated$

    'uriously the people who made me thin this way were mostly >rahmins$ 4t the time, I

    was not familiar with words lie >rahmin, non1>rahmin and >hatshahi (rule by >hats i$e$

    >rahmins)$ I had not yet read any literature of progressive writers$ I was therefore notconversant with their concept of >rahminism and did not now what made one a

    >rahmin$ I only new that I was a swayamseva as were other member of the Shaha$

    4nd that was the cementing bond$

    I was neither class nor caste1conscious until I passed my tenth grade$ 4lthough I grew upin poverty, it never occurred to me that my poverty was the handiwor of some people

    who e/ploited me because of my caste or class$ My fathers laCiness and lac of initiative

    had made us poor$ My father was responsible for our miseries$ here was no point in

    saying that the caste system was responsible for our bacwardness$

    I studied in a reputed frontline school$ 9obody there ased me -o which caste do you

    belong2. In the shaha, of course, caste was never mentioned$

    Introduction is an important programme in the Sangha shaha$ hasarrao Mundle, a Sr

    leader of %SS, V*6 etc$ visited our shaha$ I still remember a dialogue which occurredwhen we introduced ourselves to him$ Mundle ased us a 7uestion$ -:ho are you2.$ he

    answers wereN

    -I am a student.$

    -I am a boy.$-I am a >rahmin.$

    -I am a Maratha.$

    -his is all wrong., >hasarrao said$ -:e are all%indusand that should be our onlyintroduction$ 4 *indu is one who loves this country.$

    hereafter repeatedly I heard this refrain in the shaha$ :e were constantly reminded thatwe were *indus$

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    -*industhan, with its saffron flag, belongs to *indus.$

    -:hy have you forgotten to say that you are a *indu2.

    -he *indu has risen$ :ith the saffron flag in his hand, he has risen to defend *indutva.$

    he impact made by *indutva in my childhood was deep and abiding$ It made me forget

    all casteist feelings$

    5radually I too, became a aryawah of a shaha$ Situated at 5udavali, the shaha has afair attendance$ >oys who came there belonged to different castes$ I started to share with

    them what I had imbibed$ I told them stories$ Soon, I earned a reputation as a good story

    teller$ In the Sangh, the swayamseva, while doing the shaha wor, automaticallydevelops his own faculties$

    elling a story presupposes preparing its format, and that some prior thought has goneinto the impact intended from it$ Soon I became accustomed with this narration process$

    oday if I am nown as a reasonably good orator who is able to articulate thoughts andideas, the entire credit goes to my story1telling drill in the >aal shaha$

    :hile managing the shaha as the aryawah, I was hardly aware that some time in the

    future we will have to wor for social transformation, organise service pro+ects, or try to

    build a harmonious and integrated society$ I was then neither capable of thining aboutthese things nor did any of the Sangh officers ever refer to these matters$ he one thought

    incessantly inculcated in us was that we are all *indus, the *indu society is our society,

    and we have to organise it$

    4n episode which occurred when I was aryawah is deeply etched in my memory$ 4

    Dalit family lived in the neighborhood of the shaha$ (he word -Dalit. had not yet come

    in vogue in !"KG1KK, when I was running the shaha$ Dalits were then nown asMahars)$

    he said family lived in poverty$ hey had a son, 5autam who attended the shaha$ =ncewhen I went to his place to in7uire about his absence, I came to now that his 5autams

    father had lost his +ob, and there was hardly anything in the house to eat$

    Aust about that time, the Vishwa *indu 6arishad had come into e/istence and had

    launched a scheme called *andful of grain$ I arranged supply of some foodgrains to5autams family from one of V*6 branches$ I was not at all conscious of caste while

    doing so$ It never occurred to me that the family was Maharand therefore untouchable, orthat it had suffered in+ustices and ine7ualities in the past which had to be corrected andcompensated$ hat was not what the Sangh taught us$ he only thought I had was that

    5autams family members were my *indu brethren and I must do something to help them

    in their distress$

    he three years I spent as a aryawah represent the golden period of my life$ hey wereblessed moments$ >eing a aryawah gives real pleasure and thrill from performing the

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    Sangh duty$ heshakhasdaily class lasts merely an hour$ >ut that Sangh hour becomes

    the supreme hour of the day, with the other EJ hours subordinate to it$ Shishus, >aals,

    youth form refreshing company$ onding in brotherhood with those who are not blood or even distant relations is

    a pleasuresome e/perience$

    hrough the shaha, I came into close, cordial contacts with a number of families$ Sabnis,

    an e/cise Inspector lived Shakhasvicinity, I vividly remember my first visit to his house$I had been told often in the Sangh meetings that it is one of the duties of the aryawah to

    visit swayamsevas homes and eep in constant touch with their families$ I was doing

    this diligently$ rahmins2 9or did the as me to e/plain what

    was meant by the *indutva of the Sangh$ 9ot only Sabnis, but of the literally hundreds of

    households a visited later, none ased me any of the above 7uestions$

    4s I rose to go, Sabniss mother came in and said, -Meals are ready$ *ave your meal withus today$.

    I felt shy and tried to offer various e/cuses$ -Mother will be waiting for me, I have not

    informed her,. and so ones but ultimately yielded to the pressure of the ids and their

    parents$ hereafter, meals with Sabnis1at least once a wee1became a routine$ If I missedany meal, Subniss mother would send me a message -8ou are to come home.$

    In that way, I developed close and affectionate lins with the S"ayamsevaks

    (volunteers) families, so much so that gradually I had my evening meal daily at some

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    Swayamsevas place$ I got so accustomed to having my meals with them that it created a

    problem after my marriage My wife was naturally een that I should have my dinner

    with her everyday at home but it was very difficult for me to get out of my habit$ @ater,when the nature of my wor with the Shaha changed, I was able to discontinue the

    practice of dining every evening in favour of a monthly lunch with Swayamsevas$Invariably, after that lunch, I would tease my wife, -oday I feel I had a real meal.

    Steadily my responsibilities e/panded and from karya"ah, I rose to beMandal(circle)karya"ahand thenNagar(city) aryawah$ he field of my activities widened$ I had to

    move about a lot and in the process came into contact with Sanghaworers at various

    levels$ 4s a 9agar aryawah, I was in charge of the Sangh activities in Vile 6arle,4ndheri and Aogeshwari before the y this time I had developed close emotional ties with numerous Sangh worers$ Vimal

    edia, now Sarkaryavah((hie) Karyavah) of %SS 1 Mumbai District is perhaps the most

    noteworthy of them$ Strangely there was nothing common between us which would be

    conducive to close friendship0 Vimal hailed from an affluent %a+asthani family while Iwas mired in poverty$ *e was bright while I was average$ *e had no comple/, could

    confidently meet anybody, was a good conversationist, whereas I was shy, rather tongue1

    tied and came into my own only in some particular circles$ =ur worlds seemed wideapart$

    >ut the style of wor in the Sangh is such that differences in social circumstances, status,

    and disposition do not come in the way of meeting of the minds$ he nature of our worwas capable of bringing us close together, rarely despite our socially differentperspectives$ :e hardly had a long dialogue with each other0 one or two sentences were

    enough to articulate what was in our minds$ Sangh teaches obedience to officers and

    modesty in our conduct to ward them$ hat is why even when socially superior moresenior in age, and with greater e/perience, Sangha members had no reservation in

    woring under officers +unior to them in all respects$ In my case, I had personal

    e/perience of this$

    he Sanghs wor too me fre7uently to Vimals place$ 'ompared to my hutment, hishouse in Vile 6arle was verily a palace I used to feel embarrassed while entering his

    house$ *owever, Vimals attitude to me was so friendly and affectionate that all

    embarrassment melted away$ *e freely too me to all parts of the house and on manyoccasions, I had to have my meals with him$

    I remember the occasion when I had a meal with him for the first time$ here was a thali

    (plate) which contained daal(preparation of pulses),su'ji(spinach), roti(flat round thin

    wheat bread), curds and sweets$

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    them as one of the family$

    he reason why I remember this today is that >arsodes and 5irars are >rahmin worers$

    I did not realise the revolutionary impact of their simple affectionate dealings with me$

    9or did they realise it, I suppose$ 'aste considerations seemed irrelevant and ridiculous tous who felt bound together by the sole fact of being Swayamsevas$

    I was not introduced to Manu in the Sangh till !"OG$ he Sangh has its own style of

    functioning$ :hen the Sangh worer gets involved in the Sanghs wor, he has hardly

    any time to brood over any other thing but the Sangh$ ?sually he has no leisure to readand also, no need for such reading$

    he -bouddhias. or discourses mean stereotyped lectures$ %arely do 'ouddhiksessions

    stimulate thining or shae the underlying assumptions, which are taen for granted$ In

    the Sangh raining 'ourses, other ideologies are rarely discussed$ *ence, the ordinary

    Sangh Swayamseva is not widely informed$ In fact, he is 7uite ignorant about manytopics$ 'onfronted with a point of view different from what is inculcated, his response

    may not always be logical or well1reasoned$

    4nd !"KO, an article was published with the title -Is the Sangh a worshop to picle the

    youth2. he author of the article was 4niruddha 6unarvasu(pen name of Shri 9arayan

    4thavale, a bitter critic of %SS)$ he responses to this article were bitter and many of

    them were worded in rude and vulgar language$ =nly a few persons made an attempt tologically counter 6unarvasus attac$

    :hy do we not try to give fitting replies to the criticism made against us2 he Sangh

    officers answer to this 7uestion was, -:e should ignore criticism and continue to do ourwor$ =ur wor itself is able to silence criticism$ :e should not fritter away our energiesto replying to critics.$ ?n7uestionably, this stance was conducive to greater concentration

    on our wor$ 4t the same time, unanswered criticism, was liely to spread

    misunderstanding about the Sangh among more and more people$

    :hen I was holding the charge of the Sangha shahas, I also used to ignore critical

    references to the Sangh and advised others not to waste their time in responding to such

    criticism$

    ill !"OG, I was being shaped as a Sangh Karyakarta(activist)$

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    occupied my mind wereN how many new swayamsevas are enrolled2 *ow many are

    uniformed2 *ow many will go for the Sangh training class2 :ho will assume the

    responsibility of the new shahas2 4nd so on$

    :hy is there such appalling poverty in *indu society2 :hy is illiteracy so widespread2:hy are women treated so meanly2 :hat is this conundrum of castes 2 :hy and what is

    untouchability2 :hy is there so much cheating and hypocrisy in the name of religion2

    :hy unemployment2 hese 7uestions never occurred to me when I was running theshahas$ =ur slate remained blan in those respects$

    hat our slate remained blan did not mean that the Sangh leadership at higher levels was

    insensitive to these problems$ It might well be giving serious thought to these matters$

    Some very capable people in the Sangh were deputed to wor in various fields$ DeenDayal+i and 4tal+i entered politics, Dattopant hengdi +oined labour movements,

    Dadasaheb 4pte$ a senior leader of %SS, was sent to the sphere of religion$ Many more

    Sangh worers wored in varied fields of social activity, giving concrete shape to pro+ectsin their respective areas of service$ *owever, the need or educating the Sanghshaha

    worers about the numerous social problems must not have been acutely felt$

    Due to such one sided intellectual development, we were unable to comprehend the

    import of a number of issues raised in the Sangh$ In !"K", Shri 5uru+i 5olwalar, secondSarsanghchala ('hief of %SS) gave an interview to a Marathi daily, -9awaal. on the

    sub+ect of -'haturvarnya. (a system of # main castes by birth described Manusmriti, a

    code of conduct *indus laid down in ancient times)$ his interview provoed 7uite astorm in Maharashtra and gave a handy weapon to leftists and socialists to beat the Sangh

    with$ Meet were held to launch protests against Shri 5uru+is view and abuses were

    hurled on the Sangh$

    I had read 5uru+is interview$ I was at a loss to now why the socialists were maing somuch fuss over 5uru+is view on the 'haturvarnya$ 9obody in the Sangh believed that

    5uru+i might have said anything improper$ 3or the people associated with the Sangh,

    5uru+i was a fountain of inspiration and they had unshaeable faith in this great man

    whose love for the *indu society new no bounds$ 4ll the socialists in Maharashtra wereconcertedly trying to spread their rancour against 5uru+i by trying to pro+ect him as the

    champion of ine7ualities$ hey were floating canards against 5uru+i who in !"#; had

    ased the swayamsevas to go home since he did not wish to see any *indu blood beingshed for the sae of his own protection, who had converted his life into a ya+na (a

    ritualistic performance for purification) to bury all the differences among *indus, and

    build up an integrated, unified *indu society$ :hat was the motive of this vile socialistpropaganda2 :hy were they bent on raising enormous controversies on the sub+ect of

    -'haturvarnya.2 :hy were they creating a stir and so much noise2 4t that time, answers

    to these 7uestions were not readily available to me$

    6erhaps I could not get the answers because I did not now then that 'haturvarnya, castesystem, ine7uality, social +ustice were terms with specific meanings and belonged to a

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    specific political parlance$

    4 great social movement to eradicate the (harturvarnyahad taen shape in Maharashtra$

    Mahatma 6hule and Dr 4mbedar, both renowned ardent social reformers from scheduled

    caste had unfurled the flag of revolt against (haturvarnya$ I was not aware of theintellectual content of their revolt$ I new about Mahatma 6hule only from lessons in

    school te/tboos$ I had heard about Dr 4mbedar but was not yet aware of the

    revolutionary impact of his wor$

    Sangh shaas should have allotted some space in their time table to the introduction of thethought and wor of these two great men to swayamsevas$ >ut there was total darness

    in this respect in my student days$ =ur gala/y of heroes and great men was composed of

    'hhatrapati Shiva+i a great Maratha warrior and the founder of Maratha empire, %ana6ratap, a brave historical warrior who fought with emperor 4bar throughout his life for

    freedom, 5uru 5obind Singh, tenth 5uru of Sihs and founder of halsa sect, 9eta+i

    Subhash 'handra >ose, a 'ongress leader and later founder of Indian 9ational 4rmy andvalorous fighters in our history$ My incomprehensibility of 5uru+is interview on

    (haturvarnya, and of the storm raised in its wae, was due to my own unawareness of

    social issues$

    @ater, the third Sarsanghachala, >alasaheb Deoras delivered a lecture on the sub+ect atthe Vasant Vyahyanmala,a yearly series of lectures by intellectuals arranged in the

    spring season, at 6une$ @ater, the speech was published in the form of a brochure$ he

    speech was in a way simple but I could not at all grasp its essence at that time$ hisincomprehension was again due to my unfamiliarity with the thought currents in

    Maharashtra$ I was interested in the speech primarily because the Sarsanghchala of the

    Sangh was speaing and therefore, it was an article of faith with us$

    It was in this way that my intellectual development was taing shape$ I had completelyidentified myself with the wor of the Sangh which was the same as the wor of *indu

    unification$ I was yet to be intellectually aware of the obstacles to *indu unification

    posed by 'haturvarnya, the caste system, and by the philosophy that was built around

    them$ I was also not yet ac7uainted withManusmritiwhich championed (haturvarnya$

    In !"OG Indira 5andhi imposed

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    also completed my M$4$ ut destiny had chaled out a different path for me$ I returned from the %SS training class

    in 9agpur in Aune$ he

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    the Samarasata Manch (a ?nification forum) which was launched by him but during the

    himsen %ane, a worer of Samarasata Manch, had come

    from 6arle$ *e too was nabbed$ 6rof$ >hallas house was thoroughly searched$ he entryof the police in the house and the search flabbergasted 6rof$ >halla$ :e were first taen to

    the Intelligence >ureau =ffice at 4ndheri and from there, to the main police office

    situated opposite 'rawford Maret, a prominent Maret in Mumbai 'ity$ >himsen %anesstatement was recorded$ %avindra Verma and 6rof$ >halla were seated separately$

    I thought that the police would now sub+ect me and >himsen %ane to third degree, to

    e/tract information from us$ >ut surprisingly, police did not seem interested in maing

    any in7uiries$ hey did not even cross1chec my statement they had recorded$ heirbehaviour with us was polite and affectionate$ May be they were happy over a big catch

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    lie %avindra Verma and they regarded us as very lowly worers$ =r it might be that they

    sympathiCed with our struggle$

    In the evening, the three of us, %avindra Verma, >himsen and I, were taen to the hane

    Aail$ Maintenance of Internal Security 4ct (MIS4) was applied to us$ 6rof$ >halla wasreleased as the police thought he was not involved in the affair$ I had said so repeatedly in

    my statement$ he episode upset 6rof$ >halla greatly$ :hen I went to see him after the

    alasaheb 5hatate, thenPrant Sanghchalak(Divisional 'hief) of 9agpur and I werein the same ward$ Dr *edgewar had breathed his last in Dr 5hatates bungalow$ *is

    company and conversation both were a source of great inspiration for me$ he chief ofNagpur Prant karyalaya(o))ice), 6andurang shirsagar was also with us$ *e died later in

    the hane 6rison$ 4 great number of Sanghaworers from Vidar'ha(

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    their protest as if they had rehearsed it in advance$

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    -he Sangh pro+ects a distorted version of *induism before the people$.

    hese views of Sane 5uru+i are fre7uently found in his boos$ 4s e/amples, I reproduce

    here some paragraphs from his boo, -Kartavyachi %ank. ('all of Duty)$ Sane 5uru+i

    edited and published an evening paper of that name from >ombay$ he paragraphsappear in the political section of the boo$

    -%ashtriya Swayamseva Sangh is now functioning for over EG years$ he Sangh have

    never participated in politics$ 6eople therefore felt secure to +oin the Sangh$ 6eople in

    government service used to send their children to the Sangh only$ Middle class white1collar people harbour distorted and perverse ideas about culture, and they cherish

    artificial pride about them$ *itler used to say :e 5ermans are the greatest people in the

    world and therefore we alone are fit to rule the world$ he same is true of the %SS$ heirmain emphasis is on spreading rancour$ 4ll Muslims are bad, they say$ hey eep lists of

    misdeeds of Muslims and use it for their hateful propaganda$ =rganisations based on

    hatred and rancour grow very fast$ hey appeal to the beastliness in man$ heyferociously see to swallow and destroy other people$ 5erman 9aCis nursed boundless

    hatred for the 'Cech people$ *ang the 'Cechs$ :e dont want the 'Cechs, they said$

    hus e/treme hatred was spread about whosoever are unwanted, whosoever is to be

    destroyed$ Man still loves hatred and rancour$

    -During the last EG1EK years, hate for Muslims as well as aloofness from politics earned

    for the Sangh the favours of the >ritish$ 5overnment servants therefore not only felt

    secure in sending their sons in the Sangh but also could mae a show of their pride inculture and religion$ hose were the reasons why the Sangh grew up$

    -6arents encouraged their ids to +oin the Sangh$ 5o to the Samiti(%ashtra SeviaSamiti, an organiCation of women on the lines of Sangh), go to the Sangh, they said$ hey

    hardly had any idea of the ob+ectives which the Sangh had ept before itself$ :hat wouldthe people in villages now2 hey only had an idea that it has something to do with

    religion, there is the traditional saffron flag, there are physical e/ercises andBajrang Bali

    ki jay(Vive ,e Bajarang i-e- ,ord Maruti)$ So why not the boys go there2 hats how the

    parents thought$

    -Sangh officers also used to say that the Sangh ept aloof from political activities$ >ut

    eventually it came to the notice that they were trying to seiCe power by military type

    conspiracies and cabals$ =ur governments were blind$ he warning signals given by

    socialists and Sevadals were ridiculed$ hen came the martyrdom of the Mahatma$ Ingreat atonement for that martyrdom, the entire South Maharashtra today is sub+ected to

    small and big acts of atonement$ I am sipping here my sweet lime +uice$ -Mothers, sisters

    and ids, you are atoning for the sins committed by our other brethren in the past$ his isa rule of history that such sins have to be atoned for$ It is our good fortune that such an

    ordeal is ordained for us$ 5o through that ordeal and give bac to Maharashtra its

    stainless glory.$

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    Sane 5uru+is thoughts have made a deep impact on the socialists$ Sane 5uru+is

    literature produces confused impressions on mind$ *is love for India, compassion for

    fellow beings, steadfast attachment to principles, devotion to 5andhi+i are attractive,magnetic features$ *owever his opposition to the 'ongress, his dislie for a few

    'ongress leaders, his hostility to communists despite his being a socialist and to add tothese, his e/treme opposition to protagonists of *indutva,(a Sansrit word coined for

    *induness which has ac7uired wide socio1political significance and identified with *indumovements particularly %SS) are contradictions in his thining which I have not been

    able to comprehend$ he followers of Sane 5uru+i later +oined the congress or wored

    with 'ommunists but 5uru+is dislie for the *indutva protagonists never ebbed$

    Sane 5uru+i has written a beautiful lyric -here is only one genuine religion.$ :henever

    I hear the recital of this poem, I feel Sane 5uru+i is standing before me$ his bitter

    opponent of the Sangh, this man who harboured endless animosity against the Sangh, had

    set out to preach universal love to manind$ ?nfortunately, however, Sangh

    Swayamsevas had no place whatever in his world$

    Despite Sane 5uru+is intense rancour against the Sangh, the Sangh never taught its

    Swayamsevas to bear any malice towards him$ I was astonished when I come to now

    that the poem, -Balasagar Bharat %o"o. Vish"ant Sho'hooni /aho. (@et India be anocean of strength and be an ornament to the world) which I had committed to memory

    was composed by Sane 5uru+i$ Vasantrao elar himself once had advised me to go

    through Sane 5uru+is boo ->haratiya Sansriti. (Indian culture)$ 4ccordingly, I readthat boo$

    5uru+i 5olwalar never lied Swayamsevas taling ill of 6andit 9ehru (famous

    congress leader and first 6rime Minister of India) and if they did so, he used to get angrywith them$ he comparison of the attitudes of the two 5uru+is is inevitable$ Sane 5uru+isfascist reaction to the Sangh has passed away with him$ :e should only remember his

    literary contributions which will continue to be read for a long time$

    Since there was little else to do, I had a lot of time on hand in the prison, which I utilised

    to e/pand my reading$ I had read boos about the 3rench, the 4merican, and the %ussian%evolutions, in college$ 9ow I started reading boos about them afresh gave a close loo

    to these historic events$ I was also curious to now how they affected the thining in

    India$ I even encouraged myself to give speeches on these sub+ects in the +ail$ I wasaccustomed to telling stories in the Shakha$ hat e/perience stood me in good stead in

    delivering lectures$ Soon I became well1versed in taing notes on a given sub+ect and

    arranging my thoughts systematically$ abasaheb 4mbedar$ ill then,

    I had never felt drawn to this remarable leader$ :hy would a blueblooded *indutvaprotagonist feel any interest in Dr$>abasaheb 4mbedar, who had renounced his *indu

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    religion2 Dhanan+ay heers biography of Dr$4mbedar, however, shoo me to the core$

    It was the life story of Dr$ 4mbedar which ac7uainted me with the *indu society for

    whose integration I was woring$ he boo awaened the thiner in me in the true senseof the word$ I never before had a deep insight into the affairs of the *indu Society$ I was

    made conscious of this deficiency by the biography of Dr$4mbedar$

    I came to realise the frightful dimensions of untouchability in Dr$ 4mbedars life$ I grew

    up in a slum$ he struggle for mere survival there renders considerations lie caste totallysuperfluous$ I had a friend named Shanar >hagwan 6awale$ 6awale means blessed with

    his presence$ he complete name meant in Marathi [email protected] Shanar blessed with his

    presence.$ My friend Shanar was a Mahar$ :e used to go to his house and many a timewould eat there$ :e were never flogged for it, nor taunted or teased, let alone

    e/communicated from our caste$

    I spent my public life in the Sangh$ :here caste or untouchability are totally irrelevant$

    :hat is a S"ayamsevaks'aste is a meaningless 7uestion in the Sangh$ :oringtogether for several years Swayamsevas hardly new about each others caste$

    Disunity or lac of integration in the *indu society is pro+ected as a ma+or weaness by

    the Sangh$ his weaness was responsible for the domination of this country first by

    Muslims and then by the >ritish$ =ur glory and affluence faded and poverty set in$ =urcompatriots were converted to other religions$ hat is why there is a great need for unity

    and cohesive organisation in the *indu Society$ ?nity means strength$ Strength helps us

    to win freedom and defend it after it is won$ :e can recapture the lost splendour$ hat ishow the Sangh puts it$

    Dr$ 4mbedars biography illumined me about the *indu Society$ :hy *indu Societybecame disorganised and fragmented into castes2 :hat is the magnitude of the terrible

    loss inflicted on society by untouchability2 *ow caste pride came in the way ofresplendent nationalism2 *ow are caste divisions conceptualiCed2 *ow is that provisions

    were made in the#harmashastraitself to safeguard the interests of the higher castes2 It

    is difficult to get answers to these 7uestions without reading Dr$ 4mbedars biography$

    -Is untouchability still prevalent in our villages2. hat was the 7uestion I put to Dr$>alasaheb Di/it, a Sangh Pracharakin Marathwada who was with us in the +ail, after

    reading Dr$ 4mbedars life$ *e e/plained to me how untouchability still prevailed in our

    rural areas, how meticulously it is observed there, how even separate tea cups are ept in

    restaurants and so on$ I ased him, then what was the Sangh doing for untouchables$ Didwe mae special efforts to bring them to the Shahas2 Does the Sangh do anything to

    change the societys attitude to them2 :e were really not doing anything to eradicate this

    social evil$

    he reading of Dr$ 4mbedars biography made me restless on one more account$ >y the

    time I went to the prison, I had become a leading worer (aryaarta) of the Sangh$ I was

    theKarya"ahof a big division$ If a leading worer lie me was not aware of Dr$

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    4mbedars mission, what about the average Swayamseva2 his was a dis7uieting

    thought$ he dis7uiet did not arise from not understanding the problem$ >ut from the fact

    that the problem had not been referred to at all$ :hen there are no problems, there isobviously no need to see answers to them$ 4bsence of problems creates complacence$

    Dr$ 4mbedars life inspired me to thin about various social problems$

    he biography also made me realise the significance ofManusmriti$ I began to grasp the

    meaning of such words (haturvarnya, ine7uality, social e7uality, social +ustice, andBrahminism$ I could also sense the inseparable lin between *indu Society and

    Manusmriti$ Similarly, the historical conte/t ofBrahminismbegan to dawn on me$ I

    could not read the entire wor of Dr$ 4mbedar while in prison$ I completed the tasafter I came out of +ail$ =nly then could I understand the conte/tual meaning of these

    words$

    I have a habit of comparing every biography I read with the life of Dr$ *edgewar,

    founder and first Sarsanghchala of %SS$ Dr$ *edgewars life is the ultimate source ofinspiration for the Sangh followers$ 9eedless to say, the same is true for me also$ I

    continually thin of his life and mission$ In the words of the great saint of Maharashtra,

    uaram 1 -8ou eep me company wherever I go and you guide me along the path

    holding my hand in yours.$

    Dr$ 4mbedars biography gave me deep insight in to the meaning of Dr$ *edgewars

    life what he stood for$ he lives of Dr$ 4mbedar and Dr$ *edgewar reflect an important

    stage in the process of *indu social renaissance$ hey reveal how destiny shapes history$Dr$ *edgewar founded the %ashtriya Swayamseva Sangh in !"EG, with the primary

    ob+ective of organising and unifying the *indu Society$ he most important episode in

    Dr$ 4mbedars public life was the Satyagrah at the 'hawdar lae at Mahad (a place in:est Maharashtra where he had offered a Satyagraha against untouchability) in !"EO$ Itwas there that he first announced the manifesto of the birthright of every *indu$ Dr$

    *edgewar opted to reawaen *indus to their duty towards their society$ Dr$ 4mbedar

    aimed at reawaening *indus to their birthright$

    he ob+ective of both these great men was identical 1 that of creating a healthy, flawless,egalitarian and integrated *indu Society$ heir ways were different$ Dr$ *edgewar opted

    for the traditional road for the transformation of the society$ =ur wor is ancient and time

    honoured$ I have really nothing new to say$ :e should tae pride in our traditions, ourhistory and our culture,. Dr$ *edgewar insisted$ *owever, programmes that he initiated

    in the Sangh had a touch of novelty$

    o live in unity is not in the nature of *indus$ 9or is it their tradition$ he *indu is born

    in a caste, lives in the caste and finally dies in the caste$ he precondition of unificationof the *indu society is to -decaste. the minds of the *indus, and eliminate caste from

    their mental mae1up$ he *indus total thining in respect of need caste needs

    reorientation$ Dr$ *edgewar initiated that process$ he uniform of the SanghSwayamsevas, their band, drill in the Shahas, were entirely modern devices, not

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    traceable to the Indian tradition$ It was Dr$ *edgewar who introduced them in the Sangh$

    Dr$ *edgewar never discussed or denounced religion in public$ *e never brought into the

    Sangh religious rituals based on ine7uality$ 9or did he ever claim that the Sanghs

    ob+ective is to revive the religion based on 'haturvarnyashram$ *e never brought suchideology to the Sangh$ I have also not found in his writings any reference to the

    Manusmriti$ -:e are all brothers$ :e have to build up an integrated and united society$

    :e have to become strong., he used to say, and he shaped the organisation of the Sanghaccordingly$ I had not realised the real meaning and essence of Dr$ *edgewars mantraof

    *indu unification till I read Dr$ 4mbedars biography$

    Dr$ 4mbedar too, wanted a *indu society based on one varna$ *is approach was,

    however, different$ *is thoughts are woven round the concept of the free individual, withan autonomous e/istence and the right to self1development, along with a constitutional

    guarantee and protection of the individuals rights$ Dr$ 4mbedar sub+ected the *indu

    religion to the most stringent scrutiny$ *e ruthlessly analysed the *indu scriptures$ *eunfurled a flag of revolt against the philosophy of ine7uity which sought to concentrate

    all power and privileges in coteries of a minuscule section of the society and to impose

    misery, in+ustice, poverty and denial of basic rights upon the teeming ma+ority$ Dr$

    4mbedars was an ideological revolt of tremendous social dimensions$

    Dr$ *edgewar -activised. the *indu, sought to mae him action1oriented$ Dr$ 4mbedar

    sought to stimulate and e/pand his critical faculties$ *e taught him to thin and articulate

    his thoughts ably$ hese are only my contentions$ I do not e/pect everybody to subscribeto them$ Some people may counter me with the 7uestion -*ow do you say Dr$ *edgewar

    did not teach us to thin2. =thers may as -*as Dr$ 4mbedar done nothing to activise

    the *indu2.

    :hile my mind was caught up in the fascinating comple/ities about the numerous socialissues and contradictions, it was also ruminating over the problems of the Sangh$ :hy

    did the discourses ('ouddhikas) in the Sangh did not tae cogniCance of the thoughts and

    deeds of Mahatma 6hule and Dr$ 4mbedar2 :hy do we not embellish our discussions

    with e/amples from their statements2 :hy do we not ac7uaint the Swayamsevas withtheir life and mission2 :hy do we turn a blind eye on them2 In +ail, these 7uestions

    remained confined to me$ 4lthough I was not senior in age, I was a senior officer of the

    Sangh, and wielded important responsibilities$ It would not have been proper for me toopenly raise these 7uestions$ 4s a senior officer, I was e/pected to find the right answers

    on my own$

    he Sangh has its own particular style of thining and operating$ he Sangh means us$

    9o Sangh member can thin critically about the Sangh by disassociating himself from it$:hile no individual is held responsible for any deficiency in the wor of the Sangh, any

    one who perceives a deficiency or flaw is e/pected to mae efforts to remove it$

    4lthough I felt that the 7uestions in my mind were confined to me, I found that many

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    other worers too, were seiCed with similar doubts$ Suhadev 9avale and >hiu Idate

    were conspicuous among them$ >efore going to prison I had not come into close contact

    with them$ he +ail brought us close$ 4fterwards, the deficiency in the Sangh=rganisation was removed, but that was yet to come$

    >efore going to prison, I had become familiar with such assertions as the Sangh belongs

    to >rahmins, he Sangh is against social e7uality, it champions the 'haturvarnya etc$

    >ut I had never realised the intensity and the venom of there comments$ I came tocomprehend them through discussions with socialists and their writings$

    >rahmin1non1>rahmin difference form one of the darest chapters in the history of

    Maharashtra$ he controversy has a long historical bacground$ 4t the time of Shiva+is

    coronation, contemporary >rahmins in Maharashtra raised an ob+ection to Shiva+i beinganointed on the basis that Shiva+i Mahara+ was a shudra$ his prompted the 'hhatrapati

    to call 5agabhatta from ashi to preside over the religious ceremonies of the coronation$

    >rahmins also plotted against 'hhatrapati Sambha+i Mahara+ and later 'hhatrapatisbecame only titular heads, and the 6eshwas became the real masters$ he 6eshwas were

    brahmins$ >rahmins were spiritual gurus$ 9ow they also became political supremos$ In

    the later period of the 6eshwas, >rahmins misused their power$ It was Mahatma 6hule

    who first raised a revolt against this misuse$

    Mahatma 6hules writings against >rahmins are full of venom$ >rahmins came from

    outside the country, they sub+ected the shudras and atishudras to ab+ect slavery, >rahmins

    are croos and deceitful, they ruthlessly e/ploited the shudras and atishudras byfabricating fraudulent religious scriptures$ hese are the arguments against >rahmins

    which we come across in Mahatma 6hules writings$ Mahatma 6hule was a great man

    who was a seeer of truth, a rationalist, an e/tremely critical analyst of religiousscriptures, champion of e7ualities, firm believer in true religion, and an ardent advocateof brotherhood$ *e did not want to create mutual hatred among castes$ *e yearned to see

    that even the lowest man in the *indu society stood with an erect spine and lived with

    self1respect$

    It was a grave misfortune for Maharashtra that his followers relegated to the bacgroundthe Mahatmas philosophy of Sarvajanik Satyadharma(true religion of the society), and

    promoted hatred of >rahmins in its stead$ o call these people his followers is an affront

    to Mahatma 6hule$ *is noble philosophy was e/ploited for >rahmin1baiting to +ustify andsustain the >rahmin1non1>rahmin controversy, and to promote the politics of caste

    hatred$

    3ollowers of the socialist thought were at the forefront in promoting policies of caste

    hatred$ 5enerally speaing, the *indutva politics started gathering strength from the timeof ila, a great 'ongress leader and whom the >ritish used to call as -he father of

    Indian unrest.$ 5andhi+i, too, organised his politics according to the tents of *indutva$

    >ut his constant appeasement of Muslims was inimical to the followers of *indutva$ *isconstant courting of Muslims earned him the epithet -secularist.$ @omanya ila who

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    had never indulged in appeasement of Muslims at the cost of national interest, was

    stigmatiCed as -communalist.$ =n top of it all, ila was a >rahmin, not an ordinary one,

    but a (hitpavanof the caste of the 6eshwas (6eshwa was a post of the 6rime Minister inthe 'abinet of Maratha ings, which was always given to a >rahmin)$ rahmins in the famous Vedota(7uoted in Vedas)

    affair$ *e had accepted the religious verdict that Shahu Mahara+ (ing) of olhapur didnot have the right of -Vedota. (recital of vedic mantras)$ he @omanya was not willing

    to ignore the scriptural prescription that the shudras had no right to the Vedas$ Shiva+i

    Mahara+ was a shudra and therefore, had no right to the Vedas$ 4 shudra cannot beanointed a ing$ 4fter JFF years, the same situation had cropped up, albeit in a different

    conte/t$ 4 Sthitapradnya, learned national leader lie @omanya ila did not view the

    problem in the light of the changed perspective of the times$ 4 lapse committed by a

    common man remains limited to him, but the lapse committed by a great leader results in

    unpleasant conse7uences for the entire society$ 5eneration after generation is affected byhim and by miseries wrought by him$

    Dr *edgewar had tremendous respect for the @omanya$ *e had great faith in his

    leadership$ :hatever politics he pursued he did so as the @omanyas disciple$ >ut whenhe started the Sangh, he re+ected ilas social thought loc, stoc and barrel$ *e gave

    recognition to the (hhaatra *agadguru Shankaracharya, one of the 'hief 6riests of 3our

    *indu Monasteries established by first Shanarcharya and with whom he was closelyassociated at the *indu ?nity 'onference$ Dr *edgewar declined to accept the rule that

    the shudras had no right to the Vedas$ oday, we see Dr *edgewars followers teaching

    Sansrit to the shudras (lowest caste in *indus as laid down in Manusmriti) and

    atishudras(atishudras1 still lower caste)$ hey also offer them lessons in recitals of thevedas$ hey convey to the society through their conduct that all *indus irrespective of

    caste have a right to the chanting of the Vedic hymns$

    I was now getting well ac7uainted with the genesis of the >rahmin1non1>rahmincontroversy$ I also came to grips with the thining of the people who called themselves

    socialists$ he people who believed in the philosophy of socialism and drew inspiration

    from it also called themselves progressives$ hey claim to be leftist thiners$ It is saidthat progressives are humanists who do not thin in terms of casteism and communalism,

    and materialists, who lay emphasis on mundane things, and rationalists who regard

    religion as a private and personal affair, and hold the view that all religions are e7ual$

    4s per the reasoning of socialists, all *indutva protagonists are communalists,harbouring fascist tendencies$ 4ccording to the socialists, they have medieval mentalities,

    see to provoe religious hysteria, believe in violence, and therefore are the enemies of

    the society and manind$ Moreover, they charge that >rahmins are in the ma+ority andoccupy all senior positions in the Sangh$ o them,Brahminismis horrendous 4s

    >rahmins are against e7uality, and they dominate the Sangh, it follows that the Sangh

    too, believes in ine7uality$ 4lso, >rahmins see to perpetuate their elitist position and

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    since they are in the Sangh, the Sangh is communalist, against the interests of the shudras

    and atishudras, and sees to eep them in serfdom$ his leftist logic can effectively

    daCCle dunces and dunderheads$

    he leftists are de/terously using the names of Mahatma 6hule and Dr$ 4mbedar toprop up their perverse logic$ :hether it is Mahatma 6hule or Dr$ >abasaheb 4mbedar,

    both have ferociously attaced >rahminism$ I started becoming aware that leftists were

    e/ploiting the names of these two great men to malign *indutva and to bring aboutdisintegration of the *indu society$ 4s I became more and more familiar with the

    writings of 6hule and 4mbedar, I was convinced that the progressives have confined

    these two towering personalities in the progressive prison$ Socialists have distorted theirteachings and view points to use them as ammunition against the Sangh$ :e in the Sangh

    have not reacted to this calumny at all$ :e have been tolerating all their antics passively$

    he socialists and leftists did another clever thing as part of their policy to malign the

    Sangh$ hey foisted Manu on the Sangh$ hey e/humed his ghost and released it on theSangh$ heManusmritiis one of the religious boos of the *indus and an important one

    too$ I read theManusmritifor the first time in the hane +ail$ I was shoced and stunned

    at the social thought of theManusmriti$ he special rights and privileges Manu confered

    on >rahmins, and his denial of rights to women and shudras, made painful reading$ It wasafter reading theManusmritithat I came to realise why Dr$ 4mbedar burnt it in the

    Mahad satyagraha$ Manu strengthened the differences in our society and prescribed

    social and economic enslavement for millions of people$ 4nd he destroyed the drive,initiative and creativity of the common man$ =n top of everything, he gave religious

    sanction to social in+ustice$ hat was too bad$

    4nybody who wants to bring about social renaissance in the *indu society will notaccept the social discourse in the Manusmriti$ :hen Dr$ 4mbedar burnt theManusmritiin !"EO, he must have been prompted to do so by these or similar thoughts$

    I remember an incident concerning theManusmritiwhich occurred in the prison$

    >himsen %ane was with me in the +ail$ :e read theManusmrititogether$ he memories

    of the controversies created by Shri 5uru+is interview in 9awaal were still fresh$Some people had burnt copies of the Manusmriti while reacting to the interview$

    >himsen %ane had prepared a speech on theManusmritie/plaining that many of the

    thoughts in theManusmritiwere commendable$ *e wanted to say in his speech that

    Manusmritidoes not lay stress on social ine7uality$ ondale, %SS 6rachara for a very long time, was in charge of

    these programmes$ *e read >himsen %anes speech and told him, -8ou can not deliver aspeech on theManusmritifrom the platform of the Sangh$. *is refusal to allow the

    speech incensed >himsen %ane$ *e argued a lot but %ambhau remained firm in his

    decision$

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    4s a matter of fact, the Sangh was under a ban during those days, and therefore, the

    Sangh platform simply did not e/ist$ Still, a Sangh 6rachara declared in no uncertain

    terms, 9oManusmritifrom the Sangh platform$

    It is an indisputable fact that theManusmritiis never referred to in the Sangh$ 4smentioned earlier, I have been a shishu swayamseva and completed my training in the

    Sangh$ In the Sangh parlance, I am a third year trained swayamseva$ I heard hundreds of

    Bouddhikas(lectures) before I went to the +ail$ I heardBouddhikasfrom frontline Sanghleaders lie Shri 5uru+i 5olwalar, Madhavrao+i Muley, >hayya+i Dani, 4ll India arvah

    of %SS, >abasaheb 4pte, a close associate of Dr *edgewar who dedicated his life to %SS

    wor and ecause of this weaness, it became a victim of foreign aggression, not only

    political but also, cultural and economic$ he *indu society should be made strong andaffluent$

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    In the present state of disintegration 1

    a& To remove the di))erences and divisions "rought among %indus 'y sects. vie"points

    and movements and to eliminate the divisive )orces "hich are produced 'y economic.

    linguistic and regional diversity-

    '& To remind them $the %indus& o) their splendid and glorious past-

    c& To promote among %indus a spirit o) service. sacri)ice and sel)less devotion-

    d& 1n this "ay. to promote a spirit o) commitment to a "ell organised and "ell governed

    social li)e-

    e& 2 need "as )elt )or an organisation to "ork )or the total upli)t and prosperity o) the

    %indu society and accordingly. #r Keshav Baliram %edge"ar )ounded the illustrious.

    "ell+kno"n organisation called the /ashtriya S"ayamsevak Sangh on the auspicious dayo) Vijayadashami $tenth day o) month 2sh"in according to %indu (alendar and

    considered to 'e a great )estival&in 5678-

    2rticle $9& The o'jective o) the Sangh is to eliminate the di))erences in class )rom the

    %indu society and to strengthen it on the 'asis o) its culture and religion and to 'ring

    a'out its rejuvenation so that the %indu society may 'e a'le to achieve all round

    prosperity o) Bharat-

    In short, Manu has no place whatever in the structure, the oath or the constitution of the

    Sangh$ It is therefore most surprising that the Sangh is called Manuist$ :e dont see

    Manu, i$e$ social ine7uality, anywhere in the Sangh$ :hatever glimpses of Manu we get,are outside the Sangh$ :hen we step into the social life outside the Sangh, we are

    reminded of our caste at every moment$

    In !""G, I have completed #E years in the Sangh$ During this long period of my Sangh

    life, nobody in the Sangh has ever ased me about my caste$ I have, however, met anynumber of socialists and 'ongressmen who in7uired about my caste$ =nce in !"O; or

    !"O", I had been to 5argoti to attend a Sangh programme$ Since the programme was to

    tae place in the evening, the daytime was spent for meeting some local people$ 4mong

    them was a prominent 'ongressman$ :hen the Sangh worers too me to his place, hisdarbar was already crowded$ he swayamsevas introduced me to him$ -*e is %amesh

    6atange, a prominent Sangh worer in >ombay.$ hen we all +oined his#ar'ar('ourt)$

    I do not remember the name of this 'ongressman, but I vividly remember his comments$*e said -=ur society is stricen with the terrible disease of communalism and casteism$

    :e all should forget our castes$ :e should change our surnames too$ Mr 6atange, are

    you a >havsar Shimpi or 9amdeo Shimpi (another caste in tailor community 1 Shimpi

    ailor)2.

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    I replied, -I am a >havsar Shimpi$.

    hereupon he said, -6awar, who is seated here, is a Maratha, (4 powerful caste

    considered ne/t only to >rahmins), 6atanar is a >rahmin, amble is a Matang (a caste

    of e/ecutioners)$ 4ll of them should change their surnames to >haratiya.$

    *e taled about many other things, but my attention had flagged$ I was thining about

    only one thing$ *ow could this gentleman now a persons caste from his surname2 he

    7uestion lingered in my mind for 7uite a few months$ @ater, I got myself ac7uainted with

    this charade of connecting castes and surnames$ *owever, ironically, I had my firstlesson of this techni7ue from a progressive$

    I was e/tremely annoyed over the fact that the progressives who thin of society in terms

    of castes describe the Sangh as -Manuist.$ It was the height of hypocrisy to deny

    *indutva to *indus, encourage caste egos, and let loose harangues on social e7uality all

    in the same breath$ I used to feel that a revolt should be staged against such crooedpostures$ >ut in the Sangh, it was not enough that I alone should feel that way$ =ther

    worers too, needed to thin in the same way$

    he ut as soon as I came out, I

    was involved in the Sanghs wor again$ It was imperative that I earn some money$ My

    two sisters were to be married$ 4rranging their marriages would re7uire money$ My

    father was beyond all these worries$ *e was not bothered about his daughters marriages$If any family responsibility presented itself before him, his stoc, reply used to be -8ou

    loo after it yourself$ I have no money.$ :hile it is true that he had no money, it is

    e7ually true that he laced the will to raise money$

    Domestic an/ieties plagued me while I was engaged heart and soul in the Sanghs wor$=ne day, while I was engrossed in these thoughts, Vimal edia ased me, -:hy are you

    looing so worried today2.

    -My two sisters are to be married, and even if I decided to minimiCe the e/penditure, Iwould not be able to raise the re7uisite money$ I am worried$.

    -:hy do you unnecessarily brood over that, my dear friend2 8our sisters are my sisters$ I

    will foot the e/penses of one of your sisters marriage$.

    Vimal edias assurance removed a heavy load from my mind$ 8ounger to me in age,Vimal now had to play the role of the elder brother$ >ut for Vimal edia, I would neverhave attained the position I hold today as the Sangh aryaarta$

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    study classes and other countless activities$ Muundrao 6anshiar, now the 'hief

    Pracharakof Maharashtra Vibhag, was then the 6rachara of the metropolis$ Vasantrao

    Marathe was its aryawah$ he team of our worers was considerably senior to me in ageand e/perience$ I carried out my duties as saha aryawah of Mumbai for five years$

    Muundrao 6anshiar or Vasantrao Marathe never interfered in my wor$ 9or did they

    ever oppose the schemes wored out by me$ In a way they gave me a free hand$ 4t the

    time our team had some talented worers lie Sheshadri 'hari and Sharad ularni, now>A6 State 5eneral Secretary of Maharashtra$ Sheshadri later became the editor of

    =rganiser and Sharad ularni rose to be thePradesh Sanghatan Mantri(Divisional

    =rganising Secretary) of the >haratiya Aanata 6arty$

    he regional camp (shi'ir) of ala+ai, a small place close to 6une city, near too placewhen I was Sahkarya"ah$ he plan was to organise a camp of JF,FFF to #F,FFF fully

    uniformed swayamsevas$ Vigorous preparations were launched for this camp$

    Swayamsevas belonging to all castes and socio1 economic strata were e/pected to attendthis camp$ It was an unprecedented manifestation of *indu unity$ 4t least I thought so$

    he publicity for the camp gained momentum$ =n my initiative, we organised the

    publication of -Shibir Varta. (camp news) to ensure that the message of the shibir

    reached all swayamsevas$ 3ive or si/ four1page issues of the +ournal were issued$ 4ll ofus wrote small features in it on various aspects such as, preparations for the camp,

    swayamsevas who would attend it, the social message of the camp etc$ he publication

    helped generate an enthusiastic response$ 3ive thousand swayamsevas from Mumbaiattended the camp at ala+ai$

    he e/pected social impact of the camp was felt at all levels in Maharashtra$ he reactionof the socialists and progressives, however, was full of hatred, venom, and sarcasm$ 9 5

    5oray said, -he swayamsevas have gathered there in large numbers$ :hat is surprisingabout it2 :hen water stagnates in a pool, worms are bound to writhe in it$.

    4fter seeing a parade of JG,FFF swayamsevas, he said, [email protected] not the lathis of these

    JG,FFF swayamsevas fall on the head of dalits.$ hat a senior, elderly, learned socialist

    leader could react this way, sent my blood boiling$ Swayamsevas lie me (in thesocialist parlance, a shudra), bit their lips in anger$ =nly a man with a stagnant, closed

    mind could spea as 9$ 5$ 5oray had done$

    9anasaheb 5oray carved a permanent place for himself in my mind for one more reason$!";; was the birth centenary year of Dr *edgewar$ 4 committee called *edgewar >irth'entenary 'ommittee was set up in Maharashtra$ Dr Shiva+irao >hosale, chancellor of

    the Marathwada ?niversity (now Dr 4mbedar Marathwada ?niversity), gladly agreed

    to be the chairman of the committee$ Socialists are adept at creating obstacles in any bigprogramme organised by the Sangh, and naturally, 9anasaheb 5oray, was the high priest

    of socialists in this respect$ *e opened a front against Shiva+irao >hosale$ 4 meeting of

    the birth centenary committee was to tae place in 6une$ Dr >hide, Vice1'hancellor of

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    the 6une ?niversity agreed to chair the meeting$ his incensed 9anasaheb 5oray$

    4ccording to him it was not proper for the vice1chancellor to accept the chairmanship of

    a committee of the Sangh, since the Sangh is wedded to the concept of *indu %ashtra,which is against the spirit and ideology of our constitution, which is secular and socialist$

    Since the Sangh wor is unconstitutional, those in government positions should not bechairmen of the committees of the Sangh$ 6rof$ >hide did not come to the meeting$ 6rof$

    9avalgundaar, now 6une Hone Sanghchala, spoe in his place$ In his speech, 6rof$Shiva+irao >hosale said that *indutva and nationalism are the two sides of the same coin$

    he socialist front started the controversy in Maharashtra$ Madhav 5adari, editor of

    @osatta, a Marathi daily wrote a long article supporting 9anasaheb 5oray$ *undreds ofletters were received by @osatta in response to this article$ 5adari, who day in and day

    out gives harangues on freedom of e/pression, did not publish one single letter from the

    protesters$ V6

    ideologoue, was illed$ I call this tendency secular homenism$ 4lthough socialists

    are small in number, their nuisance value is great$ hey started harassing Dr Shiva+irao>hosale and create obstacles in his programmes$ Dr >hosale was fed up$ *e was in a

    7uandary whether to eep the Vice1'hancellorship or the chairmanship of Dr *edgewar>irth 'entenary 'ommittee$ 3inally, he renounced his position with the Dr *edgewar

    >irth 'entenary 'ommittee of the %ashtriya Swayamseva Sangh which was trying to

    realise the dream of Shiva+i and Shaha+i >hosale$ 9anasaheb 5orays destructive rancourand hatred won the day$ Dr Shiva+irao >hosales courage deserted him$

    :hen Aanata 6arty government (a party which was combine of # main opposition parties

    largest among being the Aan Sangh) was in power at the centre, there were "J M6s

    committed to the *indu %ashtra (nation)$ @eaders lie @ 4dvani were holding 'abinet

    Ministership$ 9anasaheb 5oray was Indias *igh 'ommissioner in @ondon asrepresentative of this 'abinet$ *e was well aware that he became the *igh 'ommissioner

    with the bacing of those who were committed to *indu %ashtra$ >ut he was holding aposition of power, and was not prepared to give it up for the sae of principle$ I was

    getting ac7uainted with this type of shameless hypocrisy in our public life$

    I was the e/ecutive editor of the weely Vive when 9anasaheb 5oray died$ I had to do

    the utterly unpleasant tas of writing the obituary editorial on him$ I had carefully gonethrough his writings and speeches since !"OK1OO$ 9anasaheb nursed more rancour in his

    heart for the Sangh than Shishupal, brother of Shri rishnas wife 1 %umini and his self1

    proclaimed enemy, did for Shri rishna (rishna is considered to be the eighth

    incaranation of @ord Vishnu and greatly worshipped among *indus)$ I am not awareeven now of what transformation he has brought about in the society$ It was very difficult

    to write anything positive about him$ >ut as per the professional +ournalistic norm, I did

    write in his favour$ =bviously, I was not being honest to myself$ 'ompared to mine, theeditorial in Saamana, a Marathi daily and mouth piece of a political party Shiv Sena,

    was scathingly forthright$ 9o homage to a hypocrite, it said$ I still remember the title$ I

    was glad that Saamna did what I did not dare to do$

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    :hile I was the Sahakarya"ahof theMum'ai Mahanagar(5reater Mumbai), I used to

    meditate over the social and political situation around me as much as I could$ Mumbai

    has a large number of fishermen$ :hy were so few in the Sangh2 here are large Slumsin Mumbai, I myself had grown up in a Slum$ *ow far are the middle1class worers in

    the Sangh ac7uainted with the plight of the slum1dwellers2 he Sangh means the Shaha(branch), and the Shaha means the programme that was the lesson given to us by

    >abarao >hide$ :hat is the social significance of the wor of the Sangh2 *ow are werelated to the life around us2 *ow are we lined to the life around us2 :hat is being done

    to change the social environment around us2 :hy is the number of dalits in the Sangh so

    negligible2 *undreds of such 7uestions used to crop up in my mind, and I used to placethem before my colleagues$

    he Sangh holds Diwali classes for imparting primary training to promising worers$ In

    Mumbai, we used to plan these classes very carefully$ he classes were conducted in a

    stereotyped framewor with stereotyped programmes$ I often felt that the framewor and

    content of the programme deserved change$ *owever, it is difficult to bring aboutalterations in the routine programmes of the Sangh$ It involves persuading colleagues as

    well as the elderly, devoted and selfless worers to develop all aptitude for change$ Iplaced before them my plea for educating the swayamsevas, coming for the Diwali

    primary class, in the social environment instead of involving them only in the physical

    facets of theBoudhikprogrammes$ My suggestion, and its pros and cons, were discussedat length$ :hat should the revised class be called2 6rimary or something else2 hat was a

    ey issue to resolve$

    In the Sangh methodology, specific words bear specific meanings and connote specific

    programmes$ herefore, the stalwarts of the Sangh e/ercise e/treme caution and

    vigilance in respect of the words they choose and the concepts which go with the words$9ew e/periments are not taboo, but a lot of rope1waling is inescapable when attaching

    new e/periments to old concepts$

    he first such class ever was organised in Mumbai in =ctober !";#$ he swayamsevasparticipating in the class were sent after # p$m$ to the localities those of the dalits,

    bacward class people and the Slums, all of them hitherto uncontacted by the Sangh$ he

    ob+ective was to convene Sangh Shahas and build up relations with the people in thoselocalities$ 4t "$JF p$m$ there used to be a programme where the Swayamsevas used to

    narrate their e/periences$ he Swayamsevas were advised to eat their meals in the

    localities they visited$

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    started giving tals on these great men$ My reading, thining and study of the sub+ects

    !began to grow$ *itherto I had not given too deep a thought to them, particularly in the

    conte/t of the Sangh$ 9ow I started doing it, and gradually, it became a habit$

    I can give an instance of how limited was the social awareness of the Sangh worer$ In!"O;, the Maharashtra 4ssembly passed a resolution approving the change in the name of

    the Marathwada ?niversity$ he approval produced sharp and bitter reactions in

    Marathawada$ Dalit localities were set on fire$ he issue of the changing the name of the?niversity soon turned into an issue about the very identity of dalits$ In those days, I used

    to read about these reactions in newspapers but they did not produce any specific

    response$ I would not be very wrong if I said that I had not realised the social significanceof the issue$ he Sangh had also not taen any particular stand on it$ :hen a problem

    tends to create divisions in society, it is very difficult to tae a side$

    @ater, I found that many Sangh activists in the Marathawada region wanted to support the

    change in the universitys name$ :hen I too became active in the change1of1name issuefrom the Samajik Samarasata Manchplatform, Damu 4nna told me a story$ In !"O;,

    >alasaheb Deoras was touring the Maharashtra 6rovince$ *e had a programme in

    Sambha+i 9agar$ In his discussion of the name issue, he said -I thin the change in the

    name should be endorsed$ hose who oppose it are not right in their thining$. Someworers in Marathawada, however, did not thin that way$ hey were of the view that the

    Sangh should eep away from the controversy, for the time being$

    :hile I was engrossed in the wor of the Sangh, my reading, thining, and the socialcircumstances and events around me made me introspective$ :oring as the

    Sahaaryawah of the Mumbai Metropolis, a thought often came to my mind, -4m I a

    worer of the Sangh or of the Sangh methodology2 Is not my commitment as the Sangharyaarta to the entire *indu society2 =r is it limited to the style of wor of the Sangh2I did not put this 7uestion to anybody because I new it was not easy to get a reply$ I had

    to find out the answer on my own$

    I wrote down my thoughts on a paper and showed it to Muundrao 6anshiar$ *e told

    me, -Mae copies of this and send them to our worers at the 4ll India level and also toSaharyawahs$. I followed his advice$ 4 serious note was taen of my suggestions, as I

    could gather from the dialogue generated at various levels$

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    Manu, Sangh and I

    Chapter III

    I wrote my first newspaper article in !";E$ he title was -?ntouchabilityN#r- %edge"ar.

    #r- 2m'edkar.$ >efore I wrote the article, I was ruminating a great deal about its

    structure$ >oth these great men th