The B.B.C. of UK in one of its Quiz programmes had posed a question “Which is the biggest non-governmental voluntary organization in the world?” Not getting suitable answers, the quiz master himself declared that “the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a Hindu voluntary organization working in India.” This was a few decades ago. As at present, the organization has further expanded in multiple proportions and still growing.
Presenting itself as a cultural organization that nevertheless advocates a Hindu nationalistic agenda under the banner of hindutva, or “Hindu-ness,” RSS has played a great role in the history of the tiny Indian state of Kerala. A major emphasis has been placed on dedication and discipline, both mental and physical, as a means to restore strength, valour, and courage in Hindu youth and to foster unity among Hindus of all castes and classes, for the same visionaries having great moral background have been pillars of the organisation since its inception. Prof M K Govindan Nair occupies a significant position among the lineage of visionaries who have played a vital role in defining RSS in the state.
Govindan Nair had led a life based on ideals of the Sangh till his last breath and his life continues to be an inspiration for generations of Sangh workers especially Kerala even today. He was always committed to the cause of Sangh. Although he joined the Sangh at an advanced stage he worked with the enthusiasm of a young Swayamsevak. His profession as an educator enabled him to reach the values propagated by RSS to a vast number of students who still remember him with great reverence for paving a foundation for their future.
During Emergency which is often referred to as the darkest days of Indian democracy, he served 19 months in the prison. He could have escaped imprisonment by presenting a letter of apology; however who could stop a man who has decided to dedicate his life for the nation? Nobody would have raised any objection as he had a family to support with four children, but he wholeheartedly embraced the prison reminding us once again the iconic words of Lord Ram जननी जन्मभूमिश्च स्वर्गादपि गरीयसी || “Friends, riches and grains are highly honoured in this world. (But) mother and motherland are superior even to heaven.”
With his wit and jovial nature, he enlivened the prison atmosphere. Through his work and dedication, he could attract many people towards the Sangh. He instilled the same ideals in his family and that was why they decided to do away with all functions and decided to spend that amount to the benefit of people suffering from flood fury. Reminding a ‘total Sangh family’, his children were also active in the Sangh work. His elder daughter Dr S Remadevi was Prant Karyavahika of Rashtra Sevika Samiti and the younger daughter was Vibhag Karyavahika of the Samiti.
Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, visionary leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better. Today, when his family pays homage to Prof Govindan Nair on his death anniversary, it is our obligation to join them – for he didn’t live a life for himself or for his family, but he lived magnanimously spending his lifetime for the country and for the values that we all inherited from a great lineage.
अयं बन्धुरयं नेति गणना लघुचेतसाम् । उदारचरितानां तु वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम् ॥
One is a relative, the other stranger, say the small minded.
The entire world is a family, live the magnanimous.