The Covid pandemic has turned our world upside down. But human ingenuity finds new ways and means to overcome challenges posed by crippling cataclysmic events. We dusted off rudimentary virtual communication platforms that we rarely used to meet the emergent needs, and innovated upon them to make interactions seamless and realistic. There are gadgets and apps available in the market (some are in pipeline) that can give a three-dimensional experience through which we can interact or hold a meeting with many people, placed at multiple locations, at the same time.
From my experience, I can vouch that — though often dismissed as anti-science, regressive or obscurantist by our critics – the one organization that embraced the technology wholeheartedly to manage and expand its work is the Sangh — and its affiliates. The Wuhan virus could not defeat our spirit or bring our work to a grinding halt. On the other hand, our spirited swayamsevaks – in lakhs – took a plunge into the field to undertake service activities, providing rations, medicines and medical care to crores of people reeling under the impact of the pandemic. In this exercise, many of our young workers succumbed to Covid. They might have ended up as mere numbers in the cold statistics of Covid casualties in the government records, but for us, they are shining stars of inspiration and selfless service. My pranams to those selfless swayamsevaks and others who laid their lives to bring succor to people who were totally stranger to them. Our heart bleeds for them! Through their sacrifice, they upheld the core value of our civilization – sewa – a value that RSS seeks to instill among its workers.
Taking Covid protocol into account, our activities have gone into virtual mode. Shakhas, too, have undergone a virtual transformation. Distances became insignificant: at times, given the travails of travel, it became a blessing in disguise. We could organize and participate in several discussions and intellectual exchanges through webinars in the last several months when multiple lockdowns restricted our mobility.
Recently, in one such international webinar on ‘Swaraj in Ideas’, I was asked to chair a session on contribution of RSS in developing the concept of Swaraj. Eminent thinker and author Dr Ratan Sarada presented a thoroughly researched paper that delineated the role played by the organization in strengthening the idea and spreading it among the masses.
Giving the concluding remarks, a thought flashed through my mind. It related to a speech given by great poet, Vedic scholar and Jnanpith award winner Akkitham Achuthan Namboothiri at the valedictory function of Dr Hedgewar centenary celebrations. Delivering his presidential address, he said he was going to give another acronym to RSS.
“For that let me shuffle the words in your name, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Changing the order of words would not affect the meaning of the name – on the other hand, it would only enhance the content. Let us change it in this way — Swayamsevaka Rashtriya Sangham. Then the short form would be SwaRaSam. It means the nectar or essence of selfhood. So Sangh is the SwaRaSa of this Rashtra. Hence Sangh is related to the Swa or Selfhood of the Rashtra. It is for the Independence of the real genius of Rashtra,” the great poet said.
In the ultimate analysis, the Sangh is a thought movement though it appears to be a socio-cultural organisation outwardly. And even for some it is political. But the core area where the Sangh works is specifically at the mind and intellect of the society and to be more precise at the Chitta level. Due to innumerable reasons we are treading through the wrong path. Impact and influence of the alien principles and thought systems are immense. Unless and until the debilitating effect of the intellectual as well as the mental slavery is removed we are not supposed to progress in our own way. There comes the relevance of an independence struggle to emancipate our intelligence or move for “Swaraj in Ideas”. At every front of human activities, the Sangh strives to do that.
Here the Sangh has adopted a Budha way:
“Sabba paapasya akaranam
Evam Budhaanam saasanam”
All sort of defeating negativities are to be nullified and we have to acquire positive values and outlook. Thereby we must purify and energize our Chitta. This is all about Budha teachings.
Sangh through its Shakas and day-to-day activities are working in this line. Once the Chitta Sudhi is attained then the path to proceed will be illuminated. One will get the clarity of thought. The real independence is not possible without the Chitta Sudhi.