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10 Key Highlights From Mohan Bhagwat’s RSS Conclave Address

Here are the key highlights from the RSS chief’s speech at the ‘Future of Bharat: An RSS Perspective’.

Updated
India
3 min read

Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam
Video Producer: Shohini Bose

The 3-day RSS Conclave has been promoted as an outreach initiative which, for the first time, will be interactive.

Interactive, how? – Mohan Bhagwat will speak on all three days and those with questions can write them down, submit them with the RSS volunteers and Mohan Bhagwat will answer those questions on Day 3.

On Day 1 the speech focused on familiarising outsiders with the RSS, its origins, what it stands for, its goals and clearing common misconceptions.
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Here are the key highlights from Mohan Bhagwat’s speech at the RSS Conclave:

Mainstreaming of RSS

Since the RSS emerged as a powerful social-political force, not just in India but across the world, there is enough talk about the RSS. I am not here to convince you. I am here to answer your questions, the best I can.

Founder Hedgewar and his Dream of a 'Sampoorna Hindu Samaj'

Our founder, Dr Hedgewar is the seed from which the RSS has branched out. When someone asked him, “Dr we are now 50 people, what do we do next?” Dr Hedgewar said, “let’s have 500, then 5000, then 50,000, then 5 crores. I just want to bring people together, nothing more than that.” He wanted to create a ‘Sampoorna Hindu Samaj’. He did not want a separate unit. He wanted to unite everyone.

Hindutva or Hinduness

Hindutva unites us all. Dr Hedgewar’s aim was to unite the society. We have to become a deserving society. Do we have discipline? Do we have civic sense? We don’t have to die for the nation, we need to live right for the nation.

Democratic Origins and Nature of the RSS

A group of young men got together and started holding daily sessions. Then later, akhadas also came into existence. When they moved out from indoor sessions to akhadas, then shakhas came into being after 3-3.5 months. It wasn’t Hedgewar who said let’s start shakhas. It was the people who he brought together who discussed and made things happen. They said the British carry lathis and march. We should do the same. Then someone said, let’s have uniforms, then a ‘toota-foota’ band came into play. Then someone asked – what is your sangh called? Dr Hedgewar asked us to sit down and decide.16 people sat down, three names were proposed, a referendum was held and RSS was decided upon.
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Why the Saffron Flag

Why the bhagwa jhanda? Because it has been our symbol for the longest time. The flag committee said – let’s have a bhagwa jhanda for independent India. But later on, the tiranga came to be recognised as our national flag. We respect that too.

Financing RSS

The period from March to July is tough for us because the RSS does not accept foreign funds. We return any foreign funds that are given to us. But when there is any natural calamity, like in Kerala, we are always ready to help.

Why a Faceless Organisation?

The reason why we are predominantly a faceless organisation is because we don’t want arrogance to creep in. It has its problems, but we deal with it. Who will be in power is decided by the people and the system. We are indifferent towards it. We only want society to be shaped a certain way. In 1980 we created a ‘Prachar Vibhag’, but we don’t run away from or towards publicity. I don’t want publicity for myself. We don’t talk about future projects. We finish them and then as a means of information, we talk about it.

Countering the 'Remote Control' Criticism

Bhagwat also spoke about RSS members in the government and said RSS doesn’t tell a worker what he/she should do outside.

A member of the Sangh is a member of the Sangh. We don’t tell an RSS worker what he/she should do outside the Sangh. What they do in their professional life is their business. RSS workers work in different spheres of life. We hold discussions, to allow an exchange of ideas not to set a common policy. We only do a coordination meeting.

What About Women in RSS

Hedgewar was asked the same question by a woman in 1931. She asked him that 50% of women have been left behind while creating a Sampurna Hindu Samaj. Dr Hedgewar agreed with her but said that the society is not such where men can work with women. That would give room for rumours. But he promised to help women who would work towards creating a Sampurna Hindu Samaj. That lady then went on to form the women’s wing of the RSS. It was decided that they would run side-by-side but have their separate agendas. Till such time there is no demand from within the organisations to merge them, we will continue as we have for so long.

Why Only Hindus?

Mohan Bhagwat said, “will talk about this tomorrow along with answering some of your questions.”

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