Chaitra Krishna 8, Vik.Samvat 2072. Yugabda 5117: April 1, 2016

We wish all the readers a very happy and prosperous New Year Yugabda 5118 Durmukh Samvatsar.




1. festivals: Thousands celebrated Holi on the Falgun Poornima ( 23rd March this year ) which is a festival of color marked with fun and gaiety and makes all to forget ill will and come together in an environment of equality. It is celebrated in Bharat and other parts of the world by Hindus and the festival is getting increasing appreciation in many countries with locals participating with fervor.

Guyana President participates in Chowtal singing at State House: President David Granger joined members of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh for a Chowtal session on the lawns of State House on 22nd March. Chowtal is a genre of folk music originated from the Bhojpuri Region, Northern Bharat and has been preserved for over 178 years in Guyana.

4th Holi Celebration in Manila: The Holi Festival was recently celebrated at SM by the Bay Central Park with more than 2,500 people gathering for the auspicious event.

It was the fourth year of celebration in the Philippines organized by Asia Society and SM by the Bay in partnership with the Embassy of Bharat and others.

More than just a Hindu celebration, the event turned into one multi-colored race united by love and friendship attended by the Bharatiya Ambassador to the Philippines Lalduhthlana Ralte and Asia Society Philippines executive director Suyin Liu Lee.

Holi celebrated in Canadian Parliament for the first time ever: The first ever Holi celebrations at the parliament complex took place on 24th March with a number of parliamentarians joining members of the Indo-Canadian community to play the festival of colour. The event - an initiative of Chandra Arya, a liberal MP was organized with the support of the High Commission of Bharat and was attended by over 300 people. A message of spreading friendship and love from Canada PM Justin Trudeau was read by MP Ramesh Sangha. -goTop


2. PRESIDENT CONFERS PADMA AWARDS: President Pranab Mukherjee presented five Padma Vibhushan, eight Padma Bhushan and forty-three Padma Shri awards at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on 28th  March. The President conferred the Padma Vishushan on Dhirubhai Hirachand Ambani (Posthumous), Avinash Kamalakar Dixit, Jagmohan, Yamini Krishnamuthi and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. The awardees' who received the Padma Bhushan from the President include Anupam Kher, Pallonji Shapoorji Mistry, Saina Nehwal and others. The forty-three Padma Shri awardees to receive the honour include Mylswamy Annadurai, Madhur R. Bhandarkar, Ajay Devgn, Deepika Kumari and Mohammed Imtiaz Qureshi. -goTop


3. SEWA SPIRIT IS THE REMEDY FOR MANY ILLS: BHAIYAJI: "The service feeling, if developed among the masses, can help the nation curb many ills that are damaging the nation today. Sewa also develops self-reliance and social harmony, which is primary need for any nation,"said RSS Sarkaryavah Shri Bhaiyaji Joshi while inaugurating second phase of Sewa Bharati Hospital in Udiapur. Rajasthan Chief Minister Smt Vasundhara Raje was present on the occasion. Home Minister of the State Shri Gulabchand Kataria presided over the function. Many prominent local businessmen were also present.

The significant presence on the occasion was that of Pujya Morari Bapu who appealed to the well to do people of the society to contribute in providing health services to the last man of the society. Chief Minister Smt Raje applauded the effort of Sewa Bharati in serving the needy people of the society. RSS senior functionary Shri Suresh Chandra and other prominent adhikaris were also present. -goTop


4. CALIFORNIA COMMISSION REJECTS SUGGESTIONS TO REPLACE 'INDIA' WITH 'SOUTH ASIA': After protests from students and parents, the California Department of Education's Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) has rejected suggestions by a group of professors to replace the word "India" with "South Asia" in California textbooks.

A group of professors including Sheldon Pollock, Robert Goldman, Lawrence Cohen and Kamala Visweswaran, under the name of 'South Asia Faculty Group' had written to the Department of Education, suggesting that most references to 'India' before 1947 be replaced with "South Asia". The suggestions had created a huge uproar in the Bharatiya-American community based in California. A petition by a group of scholars named 'Scholars for People' and signed by over 18,000 people had asked the commission "Would you presume to deny the reality of India's existence and history, and its deep significance to Indian American students in California, simply because a few misinformed professors of "South Asia Studies" wrote you a letter recommending you re-educate California's children in this bizarre manner?"

A large number of students and parents testified at the public hearing of the commission held in Sacramento on March 24th seeking the rejection of these changes. Bill Honig, the Chair of the Subject Matter Committee of the Commission said at the public hearing that they reject the suggestion for removal of India but agreed to add "South Asia" in parenthesis after most mentions to ancient India.  -goTop


5. CYCLONE RELIEF WORK BY VHP FIJI: Vishwa Hindu Parishad Fiji volunteers provided all kinds of possible assistance to the Hindu community and other people affected by Cyclone Winston that struck the Pacfic island of Fiji on 20th February.

On the day of cyclone, volunteers in Savusavu district on the island of Vanua Levu bravely rescued more than 100 families and took them to an evacuation centre. Similarly, the team in Ba, on the main island, was busy coordinating with families, rescues operations, media and various agencies trying to provide support to evacuate families.

On 21st February the Hindu Emergency Aid Relief Team provided immediate assistance required by many families that were stranded in remote places. Since that day food packs, clothes and medical assistance were provided to more than 2,400 families. -goTop


6. SPORTS DAY BY HSS HONGKONG: The 28th annual sports day organized by Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh Hong Kong took place at the Perth Sports Ground, Ho Man Tin on 13th March.

This year even though the weather was unpredictable there was a record 259 participants ranging from the age of 3 to 70. It was a wonderful atmosphere of competitiveness as well as team spirit.

The activities for the 3 to 18 year olds included long jump, 100m and 200m sprint and obstacle race. There were over 10 competitions in each category to cover all the age ranges. There was something for the mums and dads too with the sack race and one legged race.

After lunch there were some traditional team games played like Kho Kho and Kabaddi. And finally all the children were given certificates for their participation.

Overall, everyone had a fantastic day, great atmosphere, very well organized and even the weather could not dampen the enthusiasm shown by all. -goTop


7. HERB DHALIWAL TO HARJIT SAJJAN: THE RISE OF SIKHS IN CANADIAN POLITICS: Last week, as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a student at the American University in Washington DC that he had more Sikhs in his cabinet than his Bharatiya counterpart Narendra Modi, he was stating a fact but also being facetious.

He appointed four Sikhs in November, giving the high-profile national defense portfolio to combat veteran Harjit Sajjan. But that throwaway remark was evidence of the evolution of the Sikh community in Canadian politics.

"There's a certain amount of pride and it speaks to Canada's multicultural policy but I don't see it as a challenge to India," said Satwinder Kaur Bains, director of the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies at the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, British Columbia.

While the cliche coming-of-age has often been applied to such moments in time, in this context it's "very very appropriate", Bains said.

But it isn't just in the cabinet that Sikhs are becoming more influential. Recent changes to immigration policy, announced this month by the new Liberal Party government, simplified the process of family reunification and removed the waiting period for spouses to become permanent residents, both significant demands within the community.

As Bains pointed out, "The Sikh community has remained invested in its culture. India is still the main source country for marriage. The fourth cohort of Indo-Canadians didn't want to see that eroded."

Canada's Sikh population is estimated to be between 500,000 and 700,000 and as a percentage of the country's population may be higher than that in Bharat. But its political significance has increased because it is concentrated largely in the Greater Toronto Area and the Vancouver Metro region, with their wealth of seats that decide electoral majorities.

The Liberal Party's victory in the 2015 parliamentary election can partly be attributed to winning over the community. In fact, its campaign graphic for how the middle-class would benefit from proposed tax cuts showed a family named Singh.

"If you simply look at the numbers, it's a significant change. That's a sizeable portion of the cabinet," said Shinder Purewal, professor of political science at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey, BC.

But Purewal, who ran as a Liberal candidate for parliament twice, was skeptical of the impact this will have long-term, even as he described Trudeau's statement as "childish".

"Individuals have become more powerful. But it's the bureaucracy that makes the decisions. You don't see Sikhs here. Same thing, perhaps, in private boards. I want to see if this trend of political power leads to more power in the public and private sectors." (By Anirudh Bhattacharyya, Hindustan Times, Toronto |  Mar 20, 2016) -goTop


8. CHENNAI GIRL WINS AT STREET CHILD GAMES IN RIO: When Hepsiba runs, it is as if she can fly with the wind and skip through the air. Some say she picked up the skill on the streets where she lived. But her coach believes she is a natural sprinter.

On 20th March, she sprinted to victory in the 100-metre dash at the Street Child Games held in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. She also won two more medals at the games. Hepsiba, now 16, earlier lived with her widowed mother on Sydenhams Road in Chennai, the same stretch on which, co-incidentally, Nehru Indoor Stadium is located. When they were evicted from the street, they moved into a shelter for the homeless run by the Chennai Corporation. An unexpected opportunity that came Hepsibah's way finally took her to the global competition in Rio.

"We had organised a sports contest for street children, and this girl was sheer talent," explains Paul Sunder Singh, of Karunalaya, an NGO that took a team of five street children to Rio for the games, "Actually, she just about made it; it was a miracle that her passport came through on time."  -goTop


9. SIKH TEMPLE IN HEART OF PESHAWAR REOPENS AFTER 70 YEARS: An ancient Sikh temple, Bhai Beba Singh Temple, which remained non-functional for 70 years, was opened for worship on 30th March.

Minority communities expressed jubilation over the opening of the historic temple located in Mohallah Jogiwara in the Hashtnagri area of the interior city.

Evacuee Trust Property Board Chairman Siddiq-al-Farooq formally opened the temple by unveiling the plaque. Religious rituals such as Ardas and recitation of Guru Granth Sahib, holy book of Sikhs, were performed. -goTop


10. 4 BHARATIYAS IN WEF'S YOUNG GLOBAL LEADERS CLASS OF 2016: Four Bharatiyas - Kanika Dewan, Dhivya Suryadevara, Shaurya Veer Himatsingka and Sheetal Amte-Karajgi - have made it to the list of over 121 young global leaders recognized by the World Economic Forum.

WEF recognized 121 scientists, government leaders, future business leaders, social activists and artists, aged under 40, as the Young Global Leaders Class of 2016. Over half of the Young Global Leaders Class of 2016 are women and the majority are from emerging economies.

The individuals who represented Bharat in the list include three women, Kanika Dewan, President of Bramco Group, Dhivya Suryadevara CEO of GM Asset Management, one of the largest pensions in the US, where she manages USD 80 billion in assets and Sheetal Amte-Karajgi, CEO of Maharogi Sewa Samiti, who is making a significant impact on the lives of the marginalized. Shaurya Veer Himatsingka, Deputy Managing Director, India Carbon, was the other Bharatiya who made it to the coveted list. -goTop


11. SIXTH NANAJI DESHMUKH MEMORIAL LECTURE HELD AT DELHI on 25th March where the main speaker was Dr. Anil Kakodkar, former Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, Bharat. The topic of the lecture was Bharatiya Tradition of Science.

The lecture was preceded by a short documentary based on superiority of ancient Bharatiya science prepared by Discovery channel. Dr. Anil Kakodkar started his lecture by paying tributes to Nanaji Dekhmukh and also the acknowledged the scientific knowledge of our ancient time which was shown in the documentary.

He suggested that we need to impart the development and livelihood based education & technology in the villages. He emphasized to have a bridge between urban and rural system. In his presidential speech Union Minister for Science and Technology Dr. Harshavardhan emphasized the need of the young generation that they should knew our rich heritage and we all have to regain it with our more efforts. -goTop


12. 5 PHD THESES ON THIS CLASS III-DROPOUT POET: He has barely attended school, but five scholars have based their PhD research on this writer and poet from western Odisha who received the Padma Shri from the President on 28th March.

Haldhar Nag, the 66-year-old poet in Kosli language, remembers all the poems and 20 epics that he has penned. Sambalpur University is now coming up with a compilation of his writings - Haldhar Granthabali-2 - which will be a part of the university's syllabus.

Born in a poor family of Ghens in Bargarh district of Odisha in 1950, Nag could attend school only up to Class-III. He dropped out after losing his father when he was 10. "Life of a widow's child was tough," Nag said, adding how he had no option but to work as a dishwasher at a local sweet shop. Nag has never worn any footwear and always dons a white dhoti and a vest. "I feel free in this attire," he said.

Known as Lok Kabi Ratna in Odisha, Nag, who draws his themes from the rustic surroundings, writes mostly on nature, society, mythology and religion. He also takes up the cause of the oppressed and social reforms through his writings. -goTop


13. HINDUS COUNT MORE AMONG HIGHER EDUCATED IN SINGAPORE: Hindus are among the higher educated in Singapore, according to General Household Survey 2015 published by Singapore Department of Statistics in March 2016.

"Proportions of Christians and Hindus were higher among the higher educated than the lower educated residents", the survey said. Among university graduates aged 15 and over, eight per cent were Hindus although population of Hindus was just five per cent at 162.5 thousands. Buddhists were the largest population group with 33.2 per cent.

According to this survey, 47.1 thousand Hindus aged 15 years and over were living in 5-room & executive flats. Tamil is spoken at home by 3.3 per cent residents aged five years and over. Other languages spoken at home included Malayalam, Hindi, Gujarati, Sindhi, etc. -goTop


14. MEDITATION, YOGA CAN HELP TREAT BACK PAIN: STUDY: Meditation, yoga and cognitive behavioural therapy may result in greater improvement among adults with back pain when compared with usual care, researchers, including one of Bharatiya-origin, have found.

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) focuses on increasing awareness and acceptance of moment-to-moment experiences, including physical discomfort and difficult emotions.

Researchers from US's Johns Hopkins University assigned 342 adults aged 20 to 70 years with chronic low back pain to receive MBSR, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), or usual care. CBT (training to change pain-related thoughts and behaviours) and MBSR (training in mindfulness meditation and yoga) were delivered in 8 weekly 2-hour groups.

Researchers found that at 26 weeks, the percentage of participants with clinically meaningful improvement on a measure of functional limitations was higher for those who received MBSR (61%) and CBT (58%) than for usual care (44%). The percentage of participants with clinically meaningful improvement in pain bothersomeness at 26 weeks was 44% in the MBSR group and 45% in the CBT group. This was only 27% in the usual care group. -goTop


15. PM MODI REMOTELY ACTIVATES ASIA'S LARGEST TELESCOPE IN BRUSSELS: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of Belgium, Charles Michel, on 30th March jointly carried out the remote technical activation of a 3.6 meter optical telescope located at Deosthal in Uttarakhand.  The telescope at the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) has been installed in the Uttarakhand Himalayas, as a result of close collaboration between scientists from the two countries, especially between the teams of ARIES in Bharat, and AMOS (Advanced Mechanical and Optical Systems) in Belgium.

Speaking on the occasion, PM Modi congratulated the scientists of both the countries for the successful installation of this sophisticated "fully steerable optical telescope in the lap of the Himalayas". -goTop


16. MANOHAR PARRIKAR FLAGS OFF FIRST INDIGENOUS SONAR DOME: Bharat's first indigenous composites sonar dome, a ship's underwater eyes and ears, was flagged off by Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar on 30th March It will be delivered to Mazgaon docks in Mumbai. Designed and produced by a Defense and Research Development Organisation (DRDO) lab in Pune, the sonar dome is a first of its kind in the country and has been manufactured by a composites manufacturing company.

This is a huge contribution by Bharatiya Industry to the 'Make in India' movement, Defense Ministry officials said. Only a couple of companies worldwide have the capability of realizing such structures. All anti-submarine warfare (ASW) ships have a sonar array fitted to the ship structure below the waterline. The sonar functions as the ship's underwater eyes and ears. The sonar dome is a structure fitted over the sonar array so that its electronics and sensors are not exposed to surrounding hostile environment and has to be structurally sound as well as acoustically transparent. -goTop


17. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Visitors: Naresh Chavda - Canada, Amit Tiwari - UK, Dev Rakhah -Mauritius, Shridhar Damle - USA


FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Do not look at anybody in terms of friend or foe, brother or cousin; do not fritter away your mental energies in thoughts of friendship or enmity. Seeking the self everywhere, be amiable and equal minded towards all, treating everyone alike. - Adi Shankaracharya  -goTop




 Shubhabrata Bhattacharya

The first half of the 1920s saw the emergence of many organisations whose aim was to mobilise for the nationalist cause. Disappointed with Mahatma Gandhi's withdrawal of the Civil Disobedience movement, Motilal Nehru, Chittaranjan Das and others floated the hard-line Swaraj Party within the Indian National Congress. The Hindustan Republican Association, with an umbilical link with Bengal's Anushilan Samity embarked on a militant course. Inspired by the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, the Communist Party of India was launched in 1925. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) was launched in the same year by six activists led by Keshav Baliram Hedgewar in Nagpur. Hedgewar became its first sarsanghchalak. A year earlier, inspired by the Congress' Jhanda Satyagraha in Nagpur, the volunteers from Hubli, who had withstood British oppression, formed the Hindustan Seva Dal, led by Narayan Subbarao Hardikar, who, like, Hedgewar, was a medical doctor. This outfit was the precursor of the present day Congress Seva Dal(CSD)-the Kakinada session of the Congress in 1931 renamed the volunteer force and assigned it a vanguard role. Both RSS and CSD uniforms comprised knickers (shorts worn by men): the RSS wore khaki; CSD uniform was black. The Hindu Mahasabha also originated in that period.

Ninety years later, when the RSS has decided to shed its knickers and wear the pants (brown trousers were adopted at the Nagaur conclave), the CSD, which adopted pants years earlier, remains a poor also-ran. It is primarily assigned ceremonial duties of saluting the flag at the start of AICC meets. CPI, now split into two distinct parties, is trying to keep its faltering flag aloft, the nascent spark of Kanhaiya Kumar notwithstanding. In the centenary year of its fourth sarsanghchalak, Madhukar Dattatreya Deoras (Balasaheb Deoras), RSS can take pride that while one of its pracharaks has occupied the chair of Prime Minister, others are Chief Ministers and important members of the Union Council of Ministers. The RSS is now wearing the pants (this idiom, generally applied to women, dates back to the 1550s when women in England wore skirts-pants signified an authoritative and primarily masculine role). CSD functionaries rarely assumed ministerial duties in the days of Congress raj.

The journey of the RSS vis-à-vis the CSD vividly portrays the ups and downs of national political parties in India. Over the years, CSD was used by the Congress as an organisation whose stewardship was assigned to "adjust" those who could not be accommodated elsewhere. Example: Tariq Anwar was shifted from the presidentship of Youth Congress to head the Seva Dal in the 1980s. Ditto for Jagdish Tytler. The present head of the organisation is a political lightweight. At one stage, when Rahul Gandhi was emerging, Ashok Gehlot and Mukul Wasnik floated the idea of having him as head of CSD.

The Kakinada session in 1931 assigned the Congress Seva Dal (a "militia-like" volunteer force) a vanguard role in the movement against the British Raj. A ban was imposed on Congress in 1932. It was lifted in 1934, but the ban on CSD continued for a while more as the British knew its potential in mobilising for satyagraha. In independent India, the CSD was banned by the West Bengal government in 1948. Jawaharlal Nehru, who had served in the CSD, intervened and got the ban lifted. The Seva Dal lost its primacy during Congress rule. Even after the 1977 debacle, the Congress did not revive the CSD as a tool of mass mobilisation-that role had been taken over by the Youth Congress under Sanjay Gandhi. For a brief while, in the days of Rajiv Gandhi, both as party general secretary and as Prime Minister, the Seva Dal was back in the limelight: Rajiv used Seva Dal members for collecting feedback from the grassroots. (Side by side with the Seva Dal, adolescent Indira Nehru formed the Vanar Sena, primarily in Allahabad and other UP towns-adolescents and children helped the Congress, while leaders were jailed. This was abandoned in the years to come.)

Bharatiya Janata Party veteran L.K. Advani once said in the early 1990s that his party was the best alternative as it had no umbilical link with the Congress. (Communists and Socialists functioned within the Congress during the freedom struggle; the Akalis were allies as was the J&K National Conference.) While the BJP has impeccable "Congress-mukt"credentials-with its precursor, Bharatiya Jan Sangh having been formed in 1952 as an alternative platform to the Nehru regime-the same perhaps cannot be said of RSS. Dr Hedgewar came under the influence of the Anushilan Samity while studying medicine in Calcutta. He also interacted with the Hindustan Republican Party and was in touch with Ramprasad Bismil, whose song, Sarfaroshi ki Tammanna, inspires the youth to this day. He participated in the Congress' Jungle Satyagraha, which took place in the Bombay Presidency almost side by side with the Bardoli Satyagraha in 1930, and was jailed. He attended some Congress sessions until the AICC banned the participation of RSS, the Hindu Mahasabha and the Muslim League members from its sessions.

The RSS was launched in the aftermath of the Kakori rail dacoity on Vijaya Dashami day in 1925, thus, while not part of the Congress mainstream, the Sangh has its roots in the freedom struggle. It did not participate in the Quit India movement in 1942. Post Independence, the RSS had differences with Nehru and with B.R. Ambedkar on the question of the national flag. They wanted the bhagwa dhwaj, while the Constituent Assembly opted for the Tricolour. There were serious differences on the style of the Constitution as well. These differences are enunciated in Bunch of Thoughts, penned by the third sarsanghchalak, M.S.Golwalkar.

The RSS was banned in Punjab between 24 and 28 January, 1947 by the Unionist Party government. Mahatma Gandhi's assassination in January 1948 triggered another ban, which was lifted six months later when Sardar Patel obtained an assurance that the Sangh would be a non-political, cultural outfit. Another ban was imposed during 19 months of the Emergency and again in the aftermath of the Babri demolition in 1992, and was lifted as nothing was substantiated. The emergence of the Jan Sangh provided the RSS with an unobtrusive platform. The Janata Party government, of which former Jan Sangh was a constituent, was jinxed by the "dual membership" issue raised by Raj Narain and enlarged by Charan Singh. This ultimately led to the formation of the BJP.

RSS volunteers, while avoiding open political activity in free India, engaged in a movement for the decolonisation of the Portuguese ruled Dadra Nagar Haveli in 1954. A year later, they started a movement for the freedom of Goa, Daman and Diu. These movements have paid long term dividends-Gujarat and Goa are BJP ruled now.

The 1971 cyclone in Odisha, 1977 cyclone in Andhra, the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster and the 2001 Gujarat earthquake saw the RSS in yeoman role. The Bihar drought in 1965 was an opportunity for the RSS to befriend its one time critic, Jayprakash Narayan, who had opposed the lifting of the ban in 1948. Later, the RSS was to play the role of providing sinews to the JP movement and the anti-Emergency stance.

Indira Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi were in dialogue with the RSS during the Emergency after Balasaheb Deoras appreciated the Emergency in writing. Former Intelligence Bureau chief T.V. Rajeshwar has noted in his book that Mrs Gandhi almost met Deoras, but shied away at the eleventh hour. Some observers say that the 1979 December poll was an occasion for the RSS to "take revenge on" Charan Singh, Raj Narain and other Janata leaders inimical to the Sangh, and an invisible hand of support was extended to ensure Mrs Gandhi's return to power. Rajiv Gandhi revived the dialogue with RSS: Balasaheb's brother and lieutenant, Bhaurao Deoras was in constant touch with him.

There were two occasions when the RSS stood by Mrs Gandhi. When Jagannath Puri priests opposed a visit by Indira Gandhi as she was married to a "non-Hindu", Balasaheb Deoras openly backed her right to worship. On another occasion, when Mrs Gandhi offered prayers at Rameshwaram and the RSS mouthpiece's editor, K.R. Malkani described that as an "election stunt", Deoras chided the publication.

The Congress Chief Minister of erstwhile Madhya Bharat, Ravi Shankar Shukla sought Golwalkar's help in handling the trouble in the tribal areas of Chhattisgarh. RSS acrivist Ramakant Keshav Deshpande was assigned to it and this ultimately gave birth to the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram in Jashpur: the RSS' roots among the tribals continue to this day and have been the subject of controversy at times.

The stand taken at the Nagaur conclave on women's right to enter temples is not a bolt from the blue. Since the days of Hedgewar, the RSS has advocated the training of tribals and backward classes as the high priests of temples. In 1934, Mahatma Gandhi went to an RSS camp in Wardha, where he was impressed by the lack of untouchability. He personally enquired from all the swayamsevaks and praised them for "living and eating together without bothering to know their castes".

Dr Zakir Hussain, who was later President of India, appreciated the RSS on 20 November 1949, barely a year after the ban had been lifted, when he said at a Milad Mehfil in Mungher (Bihar), "The allegations against RSS of violence and hatred against Muslims are wholly false. Muslims should learn the lesson of mutual love, cooperation and organisation from RSS."

The observations of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr Zakir Hussain and Jayaprakash Narain on the RSS and the attitude of Golwalkar and Deoras towards the Congress leadership needs to be understood in the present context. Fringe elements should draw a lesson from these.

The fourth stanza of the jhanda geet with which every session of AICC begins, says:

Ho swaraj janata ka nischay

Bolo Bharat Mata ki jai

Vijayi vishv Tiranga pyara

Jhanda ooncha rahe hamara

As the RSS marches on, the Congress, as a national organisation, need not engage in diatribe on Jai Hind or Bharat Mata ki Jai. It's its organisation, and not mere rhetoric, which makes the RSS wear the pants today.

( Shubhabrata Bhattacharya is a former Editor of Sunday and of National Herald. -goTop

Shri Vishwa Niketan