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Bharatiya Janata Party is today the most prominent member of the family of organisations known as the "Sangh Parivar". And RSS has always been dubbed "communal", "reactionary" and what not by its detractors. Sanghs of swayamsevaks have of course always shaken off that criticism like so much water off a duck's back. They have never had any doubt that the organisation is wedded to national unity, national integrity, national identity and national strength through individual character and national character. And today this organisation is poised for a great leap forward. Even its long- time detractors think and say that now BJP is "unstoppable".What is the story of this national epic?

History is the philosophy of nations. And the Sangh Parivar has a very clear and candid conception of Indian history. Here was a great civilization whose glory spread from Sri Lanka to Java and Japan and from Tibet and Mangolia to China and Siberia. While it weathered the storms of Huns and Shakas and Greeks it wilted before the Islamic storms of the Turks. However, a 1000-year resistance saw this country bloodied but unbowed. Its civilization survived through the heroic efforts of the Vijayanagar Empire and of Shivaji, Rana Pratap and Guru Govind Singh and countless heroes and martyrs.

In more recent times this torch was picked up by Swami Dayanand and Swami Vivekanada. And in the present century the good work has been carried on by Sri Aurobindo, Lokmanya Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi and others. The RSS, founded by Dr Hedgewar in 1925 and consolidated by Shri Guruji after 1940, is the heir to this heroic, historic heritage. It has nothing against Muslim Indians - as distinguished from Muslim invaders. Its position on this issue has all along been: "Justice for all and appeasement of none". But it has no doubt that we were and are a Hindu nation; that change of faith cannot mean change of nationality.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh

The RSS entirely agrees with Gandhiji's formulations that "There is in Hinduism room enough for Jesus, as there is for Mohammed, Zoroster and Moses" and that "majority of the Muslims of India are converts to that faith from Hinduism through force of circumstances. They are still Hindu in many essential ways and, in a free, prosperous, progressive India, they would find it the most natural thing in the world to revert to their ancient faith and ways of life."
Due to the British policy of "Divide and Rule" and the politicians' proclivity to compromise and temporise the country suffered the trauma of the partition. But the Sangh Parivar has no doubt that before very long the unities, the varieties and the strengths of our ancient civilization will prevail. RSS has been continuing the task of nation building since its inception. It did it through the tumultuous period of 1930s and 40s. But it was rudely shaken by Gandhiji's killing and the Government's political exploitation of that national tragedy.

The RSS, along with millions of people, did not approve of Gandhiji's Muslim appeasement policy - starting with support of the Khilafat movement - but it had the greatest respect for the Mahatma. Indeed, Gandhiji had visited the RSS winter camp in Wardha in December 1934 - and addressed the Delhi RSS workers in Bhangi colony, in Spetember 1947. He had deeply appreciated the "noble sentiments" and "astonishing discipline" of the RSS. He had never spoken even one word of criticism of the RSS. But after his killing, 17000 RSS workers - including Shri Guruji - were accused of "conspiracy of murder" the Mahatma Gandhi and the RSS workers offered Satyagraha. But during all this time not one MLA or MP raised the issue in any legislature. For the RSS, it was the moment of truth. And this truth, as enunciated by Gokhale, was that "What cuts deep in politics cuts deep all round" and that unless the RSS grew political teeth and wings, it would always be at the mercy of unscrupulous politicians. This was the context in which Shri Guruji blessed the birth of Bhartiya Jana Sangh under the leadership of Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee in 1951. And in the very first General Elections the BJS emerged as one of the four nationally recognised parties. The Party has never looked back since then.


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