Bihar’s 1st state-level RSS conference in 1970 : The rise of Rajju Bhaiyya

Pic credit National Herald

NK SINGH

Published in Secular Democracy, February 1971

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh claims to have a membership of one lakh in Bihar. And their own sources reveal that only 30,000 people (most of them teenagers) attend their shakhas.

But, ironically enough they could muster only 8,000 ‘true Hindus’ to participate in their first state conference, which was recently held at Patna. Bihar’s population is three and half crore.

However, even this minor percentage is an alarming phenomenon in a secular nation like India.

During its 45 years of existence, the RSS has undoubtedly grown. But much credit for it goes to the birth of its political wing, the Jana Sangh; in Bihar it attracted the frustrated business community of the State.

Actually, the RSS had very little strength before independence when the people were busy fighting the British Government. Even after independence it could not muster much strength as the murder of Mahatma Gandhi evoked widespread public resentment against it.

Rise of the RSS

It was only after the birth of the Jana Sangh which became very soon popular with the urban business community that the RSS started getting some foothold in the State. The new recruits of the Jana Sangh were asked to first attend the Shakhas.

It does not mean that the RSS had no strength before this. It did exist, but the number of regular devotees was almost negligible, which swelled only after the birth of its political wing.

In the 1967 General Election – during the days of anti-Congressism – the Jana Sangh succeeded in capturing quite a good number of seats. Thereafter, it was one of the partners in a number of coalition ministries including the first United Front Government. This was a golden opportunity for the Communal Dragon and it swelled like anything under the patronage of its well wishers in the Government.

Tactics

However, the most common tactics adopted by the RSS people to increase its influence was to engineer communal riots. Riots helped to create a feeling of insecurity in the minds of people. The Swayamsevaks used to play upon the fear-complex of the majority community.

Soon enough, it was felt that this was the best method . Thereafter riots took place very frequently and the RSS experienced a fast growth.

Ranchi riots are a clear example. In the local Heavy Engineering Corporation, Hatia, only a handful of committed Swayamsevaks used to attend the shakhas earlier.

After the riots, about two or three thousand people have come in the folds of the RSS and the Jana Sangh. The place has become one of the strongest citadels of the organisation in Bihar. All this was in the wake of communal riots.

Recently, due to the absence of any communal tension, the daily attendance at the shakhas has indicated a decrease, but on the whole, the RSS is very much a gainer due to the riots.

The recently-held three-day (Dec. 25, 26 and 27, 1970) Bihar State Conference of the RSS was the first of its kind in the State.

Before this the Swayamsevaks used to meet at district-level annual meets or winter camps or similar minor but nevertheless well-prepared and closely guarded, secret gatherings.

Those with a better understanding of RSS were allowed to attend the Officer’s Training Camps. These OTCs have a very prominent place in the strategy of the RSS.

It is a very hush hush affair — no stranger was allowed even to wander near the venue of the training camp where the ‘officers’ of this para-military organisation are said to be trained in the use of modern weapons and taught special tricks to ‘deal’ with the communal riots.

One of such training camps organised on a provincial level was held at Munger a few months ago, which was attended, among others, by the RSS Chief, Guru Golwalkar.

RSS Conference

The first Bihar State conference of the RSS, held at Patna, was a result of much endeavour on the part of the RSS bosses. They took great pain to make it a success.

The drama, which cost about Rs. one lakh, was organised in the local Polo Ground, which is quite outside of Patna (5 miles from the city) – perhaps to maintain strict secrecy.

As a RSS spokesman disclosed before a press conference, security arrangements were very “tight”. Despite a number of Swayamsevaks on guard round the clock four watch posts were created, each twenty feet high from the ground.

Looking from a distance the camp seemed to be very much in the military style — in looks as well as in purpose.

No outsider was allowed to enter the camp premises. Even the relatives of Swayamsevaks, attending the conference, were not allowed to meet their near and dear ones. However, such shadow fighting squares up with the known policies of the RSS to maintain strict secrecy

Such preparations on a war footing are bound to raise one question — from whom these Sanghis want to protect themselves? Where is the danger?

But those having a little knowledge of RSS methods know that shadow-fighting forms a necessary part of its strategy. It has a psychological impact.

A Swayamsevak is always anticipating some trouble to happen and the RSS plays upon his fear complex. People are told to be united under the saffron flag.

Proceedings

The conference was attended by about 7,000 (as claimed by the Sanghi circles) Swayamsevaks besides one thousand camp officers. The routine of the usual RSS camps was maintained here too.

Besides boudhiks (intellectual discourses) various games and activities used to be held in the rally. Training and practice in lathi, lezium, sword, javelin and physical training were included in the programme. Emphasis was on games with an inner psychological core and songs of political nature.

Besides Guruji, the conference was attended by the following office bearers of the organisation: General Secretary Bala Saheb Deoras, Secretary Madhav Rao Mule. Akhil Bharatiya Sharirik Shikshan Pramukh Moropant Pingley, Pracharak of Northern Zone Bapu Rao Modhe and Pracharak of Eastern Zone Bhau Rao Deoras.

Significantly, all these gentlemen, ranging from Guruji to Bhau Rao Deoras, are Maharashtrian, and most of them Brahmins.

The credit of this conference goes to Prof. Rajendra Singh, popularly known as Rajju Bhaiya in Sanghi circles, the RSS organiser for U.P. and Bihar. He has become very much active in recent years. Rajju Bhaiya has a strong desire to see his name in print.

On the concluding day of the conference, a mass meeting was organised at the local Gandhi Maidan, which was addressed by the ‘param pujyaniya’ Guruji.

The RSS also brought out a procession of the Swayamsevaks in full uniform — black caps, white shirt, khaki knickers and leather belts carrying regulation lathis to mark the occasion.

Golwalkar Speaks

While at Patna, Guru Golwalkar spoke on two occasions in public. First, at a press conference, the like of which are being organised very frequently since the recent political upheavals over the demand to ban the RSS. Second, at the public meeting in the local Gandhi maidan.

Full details of what the Guru spoke before his disciples inside the camp, are not available at the time of writing.

In the press conference when asked why persons belonging to the communities other than Hindu are not allowed to become the members of RSS, Guruji replied with a smile on his lips (a rare thing indeed), “Let all the Hindus come into our fold first”.

Addressing the public meeting from a 20 feet high rostrum, amidst tight security arrangements, Guruji told the public in his peculiar Marathi-style Hindi that the Muslims should not be given any special political rights (such as voting).

Quoting the charter of the League of Nations, Guru Golwalkar, who has the “strongest” and the “finest” memory said that no such special privileges for the minorities were envisaged in it. It meant clearly that people belonging to the communities other than Hindu should be treated as second rate citizens.

Guruji was also at pains to find that voices were being raised in the country that the Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Adivasis and others would not register themselves as Hindus. This attitude, he said, would reduce the Hindus into smaller bundles of minorities, “paving way for the rule by a particular single largest minority.

 The Communal Press

The RSS conference brings with it another big story concerning Pradeep the local Hindi daily. The daily, said to be owned by the Birlas, has turned into a staunch supporter of Hindu Rashtra since May 2, 1970. the day its present editor, Mr. Ram Singh Bharatiya took over.

It is not known whether it squares up with the known policies of Birlas (parliamentary democracy).  However, since Mr. Bharatiya took over, the paper is becoming more and more vehement in its policies which are being publicised as “nationalistic”.

Besides giving special cover to the RSS (using the term ‘param pujyaniya’ for Guruji in its news items), the paper came out with a special 4-page supplement on the RSS in its issue dated December 25, 1970 when asked, a prominent member its editorial staff replied that it was an advertisement and they were bound to carry it in any case.

But it was a strange consequence that the RSS people could find only one newspaper in Bihar to advertise their first state conference and that too with the lowest circulation.

We hope to give our readers the story of Communal Press in Bihar in the coming issues.

Tail Piece

An agency report says that Bihar’s new Minister, Mr. Ram Chandra Verma (Jana Sangh) sprang a surprise on a batch of local journalists by his typical RSS uniform comprising white shirt, khaki knicker and black cap. The journalists had gone to the venue of the RSS conference to meet Mr M.S Golwalkar when a typical Swayamsevak wished them with folded hands. The Jan Sanghi Minister said: “I am here not as a Minister but as a Swayamsevak”.

Secular Democracy, February 1971

Secular Democracy February 1971

 

 

 

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