BY H V Seshadri
The name and person Ma. Balasaheb Deoras brings up the picture of the consistent march of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh covering three generations : partly of the times of Ma. Doctorji, of Ma. Guruji and the present one. On the strength of his upbringing in Sangh under the founder of Sangh-the master man-maker-coupled with his own remarkable qualities of head and heart-Shri Balasaheb began matching his role with the all round growth of the Sangh and rising expectations of the people from the organisation.
Courting martyrdomEven as Guruji's assumption of Sarsanghchalak's responsibility came during the forties-the crucial period of the nation's struggle for freedom-Shri Balasaheb's assuming charge of the Sangh also happened to be under trying circumstances. Within just a couple of years of his stewardship of the Sangh, Smt Indira Gandhi cramped Internal Emergency. Many, including Shri Jayaprakash Narayan felt that the dark night of internal slavery would never end, that the country would never be able to see the dawn of freedom and democracy in their life-time. Just as Guru Teg Bahadur had offered himself for martyrdom at the hands of Aurangzeb to save the Hindus of Kashmir from the Islamic frenzy of conversion, Balasaheb too sent a brief note to the underground Sangh leaders intimating them of his decision to go on an indefinite fast (in jail) to save the rashtra-dharma of democratic values from the strangehold of the Emergency; which in his diabetic condition would not have lasted for more than a few days and would have claimed his life. However, the underground leaders felt that in view of the total blocking out of all communication channels with the people and the nearly deadened conscience of Smt Gandhi, even that supreme sacrifice would not have the desired impact. Accordingly, Shri Balasaheb was informed that his decision was unacceptable. However, the inspiring saga of how the entire Sangh brotherhood rose to the occasion staking their all reflected the same spirit of martyrdom. The most crucial and dominant role they played in the successful anti-Emergency struggle forms a unique and unparalleled page in the annals of peaceful democratic revolutions in the world.
Enriching the traditionThe Sangh leadership also set up yet another record in refusing to be tempted by power in the post-Emergency era. Swayamsevaks stood true to the Hindus vision of an ideal social set-up in which there would be millions of workers who would keep themselves aloof from every kind of material inducement and rewards-power, pelf or even name and fame-solely dedicated to the cause of all round national rejuvenation.
New thrust to social transformationThe social transformation initiated by the Sangh long back also received further thrust during Shri Balasaheb's leadership. Dr Hedgewar's inbuilt mechanism in the Sangh technique had ensured the elimination of every kind of discrimination and dissension arising out of a parochial approach to one's own caste, sect, class, language or province. Later on, Shri Guruji strove successfully to involve the leading Shankaracharyas, Madhvacharyas, Ramanujacharya and other important religious heads of Varkaris, Lingayats, Sikhs, etc. to take up leading roles in washing off the blot of untouchability. Thus a new smriti came into being with the new mantra of Hindvah sodarah sarve. This energised a two-fold process of bringing together all our diverse denominational faiths under a single, all-embracing Hindu fold and also of their joining hands in re-charging the spirit of unity in diversity and of self-reformation and self-renewal of the Sanatana Dharma in tune with the call of the time, i.e., the yugadharma.
Setting a personal exampleSpeaking at the celebrated Vasant-Vyakhyanmala at Pune, Balasaheb declared unequivocally that "if untouchability is not a sin, nothing else is. It must go lock stock and barrle" The emphasis on social harmony and equality was not merely an academic principle for him. The spirit had seeped into him right from his young days while learning at the feet of the founder. As karyavaha of Nagpur shakha, it was natural that swayamsevaks from all sections of society should be visiting his house. Balasaheb's parents, were, however, strictly adhering to the orthodox caste restrictions, including untouchability. Balasaheb told his mother that there should absolutely be no discrimination, no queries, regarding the caste of the visiting swayamsevaks, When invited for meals. they will sit with him and their plates will be removed and washed by family members just as his own. Otherwise, he would stop asking swayamsevaks to come to his house. Such was the extremely loving bond between the parents and Balasaheb that the former agreed and there was no hitch whatsoever thereafter.
Revising reservation policy
|Sushil Kumar shinde with Ma. Deoras|