It’s RSS – where each & everyone have “KHAKI BLOOD”

Soldier, leader: Mohan Bhagwat’s pet project to strengthen RSS shakhas across India has taken a beating as the number of activists has reduced. PTI Photo

In 1942, M.S. Golwalkar, the second sarsanghchalak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, sent a young lawyer from Chandrapur to Surat in Baroda region. He was one of the first pracharaks who contributed to the expansion of the RSS in Gujarat and eventually became chief pracharak in that region and later vibhag sanghchalak (head of four district level units). More than seven decades later, Madhukar Bhagwat’s son and one of his disciples have joined hands to pose a tough electoral challenge to the Congress.

Hindutva and RSS ideology are the common threads that bind Narendra Modi and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat together. What brings them closer is the fact that Mohan’s father left a lasting impression on Modi, which he acknowledged in his book Jyotipunj.

Sangh and its ideology have been part of Mohan’s life since the time of his grandfather, Nanasaheb Bhagwat, who was district sanghchalak of Chandrapur. Said a pracharak: “Mohan himself has been a pracharak since 1974 and the entire Bhagwat family has been a dedicated RSS family. During the Emergency, all members of the family who were above 18 years of age, were either in prison or underground. That included his mother Maltitai, too.”

An RSS worker from Nagpur, who was Mohan’s senior at the Officers’ Training Courses of the RSS in the 1960s, said he always had a warm smile and was a talented singer. “I will not call him scholarly and brilliant. But as he rose in RSS hierarchy, his reading on various issues increased manifold. One of his favourite themes is the need for Brahmins to build bridges with Dalits. He strongly feels that Brahmins should put themselves in the shoes of Dalits and only then will they realise that the scars of suffering are still fresh in the Dalit mind,” he said.

After his postgraduation in veterinary science, Mohan dedicated his life to the sangh. His first stint as pracharak was in Akola district in Vidarbha. Then he was prant pracharak for Vidarbha (chief pracharak of Vidarbha region, which is a separate state level unit). This was also the time when the BJP was planning to experiment with its alliance with the Shiv Sena, as conceptualised by Pramod Mahajan. After his tenure in Vidarbha, he went to Patna as kshetriya pracharak (chief pracharak for three states) during the Ram Janmabhoomi agitation.

“His next responsibility was chief of physical training of the RSS. He took over the responsibility from Sureshrao Ketkar in the early 90s. Then he became pracharak pramukh [national chief of full-time activists]. He has an intimate knowledge of the RSS band, too, and is adept at playing the flute and drums,” said a pracharak.

In 2000, when sarsanghchalak Rajendra Singh and sarkaryavah H.V. Seshadri retired, Singh was succeeded by K.C. Sudarshan and Mohan was unanimous choice for the post of sarkaryavah.

RSS functionaries point out that Mohan is not rigid and conservative as Sudarshan was when he took over as chief. “He is liberal than Sudarshan. He became sarsanghchalak at a young age. Having closely observed the NDA’s rule during his stint as sarkaryavah, Mohan was also very quick to realise that the BJP’s failings were affecting the RSS ideology and network. He has initiated corrective action. He has openly embraced young blood. The appointment of Prof. Prafulla Ketkar as editor of Organiser is one such example where he has promoted a thinking swayamsevak at a young age. He has made efforts to strengthen the RSS network in tribal areas. The core focus of the sangh’s programmes in these regions is education. Poverty reduction initiatives and development are left to BJP-led governments,” said a senior functionary of the sangh parivar.

Source: The Week