B. S. Moonje

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B.S. Moonje (Marathi: बाळकृष्ण शिवराम मुंजे) (12 December 1872 – 3 March 1948) was an Indian freedom fighter.

Early life[edit]

He was born at Bilaspur, currently in Chhattisgarh state. He completed his Medical Degree from Grant Medical College in Mumbai in 1898 and was employed in Bombay Municipal Corporation as a Medical Officer on a handsome salary. He left this peaceful and dignified job to participate in the Boer War in South Africa through the Medical Wing as the King's Commissioned Officer because of his keen interest in Military Life. After returning from South Africa, he started his medical practice at Nagpur. He invented the method of operating cataract after testing his skills on dead bodies of goats. He also presented his thesis in a Medical Association but since it was dominated by British members he could not receive due credit.[citation needed] He could not pursue the claim afterwards since he got involved in social and political activities, dedicating his entire life to India's freedom struggle, thus leaving his stable Medical Practice in early age. He was also a Sanskrit scholar.

A Congress leader and Tilak supporter[edit]

Moonje was a prominent freedom fighter and a strong supporter of Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak. The Congress Party’s annual session was held at Surat (Gujarat) in 1907. Trouble broke out between the Moderate (Soft Faction) and the Extremist (Hot Faction) factions of the Congress party over the selection of a new President. The Congress party split into two factions. The extremists were led by the triumvirate of Lala Lajpat Rai, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipinchandra Pal (known as LAL-BAL-PAL). Dr Moonje and his followers literally gave physical protection to Tilak when he was attacked by few people throwing chairs and stones. From then onwards, the relationship between Tilak and Moonje became very close. Dr. Moonje toured the entire Central India and collected huge funds for Tilak on many occasions. Dr. Moonje also introduced Ganesh and Shivaji Festivals in Central India and also accompanied Tilak to Calcutta for this purpose. He was The General Secretary of Central Indian Provincial Congress for many years.

As a social reformer he established many social institutions and organisations such as Schools, Orphanages, Gymnasiams, Rifle Clubs, Hostels for Untouchables (Dalits). All the institutions he founded are still running in good condition, some of them have completed their Diamond Jubilee. He also started a Marathi Newspaper known as Daily Maharashtra in Nagpur. Gopalrao Ogale was its editor.

Dr. B.S. Moonje बाळकृष्ण शिवराम मुंजे (12 December 1872–3 March 1948) was born at Bilaspur, currently in Chhattisgarh state. He took his Medical Degree from Grant Medical College in Mumbai in 1898 and was employed in Bombay Municipal Corporation as a Medical Officer on a handsome salary. He left this peaceful and dignified job to participate in Boer War in South Africa through the Medical Wing as King's Commissioned Officer because of his keen interest in Military Life. Dr. Moonje started his medical practice at Nagpur after returning from South Africa. He invented the method of operating cataract after testing his skills on dead bodies of goats. He also presented his thesis in Medical Association but since it had British domination he could not receive due credit. He could not pursue the claim afterwards since he got involved in social and political activities, dedicating his entire life to India's freedom struggle, thus leaving his stable Medical Practice in early age. He was also a Sanskrit scholar.

A Congress Leader and Tilak Supporter[edit]

Moonje was a supporter / follower of Lokmanya B. G. Tilak. Congress Party’s annual session was held at Surat (Gujarat) in 1907. Trouble broke out between the Moderate (Soft Faction) and the Extremist (Hot Faction) factions of the Congress party over the selection of a new President. The Congress party split into two factions. The extremists were led by Lala Lajpat Rai, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipinchandra Pal (known as LAL-BAL-PAL). Moonje and his followers literally gave physical protection to Tilak when he was attacked by few people throwing chairs on Tilak. From there onwards the relationship between Tilak and Moonje became very close. Moonje toured entire Central India and collected huge funds for Tilak on many occasions. Moonje also introduced Ganesh and Shivaji Festival in Central India and also accompanied Tilak to Calcutta for this purpose. He was The General Secretary of Central Indian Provincial congress for many years (then known as C. P. and Berar).

As a social reformer he established many social Institutions and Organisations such as Schools, Orphanages, Gymnasiams, Rifle Clubs, Hostels for Untouchables / Dalits, etc. All the institutions he founded are still running in good condition, some of them have completed Diamond Jubilee. He also started Marathi Newspaper Daily Maharashtra in Nagpur, Gopalrao Ogale as its editor.

A Staunch Hindu Leader[edit]

After the death of Tilak in 1920, he dissociated from Congress. He disagreed with the Two main Policies of M. K. Gandhi namely Non Voilence and Pro Muslim policy. He took up the Hindu Cause and continued it till his death in 1948. He was All India President of Hindu Mahasabha for many years, till he handed over charge to Veer Savarkar in 1937. Till his death, he was very active in Mahasabha and used to tour all over India. Veer Savarkar also got his support and they worked as a team for strong HINDU organisation. He also attended Round Table Conference (in London) twice to place the side of Hindus despite strong opposition from All India Congress leaders. Incidentally, the Congress leaders who opposed Dr Moonje for his participation in first R T Conference, took part in second R T Conference. This was Dr Moonje’s political victory. Dr. Moonje was in favour of Responsive Cooperation and not total Non Cooperation. Congress also lateron adopted this Policy of Responsive Cooperation realising it's effectiveness.

He, along with Veer Savarkar, strongly advised Dr Ambedkar to convert to any religion of Indian origin (and not any Abrahmic creed), when the question of Dalit exdous from Hinduism gained fire. Initially Ambedkar thought of joining Sikhism but later settled for Buddhism.[1][2]

Dr. Moonje, Dr. Hedgewar and RSS[edit]

Dr. Moonje played a lead role in founding the Hindu nationalist organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as the mentor of Dr K. B. Hedgewar (born in 1889). Some contemporary people say that starting RSS was Dr Moonje's brain child and he got it executed through Dr Hedgewar (information taken from Dr Moonje's Biography, Introduction of the Publisher Mr Shankar Date of Kaal Prakashan, Poona, second volume written by Shrimati Veenatai Balshastri Hardas, Preface by Late Shri Balasaheb Deoras {then Chief of RSS, year 1981}). The First volume was written in 1966 by Late Mr. Balshastri Hardas preface by Late Mr. M. S. Golwalkar Guruji ( then Chief of RSS).

As Dr. Hedgewar's parents died in his childhood, he used to stay with Dr Moonje's residence at Nagpur. They had a very close Father-Son like relationship. Dr. Moonje financially helped Dr. Hedgewar in completing his School as well as Medical Education at Calcutta. Also employed him in Ideal Insurance Company (Nagpur) as a Medical Officer to give him financial support and stability.

Dr Moonje enunciated "Purification Ritual" in the Hindu religion (which was opposed by conservative Brahmins) taking the support of Deval Smriti to restore all converted friends back to Hindu fold. Then Shankaracharya Late Dr. Kurtkoti also endorsed it. Then a massive Re-conversion movement began on all India level. People started calling him "DHARMAVEER" after this work.

Indianisation of Military and Militarisation of India[edit]

He had a keen interest in "Indianisation of Military and Militarisation of India". He was member of the "First Defense Committee of India" under the Chairmanship of General Chetwood and also member of Central Legislative Council (now known as the Parliament).

Taking the advantage of new recruitment opened by British Government during World War II, he conducted several Recruitment Rallies for inducting young men into the British Army, thinking that the well trained Indian Blood (at the cost of British) will revolt against British when nation needs it.

He visited many Military Schools in Britain, Germany, France and Italy. He met many Generals of First World War and also met Mussolini to study the military training imparted in Italy. He took initiative in starting Indian Military Academy at Dehradoon as the first Indian Academy in 1936. After this tour he established Central Hindu Military Education Society at Nashik in 1935 and started Bhonsala Military School in 1937 as a feeder Institute to IMA, Dehradun.

His motto was:

A person having four vedas (knowledge) in front (to guide him), a bow and arrow (power) at his back (to back him) has a combination of “Brahmyam” and Kshatram” and hence he is capable of defeating the enemy either by "Shapa" (Power of Knowledge) or "Shara" (Knowledge of Power) Thus, the aim is to impart “Power of Knowledge” and “Knowledge of Power “ in the youth.

Many British and Indian dignitaries, VVIP's have visited this School by now.

He died on 4 March 1948 at Nasik.

Memorial[edit]

Two full size statues of Dr. Moonje are installed during his Birth Centenary year in 1972. One at New Delhi (in front of New Delhi Railway Station) and other at Nagpur. Late Shri Golawalkar Guruji (then Chief of RSS) was the Chairman of the All India Birth Centenary Commemoration Committee in 1972. Then Defense Minister and eminent Dalit Leader Late Jagjiwanram was also member of this Committee. Then President, Prime Minister and other Dignitaries had sent their well wishes to this Celebration.

Statue in Nagpur was inaugurated on 12th Dec 1972 by Late General K.M. Cariappa, the first Commander-in-Chief of Indian Armed Forces.

A Centennial Commemoration Volume was also published during this celebration.

References[edit]

  1. ^ This month's featured article at www.sikh-history.com
  2. ^ Dhananjay Keer, Dhanañjaya Kīra (1971). Dr. Ambedkar: Life and Mission. Popular Prakashan. p. 278. ISBN 9788171542376. 

External links[edit]

  1. http://globalmarathi.com/20120304/5707609058262522885.htm
  2. http://www.janamtv.com/news/Rashtriya_Swayamsevak_Sangh_remembers_Dr_Keshav_Ba_438516.php
  3. http://bahujansangharsh.org/index.php?view=article&catid=35%3Aarticles&id=64%3Aon-hindu-nation&tmpl=component&print=1&page=&option=com_content