M. S. Golwalkar
|M. S. Golwalkar|
|Born||19 February 1906
Ramtek, Maharashtra, India
|Died||5 June 1973 (aged 67)
Golwalkar was born on 19 February 1906 at Ramtek near Nagpur, Maharashtra. He was the only surviving son of the nine children born to his parents Sadashivrao and Lakshmibai. As a school teacher, his father was frequently transferred around the country, and Golwalkar enrolled in schools in several different locations.
After graduating with a Bachelor's degree in the sciences from the Hislop College in Nagpur in 1926, he joined Benaras Hindu University (BHU) in Varanasi for his Master's degree in science. During this period, he came under the influence of Madan Mohan Malaviya, a nationalist leader and the founder of the University. After completing his degree in 1928, he went to Madras to pursue his doctorate in Marine Life but was unable to complete it for financial reasons. Later, he served at BHU as a professor for three years, teaching zoology. It was here that he earned from his students the affectionate sobriquet of 'Guruji', owing to his beard, long hair and simple robe, a practice that was continued in a reverential manner among his RSS followers in later days. After his teaching tenure, Golwalkar returned to Nagpur and by 1935 had obtained an LL.B. Degree.
In Nagpur, Golwalkar came into contact with the Ramakrishna Mission. He left for the Saragachi Ashram in Murshidabad district of West Bengal, seeking to renounce the world and become a sanyasi. At the ashram, he became a disciple of Swami Akhandananda, a direct disciple of Ramakrishna and gurubandhu of Vivekananda. On 13 January 1937, he was initiated into the order and eventually, received his 'diksha' but his guru refused to permit him to become a sanyasi and directed him to continue his social service. He returned to Nagpur after his guru died in 1937.
Leadership of RSS
While Golwalkar was lecturing at BHU, Bhaiyaji Dani, a student at BHU and a close associate of RSS Sarsanghachalak K. B. Hedgewar, founded an RSS shakha in Varanasi. Inspired by the ideology and methodology of the RSS, Golwalkar joined the RSS and eventually, following a meeting with Hedgewar, went to the RSS' "Officers Training Camp" in Nagpur.
Hedgewar was deeply impressed by Golwalkar and, after his return from the Ramakrishna Mission, persuaded him to take a more active role in the RSS. About his new role, Golwalkar said: "Like spirituality, organization of the Nation has also been my inclination from early days. I believe that I would be in a better position to achieve it successfully being a part of the Sangh." He rose rapidly through the ranks of the organization, and was appointed General Secretary of the RSS in 1939. Golwalkar succeeded Hedgewar as the RSS Sarsanghachalak when the latter died in 1940.
In his role as the Sarsanghachalak, Golwalkar began a series of countrywide tours for interacting with the Sangh workers and propagating the RSS ideology. Under his leadership, Sangh activities grew and shakhas were established all over the country. He was the force behind the formation of the network of numerous socio-cultural organisations in the entire country, popularly referred to as the Sangh Parivar. The Bharatiya Jana Sangh (political party), Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (trade union), Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (students union), Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram (Tribal welfare) and many other organizations were started by Swayamsevaks who forayed into various fields of public life.
RSS expanded into Kashmir and Jammu starting in 1940, when Balraj Madhok was sent as a pracharak to Jammu, with Prem Nath Dogra being the sanghchalak (Director). A shakha was started in Srinagar in 1944 and Golwalkar himself visited Srinagar in 1946. On 18 October 1947, he met the Maharaja Hari Singh upon the request of Vallabhbhai Patel, India's Home Minister, to persuade the Maharaja to accede to India. He was accompanied by Vasantrao Oak, the RSS pracharak for Delhi, and Narendrajit Singh, the RSS sanghchalak for United Provinces. It is believed that the Maharaja agreed to the proposal but the formal accession was signed only on the 26 October, after the invasion by raiders from Pakistan.
Arrest and RSS ban
When Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated in January 1948 by Nathuram Godse, a former member of RSS, there was widespread apprehension that the organization was involved in the plot, despite Golwalkar condemnation of the murderers. Golwalkar himself was arrested on 4 February, along with 20,000 swayamsevaks, and the RSS was banned on charges of promoting "violence" and "subversion." Godse declared that he acted on his own initiative and no connection between the RSS and the Gandhi's assassination has ever been made officially. Golwalkar was released on 5 August after the expiry of the six month statutory period.
The ban on the RSS however continued, and Golwalkar tried to negotiate with the then Home Minister Vallabhbhai Patel about lifting the ban. The mass arrests, violence against its members and the ban by an independent Indian government of what was understood to be a patriotic organization was a great shock[weasel words] to the RSS members.
Patel asked the RSS to join the Congress, but this was not to Golwalkar's liking. Patel then demanded, as an absolute pre-condition, that the RSS adopt a written constitution. Golwalkar responded by launching a satyagraha on 9 December 1948. Golwalkar was arrested once again, along with 60,000 RSS volunteers. The RSS leaders Eknath Ranade, Bhaiyaji Dani and Balasaheb Deoras suspended the satyagraha in January 1949 and, in collaboration with Liberal leader T. R. Venkatarama Sastri, wrote a constitution for the RSS that was to Patel's satisfaction. The ban was subsequently lifted on 11 July 1949.
Political views and reception
Critics have accused Golwalkar of being a fascist, pointing to his extreme right-wing views expressed in the 1939 book, We, Our Nationhood Defined. In it, Golwalkar writes: "To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the semitic Races - the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well nigh impossible it is for Races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to learn and profit by." "Ever since that evil day, when Moslems first landed in Hindustan, right up to the present moment, the Hindu Nation has been gallantly fighting on to take on these despoilers. The Race Spirit has been awakening."
Despite the use of the term "race," Golwalkar's purpose was not racial homogeneity, but rather cultural unity. Neither was Golwalkar an anti-semite as he admired Jews and supported the establishment of a Jewish state of Israel. Christophe Jaffrelot does not see Golwalkar advocating the "purging" of Muslim or other minorities. Rather, the religious minorities were required by him to owe allegiance to the "Bharatiya nation" which, by definition, embodied Hindu symbols of identity. The minorities were meant to be "assimilated" through the removal of their signs of adherence to particular communities. This is evidently an asymmetric relationship: whereas the Hindu symbols are "national," those of the religious minorities are communal or "foreign." The Indian nation of Golwalkar and other RSS leaders is a "hierarchy dominated by the Hindus."
Golwalkar was vehemently opposed to the concept of a secular Indian state. In We, or Our Nation defined (1938), he stated:-
|“||The non-Hindu people of Hindustan must either adopt Hindu culture and language, must learn and respect and hold in reverence the Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but of those of glorification of the Hindu race and culture ... In a word they must cease to be foreigners, or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment—not even citizens' rights.||”|
William Dalrymple says Golwalkar "broke with conventional views" on numerous issues in multiple senses, including the mainstream view about Indo Aryan migration. Golwalkar believed that the Aryan ancestors of the Hindus were indigenous to India in contrast to India’s Muslims, who invaded India and still looked to Mecca as the center of their faith. 
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|Wikiquote has quotations related to: M. S. Golwalkar|
- Was Guru Golwalkar a Nazi? by Koenraad Elst
- "RSS Declared Unlawful: GOI communique of February 4, 1948 (extracted from Goyal, 1979, pp. 201-202)". Dilip Simeon's blog. Retrieved 2014-10-11.
Keshav Baliram Hedgewar
|Sarsanghchalak of the RSS
Madhukar Dattatraya Deoras