M. S. Golwalkar

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M. S. Golwalkar
Born 19 February 1906
Ramtek, Maharashtra, India
Died 5 June 1973 (aged 67)
Nagpur, India

Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar (19 February 1906 – 5 June 1973), popularly known as Pujaniya Guruji , was the second Sarsanghchalak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Golwalkar died in June 1973 in Nagpur, Maharashtra.[1]

Early life[edit]

Golwalkar was born on 19 February 1906 at Ramtek near Nagpur, Maharashtra. He was the only surviving son of the nine children of his parents Sadashivrao, a school teacher and Lakshmibai. As a school teacher, his father was transferred to various places and as such his schooling took place in various places.

After having graduated in Science from the Hislop college of Nagpur in 1926, he joined the famous Benaras Hindu University of Varanasi for his Master's Degree in Science, during which period, he came under the benign and inspiring influence of Pt.Madan Mohan Malaviya, a reputed nationalist leader and the founder of the University. After completing his post-graduation in 1928, he went to Madras to pursue Ph.D. in Marine Life but was unable to complete it as he was cash-strapped. Later, he served his Alma Mater as a professor for a couple of years and it was then that he earned from his students the affectionate sobriquet of 'Guruji', a reverential attribute which stuck to him permanently in the years that followed. After his teaching tenure ended, he returned to Nagpur and by 1935, he also obtained a LL.B. Degree.

In Nagpur, Golwalkar came into contact with the Ramakrishna Mission. Having been overpowered by a strong inner urge for spiritual pursuit, he left for the 'Saragachi' Ashram in Murshidabad district of Bengal seeking to renounce the world and become a Sanyasi. He became a disciple of Swami Akhandananda, a direct disciple of Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and gurubandhu of Swami Vivekananda,[2] at the Saragachi ashram. 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 the passing away of his Guru in 1937.[3]

Association with the RSS[edit]

In college, Bhaiyyaji Dani, a student at BHU and a close associate of RSS Sarsanghachalak K. B. Hedgewar, started an RSS shakha in Varanasi. Inspired by the ideology and methodology of the RSS, Golwalkar joined the RSS and eventually, following a meeting with Dr.Hedgewar, went to the RSS' "Officers Training Camp" in Nagpur.

Dr. Hedgewar was deeply impressed by Golwalkar and seeing him as a potential successor, persuaded him to take a more active role in the Sangh. On 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 in the organization and was appointed as the Sarkaryavah (General Secretary) of the Sangh in 1939. Golwalkar succeeded him as Sarsanghachalak.

As Sarsanghachalak, he began a series of countrywide tours for interacting with the Sangh workers and propagating the RSS ideology. Under his leadership, Sangh activities grew and Sangh Shakhas sprouted even in the remote corners of the country. He was the force behind the formation of the numerous network of socio-cultural organisations in the entire country, popularly referred to as 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.

Criticism and counter-criticism[edit]

Critics accusing Golwalkar of being a fascist have often pointed to his extreme right-wing views in his 1939 book, "We, Our Nationhood Defined": "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."[4][5]

Golwalkar denounced antisemitism: "The Christians committed all sorts of atrocities on the Jews by giving them the label “Killers of Christ”. Hitler is not an exception but a culmination of the 2000-year long oppression of the Jews by the Christians."[6] Golwalkar was supportive of the Zionist movement and also supported the creation of Israel as a Jewish State:[7]

William Dalrymple says Golwalkar "broke with conventional views" on, among other scholarly issues, Indian prehistory. Dalrymple summarized the disagreement thus: "Most archaeologists, then as now, took the view that India had been settled during the second millennium BC by a group of peoples who spoke Indo-European or Aryan languages, and who arrived in India in an eastward migration from Iran. 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." [8]

In 4 Feb 1948, M.S. Golwalkar then the RSS chief was arrested, and RSS was banned. RSS workers protested, asking for the ban to be lifted and Golwalker to be released. Finally, T.R. Venkatrama Shastri, former Advocate General of Madras intervened. He met Sardar Patel and urged him to lift the ban. Shastri claimed RSS’ complicity in Gandhi’s assassination had no real foundation, and "charges against the RSS in some cases having been found unsustainable". Due to Venkatarama Shastri's efforts, the ban was lifted on 9 July 1949.[9][10]

Golwalkar was vehemently opposed to the concept of a secular Indian state.[11] 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."

Narendra Modi in his book titled Jyotipunj wrote a biography of Golwalkar who inspired him.[12][13]



  • Guha, Ramachandra (2008). India after Gandhi : the history of the world's largest democracy (1. publ. ed.). London: Pan. ISBN 9780330396110. 


  1. ^ Bhatt, Chetan (2001). Hindu Nationalism Origins, Ideologies and Modern Myths. Oxford: Berg Publishers. p. 163. ISBN 9781845209865. 
  2. ^ "Swami Akhandananda". 
  3. ^ "Reminiscences of Guruji". 
  4. ^ Christophe Jaffrelot, (1999). The Hindu Nationalist Movement and Indian Politics: 1925 to the 1990s, p.55. Penguin Books. ISBN 0140246029
  5. ^ The Monster in the Mirror
  6. ^ MS Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts, Jagarana Prakashana, Bangalore, 1966, p.210
  7. ^ Elst, Koenraad (2001). The saffron swastika : the notion of "Hindu fascism" ([1st reprint] ed.). New Delhi: Voice of India. ISBN 8185990697. 
  8. ^ William Dalrymple. "India: The War Over History". New York Review of Books. April 7, 2005.
  9. ^ S Gurumurthy (16 October 2013). Lifting of ban on RSS was unconditional, The Hindu.
  10. ^ Since inception, RSS banned thrice, Times of India.
  11. ^ Guha 2008, p. 19
  12. ^ Śuklā, Narendra Modī ; anuvāda, Saṅgītā (2010). Jyotipuñja (Saṃskaraṇa 1. ed.). Dillī: Prabhāta Prakāśana. ISBN 9788173156953. 
  13. ^ Modi, Narendra. "Narendra Modi on MS Golwalkar, translated by Aakar Patel - Part 1 - See more at: http://www.caravanmagazine.in/vantage/modi-golwalkar-part-1". www.caravanmagazine.in. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Raje, C.P. Bhishikar ; translated into English by Sudhakar (1999). Shri Guruji : pioneer of a new era (1st ed. ed.). Bangalore: Sahitya Sindhu Prakashana. ISBN 81-86595-16-3. 
  • Islam, Shamsul (2006). Golwalkar's We or our nationhood defined : a critique (1st ed. ed.). New Delhi: Pharos Media & Pub. ISBN 8172210302. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Keshav Baliram Hedgewar
Sarsanghchalak of the RSS
Succeeded by
Madhukar Dattatraya Deoras