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RSS Chief in Kolkata ahead of big rally to pay tribute to Netaji
1/19/2023 11:44:51 PM


Kolkata, Jan 19: RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat arrived in Kolkata this morning to attend a series of organisational events of the social service organisation. The key event in the RSS Chief's itinerary during his West Bengal visit, however, will take place on January 23 on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's birth anniversary.
The RSS is organising a programme called "Netaji Loho Pronam" to offer tribute to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, one of Bengal's most revered icons, in an attempt to show the Sangh's connections to the revered revolutionary. While many historians believe that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and the RSS belonged to opposite ideologies, the RSS has rejected these claims as untrue and has even released a statement on the relationship between Netaji and RSS founder Keshav Baliram Hedgewar to disprove them.
The programme to offer tributes to Netaji is rooted in history Sangh leaders say. "A brave son of Mother India, the first RSS Chief Dr. Hedgewar met Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in 1921 during the Congress session in Kolkata," the RSS said in a statement.
"Both Netaji and Dr. Hedgewar believed a nationalistic, disciplined organisation would be the path to freedom. That's why one created the RSS, and the other created the Azad Hind Fauj. Netaji's first experience with the RSS when he was travelling in a train and looked out of a window while the train was crossing Nagpur. He saw a gathering of RSS in uniform who were participating in a parade. He later found out that these Swayamsevak were from the RSS, and that it was founded by his one-time Congress colleague Dr. Hedgewar.
He expressed a desire to meet Dr. Hedgewar and in June 1940 they met in Nagpur. Many historical opinions believe that Netaji went to meet Dr. Hedgewar with a wish of the Azad Hind Bahini and RSS joining hands. Unfortunately, Dr. Hedgewar was seriously unwell at that time and the meeting was short and Dr. Hedgewar passed away that week itself," the statement added.
Chandra Bose, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's Grandnephew said, "Netaji has met Savarkar. He may have interacted with Hedgewar. As you say, he was extremely unwell at that time so the interaction may have been for a very brief moment. You see RSS is a structured organisation. It is a disciplined organisation and Netaji was a strict disciplinarian. So, what Netaji may have appreciated about the RSS is that they were a uniformed organisation, they used to do parades. I am not too sure if it would go beyond because Netaji was extremely inclusive, he would never support any kind of fundamentalist or Hindu fanaticism. I am not saying RSS is. But there are certain statements, certain leaders of the RSS make at times. Netaji would never tolerate or never accept."
He added that the RSS has done a lot of good social work. He said that the RSS must declare that they believe in secular inclusive ideology of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. "Everybody can celebrate Netaji's birthday. Netaji belongs to the nation. Netaji belongs to 135 crore people of our country. So, in their own way, common people across the country, in lanes and by lanes, celebrate Netaji's birthday. That is absolutely fine, we appreciate RSS celebrating Netaji's birthday, but it is more important to follow his ideology in a divisive environment in 21st century India," Chandra Bose added.
Ajoy Nandi, RSS Eastern Zonal President said, "That Netaji was critical of the RSS is absolutely wrong thing to say. You will not be able to show that Netaji said something like this somewhere. While writing, others have written a lot of things, but Netaji has not said anything critical of the RSS."
Mr Bhagwat's visit to West Bengal comes ahead of the crucial panchayat polls in the state. The RSS has shown growth in Bengal over the last few years in terms of numbers of Shakhas. The RSS chief's visit will include meetings to take stock of the work of the RSS in the region.
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