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Golwalkar: The man who integrated Kashmir with India, but never even got a thank you note

Guruji is one of the most influential sarsanghchalaks of all times and has influenced many generations of swayamsevaks, thanks to his ideas, leadership and excellent management skills.

Before I went to Europe as a young adult to build my competence, pedigree and career in metropolitan cities like London, Paris, Zurich, Munich and Milan, my first introduction to Parampujaniya Shri Golwalkar Guruji happened at the age of seven. I was first introduced to Guruji during a 5:30 am talk delivered by the Mukhiya Shikshak of my shakha in Bhopal.

Since then, whenever I hear the term Guru, I remember just one person- Shri Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar. For everybody who has directly or indirectly been associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Guruji just means him. He was the second sarsangchalak after Doctorji KB Hedgewar and his 33-year long tenure took RSS to great institutional strength, especially after independence. Today is his 114th birthday.

Guruji was born on February 19, 1906 in a small village called Ramtek near Nagpur. He was the only son who survived among the nine children in his family. He earned his MSc degree from Banaras Hindu University where he was influenced by the founder, the great nationalist leader Shri Madan Mohan Malviya. He then went on to teach zoology in BHU, and that is when he earned the name “guruji” from his students who loved and respected him so dearly. Doctorji or Keshav Baliram Hedgewar came to know of Guruji through a student of BHU, and he met Guruji in 1932 and appointed him as the sanghchalak of BHU. In 1936, Guruji went to Sargachi in Bengal in search of spirituality and served Swami Akhandananda of Ramakrishna Math for two years. When he returned, Doctorji convinced him to dedicate his life for the service of the Sangh, and in 1940, Guruji took over as the Sarsanghchalak, at age 34, after Doctorji passed away.

The task at hand for Guruji was huge: First, he had to make RSS a mighty cadre-based organisation panning over the entire country. And secondly, he had to train himself to lead such an organisation. Many objected to him being appointed as he was relatively a new entrant, but Guruji proved his capabilities as a leader through his grit, sheer hard work and perseverance.

The leftists often blame Guruji for sympathising with Hitler. This is a ridiculous attempt by them to paint RSS as a fascist organisation. But this cannot be further away from the truth. It is only through Guruji’s endeavours that Kashmir is now a part of India.

Read: The ‘Golwalkar was a fascist who drew inspiration from Nazism’ propaganda must be exposed

Let’s go down the lanes of history now. The issues in Jammu and Kashmir started the moment the partition was announced. Pakistan eyed Kashmir as a jewel for their crown as it indeed is the “Heaven on Earth”.  Due to the tireless efforts of the then Home Minister Sardar Patel, the Iron Man of India and his secretary VP Menon, over 500 princely states were merged into India, but Jawaharlal Nehru wanted to deal with Kashmir himself and instead of solving the issue, he complicated it.

Jinnah was building pressure on the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir to sign the accession with Pakistan. Adding to this was the pressure from Sheikh Abdullah who was supported by Nehru. In fact, the pro-Pakistan movement in Kashmir intensified, and there was a large-scale smuggling of arms into the state to prepare for a rebellion. Even Lord Mountbatten flew to Kashmir and asked Hari Singh to join Pakistan. However, RC Kak, the them Prime Minister of Kashmir asked Hari Singh to remain independent. All this confused Maharaja Hari Singh, and he was in a fix.

So, Maharaja Hari Singh was left with three options,

1.      Join Pakistan
2.      Join India
3.      Remain Independent

Hari Singh was not in favour of joining Pakistan and neither was he in favour of joining India as he had sufficient doubts about the attitude of Nehru who supported Sheikh Abdullah. But he couldn’t remain independent as he feared aggression from Pakistan, and he did not have sufficient security apparatus.

Read: Can we ask what was the entire cost of Nehru’s 1948 Kashmir blunder?

When the efforts of all the leaders failed to convince Hari Singh, Sardar Patel sent an urgent message to Guruji asking for his help to persuade Hari Singh. Guruji left for Srinagar immediately cancelling all his other engagements. It is Guruji who then convinced Hari Singh to accede to India.  Following this meeting, Hari Singh sent the accession proposal to Delhi. But, Guruji could sense that this accession would not be easy. So, he directed all RSS workers in Jammu and Kashmir to fight till their last drop of blood for the safety and security of Kashmir. That is Guruji for you!

Guruji would later go on to establish the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh which made the Sangh Parivar broader and more inclusive. He ensured that the core value of all these organisations always remain the same: Unwavering love for our Motherland. Guruji is one of the most influential sarsanghchalaks of all times and has influenced many generations of swayamsevaks, thanks to his ideas, leadership and excellent management skills. Happy Birthday PP Guruji. We remain indebted to you forever!

Originally published on My Nation

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Abhinav Khare
Abhinav Khare is the CEO of Asianet News Network and also the host of a daily show named Deep Dive with AK.

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