RSS’s Jankalyan Samiti, Mumbai has been combating the difficult circumstances under the Covid-19 Lockdown by aiding needy individuals, senior citizens, stranded labourers and different strata of the society. RSS’s Seva activity knew no boundaries of age, language, castes and religion too for that matter. The selfless acts of the Swayamsevaks reinstate the ideals of Swami Vivekananda that, ‘Be grateful to the man you help, think of him as God.’
In the days where RSS has been demonized by certain sections of media for being communal, in the midst of that a selfless act of helping Bengali Muslims comes in as a tight slap on such negative propaganda. Terminologies like ‘Islamophobic Sangh’, ‘Anti-Muslim RSS’ etc. are falsely being associated with RSS. However, the chairman of Orchid Foundation of India, Sohel Rana Alam’s story completely demolishes such filthy narratives. While narrating the help received by the stranded Bengali Muslim workers, he writes, ‘I am not a BJP supporter, and there are also lots of agendas of RSS that I stand against. But I do not cower to call a spade a spade! ’
Due to the lockdown, 5-6 Bengali Muslim workers from Murshidabad were stranded in Dharavi and 7-8 workers from Bankura and other districts were stranded in the Ghatkopar area of Mumbai. Seeking for help, Sohel Rana Alam called the ACP of Ghatkopar at first, who gave him the number of the control room. Later he received the contact information of the local RSS leader Mahesh Kulkarni (from the control room) who is the head of relief operations in these areas. When the control room gave Sohel the contact number of Mahesh, he was told that it’s an NGO (not RSS) hence, he immediately dialled the number.
But when Mahesh Kulkarni said he is an RSS Swayaymsevak, Sohel Alam’s bias about RSS created some doubts in his mind and asked him, ‘I’m a Muslim & the needy are Muslims too, I have heard all wrong & bad about RSS, I am not sure whether to ask for help or not!’. Mahesh’s immediate reply, ‘We are humans first & rest later, RSS teaches us to serve humanity without any discrimination.’ left Sohel Alam spellbound. He had never experienced such a side of the RSS. The stranded Muslim workers in Dharavi received aid through the efforts of Mahesh Kulkarni. He was not just surprised with the swift help but was overwhelmed by the compassion of the swayamsevaks who risking their lives went to Dharavi & served the workers with necessary items.
For the aid of Bankura workers stranded in the Ghatkopar area, Sohel Rana Alam called upon Akbar Pathan, DCP Andheri, and Dharavi police station for innumerable times for help. However, each time he was met with refusal. Based on previous experience, Sohel again called upon Mahesh Kulkarni, and then Mr. Ganesh Pandi, the Dharavi Nagar Karavaha (secretary) came forward for help. Seeing such an efficient coordinated effort of both of the Swayamsevaks Sohel writes, ‘Here in this situation we got help from Mr. Ganesh Pandi. Kudos to him! It is unbelievable for me that I am writing this…me…who is a staunch dissenter of the ideology of RSS and BJP. I have never participated in politics. Even if I do… I will never be a member of BJP. But I will commend these two people for their selfless work… for not doing so would be ungrateful.
Mr. Pandi also said that as an Indian it is their duty to help everyone…whatever community may they belong to..he also said to ask him for any other help if the NGO needs it as we are also trying to help people.’ Sohel asked for help of ration of another 30 men and Mr. Pandi made sure that necessary items were provided. Overwhelmed by such an active response, Sohel writes, ‘No matter how much hatred is spread by some narrow-minded people, those who are innately good will always be good, irrespective of community, religion, or political affiliations.
‘Both Mr. Kulkarni and Mr. Pandi have our heartfelt regards and best wishes. They have proved that Humanity is above everything. I’ve posted this story on my Facebook Wall and more than 90% of the comments were positive. The people who practice and support yellow journalism for their own gain and divide and those who have installed hatred amongst Muslims against RSS; they should be ashamed of themselves,’ Sohel said.
RSS is the most misunderstood organization in the world & this incident once again exposes the same but it also instils the trust factor & bursts the myth that RSS is anti-anything or anybody. Also, Mahesh Kulkarni and Ganesh Pandi’s Seva work and the change in opinion of pre-opinionated biased Sohel Alam is a testimony to the Sarsanghchalak Mohan Ji Bhagwat’s appeal that ‘Understand RSS by experience & not by Media reports!’ Here was an incident amidst the biggest crisis manifesting the DNA of RSS that always has believed in सेवा परमो धर्म: सेवा धर्म सुखाव Service to mankind is the greatest Dharma & nothing better than Serving Humanity gives happiness & joy.