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The RSS has faced a ban from the Indian govt on multiple occasions, and has emerged stronger each time: Read details

The government was unable to present any compelling evidence against the RSS in the following months. Because of this, the administration was gradually losing ground in this case. On July 12, 1949, the government finally decided to overturn the RSS ban.

With volunteers managing more than thirty organisations worldwide, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is the largest voluntary organisation in the world. With just 15-20 young men and teens, Dr Keshav Baliram Hedgewar established RSS in 1925 on the auspicious day of Vijayadashami.

Six months after its founding, the RSS adopted its current name. On April 17, 1926, Dr Hedgewar called a session at his house to which 26 Swayamsevaks came. The organisation’s name was chosen after a protracted discussion in which everyone contributed ideas. Before the name “Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh” was chosen, several other names were put up.

The Sangh has frequently been characterised as a paramilitary group or as having political intentions by its political and intellectual foes. However, it has always been primarily a cultural organisation rather than a political one. By uniting the whole community and ensuring the continuation of Hindu Dharma, the Sangh seeks to lead the nation to grandeur. Its mission is to bring Bharat’s “Saravangeena Unnati” (overall development).

Even though there were several attempts, governments failed to quell the RSS’ sheer grit and determination in attaining its objectives. The RSS has been outlawed three times in the last 97 years: in 1948, 1975, and 1992. The organisation was outlawed in 1948 following the assassination of MK Gandhi, in 1975 during the Emergency, and in 1992 following the demolition of the illegal Babri structure in Ayodhya. It was on July 12, 1949, that the first ban on RSS was lifted after a span of 16 months.

RSS was declared unlawful in 1948

The Sangh was subjected to its first ban following Nathuram Godse’s shooting of MK Gandhi, which lasted from February 1948 until July 1949. MK Gandhi was shot by Nathuram Godse on January 30, 1948. Godse was once associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). MS Golwalkar, the then chief of the RSS, was jailed after Gandhi was killed, and the organization was declared illegal on February 4, 1948.

The RSS was declared unlawful by the government alleging that its members participated in violent acts, gathered illegal weapons, and incited others to violence, all of which went against the RSS’s stated goals and objectives. Golwalkar halted the RSS’s operations while dismissing the accusations and abiding by the law. He was freed six months later but interned in Nagpur.

Golwalkar wrote to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on August 11 and offered to cooperate with the government despite the “hasty and unbalanced action” RSS had received from individuals in positions of authority. Nehru was wise to submit Golwalkar’s letter to Sardar Patel for a response because Patel had warned “those in power in the Congress” against attempts to “crush” the nationalistic RSS in a speech he had given in Lucknow just before MK Gandhi’s death.

In his response to Golwalkar, Patel recalled his warm regard for the RSS and praised the young RSS volunteers who protected women and children and served society. In addition, he condemned them for encouraging “communalism”, which took MK Gandhi’s life, and for “burning vengeance” towards Muslims in order to exact revenge for “the sufferings of the innocent” Hindus. Nonetheless, Patel recommended RSS continue its “patriotic endeavour by joining and not opposing the Congress.” Surprisingly, Golwalkar did not receive this letter.

Golwalkar wrote to Patel and Nehru once more on September 24, 1948, pleading for the allegations and ban to be withdrawn since extensive nationwide searches and investigations had turned up no proof that the RSS was guilty. By way of RS Shukla (Premier, Central Provinces, and Berar), Patel responded on September 26 and forwarded his initial letter—which had not reached Golwalkar. Patel said that the ban has unanimous approval across all provinces, so “there must surely be some basis for it.” The RSS was urged by him to follow “the rules of the Congress.”

Golwalkar received a letter from a Prime Minister’s Office on September 27 stating that the Home Ministry had the discretion to revoke or extend the ban but that there was “a great deal of evidence” and that Golwalkar had already received a “note” from the U.P. government regarding “the evidence.” Golwalkar became upset on November 3 and vehemently denied receiving any “note,” daring the government to produce the crucial proof and punish the RSS. No evidence was presented in response to Golwalkar’s open challenge.

On November 13, the Home Secretary declined to revoke the ban, instead ordering Golwalkar to return to Nagpur. Golwalkar raged, claiming that such “arbitrary acts are fit with autocratic rule” and not in “a civilised state.” Refusing to leave Delhi, he asked Swayamsevaks that the suspended Shakas be restarted. Golwalkar was then arrested. Following his incarceration, the RSS launched a satyagraha on December 9.

According to S Gurumurthy, At that time, TR Venkatrama Shastri, the then president of the Servants of India Society and a former advocate general of Madras, intervened. In a meeting with Sardar Patel, he urged the latter to lift the embargo. As opposed to either “join the Congress” or “adopt the Congress rules,” the new argument in the ongoing talks was that the RSS functioned surreptitiously because it lacked a written constitution. The RSS constitution was then written and presented by Shastri. However, the negotiations failed.

On July 9, 1949, the government again refused to lift the ban, citing “fundamental differences.” Shastri then made the decision to make public the specifics of the important issues raised, one about the RSS chief’s authority to choose his successor and the other regarding minors in the organisation. Shastri further maintained that extending the ban was impossible because the charges against the RSS had been revealed to be false in certain instances and the allegations of their involvement in Gandhiji’s killing had been disproven.

The government was unable to present any compelling evidence against the RSS and because of this, the administration was gradually losing ground in this case. On July 12, 1949, the government finally decided to overturn the ban on RSS. Furthermore, the ban was lifted unconditionally. On September 14, 1949, in a written statement to the Bombay Legislative Assembly (Proceedings p2126), Home Minister Morarji Desai acknowledged that the ban on RSS was no longer regarded as essential; it was withdrawn unconditionally, and the RSS offered no undertaking.

RSS banned during the Emergency

During the Emergency (1975-77), the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh was outlawed for the second time. When Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared a state of emergency in the country on the night of June 25, 1975, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh was one of the first organisations to be outlawed.

On July 4, 1975, the central government outlawed the RSS. Balasaheb Deoras, the RSS Sarsanghchalak, was arrested on June 30, 1975, at Nagpur railway station. Deoras was imprisoned at the Yerwada Prison near Pune. A number of key RSS officials, as well as thousands of Swayamsevaks, were also detained.

Nevertheless, the RSS was leading the fight against the Emergency on behalf of civil society with its thousands of Karyakartas, Swayamsevaks, and Pracharaks.

Deoras, who spearheaded this fight even while incarcerated, wrote twice to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. He expressed his strong opposition to the defamation effort launched against the RSS under Gandhi’s direction in both letters. In his first letter, dated August 12, 1975, Deoras responded in-depth to the accusations brought against the RSS and made it quite obvious that the RSS would not submit to state coercion.

The RSS head wrote a second letter on November 10, 1975, asking Indira Gandhi to lift the organization’s ban so that its Swayamsevaks may start their organisational work, which would be extremely beneficial for the country. In 1977, the Emergency was declared to be over, and as a result, the RSS was no longer prohibited.

Ban on RSS after the demolition of the disputed Babri structure

On December 6, 1992, the RSS was banned for the third time, following the demolition of the disputed Babri structure in Ayodhya. The ban was withdrawn within 6 months and the RSS was cleared of all the fraudulent allegations levelled against it by the government, and it emerged considerably stronger.

Although the Sangh started as an organisation, its ultimate objective is for everyone and every traditional social institution—including family, community, profession, educational, and religious institutions—to be assimilated into its system. The Sangh’s goal is to organise Hindu society so that all of its institutions and people function harmoniously and co-operatively as a whole.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Aristotelian and Platonic simultaneously.

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