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Mainstream, VOL LVII No 32 New Delhi July 27, 2019

Open Letter to the Vice-Chancellor of Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University

ON Inclusion Of Study Of RSS In The University Syllabus

Sunday 28 July 2019, by Shamsul Islam

Respected Vice-Chancellor Dr Siddhartha-vinayaka P. Kane Saheb,

I am writing this open letter to you on a critical issue concerning the contents of the syllabus at your university. As per a communiqué of the university which must have had your concurrence, the history of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), and its role in ‘nation-building’ have been included in the syllabus for the second year BA (History) course. Surprisingly, it has been accommodated by removing a crucial topic, ‘Rise and Growth of Communalism in India’. According to Mr Satish Chafle, spokesperson of the University, it has been done to accommodate “Nationalist schools of thought”.1

Vice-Chancellor Saheb!

There cannot be a bigger lie than this that the RSS was ever an Indian nationalist organisation or it played any nation-building role so far as our democratic-secular India is concerned. On the contrary, the RSS since its birth in 1925 with its Hindutva allies like the Hindu Mahasabha, led by V.D. Savarkar, worked overtime to betray the glorious anti-colonial freedom struggle, denigrated all symbols of national unity, belittled the martyrs, demanded promulgation of the inhuman Manusmriti as the Constitution of India, decried democracy and demanded conversion of the democratic-secular polity into a Hindutva state. As if all this was not enough, the RSS idol and the Hindutva icon ‘Veer’ Savarkar-led Hindu Mahasabha ran coalition governments with the Muslim League in 1942 and backstabbed Netaji when he was trying to liberate India militarily.


I trust you as an educationist and believe that you have stakes in finding the truth about RSS or any other organisation. I am producing immensely disturbing facts about the ideology and practices of the RSS from its own archives and no other source.

RSS’ Own Confession about Betrayal of the Freedom Struggle

The most important ideologue of the RSS and its second chief between 1940 to 1973 was categorical in confessing that the RSS kept away from the anti-British freedom struggle. Non-cooperation Movement and the ‘Quit India’ Movement were the two great milestones in the history of the Indian freedom movement and here is the great thesis of great Golwalkar on these two great happenings of the freedom movement.

Definitely there are bound to be bad results of struggle. The boys became unruly after the 1920-21 movement. It is not an attempt to throw mud at the leaders. But these are inevitable products after the struggle. The matter is that we could not properly control these results. After 1942, people often started thinking that there was no need to think of the law.2 Thus Golwalkar wanted the Indians to respect the draconian and repressive laws of the inhuman British rulers! While narrating the RSS attitude towards the ‘Quit India’ Movement (1942) he admitted:

“In 1942 also there was a strong sentiment in the hearts of many. At that time too the routine work of Sangh continued. Sangh vowed not to do anything directly. However, upheaval (uthal-puthal) in the minds of Sangh volunteers continued. Sangh is an organisation of inactive persons, their talks are useless, not only outsiders but also many of our volunteers did talk like this. They were greatly disgusted too.”3

Vice-Chancellor Sir,

Even Guru Golwalkar did not claim that the RSS had been opposed to the British. During the course of a speech at Indore as late as 1960, he admitted:

“Many people worked with the inspiration to free the country by throwing the British out. After the formal departure of the British this inspiration slackened. In fact there was no need to have this much inspiration. We should remember that in our pledge we have talked of the freedom of the country through defending religion and culture. There is no mention of departure of the British in that.”4

Guru Golwalkar was not alone in denigrating the freedom struggle and glorifying the British rulers. His Guru and founder of the RSS, Hedgewar, had similar views. The official bio-graphy of Hedgewar has the following meaningful statement: “After establishing the Sangh Doctor Saheb in his speeches used to talk only of Hindu organisation. Direct comment on the Government used to be nil.”5

RSS and ‘Veer’ Savarkar together betrayed the Freedom Movement by aligning with the British Rulers and Muslim League

Professor Kane,

The Hindu Mahasabha led by this great Hindutva icon entered into coalition governments with the Muslim League in Bengal, Sind and the NWFP in 1942 when all political activities were banned in India and hundreds of patriotic Indians were being killed in order to suppress the ‘Quit India‘ Movement. While delivering his Presidential address to the 24th session of Hindu Mahasabha at Cawnpore (Kanpur) in 1942, he defended ganging up with the Muslim League in the following words:

“In practical politics also the Mahasabha knows that we must advance through reasonable compromises. Witness the fact that only recently in Sind, the Sind-Hindu-Sabha on invitation had taken the responsibility of joining hands with the League itself in running a Coalition Government. The case of Bengal is well known. Wild Leaguers, whom even the Congress with all its submissiveness could not placate, grew quite reasonably compromising and socialable as soon as they came in contact with the Hindu Mahasabha and the Coalition Government, under the premiership of Mr Fazlul Huq and the able lead of our esteemed Maha-sabha leader Dr Syama Prasad Mookerji, functioned successfully for a year or so to the benefit of both the communities. Moreover further events also proved demonstratively that the Hindu Mahasabhaites endeavoured to capture the centres of political power only in the public interests and not for the loaves and fishes of the office.”6

The Hindu Mahasabha and Muslim League formed a coalition government in NWFP also.

Backstabbing Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose

In the 1940s Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose left the Congress and India to organise a military campaign to liberate the Motherland from the colonial rule. Shockingly, the Hindu Mahasabha under the presidentship of Savarkar decided to help the British in crushing any military opposition. Savarkar declared:

“So far as India’s defence is concerned, Hindudom must ally unhesitatingly, in a spirit of responsive co-operation with the war effort of the Indian Government insofar as it is consistent with the Hindu interests, by joining the Army, Navy and the Aerial forces in as large a number as possible and by securing an entry into all ordnance, ammunition and war craft factories...Again it must be noted that Japan’s entry into the war has exposed us directly and immediately to the attack by Britain’s enemies. Consequently, whether we like it or not, we shall have to defend our own hearth and home against the ravages of the war and this can only be done by intensifying the government’s war effort to defend India. Hindu Mahasabhaites must, therefore, rouse Hindus, especially in the provinces of Bengal and Assam, as effectively as possible to enter the military forces of all arms without losing a single minute.”7

Savarkar led Hindu Mahasabha’s subser-vience to the British masters was total without any reservation. He called upon Hindus “to flood the [British] army, the navy and the aerial forces with millions of Hindu warriors with Hindu Sanghathanist hearts” and assured them that “if they, stick to this immediate programme and take advantage to the fullest extent possible of the war situation with the Hindu Sanghatha-nists ideal full in view, pressing on the movement for the militarisation of the Hindu race, then our Hindu nation is bound to emerge far more powerful, consolidated and situated in an incomparably more advantageous position to face issues after the war—whether it be an internal anti-Hindu Civil War or a constitutional crisis or an armed revolution.”8


Patriotic Indians 1857 onward launched hundreds of liberation struggles against the British rule, thousands of them laying down their lives in this cause. But the RSS brazenly denigrated the tradition of martyrdom. Guru Golwalkar declared that for the RSS objects of worship have always been successful lives and that ‘Bhartiya culture’ [which surely means RSS culture] does not adore and idealise martyrdom and do not treat “such martyrs as their heroes”. According to him,

“There is no doubt that such man who embrace martyrdom are great heroes and their philosophy too is pre-eminently manly. They are far above the average men who meekly submit to fate and remain in fear and inaction. All the same, such persons are not held up as ideals in our society. We have not looked upon their martyrdom as the highest point of greatness to which men should aspire. For, after all, they failed in achieving their ideal, and failure implies some fatal flaw in them.”9

VC Sir,

Could there be a statement more insulting and denigrating to the martyrs than this? It will be shocking for any Indian who loves the martyrs of the freedom movement to know what Hedgewar and the RSS felt about the revolutionaries fighting against the British. According to his biography published by the RSS,

“Patriotism is not only going to prison. It is not correct to be carried away by such superficial patriotism. He used to urge that while remaining prepared to die for the country when the time came, it is very necessary to have a desire to live while organising for the freedom of the country.”10


This must have been the reason that none of the RSS leaders and ideologues like Guru Golwalkar, Deendayal Upadhyay, Balraj Madhok, L.K. Advani, Atal Behari Vajpayee went to jail, what to talk of a martyr!

The RSS, following the footsteps of Savarkar, rejected outrightly the idea that Hindus and Muslims together constituted a nation. The English organ of the RSS, Organiser, on the very eve of Independence (August 14, 1947) editorially chalked out its concept of the nation in the following words:

“Let us no longer allow ourselves to be influenced by false notions of nationhood. Much of the mental confusion and the present and future troubles can be removed by the ready recognition of the simple fact that in Hindusthan only the Hindus form the nation and the national structure must be built on that safe and sound foundation...the nation itself must be built up of Hindus, on Hindu traditions, culture, ideas and aspirations.”

Thus the RSS openly declared its intention of opposing the formation of a democratic-secular Indian polity.

Denigration Of National Flag, Constitution and Democracy by RSS


For your kind information, just on the eve of independence when the Indian National Flag was to be unfurled at the ramparts of Red Fort at Delhi, the English organ of the RSS, Organiser, in its issue dated August 14, 1947, denigrated this choice in the following words:

“The people who have come to power by the kick of fate may give in our hands the Tricolour but it will never be respected and owned by Hindus. The word three is in itself an evil, and a flag having three colours will certainly produce a very bad psychological effect and is injurious to a country.”

So, according to the RSS, the Indian National Flag was never to be respected by Hindus. It was a bad omen and injurious for the country.


The RSS has been demanding promulgation of Manusmriti or Manu Code, which is known for its derogatory and inhuman references to Sudras, Untouchables and women, as the Consti-tution of India. The Constituent Assembly of India finalised the Constitution of India on November 26, 1949. The RSS was not happy. Its organ, Organiser, in an editorial on November 30, 1949, complained:

“But in our Constitution there is no mention of the unique constitutional development in ancient Bharat. Manu’s Laws were written long before Lycurgus of Sparta or Solon of Persia. To this day his laws as enunciated in the Manusmriti excite the admiration of the world and elicit spontaneous obedience and conformity. But to our constitutional pundits that means nothing.”

VC Sir,

Your esteemed University must know that the RSS, contrary to the principles of democracy, has been constantly demanding India to be ruled under a totalitarian regime. Golwalkar, while delivering a speech before the 1350 top- level cadres of the RSS in 1940, declared:

“The RSS inspired by one flag, one leader and one ideology is lighting the flame of Hindutva in each and every corner of this great land.”

This slogan of one flag, one leader and one ideology has directly been borrowed from the programmes of Nazi and Fascist parties of Europe.

Respected VC Sir,

I am sorry that my letter to you has got lengthy. As an honest researcher I took recourse to long quotes from the RSS/Hindu Mahasabha archives only so that no ulterior motive could be alleged. I have not referred to opinions of critics of the RSS. How much the RSS contributed for democratic-secular Indian nation-building would be clear from the following editorial of the RSS organ, Organiser, on the very eve of Independence (August 14, 1947). It rejected the whole idea of all-inclusive India for which a heroic liberation war was fought against the mightiest imperial power.

“Let us no longer allow ourselves to be influenced by false notions of nationhood. Much of the mental confusion and the present and future troubles can be removed by the ready recognition of the simple fact that in Hindusthan only the Hindus form the nation and the national structure must be built on that safe and sound foundation...the nation itself must be built up of Hindus, on Hindu traditions, culture, ideas and aspirations.”


Is not it a fact that such an anti-national organisation is being glorified by your University? If you really want your University students to know the real RSS then you must ask the History Department to make all the RSS/Hindu Mahasabha documents, I have quoted, available to students for references. I personally can provide you all these documents. I am sorry to write that by giving prominence to the RSS as a nationalist organisation your University is insulting lakhs of patriotic Indian who suffered for the freedom of India, thousands of martyrs like Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad, Raj Guru, Sukhdev, Bhagwati Charan Vohra, Ashfaqullah Khan, Ram Prasad Bismil.


The worst and most criminal part of the issue is that you happen to be the VC of the University which is named after a great freedom fighter, Tukadoji Maharaj, who was in jail for many years due to participation in the ‘Quit India’ Movement which the RSS brazenly opposed and betrayed as we have seen above.

I would request that you, on behalf of the University, must immediately offer apology to the nation.

With regards,

July 13, 2019 Shamsul Islam

[Associate Professor (rtd.), University of Delhi;

NOTE: If University proves that I have used fake RSS documents or misquoted RSS documents, I will submit for criminal proceedings.



2. Shri Guruji Samagra Darshan (collected works of Golwalkar in Hindi, henceforth SGSD), vol. IV, Bhartiya Vichar Sadhna, Nagpur, n.d., p. 41.

3. Ibid., p. 40.

4. SGSD, volume IV, p. 2.

5. C.P. Bhishikar, Sanghavariksh Ke Beej: Dr. Keshavrao Hedgewar, Suruchi Prakashan, Delhi, 1994 p. 24.

6. V.D., Samagra Savarkar Wangmaya: Hindu Rashtra Darshan, vol. 6, Maharashtra Prantik Hindusabha, Poona, 1963, pp. 479-480.

7. Ibid., 460.

8. Ibid.,. 461

9. M.S. Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts, Bangalore, 1996, Sahitya Sindh Prakashana, p. 283.

10. C.P. Bhishikar, Sanghavariksh Ke Beej: Dr. Keshavrao Hedgewar, Suruchi Prakashan, Delhi, 1994 p. 21.

11. SGSD, Volume I, p. 11.

Shamsul Islam, a well-known theatre personality, is a former Associate Professor (now retired), Department of Political Science, Satyawati College, University of Delhi. For some of the author’s writings in English, Hindi, Malayalam, Kannada, Bengali, Punjabi, Urdu and Gujarati see the following link: http/

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