Right Word | RSS Sarsanghchalak who brought national focus on illegal migration, Swadeshi, rewriting history

Kuppalli Sitaramayya Sudarshan, the fifth Sarsanghchalak of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), was much ahead of his times. He was a visionary who could foresee future challenges and flag them much in advance. He was instrumental in reviving the concept of ‘Swadeshi’ in the 1990s much before the bubble of globalisation had burst. He also played an instrumental role in bringing up the issue of illegal migration of Bangladeshi Muslims and how it would alter the demographic profile and destabilise the socio-political structure in several states in India, especially in the northeastern part. He was known as a ‘perfectionist’ among his colleagues. A few hours before he passed away, he had corrected the pronunciation of “Ekatmata Mantra” by a swayamsevak (volunteer) at the RSS office in Raipur. The swayamsevaks had gathered at the Raipur head office of the RSS for the daily  shakha  and Sudarshan was participating in it as a swayamsevak. One of the swayamsevaks was reciting “ Ekatmata Mantra ” (which is in praise of the unity and integrity of the motherland) and didn’t pronounce a particular word appropriately. Sudarshan noticed that but he did not interject then and let the swayamsevak to complete the recital of this  mantra . And then he pointed out to everyone present there that one particular word was not pronounced properly. While pointing this out, he also explained in detail the importance of this word and the reason for emphasising the correct pronunciation. Then he made everyone present there pronounce this word five times correctly. There are several other examples of his penchant for doing things ‘perfectly’ and in the best possible manner. Flagging illegal migration in the 1970s During his tenure in the North East as an RSS Pracharak, which began in 1977, he played an important role in identifying several key issues, such as illegal migration from Bangladesh. In fact, he had studied and put together detailed and authentic prognosis of the problem ailing Assam much before the youth in Assam began an agitation on this issue. Murli Manohar Joshi, former national president of the Bharatiya Janata Party and former Union minister, puts it aptly: “I was in-charge of north east when Sudarshanji was working there. I was deeply impressed by his in-depth study and thought process. We used to discuss not only issues related to the north east, but a wide variety of other issues too. Swadeshi (self-reliance) and ancient Science were two of the prominent areas which often figured in our talks. At that time, we prepared several programmes which were to be executed in future. The agitation on illegal migrants was one such issue. Sudarshanji had prepared an intellectual and emotional ground for this agitation much before it was launched.” ( Hamare Sudarshan ji,  Prabhat Prakashan) It is a well-known fact within RSS that Sudarshan was one of the first ones to flag the issue of illegal migration of Bangladeshi Muslims to the northeastern part of India, especially Assam. He considered illegal migration to be an ‘attack’ from across the border of a new weapon called ‘population’. He travelled extensively to states like Tripura, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh among others, to study the issue of illegal immigration and its impact. He prepared a detailed plan to counter this influx and resolve the issue. Later, in the 1980s, we all witnessed a historic agitation across the state of Assam to throw back the illegal migrants from across the border. In fact, not heeding to Sudarshan’s advice has cost the state of Assam dearly as it has witnessed a dramatic change in its demography with the population of Muslims rising significantly in several districts primarily due to the settlement of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. Successive governments in the state had failed to tackle this issue. The Congress, in fact, has been accused justifiably by its detractors of protecting the interests of Bangladeshi Muslims at the cost of the interests of the state’s legal residents, the reason for this being an expectation to make electoral gains. Ashok Singhal, who passed away in 2015, was a leading figure in the movement to build a Ram temple at the birthplace of Lord Ram at Ayodhya in the state of Uttar Pradesh. He had also worked and interacted closely with Sudarshan. He remembered Sudarshan fondly in one of his articles ( Hamare Sudarshan ji; Prabhat Prakashan ). “As a Pracharak (whole-timer) in the north east, first he learned Bengali and Assamese. He could deliver lectures fluently in both these languages. He studied in-depth the activities of the Church and exposed them.... Later, he sent a number of ‘Pracharaks’ from all over the country to work there in view of the gravity of the problem.” Singhal further added, “He studied the tribes in the north east in detail... He suggested ways and means to protect tribes from the influence of Christian missionaries. Several schools and hostels for students were set up. The Bangladeshi Muslims were migrating illegally to Assam, West Bengal and Bihar in a planned way; simultaneously, the Hindus from Bangladesh, unable to protect themselves, were also migrating. At that time, it was Sudarshanji who told the countrymen and especially the Assamese people that while the Muslims coming from Bangladesh were illegal immigrants, the Hindus coming from there were refugees. So, the latter should be sheltered by the Hindus in the rest of India. Meanwhile, the illegal Muslim immigrants who have settled in West Bengal, Bihar and Assam should be deported back to Bangladesh. The north-eastern states gradually understood his argument.” History and Swadeshi Sudarshan, who was the fifth Sarsanghchalak, was also at the forefront of initiating a movement to write the correct history of India. According to Joshi, “He started discussing this with five-six people which apart from myself included P Parameswaran, KI Vasu, Dr Sujit Dhar, Malkaniji (KR Malkani), Devendra Swaroopji, etc. Later on, he (Sudarshan) got more people on board such as Dr Bajrang Lal Gupt. The discussions went on and the final outcome was a thinking process. It was named ‘ Prajnya Pravah ’. Some programmes were organised under its banner and gradually regular seminars started taking place. Similar activities happened on the issues of  Swadeshi  and under the banner of  Vigyan Bharati . The prominent scientists of the country were approached and they got associated with these activities. Thus, Sudarshanji had a multi-dimensional thinking and approach.” Vision for agriculture Sudarshan was always concerned about Indian agriculture. He always emphasised that the seeds provided by the multi-national corporations were genetically modified and use of these seeds for a long duration would have detrimental effects on the Indian farm sector. This is precisely what we are witnessing today as farmers are grappling with challenges like poor quality of soil and low yield with an increase in input costs making farming unsustainable for a large number of small and marginal farmers. Sudarshan had emphasised decades ago that India should go for organic farming. The economic model propounded by Sudarshan had organic farming as its central element. Outreach to Muslims and Christians Sudarshan always considered Muslims and Christians to be a part of the Hindu Rashtra. He was in close touch with many Muslim and Christian religious leaders. Organisational activities Very few people know that Sudarshan was a very good singer. The RSS trains its swayamsevaks in mixed martial arts known as ‘ Niyudh ’. Not many people are aware that it was none other than Sudarshan who developed it. He also developed a manual for using ‘Yogchap’ (Lezium — a wooden idiophone to which thin metal discs are fitted which produce a jingling sound and the dancers use this while dancing) as an instrument of rigorous exercises. It may be recalled here that Sudarshan headed the ‘Sharirik vibhag’ (Physical Exercises department). He also introduced some changes in the ‘ Bharat Bhakti Strota ’ by replacing some old ‘ shlokas ’ with some newer ones.  Bharat Bhakti Stotra  is recited every morning and evening by swayamsevaks at the daily Shakha. In this recital, the swayamsevaks worship their motherland, i.e., ‘Bharat’. It is an inherent part of swayamsevak’s daily routine and aims at inculcating the feeling of patriotism. In 1990, when Sudarshan took over the responsibility of ‘Sahsarkaryawah’ (Joint General Secretary) of the RSS, the Khalistan movement was at peak in Punjab, he played an instrumental role in the ‘Sadbhavna Yatra’ (Goodwill March)” by 400 saints. Singhal mentioned a very interesting fact in his article on Sudarshan’s life and works, “He (Sudarshan) used to mention in his speeches that a new age will begin for India from the year 2011 onwards. We all are witnessing a change he had predicted much before it started to happen.” Sudarshan was born on 18 June 1931 and passed away on 15 September 2012. His daily routine was fixed. He would get up at five in the morning, freshen himself and then go for a walk for about an hour. After coming back, he would do ‘Pranayama’ (breathing exercises of yoga). He carried on with his schedule till the last day. His soul left his body during ‘Pranayama’. According to the Hindu tradition, this happens to highly emancipated individuals only. MG Vaidya, a former RSS Pracharak and former editor of Nagpur-based newspaper  Tarun Bharat , is known to have worked with several Sarsanghchalaks closely. “Sudarshan did his Bachelors in Engineering in telecommunications in the 1950s. He could have opted for a well-paid job. But he decided to choose another path and became an RSS Pracharak. But he had already made up his mind that he would dedicate his complete life to the Sangh.” Sudarshan held responsibilities as a Pracharak in Chhattisgarh, then in central India and after that, in Assam-Bengal region. In 1990, he was given responsibility of ‘Sahsarkaryawah’ and in the year 2000, he donned the mantle of the RSS chief as Sarsanghchalak. In RSS, the new Sarsanghchalak is appointed by the outgoing RSS chief. Sudarshan was nominated by the outgoing fourth Sarsanghchalak, Professor Rajendra Singh, also popularly known as “Rajju Bhayya”. Sudarshan himself handed over the mantle to the present RSS Sarsanghchalak, Mohan Bhagwat, nine years later. The writer, an author and columnist, has written several books, including ‘The Saffron Surge: Untold Story of RSS Leadership’ and ‘Know About RSS’. Views expressed are personal. Read all the Latest News , Trending News ,  Cricket News , Bollywood News , India News and Entertainment News here. Follow us on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram .

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