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Kailash Satyarthi NGO makes slum kids laud RSS founder Hedgewar as freedom fighter

By Rajiv Shah* 

In a move which may raise many an eyebrow, a Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi-supported child rights NGO has celebrated Prime Minister Narendra Modi-intitiated Har Ghar Tiranga by commemorating 75 freedom fighters by "narrating their famous deeds and chanting slogans of each leader", including Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhas Chandra Bose, Lala Lajpat Rai and a person who had little or nothing common with the freedom movement -- RSS founder Keshav Baliram Hedgewar.
A communique from the Kailash Satyarthi Childrens Foundation (KSCF), which organised the event, said among the freedom fighters celebrated by 75 children on the occasion of 75 years of India's independence placing photographs of each freedom fighter included that of Hedgewar, who is alleged to have maintained a distance from Indian Independence movement led by Gandhiji.
According to Hedgewar's biography, when Gandhiji launched the Salt Satyagraha in 1930, Hedgewar sent information everywhere that the RSS will not participate in the Satyagraha. When the Congress passed the Purna Swaraj resolution in its Lahore session in December 1929, and called upon all Indians to celebrate January 26, 1930 as Independence Day, he issued a circular asking all the RSS shakhas to observe the occasion through hoisting and worship of the Bhagwa Dhwaj (saffron flag), rather than the Tricolor.
The celebration, in which children of Sanjay Camp, a slum colony in the Chanakyapuri diplomatic area in New Delhi, participated, was claimed to be the result of "a creative imagination" of the children from Bal Mitra Mandal (BMM), set up by KSCF. The communique insisted, "The children of BMM carried the photo-masks of 75 martyrs of our freedom movement, with every child passionately chanting the revolutionary slogans and narrating stories of bravery of each leader."
Stating that "some of the photo masks of leaders included Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Lala Lajpat Rai and Keshav Baliram Hedgewar", the communique said, "The children drove home the point that as we celebrate our 75th Independence anniversary, we must also realise to collectively fight against our social evils like child labour, child exploitation, child marriages and child sexual abuse and for healthcare, sanitation and potable water."
All the children participating in the event were between 11 years to 16 years, the age group known to be the worst affected from all kinds of exploitation. The communique said, "The event was a unique concept because as we celebrate our 75th Independence Day by hoisting our national flag atop our homes, the children enthusiastically narrated the sacrifices of our great leaders and freedom fighters that went behind in achieving our Tiranga”.
"This is indeed an innovative way of sending out message to every home in our country to remind ourselves of the sacrifices made by the leaders in attaining our Independence. Also this event highlighted the high moral principles of our freedom fighters who wished to achieve a society that provides freedom and access to quality life for our children, who are our future leaders", it added.
BMM, it said, "Seeks to empower children and their communities to collectively work towards securing their rights and protect them from child labour, child sexual abuse and raise their awareness on education, water, sanitation, hygiene and livelihood, through democratic actions. BMM will also train children as child-leaders, who will work towards the benefit of other under-privileged kids."
Rakesh Senger, executive director of KSCF, said, “The idea of the event is to spread the social message of our great leaders across the country through the children and also to highlight the social evils that are affecting the quality of life of our country’s children”.
Kajal Thakur and Sunil, two child participants in the event, said, “We are happy to be part of the unique programme. As we celebrate Azaadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, we must remember our freedom fighters, their sacrifices and take the pledge collectively to fight and win against the prevailing social evil of child labour and exploitation”.
On Conterview seeking all the names of all the 75 freedom fighters who were lauded at the celebration, a  KSCF official supplied the names of half of them -- "the Chapekar Brothers, Tilka Manjhi, Gangu Mehtar, Tantia Tope, Vasudev Balwant Phadke, Kunwar Singh, Mangal pandey, Nana saheb, Tirot Sing, Shyam Krishna Varma, Lal - Bal - Pal, Vishnu Shashtri Chiplunkar, Deshbandhu, Bankim Chandra Chattopahyay, Mahamana, Birsa Munda, Sardarsinhji Ravaji Rana, NC Kelkar, Jatin Bose, Barindra Ghose, PD Tandon, Aurobindo, Mahatma Gandhi, Pt Nehru, JP, Lal Bahadur Shahstri, Khudiram Bose, Veer Savarkar, Rash Behari Bose, Jatin Das, Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar and others."
It is not known if top associates of Hedgewar -- Bhaiyaji Dani, Babasaheb Apte, MS Golwalkar, Balasaheb Deoras and Madhukar Rao Bhagwat, among others -- were part of the great 75 shortlisted by the NGO for eulogy by slum children. 
While experts claim Hedgewar and his associates as having little or nothing to do with freedom movement, former Prime Minister AB Vajpayee called him "patriot, freedom fighter and nationalist", and former President Pranab Mukherjee described him as  "a great son of Mother India".
*Editor, Counterview


Unknown said…
Even I was brainwashed into the belief MK Gandhi was a noble soul & he fought for India's freedom singlehandedly & drove the British out of India by sheer power of his arms! Until I grew up & started seeking truth. Due to heavy screening & censorship during Congi rule, a general discussion about Gandhi & his role or any critique wasn't a permitted thing in those days. A cult was sought to be created to deeproot a thinking in the minds of Indian masses that it was due to the 'mahatma' & the 'chacha' that country got independence & those two were the most virtuous & sacrificing. The Govt almost like a mid east religion, ensured that no alternative views or truth emerge. To the extent that even the girls on whose shoulder support the 'mahatma' would walk, disappeared from public limelight along with the demise of the former! No one could dare ask questions as to why India should side with a group in Turkey in their fight or why should India send its soldiers to fight a war that is not theirs! Be it riots & gruesome mass murders, there was nobody the hapless locals could look forward to as leaders representing their cause in those miserable days. All they were told was to endure & get used to sufferings. They could see only contempt from the 'mahatma' be it earthquake or famine but never any consolation. On top of these things, the funny experiments with 'truths' that nobody was allowed to discuss! Most funniest was when the man suggested including the union jack as part of country's national flag! Can anyone beat him from the seat of "Father of the Nation"? He also said British were nice people AND they left the country voluntarily!! For all of us fools thinking Brits left due to the heat of satyagrahas of this 'mahatma'!! This 'mahatma' went to Churchil once & told him not to treat Indians like how they would treat African blacks! Because he knew more about them & how different are they racially!

If we adore such a fellow blindly without a logical mind, no wonder we don't bother to know facts about other true soldiers that stood really for the country!
Jag Jivan said…
The above comment is shocking, to say the least. Not only does this "unknown" person seek to undermine Gandhi's role, s/he goes on to say that there was censorship under Congress rule. This was of course true during Indira Gandhi imposed Emergency, but for rest of the time, free exchange of views was very common. All -- Nehru, Shatri, Narasimha Rao, Rajiv Gandhi -- had to face heavy criticism, right or wrong. And what this person is trying to say? Nobody, not even Gandhi, believed India achieved freedom single handed by Gandhi. All, the 1857 heroes to Bhagat Singh, Ambedkar, Netaji, Nehru, Sardar... had a great role to play. Gandhi's contribution was to link social reform with fight for freedom, and bring them together to make India free of colonial rule
Unknown said…
The anonymous view point is the result of persistent propaganda of RSS to belittle the great Indian freedom fighters inspite of their constant n difficult movements against the British and their long years of imprisonment. RSS has none to show their role in the freedom struggle, therefore either belittle the ones who did struggle or quietly sneak into th struggle their own icons and thus fill young minds with falsified history.
And yes Mr Satyarathi started his NGO in a building a few yards away from my home and I am aware of many wrongdoings and irregularities on his part.Sometimes I wonder why and how he could receive a Nobel prize at all. I am not at all surprised at his including Hegdewar in the list of freedom fighters because he is always on the right side of power for huge personal gains.


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