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Revolutionary Patriot Since Childhood

Vijaydashmi Lekh-Mala: Ultimate Goal Of RSS Vishavguru Bharat. ……..3/18

Founder of RSS Dr. Hedgewar was a born freedom fighter. Dr. Hedgewar had visualised a great and powerful organization committed to restoring his cherished dream of Vishavguru in his childhood. He was inspired by Shivaji Maharaj who established Hindavi Swarajya, by Dashmeshpita Guru Govind Singh who founded Khalsa Panth and by Swami Dayanand who founded Arya Samaj. The concepts of India’s identity as Sanatan (time immemorial) nation based on Hindutva, saffron flag, complete freedom of Akhand Bharat had started taking shape in his childhood mind. Vande Matram song had become his life’s divine mantra. Young Keshav was an able organiser, leader, brave and courageous boy from his early days. His childhood mostly passed in revolutionary activities with his childhood friends and thus a strong foundation of a revolutionary was laid in his childhood itself.

Young Freedom Fighter-

Dr. Hedgewar in his student life, had analysed the root causes of our nation’s fall and scumbling to foreign rule and had taken up his life mission as achieving complete freedom for the nation. The 60th. the birthday of Queen Victoria was celebrated on 22nd. June 1897 with great pomp and show while he was a student.  Sweets were also distributed in young Hedgewar’s school. Young Keshav threw the sweets in a dust bin and let his anger be expressed in the following words” How can we celebrate the birthday festivities of a foreign ruler who has subjugated us? I have thrown British rule in the dustbin along with the sweets”.

        In 1909, there were celebrations on the occasion of Emperor Edward VII’ s ascending of British throne. Britishers and their loyal Indians had illuminated their offices and business units and fireworks were displayed in Nagpur. Owners of a famous mill of that time, Empress Mills, had decorated their mill with different colourful lights. Most of the local residents came out with their children to witness the festivities. The young Keshav called his friends saying    ” Celebrating the ascending of the throne by a foreign ruler is most shameful on our part.  Instead of rooting out the foreign rule, celebrating their festivities is shameful. Shame on these people. I will neither join them nor will allow my friends to join them.”

 Pulling Down the British Flag-

As the time passed, the subtle feelings of getting independence for the nation took strong manifestations in the form of some daring activities. There is a Sitaburdi Fort near Nagpur. Young Keshav had known that this fort once upon a time belonged to Hindu Kings. He would often question why Union Jack was being unfurled atop the fort instead of saffron flag.

         His team of childhood friends worked on a plan to remove the Union Jack and replace it with a saffron flag. Digging of underground tunnel and overpowering guards to hoist saffron flag was part of the plan. Young Keshav’ s friends used to study in the house of their teacher Vajeh Guru. A group of 7 to 9 students started digging a tunnel in one of the rooms. During one night, the sound of digging caught the attention of the Vajeh Guru. When he entered the room, he was surprised that a young army of commandos were ready to raid the fort. Guruji somehow pacified them not to do so.

         Young Keshav used to play martial art games like raiding a fort and winning over flag, in nearby forest with his companions. Similar games were played by Chhatrapati Shivaji during his childhood with his companions. He also organised a debate club during this period. Life stories of great Hindu personalities and patriotic revolutionaries were debated and discussed. During this time, an organization of Madhya Pradesh, Swadesh Bandhav advocated about Swadeshi items. Dr. Hedgewar along with his friends participated in that organization wholeheartedly. During 1905-06, secret meetings of Lokmanya Tilak were held where training of revolutionaries was being planned.

Young Keshav also participated wholeheartedly in these activities.

 First Imprisonment Of Young Keshav-

During summer holidays in school, young Keshav used to visit his maternal uncle in Rampayli near Nagpur. He started organising youth there also. He inspired them to participate in the freedom movement. Every year effigies of Ravana were burnt in Rampayli.That year Keshav added the song of Vande Matram in the festivities along with his young friends. He gave a very powerful speech on the occasion. ” “Today’s biggest painful and shameful thing is to be ruled by foreigners. Foreign rule and our continued slavery are biggest Adharma. Greatest sin is to tolerate injustice from foreigners. Today’s need of the hour is to stand together against foreign rule and throw out the foreigners. Slaying Ravana in today’ s context is equivalent to ending the British rule.”

Basing on reports of the government spies, Keshav was arrested. This was his first arrest. Seeing the young age of Keshav, district collector asked Keshav to seek apology. Young Keshav replied with full confidence and contempt ” I violate your orders. Singing Vande Matram is my birth right and I shall continue to sing Vande Matram till my last breath.” He was released from lockup after some time.

When Whole School Echoed Vande Matram.

After this incident, activities of Keshav were monitored closely by the government spies. District administration banned his public speeches. During that time, to curb the rising protests of youth, the government released the Risley Circular which banned chanting of Vande Matram. Keshav’s school also enforced this circular. Keshav along with his young team decided to challenge this circular.

     All  the plans were kept secret. As soon as the inspector of the education department along with the headmaster of school entered for inspection in his 10th. class, all students with full confidence raised the slogan of Vande Matram in full voice. This slogan echoed in every class the inspector went. Who planned this? Who is the leader? How all this happened? These questions left red faced the Inspector, headmaster, government spies. Nothing could be cracked. It was then the government officials decided to punish all students severely. At this point, Keshav revealed his name to save other students. He told authorities that he had masterminded this all and speaking Vande Matram was their birth right. He said that he would not apologise. He was expelled from the school.

………to be continued

(Writer is senior journalist and columnist)



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