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Why RSS considers Ambedkar as one of its own icons

RSS leader Dattopant Thengadi wrote in one of his books that Ambedkar told RSS functionaries if they want to unite Hindu society, they should expedite RSS expansion.

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New Delhi: This year marks the birth centenary of Dattopant Thengadi — one of the tallest RSS ideologues and the founder of more than a dozen RSS-backed organisations, including the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) and the Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM).

The BMS is the largest labour organisation in the country, while the SJM is an outfit that has played a significant role in shaping India’s discourse on economic policy for more than two decades.

Thengadi, despite being one of the most dynamic RSS leaders, kept a low profile and, hence, very few would know that he was not just a crucial link between Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar and the RSS from 1940s onward, but that Ambedkar even wanted him to contest the by-election for Bhandara seat in Maharashtra.

Thengadi has given a detailed account of the meetings between the RSS leaders and Ambedkar in his book Dr Ambedkar aur Samajik Kranti ki Yatra.

The book is based on Thengadi’s personal experiences and interactions with Ambedkar.

Also read: Bhaiyyaji’s ‘Hindus not synonymous with BJP’ remark not new, it’s an old RSS ideology

Thengadi — Ambedkar’s election agent

As a young RSS pracharak, Thengadi was such a blue-eyed boy of Ambedkar that he was appointed as the secretary of the Scheduled Caste Federation when Ambedkar was its chairman. 

He was also the election agent of Ambedkar during the by-election for Bhandara constituency. 

“The RSS workers worked day and night for Babasaheb (Ambedkar) on the directions of Guruji (the second RSS chief M.S. Golwalkar)… Though Babasaheb lost this election but when he analysed the poll results he realised that the votes which he polled were much more than the total number of Scheduled Castes’ votes there. A large number of upper class voters had also voted for him. He was quite content with this outcome,” wrote Thengadi in the book.

It was after this defeat — a couple of days after he adopted Buddhism — that Ambedkar told the Scheduled Caste Federation leaders at a meeting in Nagpur, Maharashtra, that the polarisation between the upper and the backward castes doesn’t exist in the wake of what happened in Bhandara by-election.

So, Ambedkar felt, it was time to replace the Federation as its name was caste-specific. He mooted the idea of replacing it by setting up ‘Republican Party’, a new outfit with a generic name.

Connection between Ambedkar’s legacy & RSS ideology

In 1952, during the first general election, Ambedkar’s Scheduled Caste Federation and Bharatiya Jansangh formed a pre-poll alliance and fought elections jointly in Madhya Pradesh.

Ambedkar’s first formal interaction with the RSS, as recorded in the RSS’ archives, took place in 1935. He had visited the first RSS training camp for Maharashtra in Pune. He had gone to Dapoli near Pune for some work where he visited an RSS shakha.

In 1939, he was invited formally to an RSS training camp in Pune, where he met RSS founder Dr K.B. Hedgewar.

There were more than 500 RSS volunteers at the camp in uniform. Ambedkar was quite impressed by the fact that there was no discrimination on the basis of caste. The incident has not only been recorded in the RSS’ archives, but several RSS leaders have repeatedly recounted this visit of Ambedkar to show the connection between Ambedkar’s legacy and the RSS ideology.

In September 1949, the second sarsanghchalak (chief) of RSS M.S. Golwalkar went to Delhi to meet Ambedkar to express his gratitude for the help he offered in lifting the ban on the RSS. The ban was imposed by the then Congress government after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi on 30 January 1948 in Delhi. 

In June 1953, senior RSS functionaries Moropant Pingley and Balasaheb Sathey met Ambedkar in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, where the latter asked for detailed information about the outreach of the RSS.

Ambedkar told the RSS functionaries that if they really wanted to unite the Hindu society, they should expedite the expansion of the organisation. He told them that backwards couldn’t wait for too long, so the RSS should hurry up.

Ambedkar also told Thengadi later, “Unless the backwards get a direction and redemption, they would be so full of anger because of their state that they would become cannon fodder for communism.”

Recounting this conversation, Thengadi wrote in his book about what Ambedkar told him, “Between Scheduled Castes and Communism, Ambedkar is the barrier.”

The writer is CEO of Indraprastha Vishwa Samvad Kendra, an RSS affiliate, and author of two books on the RSS.

Also read: RSS founder Hedgewar was with Congress, and other facts you didn’t know


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  1. आनंद भाई पढाई किया करो.
    Proof दिया करो.
    May I mention the R.S.S. and Akali Dal? Some of them are very Dangerous Associations. “[ Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar: Writings and Speeches, Vol.15, Edited by Vasant Moon, Govt of Maharashtra, Mumbai, 1997, pp.560] [Parliament Debates, Vol.11, Part Two, 14 th May 1951,pp.8687-90]

  2. This is totally misleading.
    Just tagging #opinion and thinking that people will see it as an opinion from the author side is wrong.
    Being an journalism side you should not provoke in spreading fake news in the name of opinion.
    This is totally misleading and fake.
    In this era where fake news spreads more fast than light don’t post these type of things #The print.

    You may loose your loyal true fan base.
    I know you care for them like you mentioned in your cut the clutter recent episode. Sekhar Sir

    • Absolutely. Don’t fall prey to such malpropaganda with ulterior motives.. The author is a blatant liar, pseudointellectual, a wolf in the garb of a lamb.

  3. If RSS really wants to own Dr. Ambedkar let them declare that they support the caste /minorities based reservation to all upper and lower castes Indians. Let Brahmin also enjoy resevation on the basis of their population and the element of 50% reservation to General categories be eliminated. The RSS shall have 50% sc/st/obc in their core committee and the post os Sar Sanghchlak and higher posts be filled by SC/ST/OBCs for consecutive period of 15 years forthwith. Let there be 50% women be enrolled as members of RSS. And finally let them preach Ambedkarite philosophy instead of Veda, Ramayana, Mahabharat, and stop celebrating Satya Narayan Mahapujas.

  4. शेड्युल्ड कास्ट फेडरेशन ह्या पक्षाचे सभासद किंवा पदाधिकारी त्याच व्यक्तीला होता येत होते जी अनुसुचित जातीची सदस्य आहे. जे दत्तोपंत ठेंगडी अनुसुचित जातीचे नव्हतेच त्यांना डॉ. बाबासाहेब सेक्रेटरी कसे नेमतील?

    किती सराईतपणे असत्यकथन करणारा खोटारडा इसम आहे हा आर.एस.एस.चा अरूण आनंद! याच्यावर डॉ. बाबसाहेबांची बदनामी केल्याबद्दल बाबासाहेबांच्या कायदेशीर वारसदारांनी खटला भरायला हवा.

  5. There goes one of the last few remaining outlets of independent journalism. This clearly looks like a fundraising piece, if you are short of funds please try asking for voluntary donations from your readers and preserve your factual integrity.

    The author seems to have gone through great troubles to find flimsy evidence (also where are the authentic sources for this article) to take a position that Ambedkar was in fact strongly against!

    Highly disappointed in The Print. You have lost a reader.

  6. झूठ बोलो बार बार झूठ बोलो आरएसएस की संस्कृती

    As regards other Political Parties, the Scheduld Caste Federation’s attitude can be easily defined.

    The Scheduld Caste Federation will not have any alliance with any reactionary Party such as the Hindu Mahasabha or the R.S.S.”

    [ Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar: Writings and Speeches, Vol.17, Part ONE, Edited by Prof Hari Narke and others, Govt of Maharashtra, Mumbai, 2003, pp.402]

  7. Such a terrible Appropriation of Babasaheb to incorporate Dalits to counter Minority Muslims. RSS has always been a Terrorist Organisation and Babasaheb’s book “Hatred in the Belly” further proves it.

    My trust on The Print is gone forever.

    Jay Bhim!

  8. I believe , The Print must remove this article and person who had written and edit of media house must read 22 vows of Dr Ambedkar ,it is shame to equate Dr Ambedkar with a hindu terrorist organisation

  9. This guy must read 22 vows of Dr Ambedkar first.i never thought that the print will published fake article based on Hindu mythology. what ever they say dalits will convert to Buddhism and take revenge from sons and daughters of Pushpamitra shunghs

  10. please remove this article how the print can published fake article and equate DR Ambedkar with hindu terrorist organisation.

  11. thighs is totally lies and RSS is Hindu terrorist organisation ad video and article should be removed which is cock and bull story same as Ramayana.

  12. Arun I read your article, it is good, language is impressive, the incidents have been quoted in an interesting way and engages the reader. I also got engaged and am responding, it would have been better if the reference of the first general election (1952) could have come with the context that Ambedkar resigned as Law Minister in 1951 on the issue of Hindu Code Bill. Ban on RSS was by the Congress Govt., isn’t it correct that Ambedkar was Law Minister in that very Govt. (Do you mean to say that the Minister went against the Govt., in lifting the ban on RSS). You said “Ambedkar told the RSS functionaries that if they really wanted to unite the Hindu society, they should expedite the expansion of the organization. He told them that backward couldn’t wait for too long, so the RSS should hurry up.”…… Please comment on this too “He unequivocally declared that, “If Hindu Raj does become a fact, it will, no doubt, be the greatest calamity for this country. No matter what the Hindus say, Hinduism is a menace to liberty, equality, and fraternity. On that account it is incompatible with democracy. Hindu Raj must be prevented at any cost.”

  13. How did The Print provide space for an Organization that is so tainted and allowed them to own B R Ambedkar whose philosophy was exactly opposite to them?

  14. Ambedkar was indeed a visionary, looking at the caste games that the communist parties play in india today, these were some prophetic words.
    what might be extremely disconcerting for a lot of left ideologs (including in the media) is the closeness between RSS and Ambedkar.

  15. Today’s politcal parties like congress and bhim are using Ambedkar as cannon fodder for their divisive agendas. They want Ambedkar to remain only to themselves and not to others.
    It’s like Sikhs who claim Guru Nanak to only themselves. They forget that Punjabi Hindus worship guru nanak dev.

  16. The above arguments or facts can not be the reasons for RSS to consider Ambedkar as their own icon. As a part of the opposition and attempting to explore different possibilities, he might have taken some steps with the RSS workers but it does not mean that they can paint him in their saffron color. These RSS workers do not make any attempt to understand what Ambedkar stood for and for what he stood against. They do not like to study his thoughts or his writings and speeches, they always busy in spreading their propaganda. These people are trying to hijack the dalit-bahujan movement. The problem with these people is that they always try to find a small incident or fact from a large story or history which suits their ideology or agenda and then try to exploit that by completely ignoring the larger perspective. Shame on these people!!

  17. Another blatant efforts to appropriate Dr Ambedkar.
    These are very old tactics of RSS.
    For political gains, RSS-BJP will make Ambedkar Pratasmaraniya, it will rewrite RSS- Ambedkar’s so called ‘close neat history ‘
    In reality, RSS want Dalits-Aadivasi’s to counter Muslims. In every communal trifle Dalit’s and Aadivasi’s are RSS’s foot soldiers . This fact is out in open.
    RSS’s need of Dalit’s and Ambedkar’s arises from this calculation. Nothing more, nothing less.
    And by way, RSS nevr believes in SAMATA, it want SAMRASATA. This again means RSS don’t want to disturb caste system in India. So, no question of caste annihilation . Ambedkar sacrifice his whole life, for this very cause. To know RSS’s true face, at this point in time it would be sheer injustice not to recommend Bhanwar Meghwanshi’s latest book मैं एक कारसेवक था.

    • History is out in the open. Reform in ‘caste’
      The RSS has advocated the training of Dalits and other backward classes as temple high priests (a position traditionally reserved for Caste Brahmins and denied to lower castes). They argue that the social divisiveness of the caste system is responsible for the lack of adherence to Hindu values and traditions, and that reaching out to the lower castes in this manner will be a remedy to the problem. The RSS has also condemned upper-caste Hindus for preventing Dalits from worshipping at temples, saying that “even God will desert the temple in which Dalits cannot enter”.

      Jaffrelot says that “there is insufficient data available to carry out a statistical analysis of social origins of the early RSS leaders” but goes on to conclude that, based on some known profiles, most of the RSS founders and its leading organisers, with a few exceptions, were Maharashtrian Brahmins from the middle or lower class and argues that the pervasiveness of the Brahminical ethic in the organisation was probably the main reason why it failed to attract support from the low castes. He argues that the “RSS resorted to instrumentalist techniques of ethnoreligious mobilisation—in which its Brahminism was diluted—to overcome this handicap”. However, Anderson and Damle (1987) find that members of all castes have been welcomed into the organisation and are treated as equals.

      During a visit in 1934 to an RSS camp at Wardha accompanied by Mahadev Desai and Mirabehn, Mahatma Gandhi said, “When I visited the RSS Camp, I was very much surprised by your discipline and absence of untouchablity.” He personally inquired about this to Swayamsevaks and found that volunteers were living and eating together in the camp without bothering to know each other’s castes.
      Visit any RSS shakha, Nobody cares about your caste/creed there

      • Rajaram Mohan Roy believed there was need to ‘reform’ Hindu Dharma.
        The ‘reform’ of Hindu dharma was seen as a Western exercise to destroy Hinduism. So in 1894, another Bengali, Chandranath Basu, invented word Hindutva: Hinduism that needs no reform. Thats the motto of RSS – supremacy, hegemony, organized and eternal discrimination and slavery of the oppressed communities.

      • RSS is hindu terrorist organisation and want to use dalits as foot soldiers against muslims but 120 million dalits will join with 120 million muslims to give two fingers to hindus and there hindu led Government.
        RSS id Hindu terrorist organisation and this article must be removed from The print.

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