Field marshal for Sanathana Dharma

By: V Sundaram
September 22, 2005
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Great men give us the feeling that the greatness is not in them but through them. A few of them stand at the pinnacle of life and they serve as a channel for mighty streams of power. Their art of power lies in the opening of themselves to all the sources of power at their command. The power of wisdom. The power of thought. The power of the heart. The power of a dream. The power of people. The power of the spirit. The power of the infinite. Such great men are divinely-appointed guardians of all the powers man has evolved since time began. They consider it their bounden public duty to use those powers for continued growth and development of man and pass them on renewed and enlarged to those who will follow them. To such a galaxy of selected great men of India, Hongasandra Venkataramaiah Sheshadri, Akhil Bharath Pracharak Pramukh of the RSS who passed away in Bangalore at the age of 80, truly belongs.

H V Sheshadri was born in Bangalore, Karnataka in 1926. He had an outstanding scholastic career and secured a top rank throughout. He completed his Masters Degree (M Sc) in Chemistry from Mysore University with a gold medal.

He became a Pracharak of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (full time worker) in 1946. Since then he has been continuously traveling across the length and breadth of our great country participating and promoting a plethora of social welfare and social service activities, and serving several noble nationalist causes, providing a strong and sustained inspiration and guidance to more than two generations of youth in all parts of India.

His work in the RSS began as a Pracharak in Bangalore. Later he served as a Pracharak of the Mangalore zone from 1953 to 56. In 1960 he became the Prant (State) Pracharak for Karnataka. In 1980 he was appointed as the Kshetriya (South Zone) Pracharak to coordinate the Sangh activities in the four southern States of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu and Kerala. He then rose to the position of All India Joint general Secretary. Subsequently he became All India General Secretary of the RSS in 1987. He continued in that high office for 9 years and after that he was working as Akhil Bharath Pracharak Pramukh.

H V Seshadri was shaped and moulded by Guru Golwarkar of the RSS. A unique phenomenon in the history of Bharat in the twentieth century has been the birth and unceasing growth of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ever since its birth on the sacred day of Vijaya Dasami in 1925. The founder of the RSS, Dr Hedgewar was indeed an epoch-maker. The Sangh`s sphere of influence has been spreading and expanding in geometrical progression far and wide, not only inside Bharat but also abroad, like the radiance of a many-splendoured diamond. Sangh-inspired institutions and movements today constitute a strong presence in social, cultural, educational, labour, developmental, political and other fields of nationalist endeavour. It has increasingly been recognised that the Sangh is not a mere reaction to one or another social or political aberration. It represents a corpus of thought and action firmly rooted in genuine nationalism and in the age-old tradition of this country. No other movement or institution has attracted such vast numbers of adherents, several thousands of them making social work their life`s mission, whose character and integrity are not doubted even by their most virulent critics.

As a movement for national reconstruction totally nurtured by the people, Sangh has no parallel in Bharat or elsewhere. The growth of the Sangh – as a movement for assertion of Bharat`s national identity – acquires added significance when we remember that the birth of the Sangh was preceded by mental, cultural and economic onslaught by alien rulers for long decades. There could be only one explanation for the continuing march of the Sangh from strength to strength: the emotive response of the millions to the vision of Bharat`s national glory, based on the noblest values constituting the cultural and spiritual legacy of the land and collectively called `Dharma`, comprising faith in the oneness of the human race, the underlying unity of all religious traditions, the basic divinity of the human being, complementarity and inter-relatedness of all forms of creation both animate and inanimate, and the primacy of spiritual experience. That the mission of the Sangh is in tune with a millennia-old heritage itself carries an irresistible appeal. It would have been logical for our post-1947 rulers to restructure the national life in keeping with our culture. Sadly, that golden opportunity was lost by the faltering and floundering fathers of our rickety republic. Until Dharma also is recognised as a basis of survival and progress, national integration and such other often-repeated goals will remain a far cry indeed. Idealism and patriotism are tangible exterior manifestations of Dharma. Organised hypocrisy and purposeless slogan-mongering are the manifestations of pseudo secularism, which is trying to replace `Sanathana Dharma` of centuries. H V Seshadri was indeed a great Field Marshal of the Crusade for `Sanathana Dharma` – unflinching, unswerving, indomitable, inflexible, irrepressible and irreplaceable.

Absence of idealism has been at the root of most problems haunting our polity. Amidst such an environment, Sangh is unique in according primacy to inculcation of patriotism in all citizens and in all life`s activities. HV Seshadri was a shining symbol of selfless service, burning patriotism and soaring idealism. He was firmly of the view that knowledge does not comprise all that which is contained in the large term of `education`. The feelings are to be disciplined; the passions are to be restrained; true and worthy motives are to be inspired; a profound religious feeling is to be instilled and a pure morality inculcated under all circumstances. All this is comprised in `education`. As Swami Vivekananda said:

`Let us strive to bring light to the world, light to the poor, and more light to the rich, for they require it more than the poor. Bring light to the ignorant and more light to the educated, for the vanities of education of our time are tremendous.`

Seshadri was of the considered opinion that what we need today more than any time in our past history is moral leadership, founded on courage, intellectual integrity and complete sense of balance.

H V Seshadri made a major contribution in the sphere of communicating his nationalist thoughts and the gems of Sangh ideology to the masses. Being constantly in touch with various segments of society and equipped with a sensitive mind, he became a prolific writer and contributed innumerable articles for more than five decades to `Vikrama` weekly, `Utthana` monthly, `Organiser` English weekly, `Panchajanya ` Hindi weekly and periodicals in virtually all major languages. His writings were highly popular and thousands of readers eagerly awaited his articles. He developed an original and unique style of his own, combining great analytical skill with beautiful felicity of expression. He made a name as an orator too, and his lectures were always a treat for listeners.

He wrote numerous books including `Yugavatara` (on Shivaji), `Amma Bagilu Tege` (essays), `Chintanaganga`, Tragic Story of Partition`. `Bhugilu` (on Emergency Struggle). His ` Torberalu `, a collection of essays with social themes which won the Karnataka State Sahitya Akademi Award in 1982. His other works include `Bunch of thoughts` (speeches of Sri Guruji) and `RSS-a vision in Action`. In my view, his book on the partition is indeed a classic. It gives a death-blow to all the spurious historians who are embracing the philosophy of pseudo secularism.

As a brilliant thinker, writer and dedicated social worker, he was specially invited to the World Hindu Conference at New York in 1984. His address at this Conference was widely acclaimed. He was also invited to Hindu Sangama at Bradford (UK) in 1984.

Though occupying the highest office in the Sangh, Seshadri led a simple, austere life, being ever accessible to one and all, exemplifying the ideal of `simple living and high thinking `. He was a man of great humility and self-effacement. By his life and example, Seshadri established the timeless truth that humility is just as much the opposite of self-abasement as it is of self-exaltation. To be humble is not to make comparisons. Secure in its reality, the self is neither better nor worse, bigger nor smaller, than anything else in the universe. It is nothing, yet at the same time one with everything. It is in this sense that humility is absolute self-effacement.

Great men like Seshadri remind us of the following lines of immortal poetry:
`That man is great
And he alone
Who serves a greatness not his own

V Sundaram

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