Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar – Founder of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh


Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar -Founder of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh :

Childhood :

Hedgewar was born on Pratipada, Chaitra, Shukla Paksha, Vikram Samvat 1946 (1 April 1889) in a Marathi Deshastha family in Nagpur. His parents were Baliram Pant Hedgewar and Revati, a couple of modest means. There were originally from a village called Kandurti in Andhra Pradesh, and Hedgewar’s forefathers had moved to Nagpur a few generations back. The couple had six children – three daughters and three sons, Mahadev, Sitaram and the youngest, Keshav. When Keshav was thirteen, both his parents succumbed to the epidemic of the plague.


His elder brothers Mahadev Pant, and Sitaram Pant ensured that he received a good education. He studied in Neel City High School in Nagpur. Then, he did his high school studies at the Rashtriya Vidyalaya in Yavatmal and later in Pune. After matriculating, he was sent to Kolkata by B. S. Moonje (a member of the Congress who later became the national President of the Hindu Mahasabha) in 1910 to pursue his medical studies. After passing the L.M.S. Examination from the National Medical College in June 1914, he completed a yearlong apprenticeship and returned to Nagpur in 1915 as a physician.

Ideals :

He was deeply influenced by the writings of Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. He considered that the cultural and religious heritage of Hindus should be the basis of Indian nationhood.

Early life :

Hedgewar joint Congress in 1910 when he was pursuing their degree in medicine. He was a hard-working person and believed that no matter how many lectures you have heard or given, the only thing which matters is what you have contributed to Completing the task. He never uses to waste his time in again and again revising the problems, his nature was to think constructive in direction of resolving the problems. This was a quality which gave him success in every phase of his life and very soon he became a pronounced leader of Congress. They use to handle many big movements led by Congress. Soon he became a senior leader of Congress. Simultaneously, he too realized that Congress was losing its holy nature due to the participation of some ambitious personality, who was self-centered and were eager to take control of freedom movement and Congress.

Hedgewar was very disappointed with such leaders who were busy in internal politics and shining their personal image.  Moreover, he was a supporter of demanding purn swaraj rather than Partial dominance as suggested by some leaders. Therefore, he strongly believed that independence is only of use if each and every citizen of the country understands it’s value, respect the freedom and work as if the entire nation is their home. He believed that being Hindu it’s a duty to serve the motherland. Because Hindu is the oldest native of this land. This land had served as a mother since it came in existence, so now it’s the time when the son had to fight and serve for his mother. He believed dharma can only protect you if you will protect the dharma. So, he decided to organize Hindu’s. His thinkings were steps more ahead of independence. He thought that we will get Independence, but if our society is not able to handle this valuable independence, then what is the meaning of getting independent. Therefore he decided to work on the character building of Hindu society . His mantra was “ wyakti se wyakti , wyakti se samaj or samajh se Rashta ki unnati karna , tetha Rashtra ko Param Vaibhav per pahuchana “ .

Before starting an organization he first brought a huge change in his own personality. Since he was a very low tempered person, he felt that this is a major drawback in his personality and will surely obstruct him in the formation of the organization as the basis of formation of the organization is communication; communicating with people of different mindsets ,different ideas, and coordinating with all of them was obviously a big task. So maintaining the frustration level was a very important aspect and that made him start working on himself and rather than hiding his drawback.

Establishing Rashtriya Sawayam Sevek Sangh :

Hedgewar founded RSS on 27 Sep 1925 on the day of Vijayadashami with an aim to organize the Hindu community for its cultural and spiritual regeneration and make it a tool in getting the country free from foreign domination. Hedgewar insisted on the term ‘Rashtriya’ (national) for his exclusively ‘Hindu’ organization, for he wanted to re-assert the identity of Hindu with ‘Rashtriya’. This can be confirmed by the ‘Prarthana'(prayer) sung at the end of every shakha meeting, along with the slogan of Bharat Mata Ki Jai. With intention of character building, Hedgewar started first RSS Shakha at Mohitewada, Nagpur on 28th May 1926. He started his Shakha by playing games with a group of 5 – 10 children of there village. Hedgewar created a female wing of the organization in 1936. he called his volunteers as swayamsevaks. the word swayamsevaks means a person who can manage his own lifestyle without depending on others and can serve to mother nation by there self-motivation and does not need a director to direct what is to be done? or what is to be not ?. basics of becaming a swayamsevek is to dissolve discipline our self. Hedgewar believed that a person with discipline does not need a manager to manage him, he can also work with its full efficiency and can manage all the aspects of life, without facing any problem.
His initial followers included Bhaiyaji Dani, Babasaheb Apte, Balasaheb devros and Madhukar Rao Bhagwat, among others. The Sangh was growing in Nagpur and the surrounding districts. and it soon began to spread to other provinces. Hedgewar went to a number of places and inspired the youths for taking up the Sangh work. Gradually all his associates had begun to endearingly call him ‘Doctorji.’Upon his urging, Swayamsevaks went to far-off cities like Kashi, Lucknow etc., for their further education and started ‘Shakhas’ there.

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Last Stage of Life :

His health deteriorated in later years of his life. Often he suffered from chronic back pain. He started delegating his responsibilities to M. S. Golwalkar, who later succeeded him as Sarasanghachalak of RSS. In January 1940, he was taken to Raigir in Bihar for the hot-spring treatment.
He attended the annual Sangh Shiksha Varg in 1940, where he gave his last message to Swayamsevaks, saying: ‘I see before my eyes today a miniature Hindu Rashtra. He died on the morning of 21 June 1940 in Nagpur. His last rites were performed in the locality of Resham Bagh in Nagpur, which was later developed as Hegedewar Smruti Mandir .

Its correctly said that the tapsya and sadhna of a holy person never wastes . Due to the clear policies and hard work today his organisation is worlds largest organisation .His mission and ideas are carry forward by crores and crores of his swayamseveks.

Hedgewar was described as “a great son of Mother India” by former president of India shree Pranab Mukharji during his visit to Hedgewar’s birthplace in Nagpur.

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