A cheerful personality

Keshavarao was a cheerful person.
He would often tell jokes. He had very interesting ways to narrating his experiences. Keshavarao was always informal and talked in an easy natural manner.
Once he went to a worker’s house to attend a wedding in his family. There was a jolly crowd of young RSS members. They were talking and laughing loudly. Roars of laughter were coming from a particular room.
An elder thought that the room was full of some high spirited unruly youngmen. He went there to silence the mob. But he was in for a shock.
The old man discovered that it was Dr. Keshavarao Hedgewar himself who was the main source of guffaws.
Keshavarao never developed an ego. For the sake of the advancement of RSS he used to meet all kinds of people with equal warmth and reveal the objectives of the organisation. The people used to ask him several questions. Some questioned him in aggressive manner but he always replied politely.
Very soon RSS had to open branches in various other cities, such was the public demand. In Nagpur alone there were 20 shakhas. The teenagers were especially drawn towards Keshavarao who inspired them to join his organisation.
Keshavarao and RSS workers used vehicles for travel to places for the spread of the organisation’s work. They often went to villages as well on foot and preached RSS ideology.
In the course of time Keshavarao spread his ideology through the length and the breadth of the country. It now required him to go to far flung states to meet the local followers to interact.
Keshavarao was given a rousing reception when he arrived in Punjab.
He said in reply to welcome—‘I have come from a place hundreds of miles away to meet you. Inspite of distances we are all brothers, the sons of Mother India. My organisation has been founded to preach the same brotherhood of all Hindus. In this endeavour I seek your cooperation.’
From Punjab he went to Bengal, the land where he received his medical education and dabbled in revolutionary activities. He had friends there.
The young man of Bengal was enthusiastically waiting for him. Keshavarao could converse in Bengali fluently. Bengal had a long tradition of producing revolutionaries and militants.
Some people asked, “What kind of patriotism you are preaching? No shooting, no bomb exploding, no abusing the British, no delivery of fiery speeches and no printing of revolutionary leaflets!”
Keshavarao replied, “Brothers, it is easy to gain freedom but maintaining it is a lot more difficult. Qualification is the main criterion in this world. One who is qualified will get high seat. Once we qualify as an independent society or responsible individuals no power will be able to deny us political freedom. We must shed evil qualities and imbibe good ones. That will qualify us a worthy people. That is the fundamental aim of RSS, to produce individuals of character.”
Once in Pune he was walking along with a RSS worker. Two youngsters were coming from the opposite direction. They smiled at Keshavarao and he too smiled back.
“Who are they?” the worker asked.
“RSS workers,” Keshavarao said matter of factly. The worker stared at him.
“How do you know?” he asked.
“I know. My heart beats at same tempo as theirs. Our hearts and minds meet. Linking of hearts in what RSS is born for. It is difficult but not impossible. A man is what his mind is. I know any day these two will be in one of our shakhas.’’
It was the December of 1934. RSS was holding a camp of its workers in the garden of Jamnalal Bajaj in Vardha.
Mahatma Gandhi too was staying in the nearby house. He knew about the activities of Keshavarao.
Just out of curiosity, one morning he walked into the garden to see the RSS camp.
Mahatma Gandhi was mightily impressed with the cleanliness, order and the discipline of the RSS camp. He keenly inspected the camp and praised its neatness.
“Who has arranged this camp?” he asked.
“It is our own voluntary arrangement,” a worker informed him.
“What do you gain?”
“We live together, eat and play together. We work for the country. It gives us great joy.”
Gandhiji asked another worker, “What is your caste?”
“I am a Hindu and a RSS worker.”
“Isn’t there caste discrimination here?”
“No, Here we don’t practise casteism. The only category we believe in is Hindu. We are all children of Mother India. Brothers we are. That is what sangh teaches us,” RSS worker replied.
Gandhiji met Keshavarao and expressed his pleasure. He commended the later’s effort to unify the society in his own way.

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