Special Correspondent

MUMBAI: Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha L.K. Advani on Saturday said the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has been one of the most misunderstood patriotic movements of pre-Independent India and India of the 20th century. The RSS is not really an organisation but a movement that has transformed society and made lakhs of young men into nationalists, he said.

He was speaking after launching a collection of articles titled Rashtra Aradhak on the life of Jhamatmal Wadhwani, former president of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh and founder of the Bharatiya Sindhu Sabha. Wadhwani passed away last year after a heart attack.

Mr Advani said he knew Wadhwani since 1942 as they had joined the RSS around the same time and he was a constant source of inspiration. There was no thought then to join politics, the main idea being to drive the British away, he said.

He said the book is not only about Wadhwani but also about the RSS. Swami Vivekanand had said India needed “man-making” machinery and the RSS was in reality a “man making” machine, Mr Advani remarked.

He lauded Wadhwani for being an ideal and selfless RSS worker who did a lot to remove the misunderstanding about the RSS being a fundamentalist organisation, among other things. In Sindh, Wadhwani worked with such sincerity and got all the Hindus together there, it was interesting to note, the Congress was not opposed to the RSS, Mr. Advani recalled.

Mr. Advani said if a referendum was conducted in Tharparkar district in Sindh, adjacent to Rajasthan, as it was done in Sylhet, most of the people there would have voted to stay with India and the Sindhi community would not have been scattered as it is now.