fifty years ago June 12, 1970 Archives

‘No Undertaking By R.S.S.’

As a corollary to the cold war now raging between the Ruling Congress and the Jan Sangh, a new controversy has erupted between the Government and the R.S.S. whether Mr. Golwalkar had given any undertaking in July, 1949, before the ban was lifted on the organisation. The Government, on its part, continues to maintain that the ban had been lifted on the specific undertaking by Mr. that the R.S.S. would function as an open organisation, pledging complete loyalty to the Constitution and National Flag, and abjuring violence and secrecy. But Mr. Golwalkar to-day [June 11] not only challenged the Government’s contention, but also came forward with the disclosure that Sardar Patel was keen that the R.S.S. should “enter the political arena and pull its weight behind the Congress.” In a letter dated September 11, 1948, the Sardar wrote to him: “I am thoroughly convinced that the R.S.S. men can carry on their patriotic endeavour, by joining the Congress, and not by keeping separate or by opposing it.” But the Government is sticking to its version of events based on the official records of the correspondence that passed between Sardar Patel and Mr. Golwalkar, both directly and through intermediaries, and between the then Home Secretary, Mr. H. V. R. Iengar, and the R.S.S. leader before the ban was lifted. The Government is also taking the stand that the official notes, left by the Sardar, were more authentic in the sense that they gave a contemporaneous account of events than Mr. Golwalkar’s recollection of what had really transpired between them 22 years ago. Mr. Golwalkar is not prepared to accept this lofty contention that a contemporaneous account is more reliable because dead people do not speak lies to suit the convenience of future events. He recalled at a press conference to-day that at in his first public appearance at a reception given in his honour in Nagpur on July 31, 1949, only 19 days after the ban was lifted, he completely repudiated the allegation that he had given any undertaking to the Government. A month later, the Home Minister of the Bombay Government confirmed, in reply to a question in the Assembly, that the ban had been lifted unconditionally, as it was no longer considered necessary to continue it. But, Mr. Golwalkar could not explain why the press communiqué, issued by the Government of India while lifting the ban, on the RS.S., referred to certain assurances by him about its future conduct. All that he could say on this point was that it was not a joint communiqué, but only a Government statement giving its version of events which he repudiated at the first opportunity after his release.

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