August 7, 2017 3:53:46 am
The RSS will on Monday begin counting the annual offerings made by swayamsevaks across the country. The offerings, sources say, has grown over the years — from Rs 84 collected in 1928 to several crores. How much the RSS collects in its “guru dakshina” is never released formally. The offering collected for a month from Guru Purnima to Raksha Bandhan, is one of the RSS’s two big events, the other one being Vijaya Dashami. The growth in funds is also an indication of the distance RSS has travelled and its influence on Indian society and politics.
Lakhs of swayamsevaks across the country gather at their nearby shakhas and offer their contribution in a sealed envelope before the saffron RSS flag that they consider their Guru.
In the last month, senior BJP ministers, scientists and actors have all given their dakshina. Last year, as many as 95,000 swayamsevaks gave Guru Dakshina in Delhi alone.
Among these were BJP veteran L K Advani, several Union Ministers and other top leaders. The programme in Delhi this year was from July 9 to 23. A pracharak recalled that while he was Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee regularly offered his dakshina at the Sangh’s Jhandewalan office in Delhi. The funds are managed by the Vyavastha Vibhag, a department within the RSS that allocates money to other units.
“Right in the beginning, the Sangh decided it should be financially self-reliant. We will not seek donations from outside, but we swayamsevaks will offer it to the dhwaj (flag),” veteran RSS ideologue M G Vaidya told The Indian Express. In his 95th year, Vaidya is among the oldest swayamsevaks in the country. “The RSS can be understood through the prism of this ceremony. It’s not daan (donation), but dakshina (offering),” said a senior pracharak. “In daan, the giver becomes superior. While giving dakshina, the giver accepts his humility before the entity he is making his offerings to.”
The offering is always in person, accompanied by a puja. “Once a former BJP minister, who could not attend the ceremony, sent his dakshina in a sealed envelope to Gujarat. But the RSS politely refused to accept it,” said a veteran pracharak.
In 1937, an industrialist visited Nagpur and announced a donation of Rs 6,000. It was a huge amount then, given that RSS founder and then Sarsanghchalak K B Hedgewar had purchased the land in Nagpur, where the headquarters now stands at just Rs 2,000. “Dr Sahab turned it down. There is no tradition of donation in the Sangh,” recalled Vaidya.
The funds are collected at the shakha level and deposited in its bank account. The complete report goes to the Nagpur headquarters, which sometimes allots funds to those units that receive less dakshina. The contribution of a swayamsevak is never disclosed to others, only those who handle the Vyavastha Vibhag are aware of it. “It’s not a gupta (secret) offering, but a maun (silent) offering,” said a pracharak.
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