RASHTRIYA SWAYAMSEVAK SANGH
AKHIL BHARATIYA KARYAKARI MANDAL, Yugabd 5112
JALGAON 29 – 31 OCTOBER, 2010
The Akhil Bharatiya Karyakari Mandal sincerely believes that remembering the great poet Ravindranath Thakur’s life and thoughts is most pertinent today for reviving the conscience of the society.
Born on May 7, 1861(Bangla year 1268, Vaishakh 25) Ravindranath was the son of Devendranath Thakur of the illustrious Thakur family. His towering and versatile genius and life dedicated to the society made him the torch-bearer of the social, Dharmic and spiritual renaissance of last century in Bharat. His life was embodiment of his ideology and literature based on the unshakable foundation of eternal Bharatiya values.
He pleaded that we should see our ideals like Ram and Laxman with purity of heart and veneration. He also opined that it is impudent and shameful not to bow before the great thought manifested by the flow of history of this ancient nation. He reverentially extolled Shivaji’s endeavour to build the nation on the basis of Dharma and his dedication and renunciation. He has also glorified the martyrdom of Sikh Gurus and Banda Bairagi.
His essays are full of nationalistic thoughts. Like, ‘Dharma’ and religion are not equivalent concepts and religion cannot be the translation of ‘Dharma’; our concept of ‘Rashrtra’ is different from the European concept of nation; Terminology based on European thoughts and paradigms is irrelevant in our context; Identity of Muslims and Christians in Bharat is ‘Hindu’; we are solely responsible for our downfall because although we have a rich diversity of language, religion and regions we are divided on the parochial notions of the same; we are divided due to casteism, untouchability; etc. On several occasions he emphasized the need to rewrite the history of Bharat.
Patriotism was the soul of his poetry and music which later acquired the sobriquet ‘Ravindra Sangeet’. He has effectively used all facets of literature – poetry, music, essays, short stories, novels and dramas – for social enlightenment. These very thoughts and music inspired the nationalist people fighting for freedom. It is a testimony to his futuristic vision that these very issues remain the themes of contemporary intellectual discourse.
The year 1901 saw the founding of ‘Shantiniketan’, a traditional Gurukula in its modern form. Many stalwarts of the nation were educated here. He addressed Margarate Noble, the disciple of Swami Vivekanand as ‘Agnikanya Nivedita’, the name which was later accepted and conferred on her by Swami Vivekanand. He also supported Nivedita’s efforts for education of women.
The movement against partition of Bengal forced by Lord Curzon had aroused a wave of patriotic fervor across the country. The Rakshabandhan festival on October 16, 1905 celebrated under the leadership of Ravindranath in Kolkata proved to be the starting point of this movement. This movement also triggered the Swadeshi movement. Ravindranath’s writings give a forceful exposition
of the idea behind Swadeshi. He himself sang Vandemataram in the Congress session. He was the first Bharatiya to win the illustrious Nobel Prize in 1913 for his collection of poems ‘Geetanjali’ published in 1912. Geetanjali effectively reflects the ethos of the Vedas and the Upnishadas. He is the author of the ‘Jan Gan Mana’, the poem adopted as national anthem in our constitution after independence. He returned the title ‘Nighthood’ bestowed on him by the British government, in protest against the Jalianwala Bagh carnage. He vociferously opposed the reservation of separate assembly constituencies on the basis of religion. He took initiative in collecting funds from many peoples including Maharaja of Tripura in order to help Jagdishchandra Basu for his foreign travel.
Many national leaders of those days including Mahatma Gandhi held him as their source of inspiration owing to the unity of preaching and practice exemplified in his life and Mahatma Gandhi honoured him by the title ‘Gurudev’.
The ABKM appeals to the countrymen to commemorate the occasion of his sesquicentennial birth anniversary to make his nationalist thoughts exert influence in contemporary Bharat.