Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat on Wednesday said Mahatma Gandhi had visited one of the group’s shakhas, or training centres, in the aftermath of India’s Partition and had interacted with volunteers. Bhagwat made the remarks in an article on the website of the Hindutva outfit, which is the ideological parent of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, on the occasion of Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary.

“Gandhiji also visited a shakha near to his place of residence in Delhi during the tragic days of Partition,” Bhagwat wrote. “Its report was published in the Harijan, dated September 27, 1947. Gandhiji expressed his joy over the discipline of the Sangh swayamsevaks [volunteers] and complete absence of the divisive feelings of caste and creed in them.”

The RSS chief said that Gandhi had also visited a Sangh camp near Wardha in Maharashtra in 1936 and had later also met RSS founder KB Hedgewar at his ashram in Sabarmati, Gujarat. Bhagwat said that their conversation was now in public domain.

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Gandhi, in his book Hind Swaraj, had visualised a picture of India’s progress and performance based on “the pure Swadeshi vision” that was not dependent on the “slave mindset,” the article read. “...people with a slavish mindset accepted the western set of values as a model, denouncing our forefathers, pride and culture as inferior and disgraceful and engaged themselves in imitating and flattering the West,” Bhagwat wrote. “Its massive influence is visible in the country’s direction and condition even today.”

Bhagwat said that Gandhi believed in the “Swa-based [self-based or self-dependent] reorganisation” of India, adding that he had firmly believed in social equality, harmony and channelled his vision into action. “We must perceive, understand and manifest it in our life,” he said. “On account of this, even those who had minor differences of opinion with him also viewed with reverence.”

On Tuesday, Bhagwat had said the RSS neither had ideologues nor did it believe in any rigid ideology or doctrine. However, he added that the organisation could change everything in its ideology apart from its belief that India is a “Hindu rashtra”.

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