NEW DELHI:What do business tycoon Azim Premji, spiritual leaders Amma Amritanandamayi Devi, Jagadguru Shankracharya, industrialist G M Rao and film-maker Subhash Ghai, have in common?
All of them, and other heavy hitters of the industrial and the intellectual world, would converge in Delhi in April to be a part of a mega function which will showcase the strength and networking of 800 organisations affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) working among India’s socially deprived sections.
Under the RSS’s umbrella community service organisation Sewa Bharti, close to 4,000 delegates would participate in the three-day event to be held from 4 to 6 April. It is for the first time the RSS is making such a strength statement in the capital. Chief Mohan Bhagwat will inaugurate the ‘Rashtriya Sewa Sangam,’ the second edition of the national shivir, held every five years, while senior leaders like Suresh Bhayyaji Joshi will provide ideological direction.
Sewa Bharati officials said they have also extended an invitation to Prime Minster Narendra Modi to attend the event.
Though the organisers are quick to deny it, since the formation of the BJP-led government at the Centre, the focus and scale of events planned in Delhi have increased. Last year, Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) held the first World Hindu Congress that saw the participation of half-a-dozen Union ministers and experts from various fields. In March, the VHP will bring swamis together for the Virat Hindu Sammelan in March, to be held at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
The participants and officials of the Rashtriya Sewa Sangam will be staying in two resorts on the outskirts of Delhi in Alipur—Blue Sapphire and City Park. Sewa Bharati will officially announce the event during a media interaction at Delhi India Habitat Centre in March.
Suhasrao Hiremath, the Akhil Bharatiya Saha Seva Pramukh of the RSS which guides the organisation, told The Sunday Standard, “The purpose behind the congregation is to highlight the work done by Sangh organisations in various sectors like health, women empowerment, education, and environment. The karyekartas will discuss the activities undertaken by them and decide the roadmap ahead in their group discussions.”
The Sangh has invited Premji for the inaugural session, in the company of Bhagwat. The three-day shivir will be inaugurated by Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi Devi).
Sewa Bharati sources said they have also invited business leaders like GM Rao of the GMR group, Venogopal Dhoot of Videocon, film-maker Subhash Ghai among others. Invitations have been extended to many well-known personalities from different fields. Premji was approached as he is known for his philanthropist work, a Sewa Bharati officer bearer said. “He donates `450 crore for welfare activities,” the officer bearer said.
Premji, a Gujarati Muslim businessman, is billed India’s fourth richest person, and will be attending a Sangh function for the first time.
Another key aspect of this three-day event would be an exhibition featuring the work done by Sewa Bharati recognised organisations. The exhibition will be inaugurated by Jagadguru Shankracharya Rajrajeshwar of Haridwar.
According to the organisers, Sangh NGOs are different from others working in the field as they “do not hanker after government grants.” The organisations which adhere to the saffron ideology have to register themselves with Sewa Bharati. The volunteers often involve themselves in rescue operations during national calamities like floods, earthquakes, train accidents and other disasters. Sewa Bharati members were seen in action during the floods in Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir. The organisation claims its presence in over 600 districts across the country.
“Our purpose is to get together all the deprived sections of the society, so that it increases their confidence and they become self reliant,” says Hiremath.