It was an incident in 1934. A
Sangh camp of about 1,500 Swayamsevaks was held in Wardha. Just facing the camp was the
Ashram of Sevagram. Gandhi happened to be staying there for rest. He was observing the
various programs of the Swayamsevaks on the ground in the morning and evening every day.
It aroused his curiosity to have an insight into the working of the Sangh camp personally.
Jilla Sanghchalak Appaji Joshi came to Know about this. He welcomed Gandhi to the camp.
Mahatma arrived in the camp exactly at 6 a.m. the next day as planned. Swayamsevaks
were standing in file with perfect discipline.
Bhagwa flag was hoisted. Along with the Swayamsevaks, Gandhi too did Dhwaja-pranam
(salutation to the flag). Then, with a scanning eye, he went round the camp. He saw that
all the Swayam sevaks were staying together, dining together, without any differentiation
of any kind. Seeing that blend of body and mind of thousands of countrymen in all their
activities in a most natural way, Gandhi was greatly impressed.
But he nevertheless was not too sure. He inquired from a few Swayamsevaks, "What
is your caste?" All of them answered, "I am a Hindu"!There were people
belonging to many castes like Brahmin, Maratha, Mahar, Tailor caste, Barber caste etc.,
among them. But there were absolutely no caste barriers and no sense of high or low, not
even a faint shadow of it. Gandhi was very happy to know this. During the course of the
meeting with Doctorji, he said, "Doctorsahab, you have built a really marvelous
You are silently carrying out the work which I wished to do myself."
Many years later while addressing the Sangh workers in Delhi in 1947, Gandhi
recollected his experiences about the Wardha camp and said, "You are straightforward
people. You don't have even an iota of feeling of untouchability amidst you. An
organization like the R.S.S., drawing its inspiration from an attitude of sacrifice and
service, is bound to grow and achieve success."