The Two Rama Gopalans I Know: First A Vaamana, Then A Trivikrama
Yuva Bharati|November 2020
This happened exactly 50 years back. A middle aged Pracharak was busy washing his clothes in the modest Chennai RSS Karyalaya.
S.S. Mahadevan

A new-comer college student (read this writer) was quizzing the former: “You say Sangh focuses on ideal and not on personalities; how come the portraits of Dr. Hedgewar (the RSS founder) and Shri Guruji Golwalkar (the then all India president of Sangh) are displayed at Sangh gatherings?” The answer threw the youth into a long silence: “See, Doctorji and Guruji are no individuals. They dedicated their all in the work for the ideal. So, they stand for the ideal and therefore the presence of their portraits inspires the Swayamsevaks to dedicate their lives likewise in the progress of Shakha / Sangh / Samaj / Rashtra / Vishwa in that order”. To this day, the writer (now a septuagenarian) finds cascading dimensions unfolding upon that reply by the Pracharak who was none else but Shri Rama. Gopalan (endearingly called Gopalji in those days), whom the country lost on September 30, 2020. Gopalji lost his battle with COVID 19 that day.

THE VAAMANA

Born on September 19, 1927 in Sirkazhi, Nagapattinam district, Rama Gopalan, founder - organiser of Hindu Munnani, first got introduced to Sangh through a colleague while studying at Chengalvaraya vocational training institute in Purusaiwalkam, Chennai. He started attending Shakha from 1944. A visit to the Sindh refugee camp for victims of partition in Avadi agitated him very much; it made a very deep impact on the youth. It created an unending urge in him to serve Hindu society and that, in turn, led him to become part of Sangh activities. In 1947 he decided to become a Pracharak, leaving his job in an electrical company in Gudiyatham town near Vellore.

During the years as Pracharak he brought hundreds of youngsters into the Sangh work by his informal but insightful motivation (as outlined at the outset); he organised them into lifelong and dedicated workers in every corner of the state. Most prominent leaders of Sangh organisations today including BJP, ABVP, VHP, Vidya Bharati, etc., were either introduced to Sangh or mentored by him.

So far, Gopalji is a name practically unknown outside the Sangh circle, neither to other social / political outfits nor to the media. That was the unobtrusive way of functioning by a typical RSS pracharak. Gopalji was one. He constantly travelled throughout the state spreading Sangh work. His travels were essentially his study hours. He read a lot – and wrote a lot.

The over 100 motivational articles that he wrote in the early 70’s were serialised in THYAGABHOOMI weekly (a previous version of today’s VIJAYABHARATHAM) under the head GNANA MALAR. The series was a treasure of anecdotes. He wrote them for Youth in the plus two class level. The voluminous BUNCH OF THOUGHTS by M.S. Golwalkar was rendered into Tamil (Gnana Gangai) by Gopalji.

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