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February 20, 2005
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February 20, 05

Page: 28/51

Home > 2005 Issues > February 20, 05

Tughlaq praises the RSS tsunami relief work

RSS Swayamsevaks were the first to plunge into relief work right from the early morning of December 26, the day the tsunami struck. Yet, they were systematically ignored by the media. There were occasions when the cameras of TV channels were turned off and away when the identity of the relief workers was found to be RSS! But Swayamsevaks were not after publicity and went on with their work.

Shri Cho Ramaswamy, editor, Tughlaq was so incensed at such an approach that he devoted a page in two consecutive numbers of his magazine to highlight the services being rendered by the RSS. In the issue, dated January 12, 2005 he deplored the manner in which politics enter even human tragedies. Titled �Politics Even in This�, Cho concludes his piece thus � all these wrong approaches, some NGOs, along with other independent voluntary organisations including the RSS (yes, because the print and visual media are bent upon hiding their efforts, we are particularly mentioning RSS) are doing laudable work.�

The magazine says, �Organisations such as the RSS, Ramakrishna Mission, the organisations of Swami Dayananda Saraswati and that of the bhaktas of Sri Sri Ravishankar have all pitched in to help. The affected fishing community says that the work of RSS is laudable.

�While the tsunami struck the entire coastline of Tamil Nadu, nine districts were particularly affected badly. The concerned authorities admit privately that it was the RSS-sponsored Sewa Bharati, which did yeoman service everywhere. Politics forbids them to acknowledge this in public! Before the Central and state governments and other political parties realised the seriousness of the situation, the Sewa Bharati had entered the field.

�The affected fishermen communities, though brave, were disoriented at the enormity of the scourge. Many officials were clueless about how to meet the situation. Even the people who were concerned with sympathy to the affected were frozen by the suddenness of the attack. Because Sewa Bharati started this operation, hundreds of lives were saved.

�Sewa Bharati had started rehabilitating people fleeing from the waves, losing their houses, boats, nets, etc., by feeding them, settling them in dry places, etc. during the first day itself. Medical relief was also made available in all the 208 places spread over nine districts.

�On the morning of the 26, it was feared that hundreds might have lost their lives. But as the day went by, news about the stupendous loss of life started coming in. The task of even taking the dead bodies to the medical centres appeared too daunting. It was the Sewa Bharati workers who dared to venture into seashores and retrieve the bodies. From the beginning of the calamity on the morning of the 26th up to writing this on 2nd January, the number of dead retrieved by Sewa Bharati is 2,469! There have been occasions when some have been rescued alive while searching for bodies.

�In addition to the RSS volunteers of the affected districts, RSS workers from various other districts have also got themselves involved. Like-minded persons such as students from the Madras Vivekananda College, Sona College of Salem, Government College of Coimbatore and their friends have also entered into the relief operations.

�Like the above, people from Lucknow, Agra, Bangalore, Orissa, Pune and such places have thrown themselves into relief work organised by the RSS. The problems encountered by them, the obstructions, blockades, neglect as well as the help offered during the operations are legion. The behaviour of some political parties and government officials as experienced by these volunteers remains embedded in their memory��


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