K.S. Sudarshan: The Uninhibited Nationalist

K.S. Sudarshan: The Uninhibited Nationalist
Former RSS chief Kuppalli Sitaramayya Sudarshan was a Hindutva hardliner who never shied away from a controversy or two even if it meant crossing swords with the BJP.

The fifth Sarsanghchalak of the RSS, who headed the Sangh founthead from 2000 to 2009, was a strong votary of 'swadeshi'.

A gold medallist in Bachelor of Engineering in Telecommunications from Sagar University, Sudarshan, who attended his first RSS shakha (class) at the age of nine, chose to become an RSS pracharak.

Born on June 18, 1931, in Raipur, Sudarshan became a pracharak (one responsible for propaganda of the RSS ideology) in 1954. His first posting as a 'pracharak' was in Raigarh district. In 1964, he was made the pranth pracharak and in 1969, he was appointed convener at the national level.

Sudarshan rose through the RSS ranks and became the number two in the organisation under Rajju Bhaiyya, who later handed over the reins to him in 2000 due to ill-health. Sudarshan worked as the Sarsanghchalak till 2009.

As the RSS chief, he made certain statements which drew the ire of not only BJP but also Dalits across the country. Known for his unpredictable nature and strict discipline, Sudarshan spoke against the Constitution, the BJP-led NDA government and even tall leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L K Advani.

After the NDA was voted out of power, Sudarshan said in 2005 that the old guards of BJP like Vajpayee and Advani should retire and give way to the younger lot.

"Throw away the outdated Indian Constitution which speaks of British legacy," Sudarshan had said in his first official interaction with the media on March 10, 2000 after becoming the RSS chief.

Many within the Sangh felt Sudarshan did not change with time. He continued to staunchly believe in the ideology of 'Hindutva' and 'Swadeshi'.

A forceful speaker, Sudarshan was fluent in his native tongue Kannada and other languages such as Bengali and Assamese. Unlike his predecessor Rajendra Singh alias Rajju Bhaiyya, who taught physics in Allahabad University, Sudarshan was more of a hardliner.

Not one to mince words, Sudarshan was very critical of the economic policies of Prime Minister A B Vajpayee who continued with the liberalisation started in 1991. During NDA rule from 1998 to 2004, Sudarshan spoke against the government time and again, prompting then NSA Brajesh Mishra to say, "The vision of Sudarshan is that of a frog in the well."

After serving in Raigarh as a pracharak, Sudarshan had worked in the North-East (1977) and then took over as the chief of the Baudhik Cell (RSS intellectual cell) two years later.

During emergency, he was lodged in Indore jail along with JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav.

In 1990, he was appointed joint general secretary of the organisation. Sudarshan had held key posts of Sharirik (physical exercises) and Baudhik (intellectual) Pramukh during his tenure in the RSS.

Sudarshan was in the news last month when he had gone missing in Mysore during a morning walk.

Though he was the first RSS chief hailing from South, Sudarshan was born, brought up and educated in Madhya Pradesh. His parents hailed from Kuppahalli village of Karnataka.

Sudarshan also openly expressed his views against the church following the visit of the Pope in 1999. He favoured Indianisation of Christians and Muslims here.

Till his end, Sudarshan followed a rigorous physical discipline and never missed his yoga and meditation.
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