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February 9, 2000
K S Sudarshan: Born into RSS
Amberish K Diwanji in Nagpur
K S Sudarshan, who took over the reins of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh from Rajju Bhaiyya in Nagpur on Friday, was just nine when he first attended an RSS shakha.
A Kannadiga Brahmin, Sudarshan was born in Raipur (now in Madhya Pradesh) on June 18, 1931 when the state was yet to be reorganised. Raipur was then a part of the Central Province with Nagpur as its capital.
Sudarshan is an engineer by profession. He did his Bachelor of Engineering in telecommunications (honours) from Sagar University.
He was appointed as a pracharak in 1954. Only full-time members of RSS can become pracharaks.
His first posting as a pracharak was in Raigarh district. In 1964 he was made the prant pracharak of Madhya Bharat at a fairly young age.
This appointment perhaps was the first hint of the bigger things to come.
Today, in his acceptance speech Sudarshan recalled how he was hand-picked to head the Madhya Bharat region. He said though initially he was hesitant to take up the responsibility, the then RSS sarsanghachalak Guru Golwalkar helped him make up his mind.
"I was able to discharge my duties because people senior to me fully co-operated," he said.
In 1969 he was appointed convenor of the All-India Organisations' Heads.
This was followed by a stint in the North-East (1977) and he took over as the chief of the Boudhik Cell (the RSS think-tank) two years later..
Since 1990, Sudarshan has been a joint general secretary of the organisation.
Sudarshan speaks 13 languages and a few dialects. Besides his native Kannada, he is fluent in Marathi, Hindi, English, Chhatisgarhi and some languages spoken in the North-East.
As the RSS chief Sudarshan has two priorities. "The first is to travel all over the country to find out the ills plaguing the society. The second is to meet RSS workers and hear from them what is happening and tell them what can be done," he said.
He is seen as one of the hard-liners within the RSS. He had criticised the National Democratic Alliance government in general and the Bharatiya Janata Party in particular for its economic policies.
"He is a strong votary of swadeshi," said a senior RSS worker.
However, it remains to be seen how he will deal with the government. As of now, the RSS leadership is extremely upset with the Central Government on two counts - the withdrawal of the Gujarat government's order allowing state government employees to join the RSS and the Union Budget for its lack of swadeshi thrust.
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