Nehru wanted RSS banned but Patel wanted proof of Mahatma Gandhi assassination

Nehru wanted RSS banned but Patel wanted proof of Mahatma Gandhi assassination

In August 2009, the then Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Advani had said at a BJP chintan baithak in Shimla that Sardar Patel had acted against the RSS and arrested its leaders after Gandhi’s assassination “under pressure from Jawaharlal Nehru.”

Nehru wanted complete ban on Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi but Patel argued that they couldn’t do so because of lack of concrete evidence against the cultural organisation, and, being a democratic country, issues had to be dealt with as per the rule of law. The complete story:

This shameful act happened in 1948, when banned RSS was banned by the Jawaharlal Nehru Government ,  the suspicion that the right wing organisation was involved in the murder of Mahatma Gandhi. The decision to ban the RSS was taken on February 4, 1948, when Nehru was the prime minister and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was the home minister and part of the collective decision making body that governed the country. Government employees were trailed, arrested and jailed; students watched, arrested and accused for being RSS sympathisers and even those acquitted of any involvement were summarily dismissed from their jobs.


A secret file (No. F-74(1)-P/48) reveals government employees were under surveillance from Intelligence Bureau  (IB) spies and suspended from their jobs on the suspicion that they were RSS sympathisers. Another government file (No. 68-P/48-A) notes the IB was tasked to shadow all those suspected to have RSS links, including students as young as 15, who were watched by CID personnel of their states. This was exactly what happened during the Emergency, when according to L K Advani’s A Prisoner’s Scrap Book around 105,000 RSS members were arrested as well as 8,000 satyagrahis who demonstrated against the draconian laws of the time. The secret file includes a letter trail from states informing that spy agency officials, including G K Handoo, who as Inspector General of Police, UP, and R N Kao, who later become the first chief of R&AW, about action taken against the suspects. Though the probe into Gandhi’s murder gave a clean chit to RSS, thousands of its members were hounded and imprisoned because of the ban.

A message was sent to Nehru, but he refused to meet Golwalkar, a senior RSS official who wished to meet Nehru citing his busy schedule after return from a trip and also arguing that “nothing will come out of the meeting”.



HVR Iyengar, who was the Home Secretary in 1948, wrote to all states on December 12 that year, to suspend and arrest government employees even if they are found to be watching a procession of RSS on the street.

Excerpts From Official Files

Surveillance on Children

“It has been reported that a few students of the local school (five of Class X and eight-10 of lower classes) have sympathies with the organisation and are found absent from school,” a letter from Deputy Chief Commissioner Office, Bilaspur, Dec 21, 1948 on the outcome of surveillance

Action Against Officials

“Watching RSS demonstration amounts to expression of sympathy with RSS and would render them (government officials) liable to departmental action.” HVR Ienger, Home Secretary, Dec 12, 1948

Gag Order on Media

“Immediate steps be taken by persuasion to see that news relating to RSS activities, arrests etc is not published under bold or prominent headlines and is consigned to unimportant portion of newspapers,” HVR Ienger, Home Secretary, Dec 12, 1948


“81 government servants and 247 students arrested. Orders for suspension have been issued,” V Vishwanathan, Chief Secretary Madhya Bharat to Central Government, Dec 24, 1948

“Two government servants (1) Prabhakar Ganesh Pujari alias Rajopadhye, clerk in the city post office, and (2) Ganesh Shankar Kulkarni, clerk in the office of the secretary, were arrested and detained,” Administrator Kolhapur state letter, Dec 24, 1948

Intelligence Bureau’s Most Wanted

“Attached is a list of RSS workers who are reported to-date to have gone underground. It is requested that a watch may kindly be kept for them,” Intelligence Bureau Deputy Director G K Handoo to states, March 30, 1948

“In continuation of this Bureau’s circular memorandum No. 56/D.G/48 (2), dated 8.5.48, enclosed is a further list of RSS workers, who are reported to have gone underground,” D K Krishna, Intelligence Bureau’s Assistant Director, June 2, 1948

Credits: The Sunday Standard


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