In a blatant distortion of facts to claim an association with the national flag, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat presented a falsified version of a circular issued by RSS founder Dr KB Hedgewar on 21 January 1930. The circular, instead of supporting Bhagwat’s assertion on the RSS’s fealty to the tricolour, shows that the RSS went out of its way to distance itself from the tricolour and embrace its own bhagwa dhwaj, or saffron flag.
Delivering the first of his three-part lecture on the RSS’s perspective on the “Future of India” at Vigyan Bhavan on 17 September, Bhagwat said in his nationally televised speech, “When Congress passed the resolution for Purna Swaraj [complete independence], Doctor saheb [Hedgewar] issued a circular asking all [RSS] shakhas to march past with the tricolour.”
Bhagwat was referring to the Indian National Congress’s resolution of 19 December 1929, which asked Indian nationalists to fight for complete self-rule, independent of the British Empire. This was followed by Jawaharlal Nehru hoisting the tricolour on 31 December 1929 at Lahore. The Congress also urged Indians to celebrate 26 January 1930 as the “Independence Day.”
Responding to the development, Hedgewar issued a circular on 21 January 1930, asking all RSS shakhas to welcome the Purna Swaraj resolution of the Congress by holding meetings of their respective swayamsevaks on 26 January that year and showing respect to the bhagwa dhwaj as the national flag, instead of the tricolour.