Swami Aseemanand
National
Typography
Swami Aseemanand, the self-styled godman who on Monday was acquitted of charges in the Mecca Masjid blast, is a name that leaders of the Sangh Parivar do not openly talk about,
Swami Aseemanand, the self-styled godman who on Monday was acquitted of charges in the Mecca Masjid blast, is a name that leaders of the Sangh Parivar do not openly talk about,
particularly about the days when he closely with the organisations affiliated to the RSS. 
 
But some of them recall he was a non-compromising proponent of Hindu Rashtra who did the most difficult task of “stalling Christian evangelism in tribal areas of Gujarat in the late nineties.” 
 
Assemanand, as part of Hindu organisations, has worked in Bengal, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya and Mizoram, but his major work has been in the Dangs area of Gujarat, Andaman islands and in Jharkhand. 
 
Born in Bengal to a family that believed in Hindu values and was close to the Ramakrishna Mission, active in that area, a senior RSS leader said, Aseemanand changed his name when he was initiated into sanyas by a guru, after which he got involved in work for tribals. “He was very clear that he would work for tribals right from the beginning. 
 
He started in West Bengal after which some leaders of RSS noticed his work and sent him to Andamans in seventies, where the Sangh was trying to establish itself,” a senior leader of the RSS who has worked with him in Gujarat said.
 
The senior leader said Aseemanand was disillusioned by Ramakrishna Mission but “has great regard for Swami Vivekananda and his call to Hindus. “His words to others were simple - get more Hindus to the fold but make sure not even one Hindu leaves it, because the threat to the religion is more when believers turn foes,” the leader said. 
 
Aseemanand came to Gujarat in the late nineties to launch a ‘re-conversion’ movement in the tribal Dang district, where his aim was to mainly to keep a check on Christian conversions, activities of Christian pastors and reconvert as many Christians to Hinduism as possible. 
 
“The RSS gives an aahuti (offerings) of its swayamsevaks every year to improve the lives of tribals,” a senior member of the VHP said. “Swamiji lived in Dangs for more than two years, trying to get people out of the Christian fold. Some of the families had converted into Christianity just in the seventies.
 
So he felt it was easy to get them or their children back into the Hindu fold,” he added. “His way of working was very different from others - he would live with them, have informers among them, speak their language,” said another leader said. 
 
He would get people from other States who would sing lively bhajans and tell stories to the tribals. He would arrange for attractive celebrations during Hindu festivals. 
 
He would also encourage tribal women to weave handicrafts with characters f r o m Ramayana. He also believed that it was important to discern between Dharam and Daan, to mean that those who cease being Hindus will also cease getting food, milk and medicines from patrons,” another leader said. 
 
Aseemanand’s activities i n Dangs, primarily a christian-tribal area are learnt to have caused anti-Christian riots which led to both the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Congress leader Sonia Gandhi paying a visit to the area.