This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages) This article contains wording that promotes the subject in a subjective manner without imparting real information. Please remove or replace such wording and instead of making proclamations about a subject's importance, use facts and attribution to demonstrate that importance. (February 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) This article may rely excessively on sources too closely associated with the subject, potentially preventing the article from being verifiable and neutral. Please help improve it by replacing them with more appropriate citations to reliable, independent, third-party sources. (February 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Eknath Ramkrishna Ranade
Born19 November 1914
Died22 August 1982(1982-08-22) (aged 67)
Alma materDr. Hari Singh Gour University
Known forIndian Social and Spiritual Reformer

Eknath Ramkrishna Ranade (19 November 1914 – 22 August 1982), popularly referred to as Eknathji, was a social activist and leader, motivated by the twin spirits of nationalism and spiritualism, and known for his great organisational abilities.[1]

Having joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) while still in school, he became an important organiser and leader for the organisation, rising through its ranks to serve as its general secretary from 1956 to 1962. Ranade was greatly influenced by the teachings of Swami Vivekananda, and compiled a book of Vivekananda's writings. During the 1963–72 period, Ranade played an instrumental role in the construction of the Vivekananda Rock Memorial and the Vivekananda Kendra at Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu.[2][1]

Early life and education

Ranade was born on 19 November 1914 in Timtala, Amravati district in the western Indian state of Maharashtra. In 1920 his family moved to Nagpur and Ranade had his primary education in Pradanavispura School. In 1932 he passed his matriculation examination from the New English High School in Nagpur. After getting a Master of Arts degree in philosophy with honours, he went on to earn an L.L.B from Sagar University in Jabalpur in 1945.[3][1]

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh

Ranade served as an important activist, ideologue and leader for Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a volunteer organisation espousing a philosophy of Hindu Nationalism. He was influenced during his schooling years by K.B. Hedgewar, who founded the RSS in 1925, which Ranade joined as a Swayamsevak (volunteer) in 1926.[3][1] After working for the RSS in Nagpur, in 1938 Ranade moved to Mahakoshal, Madhya Pradesh as a Pranth Pracharak (Provincial organiser).[4]

Following the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948, the RSS was banned, and many of its senior functionaries faced arrest. Ranade went underground during this time to lead organizational efforts, earning the moniker of the Underground Sarsanghchalak.[5] At the same time a Satyagraha was launched by the RSS under the direction of its leader M. S. Golwalkar to lift the ban. With Golwalkar arrested on 15 November, Ranade led the satyagraha and participated in secret negotiations with Home Minister Sardar Patel. As a condition for rescinding the RSS ban, Patel insisted that the RSS should be organised with a written constitution. A constitution was drawn up by Ranade in association with P. B. Dani and Balasaeb Deoras but it fell short of expectations of the Government and as a result it was redrafted to include clauses such as allegiance to the Indian Constitution and National Flag, shunning violence, enrolling under aged to the movement only with the permission of their parents, setting procedures for election of sarsanghchalak and so forth. With these modifications which were accepted in June 1949 by the government the ban imposed on RSS was revoked on 11 July 1949.[6][7]

In 1950 he worked as a Kshetra Pracharak for Poorvanchal Kshetra comprising Bengal, Orissa, and Assam. In Calcutta, he established a Vastuhara Sahayata Samiti (lit. Committee to help the dispossessed) to aid refugees from Pakistan following the Partition of India. In 1953 Ranade became the Akhil Bharatiya Prachar Pramukh (lit. All-India Propagation Chief)[3] From 1956 to 1962, Ranade served as RSS's general secretary. During this period he tried to refocus RSS towards the task of character-building, instead of a pursuing a more activist stance in co-ordination with affiliated organisations; these efforts met with resistance from other senior leaders in RSS.[8] In 1962, he was selected as All India Baudhik Pramukh of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.[3]

On his death Ranade was honoured as a Karmayogi by RSS publication, Organiser.[6]

Vivekananda Memorial and Kendra

See also: Vivekananda Rock Memorial § Role of Eknath Ranade

Ranade was the organising secretary of Vivekananda Rock Memorial committee.
Ranade was the organising secretary of Vivekananda Rock Memorial committee.

Ranade was deeply influenced by the teachings of Swami Vivekananda. In 1963, during the centenary year of Swami Vivekananda's birth, he published a selection of Vivekananda's writing under the title Rousing Call to Hindu Nation, as a personal tribute.[1]

The same year, Ranade conceived the idea of building a monument to Vivekananda at the mid-sea rock location near Kanyakumari, where Vivekananda had meditated for three days in December 1892. After receiving enthusiastic responses to the scheme from RSS chief M. S. Golwalkar and others, Ranade established the Vivekananda Rock Memorial Organising Committee and became its Organizing Secretary. Various branches of the committee were established across the country (with future BJP leader L. K. Advani serving as the organising secretary of the Delhi branch) to build support, and later raise funds, for the memorial. When the idea was initially rejected by the Minister of Education and Culture Humayun Kabir, Ranade drummed up support from over 300 members of the Indian Parliament, which led to the project receiving approval from Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Ranade also managed to win endorsement for the project from a diverse section of the political and spiritual community, including sections traditionally in opposition to RSS.[2]

After the project was approved, Ranade led a cadre of volunteers to raise funds for construction from donors across the country; state governments and the central Government of India also contributed towards the Rs.12.5 million fund total. The Rock Memorial was completed in 1970, and inaugurated by President of India V. V. Giri on 2 September.[2] During the birth centenary celebrations in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi recalled the effectiveness of the Jan-Bhagidaari (Participation of people) scheme that was used by Eknathji. This scheme encouraged every citizen of the country to pay 1 rupee as a donation so that everyone would be a part of this mission.[9]

Two years later, Ranade founded the Vivekananda Kendra, centred at Kanyakumari with branches elsewhere, as a Hindu spiritual organisation based on the principles of "Renunciation and Service" preached by Vivekananda.[2][1] The Kendra is a "lay service organization" without a guru or propagation of a "guru culture" though it was influenced by the teachings of Vivekananda. It has 206 branches in various parts of the country. He did not endorse the status of an "avatar-hood" (god incarnate) to the Kendra. He therefore neither promoted himself or Vivekananda to the status of worship at the center but promoted the use of Omkara as its guiding principle. It was his view that by adopting Omkara as guru the entire class of gurus of the country are honoured.[10] Ranade became the President of the Vivekananda Kendra in 1978, after serving as its general secretary.[1] A documentary titled "Eknathji: One Life - One Mission" has been made by Vivekananda Kendra on his life.[11]

Death and legacy

Ranade died in Madras (now Chennai) on 22 August 1982.[1] On 23 August 1982, he was cremated at Vivekanandapuram, Kanyakumari.[3]


Ranade's publications are the "Swami Vivekananda's Rousing Call to Hindu Nation, the "Sadhana of Service" (1985), the "Story of Vivekananda Rock Memorial" and the "Kendra Unfolds".[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Vivekananda 2009, p. 169.
  2. ^ a b c d Advani 2008, pp. 142–144.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Eknath Ranade biography". Vivekananda Rock Memorial. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
  4. ^ Jaffrelot 1999, p. 146.
  5. ^ Chitkara 2004, pp. 326–327.
  6. ^ a b Jaffrelot 1999, p. 41.
  7. ^ Andersen 1972, p. 677.
  8. ^ Basu 1993, p. 51.
  9. ^ "PM Narendra Modi attributes formative learning to Eknath Ranade, urges youth to do the same". The Economic Times. Archived from the original on 11 January 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  10. ^ Copeman & Ikegame2012, p. 9.
  11. ^ Vivekananda Kendra (8 November 2014), Eknathji : One Life - One Mission, retrieved 20 November 2016


Further reading